From Dusk to Dawn
There is a side of Shanghai that is best enjoyed at night.
Seeing the dawn break over the Huangpu River and watching the city start to wake up is one of the best ways not only to start the day, but also to end the night.
Shanghai knows how to have a good time; from glamorous places where the “in” crowd comes to be seen to one-last-drink-for-the-night dive bars, the city can keep the revels going from aperitif to breakfast juice if you want to party the night away. And there is no better place to begin—and end—a night on the town than at Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai.
“The hotel is strategically located along the beautiful Huangpu River next to two tunnels that connect directly to Shanghai’s two main nightlife destinations: The Bund or Xintiandi and the former French Concession. And when you are ready, you can leave the hectic party scene behind and, in a matter of minutes, relax and enjoy the tranquillity and comforts of the hotel again,” says Peter Clarke, the hotel’s general manager.
A Welcome Retreat
One of the most highly regarded deluxe properties of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, this award-winning hotel has acquired an enviable reputation for providing superior service and first-class facilities. Comprising two towers — the River Wing and the Grand Tower — the hotel has 952 spacious, well-appointed rooms and suites with views overlooking the Huangpu River and The Bund or Pudong’s spectacular skyline.
Before sampling some of the best the city offers, don’t miss the delights that are already on your doorstep. Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai has 11 restaurants, bars and lounges that are meet-greet-and-dine favourites in their own right. Savour the taste sensations from Yi Café’s around-the-world culinary theatre or the finest in Japanese cuisine at Nadaman. Or take in The Bund’s breathtaking vistas from the 36th floor while enjoying European fusion cuisine with a playful twist at Jade on 36. The restaurant recently had a complete makeover with the introduction of a new chef, new menu and new décor, and Chef Jeremy Biasiol, a protégé of Alain Ducasse, invites diners to embark on a culinary adventure in this revamped sociable space.
One man with a finely tuned radar for the best in taste bud temptations and who has his finger on the pulse of the city’s nightlife is Bechara Sader, the hotel’s director of food and beverage, who offered these suggestions for some of the priority places to sample.
Restaurants and Cocktails
Refined, yet not stuffed-shirt, Mr & Mrs Bund describes itself as a modern French eatery that aims to be Shanghai's late-night dining restaurant of choice. It serves global French favourites as interpreted by Chef Paul Pairet. Also the brainchild of Pairet, Ultraviolet is a select all-senses dining concept in which 10 diners arrive at Mr & Mrs Bund for an aperitif before they are spirited away to an undisclosed location for a degustation of over 20 courses, each accompanied with its own sights, sounds and, sometimes, scents.
Another conceptual dining experience is on offer at Unico, a cocktail and tapas lounge by Michelin-starred Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco, where the menu is divided into various compass coordinates that represent various regions of Latin America. While a classy restaurant, Unico also features one of the best bars in town.
Bars and Clubs
The night is still young after dinner and if you intend to check out the numerous clubs in the city, start with Bar Rouge, the godfather of Shanghai’s modern nightlife and the city’s most famous club. Even though others have emulated its French-Shanghai image of exclusivity and terrace views of The Bund, this Shanghai icon still draws the local glamour crowd. It is one of those places you have to go just so you can say you’ve been. If it is your first time in town and you are looking for somewhere to go, this is the place.
Another popular nighttime hangout for the city’s wealthy hipsters is located on the top floor of a skyscraper near The Bund. Inside M1NT are shark tanks, a good high-end restaurant, a club and a lounge area. Drinks are expensive, but not ridiculously so. Clientele is a mix of Chinese and foreigners, with commercial house livening up the dance floor. There’s a door policy, so if you want to be assured of entrance, phone in advance to reserve a table if you are in a group.
Hollywood in the former French Concession is another popular place for the city’s want-to-be-seen crowd. The Shanghai branch of the popular club chain features a large dance floor with a mixed bag of music until very late. Locals head here for some end-of-the-night dancing and dating.
At this point of the night, you might as well head back to Pudong Shangri-La because, as any local will tell you, seeing the dawn break over the Huangpu River and watching the city start to wake up is one of the best ways not only to start the day, but also to end the night.
The Morning After
If you are feeling a wee bit delicate the next day, you can reinvigorate yourself with one of the signature treatments at CHI, The Spa, which will once again have you feeling that all is right with the world.
- Jason Atherton’s Commune Social serves tapas and desserts in a no-fuss space of naked light bulbs and plain white tiles.
- Chef Willy Trullas Moreno’s Elefante has a huge menu focused mainly on Mediterranean cuisine.
- Mercato is a very popular Italian restaurant by celebrity chef Jean Georges Vongerichten.
- For a more relaxed eat and dance experience, head to The Apartment in the French Concession.
- The Shelter is a stalwart of the Shanghai underground.