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China Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing
14 Gongmenqian Street
Summer Palace
Beijing
China 100091
Tel: 800 477 9180 (toll-free)
Tel: 86 10 5987 9999
theamansummerpalace@amanresorts.com
www.amanresorts.com/home.aspx?id=5700

Chinese officials have been planning a hotel in this former Imperial retreat on the outskirts of Beijing for nearly 20 years. The Aman signed up only three years ago but has not wasted any time opening its first China outpost. Adrian Zecha's company has turned the handsome gray-brick residences of the former emperors' guests into a resort that effortlessly blends historic appeal, traditional Chinese design, and 21st-century comforts. The 51 rooms—serviced by 357 staff—are spread across the historic 6.9-acre site adjacent to the Summer Palace's east gate. Nestled among courtyards, willow- and bamboo-lined stone pathways, and a picturesque lake, the resort allows private day and night access to the palace and gardens. The rooms and suites—which range from 409 square feet to 3,122 square feet—feature high wooden beams, four-poster beds, wooden latticed styling, and heated oil-polished Jin clay stone tiles. The palatial public areas are dressed with Ming dynasty furnishings, silk trimmings, and photos of the rulers who once roamed the long corridors. The range and standard of facilities are excellent, with four restaurants, including Naoki—named after Kyoto-born chef Naoki Okumura—which serves French kaiseki (think French techniques and Japanese presentation); a private library; a "culture room" with Chinese paper cutting and calligraphy; an underground spa, gym, and Pilates studio; and a private 38-seat cinema. But perhaps the finest touch is also the simplest: In the late afternoons, two female erhu and guzheng musicians dressed in red silk gowns play ancient folk tunes in a waterside pavilion. The gentle melodies would soften the heart of the most fearsome emperor.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Amanfayun
22 Fayun Nong
Xihujiedao
Xihufengjingmingsheng District
Hangzhou
China 310013
Tel: 86 571 8732 9999
amanfayun@amanresorts.com
www.amanresorts.com/amanfayun/home.aspx

Located in the bamboo-filled mountains above Hangzhou, this rustic 42-room property, Amanresorts' second in China, is actually a conversion of an entire village whose inhabitants once harvested the tea for which the town is justly famous. Bisecting the resort's grounds is one of the village's original thoroughfares, a stream-lined cobblestoned path that's today traversed by not only hotel guests but day-trippers walking to and from the temples that dot the area. The concept aside, what's really remarkable about Amanfayun is its restraint: The landscaping is natural, even a little wild; the signage is minimal (perhaps too much so—you'll need a flashlight for nighttime strolling); and the 42 accommodations—once houses—with their stone floors, cloth-and-wire lantern lights, and subdued palette, are stunningly spare and sophisticated. Along with jettisoning tired design clichés (you'll see no silk fans or red lanterns here), the hotel also upends traditional notions of what a resort should be: There are no TVs, no electronic locks, no pools. In their place is silence, stillness, and, visible from some of the rooms, the breathtaking sight of thirteenth-century bodhisattvas and Buddhas carved into the nearby cliff. Amanfayun's only shortcoming is its overly shy staff, who march around in uniforms that are unfortunately reminiscent of Mao jackets and whose English skills run the gamut from barely existent to just adequate. The resulting stilted service toward Western guests is a regrettable barrier to what is otherwise a transporting experience.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Banyan Tree Lijiang
Lijiang
China
Tel: 86 888 533 1111
banyantree.com

Banyan Tree's new outpost in southwestern Yunnan Province is a Himalayan retreat 6,500 feet above sea level, with 55 villas facing the glacial peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. High stone walls encircle this compound of interconnected private courtyards, where roofs with upwardly curved tips emulate the style of the Naxi culture, best preserved at the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang Old Town. Bath amenities are surprisingly unexceptional for this resort chain closely associated with the sybaritic spa experience, but beds are pampering, powerful showers stand up even to the winter chill, and each room has an outdoor hot tub or a plunge pool. Bai Yun, its refined Chinese restaurant popular with local dignitaries, offers healthy steamed dishes that accommodate the resort's overseas clientele. A three-tier wooden pagoda, intricately carved and surrounded by weeping willows hung with red lanterns, creates a dramatic public space. The Banyan Tree Spa Lijiang is included among the 2007 Hot List Spas.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Banyan Tree Ringha
Hong Po Village
Jian Tang
China
Tel: 86 887 828 8822
reservations-ringha@banyantree.com
www.banyantree.com/ringha/index.htm

Seen from the rocky road, the Banyan Tree Ringha appears architecturally indistinguishable from the villages of packed earth and timber structures in this mountainous region at a gasping 10,000 feet above sea level. But upon arrival at this 32-suite hillside retreat in Yunnan Province, you'll discover lovely landscaped grounds and rooms equipped with deep-barrel bathtubs and pie-plate showers. Spa Suites add a dedicated downstairs space for treatments. Walls from old wood houses in surrounding villages have been given new life as intricately carved interior decor in the guest rooms. Electric blankets, strategically placed heaters, and a stone stove under a mammoth copper cover keep guests cozy when temperatures drop below freezing. The predominantly Tibetan staff exude kindness, while the six trekking guides bring their experience leading expeditions around Tibet's holy Mount Kailash and along the perilous ridges of Everest to the greener pastures of Ringha Valley.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Banyan Tree Sanya Resort and Spa
6 Luling Road
Sanya , Hainan Island
China 572000
Tel: 866 822 6926 (toll-free)
Tel: 86 898 8860 9988
www.banyantree.com/en/sanya/index.html

If there was any doubt that Hainan has shed its unsavory reputation—originally as a place of exile and more recently as a magnet for Chinese mass tourism—this exquisite resort on Luhuitou Bay proves it. Its 61 villas, all with private pools, are set amid a man-made lagoon teeming with fish, long grasses, and bullfrogs, whose evening chorus is a magical experience. But every feature of the place is a pièce de résistance: the indoor-outdoor bathroom, with a sauna and a gigantic granite tub set in a black-tiled lotus pond; the two dramatically situated restaurants; the impeccable service; the graceful fusion of the contemporary with the traditional (such as shower spouts ingeniously constructed out of bamboo); and, of course, the spa. And you can indulge guilt-free—Banyan Tree is mindful of the environment and purchases many of the objects, fabrics, and furniture from local craftsmen (whose wares are also on sale at the Banyan Tree Gallery).

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
China World Summit Wing
1 Jianguomenwai Avenue
Beijing
China 100004
Tel: 86 10 6505 2299
Fax: 86 10 6505 8811
www.shangri-la.com/en/property/beijing/chinaworldsummitwing

Beijing's highest hotel is a metaphor for China's upward economic push. Managed by Shangri-La, it occupies the top 16 floors of Beijing's tallest tower (called the China World Tower) on the main drag leading toward Tiananmen Square. The public spaces are bathed in propitious gold lighting, reflected in paneled glass and cream-colored marble. The building's height—topping 1,000 feet—is on display throughout: Floor-to-ceiling windows in the rooms and restaurants provide magnificent views across the capital. The 278 guest rooms and suites (located on floors 67 through 77) feature more gold decor, this time paired with warm browns, as well as wall-hung plasma TVs, iPod docks, and Nespresso coffee machines; Wi-Fi is complimentary. Spacious bathrooms have dark marble tubs, rain forest showers, and L'Occitane bath products. For an even more elevated high, visit the Adam Tihany–designed Grill 79 restaurant and the preferred cocktail lounge of Beijing shakermakers, Atmosphere, on the 79th and 80th floors.—Gary Bowerman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Commune by the Great Wall Kempinski
Badaling Highway, Shuiguan Exit
Beijing
China 102102
Tel: 86 10 8118 1888
reservations.thegreatwall@kempinski.com
www.communebythegreatwall.com/en/

In 2001, 12 Asian architects were asked to design their dream homes right at the base of the Badaling section of the Great Wall, an hour's drive from Beijing. The result is this multi-building complex: part boutique hotel; part rural retreat; part showcase of contemporary, high-concept architecture. Kengo Kuma's Bamboo Wall House has an expansive bamboo-framed tearoom hanging over water. Kanika R'kul's Shared House was designed around the theme of communication—even the bathroom has two separate tubs, so friends can bathe together. Great concept—but one, unfortunately, trumped by reality. Many of the 375-square-foot-and-up rooms have been poorly maintained, with paint chipping, floors scuffed, and exteriors sorely in need of pressure cleaning. The sparseness of the furnishings—a mix of Ikea-style modernism with the occasional Chinese antique—does nothing to hide these flaws or to muffle the sound that travels through the thin walls. Moreover, the hotel ill-advisedly mass-reproduced four of the most popular designs, undermining their architectural integrity by chopping up the rooms in awkward ways (you can still rent the originals in their entirety, albeit at a very high rate). Such missteps are all the more frustrating since the Commune gets nearly everything else right, from the friendly service to the elegant Chinese dishes served in the restaurant. The serene common areas, in honey-colored wood designed by Seung H-Sang, also include a screening room, bar, and spa. The Commune also has the ultimate Great Wall location: You can awake to see the mist hugging the Wall's ancient form, take a five-minute shuttle to the most famous restored section, and then retreat from the tourist hordes to a hotel-arranged picnic atop the Wild Wall, an unrestored stretch open only to Commune guests. The view of the lush sloping valley from your perch in a crumbling watchtower just might make the scrappy rooms and hefty rates worth it. The Wall is close enough to Beijing that you can easily tackle it in a day trip, but if you're set on staying out by the Wall and want an alternative to the Commune, you could consider the rustic Red Capital Ranch or hire a company to take you camping on an unrestored section.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Conrad Hong Kong
88 Queensway, Pacific Place
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2521 3838
hongkonginfo@conradhotels.com
conradhotels.hilton.com/en/ch/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=HKGHCCI

This high-rise above "the shopping mecca of Pacific Place" is "the perfect respite" after a day of sightseeing, with views of Victoria Peak and the harbor. "Chic and lavish" rooms have Chinese cabinetry, dark wood panels, and Bose sound systems. The Garden Café's breakfast buffet has "plentiful options for individuals from all over the globe." "Great staff."

