Exquisite luxury at the Peninsula Shanghai

The living room in the 1,345-square-foot Grand Deluxe River Suite, which features a fireplace.

There are few things as mesmerizing as the skyline of Pudong district as seen from Shanghai's Bund. It's surreal, staring out over the inky waters of the Huangpu River, watching the majestic, futuristic and vibrant architecture in the background.

The only thing that can top that view is knowing that your very spacious, very beautiful, supremely luxurious hotel suite is less than 20 steps away.

Built in 2009 as one of the only new buildings constructed on the Bund in the past 70 years, the Peninsula Shanghai is sophisticated, elegant and professional, not to mention just around the corner from one of the most iconic skylines in the world.

My most recent trip to Shanghai had me staying at this gorgeous city hotel, a bucket-list moment for any hotel lover. Let's start with the arrival experience: a private transfer from the airport in a vintage Rolls-Royce outfitted with super-fast WiFi. 

Passing through the revolving doors into the lobby, travelers are met with soaring ceilings over the Lobby bar, which offers all-day dining, including a beautiful breakfast and fantastic soup dumplings, a signature dish of Shanghai. 

And as if the experiences leading up to this were not impressive enough, checking into the Grand Deluxe River Suite takes it to the next level. This 1,345-square-foot palace is decked in black marble, mirrors and plush furniture. A fireplace in the living room and a telescope for views of the Huangpu River round out the decor. 

Through an apartment-size dressing room is the spa-style bathroom, complete with a setting to dim the lights and cue the meditative music — perfect for a long soak in the deep tub after a 14-hour flight. Another tip? Treat yourself to room service upon arrival. The Thai-style chicken wrap is excellent. 

The Peninsula Shanghai is one of the only new buildings constructed on Shanghai’s Bund in the past 70 years.
The Peninsula Shanghai is one of the only new buildings constructed on Shanghai’s Bund in the past 70 years.

Michelin-starred meals

There is no shortage of five-star dining options in the city itself, but many of them can be found right under the roof of the hotel. Yi Long Court has a decadent Cantonese-style menu and views of the Bund, but the star of the hotel is Sir Elly's Restaurant, a Michelin-starred, European-style culinary experience. Start the evening with a cocktail at Sir Elly's Rooftop Bar and Terrace, which has one of the most impressive views of the Bund and the Pudong skyline. 

And if the weather isn't ideal, you can't go wrong trading in the alfresco Sir Elly's for the Salon de Ning, a glamorous Jazz Age-style bar and lounge with glittering chandeliers, wine-colored velvet sofas and a long list of cocktails and Champagnes. 

In a city like Shanghai, dizzy with luxury hotels and renowned for its five-star service, the options can be overwhelming. So if you're looking for the quintessential Shanghai experience, this would be the hotel to beat. 

Rates at the Peninsula Shanghai begin at $300 per night. See www.peninsula.com.

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