Shanghai is where China meets the west - a city of gleaming towers, hi-tech gadgets and immeasurable wealth. You can still find old Shanghai nestled in the shadows of the skyscrapers but this is a city focussed on shopping, eating and being entertained well.
The Bund exudes colonial grandeur – this was the commercial heart of old Shanghai, now buildings that were once banks, clubs and customs houses are occupied by exclusive restaurants, bars and hotels. Lining the western bank of the Huangpu River, a stroll along the Bund is a must during your visit –pop up to one of the many elegant rooftop bars to better appreciate the contrast with the futuristic Pudong district on the river’s eastern shore.
A cruise on the Huangpu River offers a different perspective on the city, dividing the city into east and west. Whether you choose to cruise during the day or under the bright lights of the multitude of skyscrapers at night, there is no better way to see the architectural contrasts between the Bund and Pudong, the past and the future, as well as Shanghai’s fascinating wharves.
This traditional Chinese garden, an excellent example of Ming garden design, is in the heart of Shanghai’s old town. Wander amongst pools packed with koi carp, shady alcoves, colourful pavilions, trees and rockeries, taking in the careful composed scenes that exemplify Chinese garden design.
The suburbs of Shanghai are dotted with sleepy old water towns, all set on canals that were once used to carry goods all over imperial China. Each has characteristics of their own, but all are delightfully quaint, with traditional buildings, languid waterways and stone bridges. We would recommend Zhujiajiao, Wuzhen and Tongli for their beauty and old-world atmosphere.
The city of Hangzhou sits on the shores of the much revered West Lake, a classical source of inspiration for emperors, poets and writers alike. Surrounded by green hills and lush tea plantations, Hangzhou’s setting is a delight, with options to get out and explore your surroundings, and taste tea, during your time here. It is however the West Lake that draws all the attention – soak up the old world oriental air amongst the willows, old pagodas and gardens on foot, by bike or on a lake cruise.
A modern city on the outside, Suzhou’s centre is dominated by meticulously designed classical gardens, cobbled streets and picturesque waterways. The city has long had a reputation for elegance and high culture which continues today as many flock to see the nine UNESCO-listed gardens that are acknowledged masterpieces of classical Chinese garden design. Whilst these nine, including the Humble Administrator’s and Master of the Nets, are the best known, there are around 60 more each offering fascinating explorations.
Sitting on the edge of the Xixi Wetlands, the Banyan Tree is a peaceful haven of culture and nature. The graceful lines of the traditional architecture sit effortlessly side by side with the landscape. Romantic bridges cross tranquil ponds with elegant villas set on their grassy banks. Inside the décor is warm and welcoming and rooms offer simple yet decadent comfort with oriental flourishes.
The Holiday Inn Shanghai Downtown is a landmark in the commercial Puxi district with its two towering wings with separate marble atrium lobbies. Conveniently located, the hotel is a short taxi ride away from the main shopping and nightlife areas. The Holiday Inn has three restaurants featuring a range of cuisine and also offers a fitness centre and beauty salon.
At the Four Seasons you can place yourself in the heart of this bustling metropolis, just minutes from the best shopping and entertainment districts Shanghai has to offer. Facilities include extensive spa facilities, a large indoor pool and a world-class gym. Three elegant restaurants and a relaxed café provide a range of dining options.
The Peninsula Shanghai boasts an exclusive location on the Bund with spectacular views across the Huangpu River. The hotel offers classic luxury, setting new standards in service and comfort with its state-of-the-art facilities. The superb amenities include a luxury spa, breath-taking pool and comprehensive gym as well as some of the best dining in the city.
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The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.