(510 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay
Haitang Road
Haitang Bay
Sanya , Hainan Island
Hainan Island 572000
Tel: 86 898 8820 8888
Fax: 86 898 8820 8889
conradhotels1.hilton.com/en/ch/hotels/index.do?ctyhocn=SYXCICI

Perhaps the best yet in a string of beachfront luxury reports in Hainan Province, this Conrad occupies a curling 13-mile-long bay and draws a well-heeled crowd. They come in search of two elements notably absent from urban Chinese life: space and silence. The stone villas, with colonial-style interiors, tray ceilings, and quarries' worth of marble, are exceptionally roomy at around 650 square feet. The huge glass doors open to a private wraparound garden and a pool—a setup that would be quite Zen, were it not for the lounge music piped through speakers (which you can shut off). Several details give the villas a homey touch: personalized stationery, an espresso machine, exotic fruits such as mangosteen and carambola, a freebie-filled minibar, and free laundry service. The smartest note hit by the resort, though, is its balancing act between elegant and casual and between East and West. A vast crystal chandelier hangs above the concierge area, while whimsical Chinese zodiac sculptures flank a reflecting pool. The staff are fastidious and attentive. The three restaurants (one Western, one Chinese, and one casual beach grill) serve pizzas as well as refined local fish dishes. The result is a shrewd synthesis of yin and yang, albeit one that ends with a send-off in a Bentley from the hotel's fleet.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Crosswaters Ecolodge and Spa
Mt. Nankun Ecotourism District
Longmen , Guangdong
China 511276
Tel: 86 752 769 3666

Years in the making and set amid the tropical forests and bamboo groves of the Nankun Nature Reserve in Guangdong Province, Crosswaters Ecolodge is a study in stunning green design. The dramatic bamboo bridge at the entryway seems to belong on a Zhang Yimou movie set, and the restaurant and lounge feature bamboo flying buttresses. In the open-sided restaurant, you feel at one with the surroundings while dining on hearty local Hakka dishes, made with organic vegetables grown on-site. The 53 villas—some private—have recycled roof tiles, rammed-earth walls, small walled gardens evocative of old China, and plush interiors with poster beds. Only the TVs seem incongruous (shunning television is one green leap the resort didn't make). While there are some kinks—pedestrian spa treatments, most members of the staff's inability to communicate in English—these lapses are forgivable at a resort whose artistry is uplifting.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Excelsior
281 Gloucester Road
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2894 8888
exhkg-info@mohg.com
www.excelsiorhongkong.com

Perhaps the only moderately priced Mandarin Oriental property in existence, this 30-year-old tower is big with business travelers and tour groups. But the reasonable rates aren't the only draw here. The location in Causeway Bay means it's close to shops, restaurants, and Victoria Park—not to mention the raunchy nightlife in Wanchai and the horse races at Happy Valley. And the 862 rooms are perfectly pleasant, in a blandly cheerful cruise-ship-cabin sort of way (molded window seats, patterned wall-to-wall carpeting, bright-colored bed and sofa cushions). The indoor tennis courts and the solicitous staffers might make you forget—momentarily—that you're not at the Landmark.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Beijing
8 Yong An Dong Li
Chaoyang District
Beijing
China 100022
Tel: 866 551 5659
Tel: 86 10 8511 7777
beijing@fairmont.com
www.fairmont.com/beijing

It's located in the heart of Beijing's Central Business District, but the all-glass, rose gold-colored Fairmont pops out from the surrounding office buildings. Inside, the hotel is all understated beiges, creams, and gold, and in the lobby, a 52-foot-long glass sculpture of a fish, the Chinese symbol of wealth and prosperity. The 222 sophisticated and sun-drenched rooms and suites are decorated with local accents such as carved lacquer boxes and embroidered pillows, and smart functional touches including desks equipped with USB/fax/printer ports and a multi-plug adapter, as well as a Bose sound system, and complimentary Nespresso machine. The elegant marble bathrooms have gilded fittings, and you'll soak for hours in the enormous sunken bathtub, which comes complete with its own flat-screen TV. There is even a "bath sommelier" if don't want to draw your own; in fact, all of guest services have been streamlined into one central number, the Royal Service, which means that no matter your request, you need only touch one button to find an attendant—speaking remarkably good English—at your disposal.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Peace Hotel
20 Nanjing Road E.
Shanghai
China 200002
Tel: 86 21 6321 6888
peacehotel@fairmont.com
www.fairmont.com/peacehotel

Reopened in 2010 after a three-year makeover, Shanghai's 80-year-old grande dame has been restored to its 1930s glory days, when it hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Noël Coward. The 270-room Art Deco icon topped with a green copper dome sits at Shanghai's busiest intersection, where Nanjing Road meets the Bund. The dim, amber-lit lobby with heavy carved woods and deep-mottled marbles strikes a dramatic note in keeping with the hotel's august stature—although the guards at the door and hotel staff patrolling the lobby to stop visitors from posing for pictures takes the respect for the property a bit far. The decor lightens up in the guest rooms, which are decorated in soft gold and lilac and newly fitted with high-tech conveniences such as Wi-Fi, MP3 docks, and bath-side TVs. Among the six restaurants and bars, Dragon Phoenix offers Cantonese dining in a whimsical, Forbidden City-esque setting, and the Jazz Bar features nightly performances by the hotel's famous octogenarian jazz band. The Jasmine Lounge, in the lobby, is a popular spot for smart high teas. History buffs looking for remnants of the '30s should visit the Peace Hall, with its sprung maple dance floor and Lalique glass, and the Peace Museum, where longtime director Martin Ma (who has worked at the hotel for more than 40 years) will share lots of colorful stories and memorabilia.—Amy Fabris-Shi

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Fleming
41 Fleming Road
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 3607 2288
www.thefleming.com.hk

Office towers and the futuristic Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre make the Wan Chai District a buzzing hub for business, but the neighborhood has lacked for stylish and economical accommodations. With just 66 guest rooms, The Fleming expertly fills the gap with its high ceilings, indulgent bathrooms, ergonomic office chairs, and Wi-Fi. (Executive suites add kitchenettes.) As Hong Kong's former number one–ranked pro tennis player, managing director John Hui got priceless insights into hotel living, which may explain creative touches like the city's first females-only floor, where healthy snacks fill the minibars. Access to California Fitness, Hong Kong's best-stocked gym located around the corner, makes up for the lack of in-house fitness facilities. Cubix restaurant serves up spicy tapas and an excellent entrecôte.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel, Hangzhou at West Lake
5 Lingyin Road
Hangzhou
China 310013
Tel: 86 571 8829 8888
Fax: 86 571 8829 2298
www.fourseasons.com/hangzhou

A 90-minute bullet train ride from Shanghai, the Four Seasons is enviably situated right on Hangzhou's West Lake, a spot that has inspired painters and poets for centuries. Winding pathways meander through the 17 acres of landscaped gardens and interconnected lily ponds, making the resort feel like a Zen retreat in a town that is normally rather chaotic. There are only 78 rooms and, though they lack a specifically Chinese sense of place (unlike the common areas and grounds), they're spacious and comfy, with walk-in closets. Staff are very friendly and give plenty of individual attention (one of the concierges, Robert Huang, is an English-speaking gem in a mostly Chinese-speaking city). On-site distractions include an excellent spa, two pools (the indoor one has pavilion-style niches perfect for tête-à-têtes), and two restaurants, including Jin Sha, which specializes in Shanghainese and regional cuisine. Excursions include tours around the lake on traditional wooden boats—the Chinese answer to the gondola—complete with a picnic lunch arranged by the hotel.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
8 Finance Street
Central
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 3196 8888
Tel: 800 819 5053
Fax: 852 3196 8899
www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/

Set in the towering International Finance Center among Central's high-rise office buildings, the Four Seasons is packed with business amenities. The massive property bustles with dark-suited execs who take advantage of the private boardrooms, round-the-clock secretarial services, and the 26,000-odd square feet of conference and convention space. But don't be fooled: This place isn't just for the name-badge set. There's also a trio of gorgeous outdoor pools, a 22,000-square-foot spa, and one of the city's hottest tables, Caprice, serving meticulous French cuisine. The 399 rooms have pale silk- and wood-paneled walls, lacquer and marble bathroom fixtures (and, yes, leather and steel office furniture). The characteristic Four Seasons service even includes kid-friendly extras like milk and cookies at bedtime.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Macau
Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, S/N
Taipa
Macau
China
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free)
Tel: 853 2881 8888
www.fourseasons.com/macau/

This refined sanctuary trumps the city's gilded competition: Indo-Portuguese furniture and original Chinese paintings plus two grand staircases in the lobby evoke the European mansions of old Macau, while the efficient English-speaking staff are among Macau's best. The 360 stately rooms have Chinese silks as well as special touches such as evening turndown service that includes a bite-size Portuguese egg tart, Macanese almond cookies, and serradura, an even creamier take on tiramisu. In case the hotel's intimate Plaza Casino, five pools, and poolside cabanas with TVs aren't diversion enough, guests also have round-the-clock access to the behemoth Venetian via a three-story shopping arcade filled with top brands.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai
500 Weihai Lu
Shanghai
China 200041
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free)
Tel: 86 21 6256 8888
reservations.shg@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/shanghai

This 37-story hotel is the first Four Seasons in mainland China, and is located between two major shopping streets, Nanjing and Huaihai in downtown Shanghai, not far from People's Square so you can punctuate shopping sprees with a bit of culture. Palm fronds and fountains decorate the lobby, the 439 rooms are spacious and airy (even the smaller ones are 420 sq. foot) with splashes of red, green and yellow, and while the indoor pool (open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.) is on the small side, it's rarely crowded. Families are welcomed with kid-friendly menus in all four of the house restaurants, child-size bathrobes, and babysitting services.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grand Hyatt Beijing
1 East Chang An Avenue
Beijing
China 100738
Tel: 86 10 8518 1234
reservations.beigh@hyattintl.com
www.beijing.grand.hyatt.com

With a prime central location adjacent to Wangfujing shopping street, this vast hotel has been popular with business and leisure travelers since it opened in 2001. The showstopper here is the over-the-top Club Oasis, with its massive waterfall-studded indoor pool and courtyard surrounded by stone columns, teak furniture, and a jungle of potted plants. Overhead, the kitschy "virtual sky" ceiling changes colors by day and breaks out in faux stars at night. In comparison, the 825 guest rooms, decorated with black-and-white photographs and minimalist, earth-toned furniture, are comfortable though uninspired. The on-site eating and drinking options include Redmoon, a swank sushi and cocktail bar, and Made in China restaurant for superb Peking duck.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Jin Mao Tower
88 Century Boulevard
Shanghai
China 200121
Tel: 86 21 5049 1234
info.ghshanghai@hyattintl.com
www.shanghai.grand.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp

