We list the best hotels and accommodations in Shanghai as recommended by travel experts from CNN, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, New York Times and more. All hotel recommendations have been referenced with customer reviews and we only listed places with at least a 4 out of 5-star customer review rating.
“The W Shanghai has a plum location just north of the Bund, providing stunning views of the Pudong skyline from the outdoor pool deck. A comical touch in the 374 rooms: pillows in the shape of soup dumplings and oversized chopsticks.”
Shortlisted in New York Times’ 36 Hours in Shanghai, China.
“This 26-room boutique hotel in downtown Jing’an District was once a post office and now claims to be China’s first carbon neutral hotel. The renovation, which was completed using 100 percent locally-sourced and recycled materials, has won numerous awards for its sustainability and design.”
“Slightly tucked away from the Lùjiāzu five-star hotel melee in a sheltered riverside spot, the 362-room Mandarin Oriental is a visual feast, from the beautiful oval chandeliers and multicoloured glass murals in the lobby to the excellent dining choices.”
“The long-awaited Capella Shanghai, the Singapore-based luxury chain’s first China property, opened in September in a restored Shanghai shikumen lane complex originally built for French traders in the 1930s. The property features 55 villas set in three-story traditional houses with private courtyards and rooftop balconies.”
Shortlisted in New York Times’ 36 Hours in Shanghai, China.
“One of the city’s most iconic hotels, the Fairmont Peace is cast in the warm, subdued tints of a bygone era. Expect all the luxuries of a top-class establishment, with rooms decked out in art deco elegance, from light fixtures down to coffee tables.”
“Bulgari stands out for its ability to channel the city vibe without losing a sense of the brand’s Italian DNA. An immaculately choreographed tussle between Italian and Chinese design is enacted in marble and bronze versus silk and lacquer.”
Featured in CN Traveler’s Best New Hotels of 2019.
“The Waldorf Astoria occupies one of Shanghai’s oldest buildings: the restored 101-year-old former Shanghai Club. With giant chandeliers, neo-classical ceiling carvings and original marble floor tiles, the interior feels more like a royal palace than a hotel.”
New York Times, Frommers, Telegraph
CNN, Lonely Planet, Fodors
Lonely Planet, Frommers, Telegraph
New York Times, Telegraph
Lonely Planet, Telegraph
Shanghai is one of the busiest cities in China attracting thousands of tourists for business and pleasure alike. A dynamic city with a wonderful blend of Eastern and Western cultures, it is truly a global destination.
Located in Central Shanghai, this is home to one of China's largest football field. It draws a bevy of youngsters and expats to its shopping malls which contain all the top designer labels and chain of restaurants. There is a famous market dedicated exclusively for electronic goods.
It draws people from all over China offering a variety of merchandise. There are a few landmarks found here like the Shanghai museum, theatre and also a museum for contemporary art. Several premier hotels and global restaurants serving delicious meals are situated here.
Located along the waterfront, Waitan is also known as Bund. Restored colonial-era buildings house chic nightclubs and cocktail bars. Michelin star hotels and food stalls selling local dishes provide something for every palate.
It is commonly known as Xintiandi, and is a trendy hotspot with luxury retail stores and upscale nightlife. The streets are lined with flagship stores of global brands, and chic wine bar, several western restaurants and al fresco cafes are found in abundance.
A part of the town which is known for its futuristic ambience, with posh dance and dining options offering a panoramic view of the neighbourhood. There is a strong European influence on every aspect of life here. Since it is the financial hub of Shanghai top 5-star hotels have property located here.
Also check out our guide about the best areas to stay in Shanghai.
If you're looking for a cheap hotel in Shanghai, then book Moju Hotel. It's an excellent budget hotel offering great value for money. It's in a good location, it's been recommended by travel experts and the hotel has excellent customer reviews. Also check out our list of the best cheap hotels in Shanghai.
Not a fan of big chain hotels? No problem. If you want to stay in a boutique hotel in Shanghai, then you should book PuLi Hotel & Spa. The hotel has been rated highly by previous guests for its boutique style. It has also been recommended by influential travel journalists.
Also check out our list of the best boutique hotels in Shanghai, it's a manually curated list of the most unique and romantic hotels in the city.
If money isn't a problem and you're looking for a luxury hotel in Shanghai, then go for Capella Jian Ye Li. The hotel offers excellent service, it's in a top location, it has been rated very highly by previous guests and renowned travel critics have recommended it.
Also check out our list of the best luxury hotels in Shanghai, it's a manually curated list of the most exclusive 5-star hotels in the city.
Looking for a good and affordable private room or cozy dorm? Check out Shanghai Blue Mountain Hostel. The hostel has been highly rated by backpackers. Also check out our list of the best hostels in Shanghai.
For a 3-star hotel you have to pay around $60 per night and for a 4-star hotel you would be looking at $100 per night. If you're after a luxury 5-star Shanghai hotel then you can expect to pay around $180 per night.
Half-Day Old Shanghai Small Group Bike Tour. In a small group, this bike tour (maximum 5 guests) takes you on a historical and cultural journey through the history of one of China's most famous cities. See the Cite Bourgogne and Zhou Enlai's residence and learn about the restored Shanghai Old Street. Price: $57.
Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai. Make your way down the famous Yunnan Road, stopping at several restaurants that are local favorites. Try typical Shanghainese dishes such as scallion oil noodles, steamed buns, parched chicken, and soup dumplings with black vinegar. Price: $72.
