The Capella Shanghai is the newest luxury hotel to hit the city, representing a cross-section of many different melodies. But it hits each note perfectly.



The hotel, which opened in September, takes travelers back to Shanghai's heyday. Built in the 1930s, the former estate was located in what was the city's French Concession. In 1945 the district was turned into a residential area.

The all-villa hotel, of which there are 55, has narrow alleyways, inner courtyards and lovely stone arches over wrought-iron gates. There are 22 rows of lanes in Shanghai's trademark shikumen style, connecting more than 200 two-story houses, in which are the multilevel villa rooms that take guests back to a storied age for the city.

The focal point of the hotel is the Water Tower, which residents of the area once used as their water source. Today it is a light and signal service tower and an observation point for a bird's-eye view of the heritage district.

Villas measure from 1,194 square feet to 2,701 square feet. Each one features a welcome private courtyard, sitting room, upper-level living/media room, master bathroom, bedroom and roof deck.

The Shikumen Grand Villa is the room to beat, with three bedrooms and the best views of the estate from the rooftop balconies.

All rooms are equipped with a Bose audio system, WiFi and a minibar with complimentary snacks and soft drinks.

Just off the lobby, find the Capella Library, which is stocked with books on Shanghai's history, art, fashion and architecture.

In keeping with the property's French lineage, its restaurant partnered with Pierre Gagnaire for its dining offerings. Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire is a casual chic dining venue that serves breakfast, a light lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea. Relax at Le Bar with a cocktail or a selection of premium whiskey.

Downstairs, La Boulangerie is right off the streets of Paris, serving pain au chocolate, homemade bread, croissants, sandwiches, coffee and tea. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the street, as well.

The hotel also has an Auriga Spa, which has a full fitness center, herbal bath, vitality pool, sauna, steam room, salt-wall lounge, ice fountain and wellness studio. More unusual offerings include machines by Hypoxi for low-intensity weight loss as well as a flotation tank.

The hotel is 35 minutes from Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport and an hour from Shanghai Pudong Airport.

Nightly rates begin at about $680 for a Shikumen Villa, $2,540 for a Shikumen Deluxe Villa and $10,300 for a Shikumen Grand Villa.

See www.capellashanghai.com.
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