The Grand Hyatt Shanghai takes up the top 34 floors of the monolithic 88-story Jin Mao Tower—the fifth-tallest building in the world—so you can imagine the views: vertigo-inducing panoramas over the city's skyscrapers and streets, abetted by the ubiquitous floor-to-ceiling windows. (Request a west-facing room for views of the Bund, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the rest of the Shanghai skyline's kitschy excess.) If you can tear your gaze from the neon spectacle outside, you'll find the hotel's interiors are pretty sumptuous: All 555 rooms have contemporary furniture (lots of glass, lacquered wood, and velvety neutral-toned upholstery) accented by traditional Eastern artwork. The marble baths have multiple-head "shower towers" that engulf you in water and mist; if these aren't enough of a full-body experience, you can head to the steam baths and hot tubs at the on-site spa. The hotel's dozen restaurants, bars, and clubs include the Patio, a 33-story atrium where you can listen to live jazz; Cloud 9, on the 87th floor, where the views will make you dizzier than any cocktail; and Club Jin Mao, where you can sample local specialties, such as deep-fried eel with honey soy sauce and braised bean curd with hairy crab roe. While the Pudong location is oriented more for business than pleasure, the Line 2 Metro station is just a five-minute walk away, and a horde of cheap cabs waits outside to whisk you across the Huangpu River to the Old City.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Côté Cour S.L.
70 Yanyue Lane
Beijing
China 1000010
Tel: 86 10 651 28020
info@hotelcotecoursl.com
hotelcotecoursl.com

Tucked down an old Beijing lane between the Forbidden City and the nightlife spots of Chaoyang District, this small, friendly hotel occupies a lovingly restored gray-brick hutong home. The district is a throwback to a different era, with tricycle deliverymen, on-street hairdressers, and fresh produce wheeled along the narrow lanes. All 14 nonsmoking rooms were personally designed by owner Shauna Liu and are elegantly dressed in olive greens and light browns, with subtly latticed Chinese woodwork and oil-polished concrete floors. Each one has a rain-forest shower, flat-screen cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. The guest rooms are set around a rectangular private courtyard with tables and chairs for outdoor relaxation. At night, hanging red lanterns around the courtyard add a sense of romance, particularly when viewed from the spacious rooftop terrace bar. A cozy communal lounge with armchairs, magazines, and contemporary artwork doubles as a laid-back breakfast room.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel G
No.A7 Gongtixilu
Chao Yang District
Beijing
China 100020
Tel: 86 10 6552 3600
hotel-g.com

The 110-room Hotel G, with its beaconlike, multi-hued windows, makes no bones about its flashy nature: The bordello meets boardroom interiors feature damask stenciled walls, burgundy velvet furnishings, outrageous crystal chandeliers, and mirrors everywhere. Sensual black-and-white photos and miniature Harley Davidsons by artists at the local 798 Dashanzi Art District create a 1960s Hollywood feel. Your room key provides access to several trendy nightclubs nearby, and on weekends, the French DJ Maxwell spins in the lounge at the hotel's restaurant, 25 Degrees, drawing Beijing's bright young things.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Indigo
585 Zhongshan Road E.
Shanghai
China 200010
Tel: 86 21 3302 9999
indigo.shanghai@ihg.com
www.shanghai.hotelindigo.com

Hotel Indigo in Shiliupu, south of the Bund, is perfectly placed beside the Huangpu River, with Yu Garden a stone's throw away. Indigo's 184 design-led rooms and public areas are decorated with Chinese art, porcelain, and bamboo, plus up-tempo imagery of local settings, such as the riverside and old city. It is popular with designers, architects, and artsy Chinese twentysomethings, plus travelers seeking a less generic stay than the Shanghai brand-hotel norm. The Char lounge's terrace on the 30th floor has excellent views of the skyline. Neat service touches include the Quay club lounge (not really a club at all, since all guests can use it), complete with iMacs, a library, and wicker pod seats. Both the gym and the seventh-floor infinity pool look directly over the river. In-room amenities include hardwood floors, complimentary Wi-Fi, large plasma TVs, and blue-and-white mosaic-tiled bathrooms, along with organic Ba Yan Ka La toiletries and locally sourced tea from nearby Hangzhou—Gary Bowerman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel LKF
33 Wyndham Street
Central District
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 3518 9688
www.hotel-LKF.com.hk

Denizens of Hong Kong's perennially grooving Lan Kwai Fong neighborhood can slide off the bar stool and into these beds without missing a beat. While the lobby staff is more attractive than effective, the street-facing, glass-enclosed space features retro-chic decor with cushy loungers that let the ultrasocial clientele keep an eye on the surrounding scene. Walls are hung with works by China's hottest photographers, including Wing Shya and Patrick Lee. And you can detox over on-site yoga (or take off those stilettos for Chinese foot reflexology). In the 95 compact but comfortable rooms, Aeron chairs and oversize desktops aid those who plan to work between nights on the town. But the most important features are the well-insulated floor-to-ceiling windows that block noise from after-dark revelry. Book any of the rooms ending in 02–08 for spectacular views over Central District rooftops to the Hong Kong Harbor.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel of Modern Art
Yuzi Paradise
Dabu Town
Guilin
China 541006
Tel: 86 773 386 7888
yuzile@yuzile.com
www.homarc.com

The first Relais & Châteaux hotel in China, the 46-room Hotel of Modern Art–HOMA Libre is nestled among unearthly karst mountains in the heart of the 1,350-acre Yuzi Paradise Sculpture Park, which is dotted with more than 200 contemporary works by artists such as Eberhard Eckerle and Allen Jones. This pyramidal hotel (sister to the larger, similarly art-oriented HOMA Sutra, also in the park area) feels light and airy, each room designed with futuristic furniture and objets d'art produced by artists in residence, while providing the modern necessities of flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and free Internet—some suites even have wine fridges. The service is exceptional: An English-speaking concierge greets you at Guilin airport, offering a complimentary cell phone so that he may be at your beck and call during your stay. A swanky spa stays open until 1 am, and staff are happy to arrange a private dinner inside one of the park's magnificent caves, complete with candles, musicians, and a man-made waterfall. Guests can enjoy a nightcap in the Moon Lounge and breakfast outside at the Woods Café as well as fine dining at its soon-to-open Asian-fusion restaurant, Lotus.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hullett House
2a Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 3988 0000
reservation@hulletthouse.com
www.hulletthouse.com

Neoclassical Hullett House hotel is the centerpiece of a 19th-century hilltop mansion that's been dressed up for 21st-century luxury seekers. The former Marine Police headquarters, just a stone's throw from Victoria Harbour in Kowloon, also houses swanky boutiques and Japanese, mod-Euro, and Cantonese concept restaurants. The interiors of the ten suites (ranging from 800 to 1,100 square feet), are based on different ancient-meets-modern visual themes—take your pick from updated British Regency, nuevo Chinoiserie, or a vivid red-lacquer interpretation of a local antique store. The Stanley Suite features an entire wall given over to a bamboo trellis mural of indigenous Chinese birds, offset by varnished walnut floorboards and a marble bathroom with a Lalique chandelier over the tub. Extras include complimentary Wi-Fi, iPod dock, free (nonalcoholic) minibar, and an outsize wall-hung TV. But you need to step outside the large French doors for the tour de force: each room has a broad stone balcony with a cushioned wicker chaise longue peeking through the royal palms at the courtyard below. A tad overdesigned in places, Hullett House nevertheless manages to balance respect for the building's history with a joyous evocation of art-inspired glamour.—Gary Bowerman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hyatt on the Bund
199 Huang Pu Road
Shanghai
China 200080
Tel: 86 21 6393 1234
info.shang@hyattintl.com
www.shanghai.bund.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp

Opened in late 2007, this twin-towered property doesn't get the 'Grand' title because there's already a Grand Hyatt nearby, however it's certainly of Grand Hyatt standard, but with a more contemporary deluxe style. Perched on the up-and-coming North Bund strip, overlooking the U-shaped bend in the Huangpu River, the hotel's visual positioning is one of its biggest selling points. The rooms, bars, and restaurants have panoramic views of old and new Shanghai, from the neoclassical Bund to the soaring Pudong skyline. The 631 guest rooms are equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, rotating plasma TVs, iPod docks, DVD players, and glass-paneled bathrooms with rain forest showers. The Vue restaurant on the 30th and 31st floors serves modern takes on traditional European dishes and is designed like a modern residence with separate lounge, library, and kitchen areas—its roof deck offers Shanghai's premier cocktail-with-a-view setting. The centerpiece of Xindalu, another of the four restaurants, is a hand-built brick oven for preparing the restaurant's signature dish: roast Peking duck. The contemplative, water-themed Yuan Spa (Yuan means "source of the water") fuses Chinese and Asian wellness treatments in an elegant interior of blond wood and emerald-veined white marble.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hyatt Regency Hangzhou
28 Hu Bin Road
Hangzhou
China
Tel: 86 571 8779 1234
hangzhou.regency@hyatt.com
hangzhou.regency.hyatt.com

Situated in a tree-lined pedestrian zone, this semicircular hotel features several rooms with unobstructed views of West Lake. "The location is delightful." Dark wood furnishings with red upholstery enliven rooms that have muted pastel walls; the Presidential Suite has a 6,300-square-foot rooftop garden. 28 HuBin Road serves traditional Chinese dishes like dongpo pork. Brush up on your Mandarin: "Not all staff are fluent in English."