Shanghai Night River Cruise Tour with Xinjiang Style Dining Experience. Get the most out of your Shanghai trip by experiencing the combination of a Huangpu River cruise and a Xinjiang food experience. Price: $138.
More things to do in Shanghai
In the past two decades, Shanghai has transformed from a small coastal town into one of the largest and most dynamic cities in the world. It is now regarded as one of the most important financial centers in Asia, with a population that exceeds 23 million people. A city of contrasts, it is home to some of the most beautiful Art Deco architecture as well as some of the most modern and cutting-edge buildings you will ever see. From magnificent palaces to hidden gardens and historical alleyways, there is something for everyone to explore here. Preparing for your first trip to Shanghai can be nerve-wracking as there are many things to consider beforehand. To make sure that your stay is safe, comfortable, and memorable we have compiled a list of essential things that you need to know before visiting this vibrant city for the first time…
When is the best time to visit Shanghai? Although Shanghai is a year-round destination, spring and autumn (March to May and September to November) are the best times to visit. These are the two least humid seasons in Shanghai and you are less likely to encounter strong rainstorms. If you prefer to visit at a cooler time of the year, the winter months (November to February) are the best times to visit.
How to get to Shanghai? If you are visiting Shanghai for the first time and want to explore the city’s many attractions, public transportation is the best option. There are many convenient transportation options available for travelers including the famous Shanghai Metro. For those who prefer to travel in style, taxis are also a great option. If you are planning a trip with a large group of friends, an airport transfer service may be a more suitable option.
What to pack for Shanghai? While Shanghai is a very hot and humid city, it is important to pack light and bring clothing that is suitable for both the summer and the winter months. If you are visiting in the summer months (May to September) it is recommended that you bring a light jacket or sweater as it can get rather cool at night.
If you are a citizen of a country outside of Mainland China, you will be required to obtain a visa before entering the country. There are three types of visas, including an Entry Visa, a Tourist Visa, and a Business Visa. Most countries’ citizens can receive an Entry Visa, which can be attained at the port of entry. However, as a precaution, it is recommended that you apply for a Tourist Visa at least 8 weeks in advance. If you are planning a work trip or are a business owner who will be visiting Shanghai, you will be required to obtain a Business Visa. To find out more information about visas and visa requirements, visit the official website of the Chinese Embassy.
The Chinese currency is the Renminbi or RMB. The RMB can be exchanged for other currencies at local banks, airports, and hotels. While it is possible to exchange money at the Shanghai Airport, it is strongly recommended that you exchange your money at a bank beforehand as you will receive better rates. If you are a first-time visitor to Shanghai, it is recommended that you bring a small amount of cash (USD or RMB) to exchange for souvenirs and gifts. It is also a good idea to bring a credit or debit card with you as it will make it easier to pay for items such as food, transportation, and souvenirs.
Food and Restaurants
Food is a very important part of every culture, and in Shanghai food is no exception. Because Shanghai is a city with a diverse range of people, there is a diverse range of food which makes it an exciting place to eat. The most popular cuisine in Shanghai is Shanghainese food, which is renowned for being fresh and light. You can find delicious Shanghainese dishes at most restaurants. However, if you are looking for an authentic experience, visit one of the many restaurants that are located in the old neighborhoods of Shanghai. If you are visiting Shanghai on business or are with a group of people who can’t agree on what to eat, there are many restaurants that serve international cuisine such as Chinese, Indian, Italian, Thai, and Vietnamese.
The Shanghai Museum is one of the most important museums in Shanghai; it is also the largest museum in China. The museum is located in People’s Square and is open from Monday to Sunday. Entrance tickets to the museum must be purchased in advance at the ticket booth on the day you would like to visit. The museum is divided into nine different halls that are dedicated to different exhibitions. The two most popular exhibitions are the Ancient Chinese Jade Exhibition and the Chinese Art Exhibition. If you have a limited amount of time to visit the museum, we recommend visiting the Ancient Chinese Jade Exhibition. If you have more time to explore the museum, there are also other exhibitions such as the Chinese Seal Exhibition, Chinese Paper Exhibition, Chinese Calligraphy Exhibition, and the Chinese Painting Exhibition.
The Bund: The Bund is one of the most iconic locations in Shanghai. This is because it is located on the bank of the Huangpu River and is home to many architectural landmarks and historical buildings. The most notable building in the Bund is the Pearl Tower, which is an extremely iconic building located on the south side of the river.
People’s Square: Located in the center of Shanghai, People’s Square is an important public space that is home to many historical landmarks, such as the Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Grand Theatre.
Shanghai Museum: As previously mentioned, the Shanghai Museum is the most important museum in Shanghai. It is also the largest museum in China and is located in People’s Square.
Shanghai Zoo: The Shanghai Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Shanghai. It is home to many rare and endangered species of animals that come from all around the world.
Shanghai Tower: If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, climb the Shanghai Tower. This is the second-tallest building in the world and is the tallest tower in China.
Shanghai is one of the most important and exciting cities in Asia. If you are looking for an unforgettable travel experience, Shanghai is the perfect destination. Whether you are visiting on business or as a tourist, there is something for everyone to see and explore. Whether you are visiting Shanghai for the first time or you are a seasoned traveler, these are the things that you need to know before visiting this vibrant city.
We recommend you read our guide about where to stay in Shanghai. It provides an excellent overview of the most popular areas, highlighting the main attractions and hotel recommendations for each area.