Concierge.com's insider take:
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
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:The brand's third hotel in China is, as custom dictates in this megalopolis of scaffolding and swinging cranes, a new-build grown from the rubble of a demolished structure, amid the Bund's historic sweep of colonial edifices. The opulent interior plays on the Art Deco style of the hotel's neighbors: The grand lobby, where breakfast and afternoon tea are taken, has soaring pillars and chandeliers, and acres of gleaming-black marble line the hallways. Drinking and dining options range from the low-lit Compass bar, with velvet armchairs and a pianist, to the elaborate Salon de Ning, which mixes animal prints, leather, and Deco portraits; other amenities include an 80-foot pool and an ESPA spa. The 235 rooms are comfortable and compact, with the expected five-star elements: a calming taupe-and-blue color scheme, leather headboards, black lacquer cabinets, and, best of all, a capacious walk-in dressing room with cornflower silk walls. They're tricked out with intuitive gadgetry as wella Nespresso machine, a TV in the bathroom, and a cupboard that magically dispatches clothes to the laundryand international calls and Wi-Fi are complimentary. Service was not quite up to The Peninsula chain's high standards: A misunderstanding over luggage resulted in repeated phone calls and interruptions. And despite the iconic location, one can feel hermetically sealed off from Shanghai in this glossy, predominantly business hotel. Still, five-star cossetingwhich includes free Mercedes airport transfershas its benefits. 2010 Hot List
Which room to book: A Deluxe River Room, with views of Pudong's Blade Runnerstyle skyscrapers across the Huangpu.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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