(390 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
InterContinental Hong Kong
18 Salisbury Road
Kowloon
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2721 1211
Tel: 888 424 6835
hongkong@interconti.com
www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hd/hkghc

Born as the Regent Hotel, the InterContinental was rechristened in 2001 and injected with $40 million in refurbishments. Since then, Kate Moss and John Travolta have stayed over, and Alain Ducasse's Spoon moved in (it was joined by the world's 14th Nobu outpost in December 2006). Anyone willing to drop $11,000 on a night's stay should book the palatial Presidential Suite with its private infinity pool and gym. For the rest of us, the 495 expansive rooms with their black-and-gold furnishings, Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, and awesome city views are plenty good enough. There's also a sizable spa, an indulgent outdoor swimming pool, and Kowloon's top designer shops in walking distance.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Island Shangri-La
Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road
Central
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2877 3838
isl@shangri-la.com
www.shangri-la.com/en/property/hongkong/islandshangrila

Hong Kong's tallest hotel (56 floors) dwarfs the extravagant shopping centers and office towers of Central. The harbor views are, naturally, impressive here—you can even see the Shangri-La's sister hotel across the water in Kowloon. Many of the 565 rooms have big windows that make the most of the vistas; all have flat-screen TVs, dark wood Chinese-style cabinets, and pale silk bedding. The proximity to major banks and law offices, along with lobby Wi-Fi and in-room fax machines, attracts suit-and-tie types, but shopaholics are happy here, too: Pacific Place, one of Hong Kong's ritziest malls, is just an escalator ride away. One rather surprising plus: Even though the property seems like a monument to glittering convenience, eco-friendly policies like recycling and using "green" cleaning products are employed here.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Jia Boutique Hotel
1-5 Irving Street
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 3196 9000
info@jiahongkong.com
www.jiahongkong.com

Jia is the Mandarin word for "home," and though that may seem far-fetched unless Philippe Starck designed your pad, there are some nice domestic touches here. Starck's 54 white-on-white studios and suites, designed by Philippe Starck, come with dining tables, kitchenettes with microwaves and dishes, and swiveling flat-screen TVs that you can point toward whichever comfy chair or couch you'd like to sit in. A stylish, media- and tech-savvy crowd chooses this place; its cool, casual vibe is markedly different from the formal, hand-and-foot service found at the city's grande-dame hotels. That doesn't mean the Jia is entirely DIY, though: The reasonable rates include breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Jia Shanghai
931 West Nanjing Road
Shanghai
China 200041
Tel: 86 21 6217 9000
rez@jiashanghai.com
www.jiashanghai.com/web/Home/eng/

Housed in a renovated 1920s townhouse on hip Nanjing Road, this is wunderkind Singaporean hotelier and restaurateur Yenn Wong's follow-up to the original Jia in Hong Kong, designed by Philippe Starck. The 55 rooms combine luxe comforts—think plush beds, blackout curtains, plasma TVs, iPod docks, and ceiling-mounted Bose speakers—with trendsetting boutique styling, including artwork by photographer Russel Wong, outsize tubs in gold Bisazza-tile bathrooms, and furnishings by Minotti, Moroso, and Hans Wegner. Each room has a small kitchenette with a microwave oven, cookware, and serving dishes. The two stunning penthouse suites have extra theatrical flourishes, including contemporary art, a sunken circular Jacuzzi, and a shower that converts into a steam room. The chic lobby lounge, where you'll be served complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon tea, is dressed with giant Chinese bird cages and lacquer tableware. Shanghai's shaker-makers reserve dinner tables at Issimo, a modern Italian eatery created by Japan-based restaurateur Salvatore Cuomo. This is the place to stay for sophisticated small hotel chic.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Jing's Residence
16 East Avenue
Pingyao
China 31100
Tel: 86 0354 5841000
reservation@jingsresidence.com
jingsresidence.com

Made famous by Chinese director Zhang Yimou's film Raise the Red Lantern, 2,700-year-old Pingyao is one of China's last remaining walled cities, and Jing's Residence, located in a restored Qing-dynasty siheyuan (courtyard home), the city's first true luxury accommodation. Located in the old city, Jing's Residence is a stone's throw from the fourteenth-century three-and-a-half-mile city wall with barbican gates that has earned Pingyao the nickname Turtle City. The 19 bamboo-floored rooms, which are spread around four interlocking courtyards, have lacquer headboards and kang-style beds, all made by local artisans (there's also Internet access points and flat-screen TVs, seamlessly integrated into the historic decor). The restaurant, which faces Pingyao's celebrated East Street, serves traditional regional cuisine, and the cozy bar and library are great places to relax among the sculptures on loan from Beijing's Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel
1108 Mei Hua Road
Pudong
Shanghai
China 201204
Tel: 86 21 3858 0855
jhsinfo@jumeirah.com
www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-and-resorts/destinations/Shanghai/Jumeirah-Himalayas-Hotel/

Jumeirah's first Asia hotel occupies the dappled concrete exterior (symbolizing tree roots) of the Himalayas art complex in Pudong. The hotel is not centrally located—it's five metro stops from Pudong's Lujiazui district and seven stops from People's Square, and it overlooks the Shanghai New International Expo Centre and Maglev terminal rather than the Bund and the Huangpu River. But the contemporary Chinese design motifs and art collection on display throughout (every piece is an original) merit the detour. A palatial lobby is decorated with back-lit calligraphy, gray courtyard brick, and a carved wooden pagoda hosting performances of traditional Chinese music. This sets the tone for a hotel full of impressively vast public spaces, including a landscaped terrace garden on the sixth floor. The exception is J-Mix sushi restaurant, which is intimately sized and elegantly dressed with polished floors, dark furnishings, and scarlet lamps. The 405 guest rooms are styled in a palette of cream and brown, with chocolate-veined caramel marble in the bathroom, plus burnished wood floors, reproduction Chinese furnishings, an iPod dock and wall-hung TV, and L'Occitane bath products (upgraded to Acqua di Parma in the club-floor rooms). The location means the majority of guests are exhibition and conference attendees, plus adventurous upscale travelers with an interest in art and a willingness to spend a few extra minutes on the subway.—Gary Bowerman

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
JW Marriott Hotel Beijing
83 Jian Guo Road
Chaoyang
Beijing
China 100025
Tel: 86 10 5908 6688
Fax: 86 10 5908 6699
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bjsjw-jw-marriott-hotel-beijing/

You don't have to seek out some stone guesthouse in a crumbling old hutong to immerse yourself in Beijing culture. The JW Marriott Hotel Beijing, while obviously Western-oriented, has a youthful energy that mirrors Beijing's burgeoning society. Located in China Central Place, a massive development of luxury condos, office towers, and malls, the JW elegantly bridges the gap between expat bankers and Chinese moguls, business and Bulgari. In lieu of the staid lobby piano music of similar hotels, the JW brings in a lounge-y DJ for the after-work crowd of well-heeled expats, Chinese professionals, and hotel guests. The 549 rooms have functional work spaces with ergonomic chairs as well as sexy sunken tubs whose glass walls peep into the bedroom. The decor is a soothing antidote to the chaos of Beijing: Light moss and copper throws sit atop fluffy white duvets and down pillows, and the marble bathrooms have soothing rain-forest showerheads. The service is efficient and reliable. Be sure to make time for the QUAN Spa, whose softly lit pool, whirlpool, and aromatic steam room are so relaxing you might not even need to book a treatment. Also on-site are three restaurants: the expense-account CRU Steakhouse, the French/Continental Pinot Brasserie, and the more casual Asia Bistro, which has a theaterlike open kitchen with cooking stations.—Colleen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong
88 Queensway, Pacific Place
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2810 8366
Fax: 852 2845 0737
marriott.com/property/propertypage.mi?marshaCode=HKGDT

This high-rise's location above the Pacific Place mall makes it "central enough that you can walk to all the best attractions." Rooms have yellow, dark brown, and red tones with "pretty bathrooms that are appropriately marbled everywhere." "The Sunday champagne brunch in the Lounge is phenomenal." "Staff show great attention to detail."

(602 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai
399 Nanjing Xi Lu
Shanghai
China 200003
Tel: 86 21 5359 4969
Fax: 86 21 6375 5988
marriott.com/property/propertypage.mi?marshaCode=SHAJW

Soaring above People's Square in an angular 60-story building is this airy hotel, flooded with light from floor-to-ceiling windows. The lobby is on the 38th floor and the hotel continues 24 stories upward, so spectacular views over the city come as standard in the 342 rooms. Furnishings are Art Deco–esque, but some touches—the diamond-patterned hunter-green carpeting and rosewood paneling, for instance—feel a bit staid compared with the look of the city's newer hotels. Two lounges and three restaurants offer both Chinese and Western fare. None particularly stands out, though the 40th-floor Champagne Lounge is a good place for a nighttime drink with a view over People's Square. A spacious fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and a branch of the Mandara Spa tick all the boxes for modern luxury, while a central location between the Bund and French Concession wins points for convenience.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kayumanis Nanjing
Sizhuang Village
Tangshan
Nanjing
China 211131
Tel: 86 25 8410 7777
nanjing@kayumanis.com
www.kayumanis.com

This Balinese-managed property brings the best of that tropical haven to the new China. High concrete walls between villas ensure maximum privacy at the eight-acre minimalist-design retreat outside Nanjing, 90 minutes by the new high-speed train from Shanghai. In each of the 21 villas, a four-poster bed, sleek dark-wood furniture, and neutral fabrics imported from Bali fill the generously proportioned living spaces; each also has a private pool and a hot-spring mineral bath. The attentive butlers can arrange excursions to the canals of Suzhou or treks through nearby tea plantations, and on-site Chinese calligraphy, yoga, and cooking classes are also offered. In the pond-facing restaurant, the excellent chef prepares homemade breads and pastries as well as Chinese cuisine incorporating vegetables grown on the area's verdant farmland.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kowloon Shangri-La
64 Mody Road
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2721 2111
ksl@shangri-la.com
www.shangri-la.com/en/property/hongkong/kowloonshangrila

The property is set so close to the waterfront that "you can practically dip your toes into the harbor." Upon entering the two-story lobby, guests encounter "gleaming Italian marble floors," Viennese crystal chandeliers, and a tiered mosaic-marble fountain. Rooms display soothing beige tones. Angelini, "the least corporate of the restaurants," serves Italian to views of Victoria Harbour.

