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Mansion Hotel, Shanghai 

82 Xinle Lu
China 200037
Tel: 86 21 5403 9888
Fax: 86 21 5403 7077
view web site ›'s insider take:

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.

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