As the centerpiece of the Shanghai Center complex on Nanjing Road, the 45-story Portman Ritz-Carlton melds contemporary Chinese with traditional European-style decor. Textiles in guest rooms echo the materials used in the qipao, or cheongsam. Accommodations in light browns and creams also have 300-thread-count bed linens, and down pillows and duvets. Rooms feature mod Chinese decor, bathrooms with sliding rosewood doors, and Asprey Purple Water amenities. A traditional candle-lighting ceremony takes place in the lobby to re-create a ritual held in big mansions in the era before electricity. At the Ritz Kids Academy, enrolled children can take classes on social etiquette, covering such key subjects as table posture, tea manners, and self-confidence.
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Reached in 15 minutes by foot, the Old French Concession, a part of Shanghai earmarked for the French, today consists of Luwan and Xuhui districts. Luwan’s Huai Hai Road is chock-full of shops, and the district includes Tian Zi Fang, a shopping and dining haunt for tourists. The tree-lined avenues and Tudor mansions of the Old French Concession give it a distinctly Continental feel. Closer to the hotel, Nanjing Road is one of Shanghai’s most famous shopping streets, with Plaza 66 sporting international luxury brands.
Need to Know
Rooms: 510 rooms, 100 suites. From $290. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Tables serves international cuisine, macrobiotic dishes, and a Sunday martini brunch. LED lights and live jazz provide an adult ambience at the Ritz Bar; cocktails include signature recipes made with Monkey 47 gin (from Germany’s Black Forest). Sandwiches, scones, and Chinese snacks are the norm at afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge. Spa and gym details: The seventh-floor Health Club has a gym, squash court, steam room and sauna, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
Who it's for: Road warriors, conference attendees, old money, and any travelers wanting a dash of tradition. Our favorite rooms: The 5,400-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Suite has its own sauna and steam room. Good to know: Lobby ambassador Nick Wang, now officially retired, worked at the hotel for more than 20 years. He returns to the hotel a few days a week to weave his charm on guests, old and new.