(688 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Landmark Mandarin Oriental
15 Queen's Road Central
Central
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2132 0188
Tel: 866 526 6567
lmhkg-enquiry@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/landmark

Although its sister property, the original Mandarin Oriental, has now reopened (with much hullabaloo), the Landmark is no slouch, either. Although some of the 113 spacious rooms and suites have unsexy office-tower views, all have oversized plasma televisions, yoga mats, and beautiful Asian-style minimalist furnishings (sliding wood doors, low tables, lots of dark wood, and perfectly placed floral arrangements). The bathrooms are marble, and those in the 600 room series have enormous freestanding circular tubs. The hotel's showy public spaces—like the Amber restaurant, with its cascading metallic ceiling sculptures, and the dramatically chic split-level MO Bar—have even better feng shui. The 21,000-square-foot Oriental Spa features his-and-hers hammams, detoxifying amethyst-crystal steam rooms, and underwater day beds in steamy stone hot tubs.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Langham Hong Kong
8 Peking Road
Tsimshatsui
Kowloon
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 800 588 9141 (toll-free)
Tel: 852 2375 1133
tlhkg.info@langhamhotels.com
hongkong.langhamhotels.com/en

Surrounded by flagship designer stores, this 16-story property in the heart of Kowloon has a lobby with an impressive marble staircase, rock-crystal chandeliers, marble and onyx columns, and international art. "No detail is missed" in Grand Rooms with timber- and leather-paneled walls and wool carpets. The Bostonian dishes up sustainable seafood, steaks, and Welsh grass-fed lamb cutlets.

(495 rooms)

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Langham Place Hotel
555 Shanghai Street
Mongkok, Kowloon
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 3552 3388
hkg.lph.info@langhamhotels.com
hongkong.langhamplacehotels.com

The Langham made quite a stir in 2004, when it opened in the middle of the once-seedy Mongkok district; the ultramodern glass complex, which includes a swanky, 600,000-square-foot shopping mall, jump-started the gentrification of the entire neighborhood. It set the bar high, too, with an outdoor rooftop pool, four restaurants, and the opulent Chuan Spa. The hotel also boasts one of the best contemporary Chinese art collections in the whole city: Paintings and drawings decorate not only the common areas but also the 665 luxurious rooms, where the low-key, streamlined furnishings and flat-screen TVs complement rather than detract from the art. Getting a good night's sleep is taken very seriously here—in addition to cushy beds with the requisite silky, high-thread-count sheets, there's an over-the-top pillow menu that lets guests choose between different shapes, fillings, and even fragrances (for example, rose, lavender, or Japanese tea). The bathrooms are all chrome and marble, with only glass walls dividing them from the bedroom area (there are retractable screens for the modest). If you feel like a lazy night in, you can choose from the hotel's huge DVD lending library; for something livelier, the on-site Backyard restaurant hosts weekend-night alfresco barbecues under fairy-lit mango trees.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lapis Casa Hotel
68 Taicang Road
Shanghai
China
Tel: 86 21 5382 1600
reservation@lapiscasahotel.com
www.lapiscasahotel.com

The 18 antiques-filled guest rooms at this gem of a hotel are reminiscent of a romantic Parisian inn yet work for demanding business travelers as well as they do for vacationing couples. The young staff are uniformly helpful, making the extra effort to walk guests around the corner to flag down a taxi or recommend their favorite haunts, among them Xintiandi's hip bars and restaurants that draw both locals and expats. The three floors of rooms (there are no elevators) branch off long, narrow hallways decorated with Oriental rugs and stained glass windows. Four-poster beds, vintage-style bedside lamps, comfortable desks, and chocolate-scented candles round out these homes away from home. Standard bathrooms lack tubs, and the ring of a telephone in an adjacent room may be audible, but the hotel is extremely quiet given its central Shanghai location. Skip the stale hotel breakfast served in a French-themed eatery across the street; do, however, reserve a table at the in-house Japanese restaurant, packed nightly with fashionable diners.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Royal Méridien Shanghai
789 Nanjing Road East
Shanghai
China
Tel: 86 21 3318 9999
starwoodhotels.com

With considerable panache, Le Royal Méridien executes its Art Deco–inspired design throughout its 770 rooms, high above People's Park on central Nanjing Road. Above the eleventh-floor lobby, black lacquer–framed mirrors line hallways, and airy guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows. Chic marble bathrooms, plush velvet couches and club chairs, and beds with down duvets and oversized square pillows round out the stylish accommodations. Ai Mei, the Chinese restaurant already known for its dim sum, is entered through a door frame of glass tanks filled with goldfish; the menu at Allure—roasted lobster with risotto, beef tenderloin with goose liver—is worth the culinary detour. Even the spa here caters to a late-night clientele, staying open until 11 p.m., for those who can't sleep without a signature egg-white, vodka, and cucumber facial.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Longement Shanghai
1116 Yan An West Road
Shanghai
China
Tel: 86 21 6115 9988
www.thelongemonthotels.com

Though a serious business hotel, the 511-room Longement (formerly the Regent) has plenty of charm. Rooms have sleek, generous work spaces, pillowtop beds (where you'll find a mini-cheesecake at turndown), and suite showers with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the Puxi district. The young English-speaking staff are thoroughly professional, and there's a tennis court, a lap pool, and a spa with a Vichy shower. Sunday brunch is a global culinary tour, with choices ranging from Peking duck and sashimi to chicken and mashed potatoes. For a portable lunch, Tong's deli counter, a chic little eatery, does great takeaway.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lu Song Yuan Hotel
22 Banchang Lane
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6404 0436
Fax: 86 10 6403 0418
www.the-silk-road.com/hotel/lusongyuanhotel/

Stone lions, known here as menshi, guard the heavy wooden doorway to this lovely hotel more than 500 years old. Just a short walk from the Back Lakes, it occupies the onetime imperial home of General Zeng Ge Ling Qin, a military leader during the Qing dynasty. The 68 cozy rooms are traditionally furnished, with red-tasseled lamps and dark wood furniture, but they don't feel like museum galleries. Most have private courtyards with manicured plantings and rock gardens, and stone tables and chairs. There's a stone-floored teahouse in the lobby, and a great, inexpensive restaurant serving a mix of Szechuan and Cantonese dishes.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road
Central
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2522 0111
mohkg-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong

After $140 million in renovations, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, reopened in September 2006 and immediately regained its perch as Hong Kong's grande dame. High-tech amenities like iPod docking stations and sound systems have been added to the 502 rooms and suites, and all of them are larger now that the balconies have been eliminated (the grand Victoria Harbour views are still there, through the giant new windows). The decor throughout is sumptuous, with earth-toned brocade fabrics and carved wood furniture offset by statuary, orchids, and bonsai plants. The bathrooms are dramatic, with dark marble counters and floors; some have freestanding tubs where you can soak up to your chin. The hotel's nine restaurants and bars include Pierre, the new French eatery of three-star Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire. There's also a colonnaded lap pool, a beauty salon, a spa with a Chinese herbal steam room, and—for undoing all your slimming treatments—a sumptuous cake shop.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental, Sanya
12 Yuhai Road
Sanya , Hainan Island
China 572000
Tel: 86 898 8820 9999
www.mandarinoriental.com/sanya/

At this 30-acre resort, the beautifully landscaped grounds with whimsical stone statues and the range of on-site activities (including a rock-climbing wall and golf simulator) go a long way to compensate for the site's lackluster Coral Bay beach, only a sliver of which is swimmable. Guests can relax instead at one of the three pools, on hammocks scattered around the property, or in the Spa Village where a Shaolin kung fu master teaches morning tai chi. Set in dramatic volcanic stone buildings that rise just above the surrounding palm trees, the 297 guest rooms all have balconies and are accented with natural fibers and textiles woven by the local Li and Miao people. Fifteen duplex cliff villas feel the most like private retreats, with dedicated butler service, heated infinity pools, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing the turquoise sea. When complete, 11 bars and restaurants will dot the property. At the Tea House, walls are lined with pots and teas sourced from all over China, some more than 50 years old.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Mansion Hotel
82 Xinle Lu
Shanghai
China 200037
Tel: 86 21 5403 9888
Fax: 86 21 5403 7077
www.chinamansionhotel.com

Step through the wrought-iron gates that guard the driveway to this elegant French Concession villa, and be transported back to Shanghai's legendary treaty port era. Built in 1932 as the business headquarters for Huang Jinrong, a notorious mob boss, the five-story limestone building was once the most powerful financial house in Shanghai, witnessing everything from opium trading to money laundering. Developer Lu-Jun Yin has given it a thorough makeover, and since it opened in 2007, it has become a perfectly placed option for those seeking a boutique hotel rather than a glitzy behemoth. The 30 rooms—some with balconies—may look charmingly old-fashioned with parquet floors, high ceilings, and glorious four-poster feather beds, but they are discreetly high-tech: Armoires contain flat-screen TVs, and there's broadband connection throughout. An airy lobby features Art Deco furniture interspersed with Shanghai memorabilia, including an antique gramophone that plays original recordings of famed 1920s Peking opera star Mei Lanfang. Private dining rooms offer Western and Chinese cuisine such as snapper with puttanesca sauce of tomatoes, capers, olives and anchovy or shrimp in black pepper sauce, while a rooftop lounge is the perfect spot to sip cocktails and admire the low red-tiled roofs of the former French Concession.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Opposite House
11 Sanlitun Road
The Village, Building 1
Chaoyang
Beijing
China 100027
Tel: 86 10 6417 6688
answers@theoppositehouse.com
www.theoppositehouse.com

Encased in tinted green glass and opened just in time for the 2008 Olympics, the interior of this artsy 99-room lodge, by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, is based on the theme of an urban forest. Stepping inside the lobby—which has a welcome lounge rather than a check-in desk—feels like entering an art museum (exhibits include a Mao jacket and a qi pao dress created from broken pieces of Chinese porcelain by artist Li Xiaofeng). An angular atrium floods the area with light, and two flat reflecting pools sit beneath ceiling-draped wire mesh curtains. Visible below is a 22-meter stainless-steel swimming pool. The minimalist open-plan guest rooms are outfitted with brushed oak floors, glass paneling, and cream bedwear. Each room features free Wi-Fi, complimentary minibar, plasma TV, stand-alone bathtub, and rain forest shower. Shanghai restaurateur David Laris has conceptualized an eclectic collection of restaurants and lounges. There are three places to eat, including Sureño, which serves Mediterranean food in a space decorated with sultry dark woods and caramel detailing. If you're looking for something a bit more authentic, try Bei, specializing in northern Chinese cuisine as well as Japanese and Korean dishes. The hotel's Mesh Bar buzzes with a post-work crowd followed by the party set later in the evening. Opposite House is destined to be the choice of film stars, visiting architects, and anyone who wants to be surrounded by the capital's most dramatically stylish interiors.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Park Hyatt Beijing
2 Jianguomenwai Street
Chaoyang District
Beijing
China 100022
Tel: 86 10 8567 1234
beijing.park.hyatt.com

Its Shanghai sibling may be higher and flashier, but this hotel soars to notable heights of its own, quite literally, with a lobby on the sixty-third floor and 237 guest rooms filling the thirty-seventh to forty-ninth floors of the Beijing Yintai Centre. The most jaw-dropping view is from the sixty-sixth floor's China Grill—Beijing's highest restaurant—which is topped off with a glass pyramidal ceiling and has a menu of everything from steak to sushi and steamed dumplings. Two 24-hour fitness centers—one on the sixth floor and the other on the sixtieth—have sunlit swimming pools, and the sixth-floor option also contains eight treatment rooms designed especially for traditional Chinese medicine. The smallest bedrooms measure nearly 500 square feet, with sliding blond-wood doors, sexy white leather love seats, and fun automatic Japanese toilets (and of course those vertiginous views).

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Park Hyatt Shanghai
79th–93rd Floors, Shanghai World Financial Center
100 Century Avenue
Pudong
Shanghai
China 200120
Tel: 86 21 6888 1234
shanghai.park@hyatt.com
www.Shanghai.park.hyatt.com

Shanghai hotels are rising ever higher—and top of the pile is this deluxe cloud buster on the 79th through 93rd floors of the 101-story, 1,615-foot Shanghai World Financial Center in Pudong. The Park Hyatt Shanghai can now claim the twin titles of world's highest hotel and world's highest restaurant. New York City–based Tony Chi created the interiors to resemble a sophisticated modern Chinese residence, hence the series of gates, halls, and chambers. The lobby itself is on the 87th floor and the spa and fitness center have prime city views from the 85th level. The 174 rooms are an impressive size (an average room is 645 square feet), plus there is 24-hour butler service, a technology concierge, and a walk-in dressing room and flat-screen TV in the bathroom and bedroom. The hotel's highest highlight is 100 Century Avenue, an integrated three-level fine-dining restaurant (serving Western, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine) and lounge bar on the 91st to 93rd floors.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Peninsula Beijing
8 Goldfish Lane
Beijing
China 100006
Tel: 86 10 8516 2888
pbi@peninsula.com
beijing.peninsula.com

Just a ten-minute cab ride from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, the Peninsula also happens to be smack-dab in the shopper's paradise of Wangfujing. The hotel has its own luxury-brand mall, and the giant Oriental Plaza is also nearby, enabling guests to max out their credit cards with relatively little effort. The lobby, filled with Chinese antiques and a gurgling waterfall, is pretty impressive; the 525 posh guest rooms don't disappoint, either. All have streamlined, plush furnishings with subtle Chinese details (dark wood, silky bolster pillows, jade plants), 42-inch plasma TVs, "silent" fax machines, high-speed Internet access, Davi bathroom goodies, and Braille door numbers. A couple of noteworthy pre-Olympic upgrades include a new Peninsula Spa by ESPA and two customized Rolls-Royce Phantoms.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Peninsula Hong Kong
Salisbury Road
Kowloon
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2920 2888
Tel: 866 382 8388
pen@peninsula.com
www.hongkong.peninsula.com/

We'll come right out and say it: The Peninsula is one of the finest hotels in the world, and has been since 1928. Upon arriving in Hong Kong, guests are whisked from the airport to the hotel's Clipper Lounge via a ten-minute helicopter ride (aerophobes can rough it in one of the Peninsula's Rolls-Royce limos). Set in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon's shopping mecca, and across the street from the Cultural Centre and the Museum of Art, the hotel also has stunning harbor views (many of the 300 rooms come with their own telescopes for surveying Victoria Peak). The interiors epitomize postcolonial luxury, with heavy silk curtains, dark wood furniture, and porcelain antiques; scores of attentive yet discreet staffers are at your beck and call. In the bar, called the Lobby, a string quartet fiddles away to the accompaniment of clinking teaspoons; Felix, the Philippe Starck-designed Euro-Asian rooftop restaurant, is still a must-go, even though it's been around since 1994. For off-the-charts hedonism, hit the ESPA spa (opened in summer of 2006) for a Chinese balancing wrap and massage.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Peninsula Shanghai
32 The Bund
Shanghai
China 200002
Tel: 86 21 2327 2888
psh@peninsula.com
www.peninsula.com/Shanghai/en/default.aspx

Talk about bagging the perfect location: The first new building on Shanghai's riverfront Bund in more than 60 years is home to the Peninsula Hotel group's debut in mainland China. Shanghai's most decadent hotel is dressed to impress, from its stepped, faux Deco facade to the grand pillared lobby decorated in cool celadon tones (a string quartet plays on a theatrical balcony in the afternoons) to the restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II for airport transfers. This is a hotel that makes the most of its outlook over the future-scape Pudong skyline, the Peninsula Spa by Espa features a skylit indoor swimming pool and a layered crème marble terrace, while the terrace of the 14th-floor Sir Elly's Restaurant has panoramic river views. The pick of the hotel's five restaurants is Yi Long Court, serving classic Cantonese cuisine in a luxurious chocolate and dark-blue Shanghai Deco dining room with Qing dynasty furnishings. The hotel's 235 guest rooms, styled in a pale gray-green or cerulean blue, start at a spacious 600 square feet and go up to the 4,300-square-foot Presidential Suite. All have 1920s Shanghai mahogany and ebony furniture. The in-room technology is best in class, with thoughtful additions such as a Nespresso machine positioned at shoulder level, a desktop iPod dock, a 1,000-channel Internet radio, and an in-bath phone system that filters out the sound of the water. Another flick of a switch dims the bathroom lights and turns on relaxing spa music.—Gary Bowerman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai
1376 Nanjing Xi Lu
Shanghai
China 200040
Tel: 86 21 6279 8888
Fax: 86 21 6279 8800
www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/shanghai/

The Portman Ritz-Carlton was the city's first luxury hotel when it opened in 1998, on the major shopping thoroughfare Nanjing Lu (a second Ritz-Carlton property, located in Pudong, opened in 2010). A circular pale-marble lobby gives way to 610 rooms—request one of the newly renovated ones (the hotel was given a multimillion-dollar, top-to-bottom face-lift at the end of 2008), which feature gleaming dark-wood traditional furniture, accents of gold and brown, and sliding doors that lend an Oriental air. Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining: There are four house restaurants to choose from, including Palladio, which serves modern Italian dishes in a formal setting. Luxury-brand lovers will delight in the neighboring upscale Plaza 66 mall. Though the hotel is centrally located at the Shanghai Center, surrounding office buildings mean that finding a cab during rush hour can be difficult—hotel guests do get preference in the taxi line, but the queue lengthens noticeably during peak times, from 4 pm until 8 pm.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pudong Shangri-La
33 Fu Cheng Lu
Shanghai
China 200120
Tel: 866 565 5050 (toll-free)
Tel: 86 21 6882 8888
slpu@shangri-la.com
www.shangri-la.com/en/property/shanghai/pudongshangrila

With its new 36-floor glass tower, the Shangri-La is set to give its Pudong competitors a run for their money. It may not tower as high as the Grand Hyatt, but this hotel's gorgeous views stretch across the Huangpu River to the stately Bund and rival those of its taller (and sometimes more fogged-in) neighbor. All of the 950 modern rooms are unfussy, accented with Asian touches such as raw silk throws and pillows. Rooms also have broadband Internet, and satellite TV—just be sure to request accommodation that overlooks the water. Not one but two indoor pools and full-service gymnasiums satisfy the sporty, while those hoping to unwind can enjoy a massage in the Oriental opulence of the Chi spa. Eleven restaurants offer options to suit every taste, but there is no better place for a drink and nibble than Jade on 36, an eclectic fusion restaurant perched on the 36th floor. Though the Pudong location means that during rush hour (4 p.m.-9 p.m.) it can take 45 minutes to get downtown by car, taxis are cheap and plentiful, and those in a hurry can hop on the metro, which is only a five-minute walk from the hotel.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The PuLi Hotel & Spa
1 Changde Road
Shanghai
China 200040
Tel: 86 21 3203 9999
information@thepuli.com
www.thepuli.com

Few hotels in China present a more imperial entrance than the 209-room PuLi Hotel, located in Shanghai's new commercial district adjacent to fashionable Nanjing Road. Reached via a Chinese courtyard-style gate and gray brick arch, the palatial lobby features a 105-foot sunken bar backed by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a water garden. The space is decorated with polished ceramic-tile floors, antique Chinese furnishings, Jim Thompson Thai Silk wall coverings, and both contemporary sofas and Ming-style wooden armchairs, where Shanghai's young shakermakers sip chilled sauvignon blanc. If it's instant impressions that count, PuLi has the requisite X factor. A subtle blending of southeast Asian design motifs and traditional Chinese stylistic grandeur appears throughout the hotel, notably in the guest rooms, where elements like sliding latticed doors, dark wooden furniture, and stone statuettes are offset by high-tech amenities like an MP3 dock, flat-screen TVs in the bedroom and bathroom, and GSM portable phones. The menu at the Thai-rooted Anantara Spa employs the recuperative powers of Chinese green tea, while up-and-coming New Zealand chef Dane Clouston offers a modern take on comfort cuisine at the signature Jing'An restaurant.—Gary Bowerman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Raffles Beijing Hotel
33 East Chang An Avenue
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6526 3388
beijing@raffles.com
www.beijing.raffles.com

Closer to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City than any of the city's other top-end hotels, the Raffles occupies a Beaux Arts–style building with a long history. Opened in 1917 as the Grand Hotel de Pékin, it witnessed the upheavals of the nation, from the glittering travel era of the 1920s and '30s to the communist party's heyday of the 1950s and '60s (when, known as the Beijing Hotel, it was popular among cadre leaders). Taken over by the Raffles chain and fully renovated in 2006, the hotel now has a marble lobby whose soaring ceilings are hung with sparkling chandeliers, and interiors that combine old-world opulence and new-China glitz. The 147 rooms and 24 suites range from over-the-top splendor (the State Building rooms, with their gilt, marble, and draped canopy beds, are Louis XIV–meets–Las Vegas) to sedate and modern (the Executive units, geared to no-nonsense business travelers). A fitness center and pool, 24-hour valet service, and Wi-Fi contribute to the sumptuous atmosphere.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Red Capital Ranch
28 Xiaguandi Village
Yanxi Township
China
Tel: 86 10 8401 8886
info@redcapitalclub.com.cn
www.redcapitalclub.com.cn/ranch.html

Two hours from the city, this rustic retreat sits among the craggy Huairou mountains at the foot of the Great Wall. Although its remote location means the property closes during the coldest months (between December and early March), during the rest of the year, there's no more peaceful place to clear your mind—and lungs—after a stay in the busy capital (perhaps at the sister property, Red Capital Residence). The property is centered around a stone-walled, Manchurian-inspired hunting lodge, which also serves as the restaurant. Cozy and decorated with colorful Tibetan and Mongolian art, it's a pleasant spot to linger over continental breakfast in the morning and roast lamb or venison at dinnertime. The ten guest villas are little oases, with gauzy canopy curtains drifting around fluffy beds and Tibetan furniture lending an air of Buddhist tranquility. If you want to get out into the country air, hiking areas along unrestored portions of the Great Wall are just a few steps from the property.

Closed December–March.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Red Capital Residence
9 Dongsiliu Tiao
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 8401 8886
info@redcapitalclub.com.cn
www.redcapitalclub.com.cn/residence.html

Apparat-chic reigns at this tiny five-room hotel, set on a narrow, bustling hutong street near Tiananmen Square. Scarlet double doors open to reveal a meticulously restored 200-year-old home with exquisitely painted eaves and a tranquil, if teensy, center courtyard. The lounge (where a continental breakfast is served) is stuffed with shabby velvet Mao-era furniture, Social Realist paintings, and other curios, many of which have historical significance: You can recline in Zhou Enlai's favorite armchair or draw the curtain that once hung in Mao's private residence. The romantically dim guest rooms are themselves scattered with Communist kitsch and Chinese antiques; the two Concubine Suites are favorites, with their dramatic, carved canopy beds. Though a bit frayed around the edges, each room has an en suite bathroom with shower, broadband Internet access, and wall-mounted air-conditioning unit for the summer months.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Regent Beijing
99 Jinbao Street
Dongcheng District
Beijing
China 100005
Tel: 800 545 4000
Tel: 86 10 8522 1888
beijing@regenthotels.com
www.regenthotels.com/webExtra.do?hotelCode=RIBJN

With Forbidden City views in some of the rooms, this 2006 property blocks from Wangfujing is "close to the main attractions." In rooms with red sandalwood furnishings and latticework dividing the space, "everything is chic, stylish, and attractive." At Li Jing Xuan, the Cantonese cuisine is "a feast for the eyes as well as the palate." "Gracious staff meet all your needs."

(500 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Beijing
83A Jianguo Road
Beijing
China 100025
Tel: 86 10 5908 8888
Fax: 86 10 5908 8899
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Beijing/Default.htm

Personalized classical luxury is suffused throughout this 17-floor hotel, opened in late 2007 at China Central Place, a retail and residential development east of the Central Business District. The tone is set upon arrival, with uniformed doormen hand-opening the two heavy wooden doors. Inside, the cream marble and chocolate lobby is compact and elegant. The 305 rooms are decorated in "olde European" style, with gold and green window drapes, armchairs, and banquettes, complemented by high-tech amenities such as large flat-screen TV, DVD player, and iPod dock. Dining options include Barolo, an intimate contemporary Italian eatery, and the jade-themed Yu, for Cantonese cuisine. In contrast to the hotel's overriding aesthetic, the divine top-floor spa is dressed in warm Asian tones and features an impressive suite of aromatic and truly indulgent hand, face, and body treatments.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Sanya
Yalong Bay National Resort District
Sanya , Hainan Island
China 572000
Tel: 86 898 8898 8888
www.ritzcarlton.com/sanya

This Ritz-Carlton makes the most of its greatest asset: its setting along a stretch of white-sand Yalong Bay, backed by green mountains. A vast lagoonlike pool fronts the sea, and the resort's 450 accommodations face the beach or the pool; in any case, you can pretty much roll out of bed and be in the swim. While the ersatz Chinese temple that makes up the central building borders on ostentation, the property's size has its advantages. In addition to extensive recreational facilities, there are no fewer than eight dining venues, including Cube, smack in the middle of the pool, and the theatrical Fresh 8, an all-day dining area perfect for families. Even the less expensive guest rooms are spacious and suitelike, with vast bathtubs. The downside? At the time of our visit, the "processing" of guests had not been perfected, with long waits at check-in.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street
1 Jin Cheng Fang Street East
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6601 6666
ritzcarlton.com

This property is "good if you're on business." Designed in glass and chrome, the tower has a lobby lounge decorated with 60,000 sculpted resin bamboo leaves. "Outstanding rooms" have off-white leather walls and duvets embroidered with the Chinese character for comfort. The Sunday champagne brunch at Greenfish is "simply superb." "Staff are so pleasant."

(253 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
International Commerce Centre
1 Austin Road W.
Kowloon
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2263 2263
rc.bjsrz.leads@ritzcarlton.com
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Beijing/Default.htm

Throughout this helicopter-view hotel, currently billed as the highest in the world, the extreme elevation of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong in the 1,588-foot-high ICC Tower is matched by equally high-quality hospitality. Jaw-dropping views are a leitmotif, with floor-to-ceiling glass used throughout to showcase Hong Kong's surprisingly varied landscapes. An ear-popping 56-second elevator ride takes guests to the 87th-floor lobby. Decorated in cream, chocolate, and caramel, the 312 guest rooms each have a telescope and tripod (of course), twin-speaker Bose iPod dock, plasma TV and DVD player, and high-speed Wi-Fi—plus those magnificent vistas. Cocktails at the 118th-floor Ozone bar come with a panorama of Hong Kong in all its dramatic neon-lit glory. But best of all is the infinity pool, also on the 118th floor, featuring in-water loungers and a giant video screen that plays aquatic imagery on one wall and the ceiling while clouds sail past the window. The ultimate high.—Gary Bowerman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
Shanghai IFC, 8 Century Avenue
Shanghai
China 200120
Tel: 86 21 2020 1888
rc.shasz.leads@ritzcarlton.com
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/ShanghaiPudong/Default.htm

Shanghai's second Ritz-Carlton hotel (the Portman Ritz-Carlton is located across the river in Puxi) sits atop the 58-story Shanghai IFC South Tower in Pudong, part of a mixed-use office, residential, and luxury shopping complex with a metro station on its lower level. The 235-room hotel sits in quiet contemplation of the frenzied financial district below. Upon exiting the burgundy stingray-skin lifts into the 52nd-floor lobby, the sharp angles, glossy dark woods, and chrome detailing reference Shanghai's glamorous 1930s Art Deco era with a contemporary twist. But the big attention-grabber is the dramatic view of the Huangpu River and Shanghai's famous skyline (especially dazzling after dark) through floor-to-ceiling windows. Book the Bund-facing rooms, where the huge bed and claw-footed copper bathtub are angled to take in the magnificent sweep of historic buildings along the riverfront. You're more likely to find yourself glued to the vista than to the 42-inch TV screens. Espresso machines, Blu-ray disc players, and Acqua di Parma bath products are some of the luxuries you can expect. Come cocktail hour, head up to the Flair restaurant and bar on the 58th floor. Its stepped, terrace strewn with large loungers has arguably the best views in Shanghai.—Amy Fabris-Shi

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Shangri-La Hotel
29 Zizhuyuan Road
Beijing
China 100089
Tel: 86 10 6841 2211
slb@shangrila.com
www.shangri-la.com/en/property/beijing/shangrila

These two tower blocks in western Beijing are "elegant and comfortable," with "gorgeous interiors and beautiful, spacious rooms packed with amenities"—"all you need to bring are your clothes." "Well-trained English-speaking staff understand customer service"; seven restaurants and bars offer Chinese, Japanese, and modern European food. Recharge with a water therapy treatment at Chi Spa.

(670 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Beijing
21 JianGuomenwai Dajie
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6460 6688
stregis.beijing@stregis.com
www.stregis.com/beijing

The aerodynamic angles of this tower next to the Beijing International Club contrast with the buildings in the surrounding diplomatic district. European-and-Chinese-influenced interiors include rosewood and lemonwood furnishings. "Heavenly rooms" have cherry armoires and Chinese silk upholstery. Danieli's serves Italian dishes like spinosini with lobster. The 21,000-square-foot spa uses natural hot spring water.

(258 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Lhasa Resort
22 Jiangsu Road
Lhasa , Tibet
China 850000
Tel: 86 891 680 8888
reservation.lhasa@stregis.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3129

With 20-foot lobby ceilings, huge exposed beams, locally woven carpets, and paintings of Tibetan nomads, Lhasa's first luxury hotel combines au courant comforts and Tibetan motifs inspired by the nearby Sera Monastery. The 150 guest rooms and 12 villas, in subdued browns with black-and-white photos of Buddhist pilgrims, have mammoth bathrooms with heated slate floors, heated toilet seats, and a separate tub. Despite the St. Regis's Chinese and Tibetan restaurants, the focal point for meals is Social, where the menu is a bit high-brow for such a little-visited destination—an amuse-bouche of rich pumpkin soup with crabmeat, creamy imported Japanese scallops, and a sensational organic lamb rolled in cumin. Not that we're complaining. The grounds showcase clean lines, with a spa pavilion, a meditation garden, and 40-foot crimson exterior walls. The enthusiastic and unjaded young Tibetans working here—about half of the staff—not only welcome the chance to share their culture with outsiders but also prize the opportunity for first-class professional training.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Shanghai
889 Dong Fang Lu
Shanghai
China 200122
Tel: 86 21 5050 4567
stregis.shanghai@stregis.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1365

The 328-room St. Regis has sizable sleeping quarters that are just about as grand as the sweeping, ballroomlike check-in area. Special amenities include 24-hour butler service, "rain forest showers" that simulate bathing beneath a waterfall, and ladies-only floors (three of them) that promise Bulgari bath products, complimentary women's magazines, and female butlers. The hotel also houses two lounges and three restaurants—including the lauded Italian spot Danieli's (try the roasted veal cutlet with morel mushroom sauce). The only downfall? It's located on the east side of the Yangtze River, in the Pudong district, but most visitors claim the level of lavishness is worth the short commute back into the center of the action.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Upper House
Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 2918 1838
info@upperhouse.com
www.upperhouse.com

Occupying a former apartment tower slap-bang in the center of the Admiralty district, Swire Hotels' second boutique property treads in the creative footsteps of its Beijing sibling, Opposite House. This one has been styled by Hong Kong–based Andre Fu, and the 117 rooms (including 21 suites and 2 penthouses) and signature Café Gray Deluxe restaurant—with former New York chef Gray Kunz at the helm—are aimed unerringly at the design-conscious set. The high-rise rooms, in soft gray and blue with blond wood, start at a sizable 730 square feet and feature expansive windows with cushioned banquettes, allowing for a relaxed appreciation of the city views. All rooms are well laid out and come with a walk-in closet, free Wi-Fi, complimentary minibar, and a bathtub set on a plinth for long soaks overlooking either Victoria Harbor or the Peak. From ground-floor entry to the 49th-floor check-in lounge and restaurant/bar, the entire anti–chain hotel experience is deliberately minimalist, though at times the coveted coolness is a little overplayed—the restaurant staff in particular seem brusque and self-satisfied. That said, the hotel's relatively small size and intimate public areas—especially the Café Gray Deluxe bar's semiprivate window-front recesses with cushioned seats—retain a palpable stylish buzz, especially after dark. The central location is another plus, with Hong Kong's liveliest restaurant and nightlife districts within easy reach.—Gary Bowerman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Urbn Hotel
183 Jiaozhou Road
Shanghai
China 200040
Tel: 86 21 5153 4600
info@urbnhotels.com
www.urbnhotels.com

Tucked away on a side street north of Jing'An Temple, this 26-room design hotel is built around an enclosed slate and bamboo courtyard with calming water fountains. Constructed using reclaimed local materials —such as gray factory bricks, mahogany, and slate—Urbn wears its eco-conscious credentials on its sleeve; the hotel also tracks its ecological footprint and matches it in carbon credits. The rooms, in five categories, are all relatively small but make good use of space with low-level beds and a sunken "lounge" area, complete with hemp cushions on the broad benches and a wall-hung flat-screen TV. Neat in-room design touches include mahogany floors and wall paneling, desk chairs made from compressed cardboard, and under-floor bathroom heating, plus free Wi-Fi and iPod docks. Contemporary Australian-Asian cuisine is served in the ground-floor restaurant, Roomtwentyeight.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel
The Cotai Strip
Taipa
Macau
China
Tel: 853 2882 8877
room.reservations@venetian.com.mo
www.venetianmacao.com

If Macau is the new Sin City, the $2.4 billion Venetian Macao resort is the ultimate ode to China's new consumer culture. Like its Las Vegas counterpart, the 3,000-suite Venice Italy–themed hotel complex has three indoor canals (complete with singing gondoliers), no fewer than 30 restaurants, and a million square feet of shopping. The cavernous lobby is packed with day-trippers, who stroll in awe along the vaulted mall under a ceiling of faux Renaissance paintings, and through the Grand Canal arcade, lined with Venetian-style shops. Despite the hotel's over-the-top antics, the suites are quite elegant and comfortable, incorporating antique-look Chinese furniture and wood carvings, canopied beds, and a sunken sitting area. The 550,000-square-foot casino—the world's largest—is the real highlight, filled night and day with serious-minded gamblers. The hotel stands out not so much for its elegance and pampering as for its embodiment of Macau in all its kitschy, surreal fun.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund
88 Sichuan Zhong Road
Shanghai
China 200002
Tel: 86 21 6322 9988
shawa.info@waldorfastoria.com
www.waldorfastoriashanghai.com/english

Spread across two buildings—20 suites in the beautifully restored 1911 Shanghai Club, 252 rooms and suites in the newly built tower—this hotel is a magnificent homage to Shanghai's swank European past. In addition to opulent colonial-style suites (four-poster beds, walk-in closets, claw-foot tubs), the old building, now called the Waldorf Astoria Club, has a jaw-dropping 110-foot-long bar with Bund views. Rooms are neoclassical—pale-green linen wallpaper, matching silk bedcovers, and carpets with swirling flower motifs—but have all the mod cons, as well as a bathroom where a TV is embedded in the mirror and the Japanese-style toilet has water jets (don't say you weren't warned). Beyond the bells and whistles, the formal service, and the undeniable comfort, the most memorable part of a stay here is the opportunity to glimpse local high society. During an afternoon tea of delicate red velvet cakes served in the elegant Salon de Ville, watch newly minted Shanghainese millionaires reimagining themselves as the tycoons of yore.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Waterhouse at South Bund
1–3 Maojiayuan Road, Zhongshan Road South
Shanghai
China 200011
Tel: 86 21 6080 2988
reservations@waterhouseshanghai.com
www.waterhouseshanghai.com

The Waterhouse's battered concrete walls and bare brick floors are far removed from the marbled glitz so often associated with new Shanghai hotels—almost as far removed as the location, at the far south end of the Bund. But the edgy, pared-back appeal of this former 1930s factory is exactly the draw for the modish, designer crowd that frequently books the 19-room boutique property. Arranged around an internal courtyard, the rooms are each a different size and layout, from poky (215 square feet) to plush (580 square feet). We like No. 21 for its private walled terrace, walk-in shower, and deep concrete tub, and No. 33, which features a double-height window that frames river views. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi and minibar, plus an iPod dock and espresso machine—but there is no on-site gym or pool. The 60-seat Table No. 1 restaurant—the first independent venue for Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton—has emerged as one of the city's top tables, serving up mod-European dishes and a casual vibe. Don't miss the artfully rusted rooftop cocktail bar on a balmy night, nor your chance to take a spin around the neighborhood in the sidecar of the reproduction WWII-era Chang Jiang 750 cc motorbike that is often parked outside the hotel.—Amy Fabris-Shi

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Westin Beijing, Chaoyang
7 N. Dongsanhuan Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 5922 8888
reservation.chaoyang@westin.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1967

Located in the Central Business District, this blue glass tower has an angled roof. Eight different bars and restaurants offer cuisine ranging from Cantonese to steak. Seasonal Tastes has live cooking stations and bites from around the globe—"the buffet breakfast is the best." Accommodations have modern furnishings and bathrooms with rain showers.

(550 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Westin Beijing Financial Street
9B Financial Street
XiCheng District
Beijing
China 100032
Tel: 86 10 6606 8866
reservation.beijing@westin.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1704

This tower with a lattice-type exterior has "outstanding decor." "The comfort and style of the rooms are excellent"—select accommodations offer Herman Miller chairs and complimentary bathologist service. Seven restaurants and bars include Prego, where the show kitchen churns out classics like lasagna al forno. "The concierge is excellent."

(486 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Westin Bund Center
88 Henan Central Road
Shanghai
China 200002
Tel: 86 21 6335 1888
rsvns-shanghai@westin.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/search/hotel_detail.html?propertyID=1379

Popular with travelers on an expense account, this centrally located hotel—part of the office-heavy Bund Center—is just a short walk from the swish restaurants and nightlife of the Bund. The glitzy atrium lobby features a neon-lit glass staircase and artificial palm trees, while the 570 rooms are kitted out in earth tones, with polished wood paneling and rain forest showerheads in the dark granite bathrooms. A new wing, the Grand Tower, opened in 2007; formerly serviced apartments, rooms here are more spacious, albeit pricier, than in the main building. With so many business travelers passing through the halls, service can feel a bit impersonal and corporate—front desk clerks eagerly push upgrades at check-in. There are three restaurants—we liked the wood-fired pizzas at Prego better than The Stage's buffet—as well as a fitness center, swimming pool, and branch of the Banyan Tree spa.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W Hong Kong
1 Austin Road West
Kowloon Station, Kowloon
Hong Kong
China
Tel: 852 3717 222
www.whotels.com/hongkong

This 393-room high-rise is like a fun-loving younger sister to Kowloon grandes dames the InterContinental and The Peninsula. It's home to the city's highest swimming pool (at least until the Ritz-Carlton opens across the street), and the sunset views from the seventy-sixth-floor Jacuzzi and from Asia's first Bliss Spa are something to write home about. The decor— topsy-turvy bookcases, ticking clocks, and modern woodland motifs—create an energetic and surrealist atmosphere. Cleverly designed rooms make the best use of the space, and room service adds whimsical touches: A delightful toy replica of a Hong Kong double-decker bus comes with your order. When you feel the need to venture out of your rabbit hole, the Living Room lounge is a hot nightspot, while the Kitchen restaurant pulls out all the stops for Sunday brunch, including a chocolate fountain.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Wynn Macau
Rua Cidade de Sintra NAPE
Macau
China
Tel: 853 986 9966
wynnmacau.com

With its concave shape and a lobby of designer stores, the Wynn Macau is a lot like its Las Vegas sister property—and with 600 rooms and a 100,000-square-foot casino, the Wynn Macau is still the smaller sibling. Rooms, with Andy Warhol Day-Glo prints, are appointed in a style that recalls American resorts of yesteryear: floral-print sofas, saffron-hued fabrics, high beds. The staff's English is limited except at Il Teatro and the other restaurants, but gambling is Macau's raison d'être, and the Wynn sets the new standard, with 372 slots as well as blackjack and fan-tan tables. The Spa at Wynn Macau is included among the 2007 Hot List Spas.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Yi House Art Hotel 798
Jiuxianqiao Lu, 2 Hao Yuan, 798 Yishu Qu, 706 Houjie 1 Hao
Beijing
China 100015
Tel: 8610 6436 1818
info@yi-house.com
yi-house.com

Occupying a former crystal factory, this ultra-sleek 30-room hotel was the first to open among the galleries and cafés of the trendy Factory 798 Art District. Surreal photos of Peking Opera characters in nature (by contemporary artist Chi Peng) and funky furniture set the tone: Look for the Mies van der Rohe leather couch and the lime-green sofa in the lobby. At the hotel's Fennel restaurant, the mod-Ming aesthetic (dark brown furniture, chartreuse cushions, and oversized black-and-white photos of Buddhist monks) contrasts with the comforting Mediterranean dishes and hearty breakfasts (the scrumptious house muesli is a meal in itself). The guest rooms and hallways are also a visual treat: A departure from the muted corridors of most contemporary hotels, they're peacock blue, with tribal throw rugs and framed stills from the romantic films of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai. The rooms themselves have light-wood floors; gray, yellow, and white laminate Ming-style closets.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.