Travel Tips

Where to Stay in Shanghai

Thanks to the Hong Kong Airlines mistake fare fiasco, I was able to fly to Shanghai in October. I’m extremely slow with trip reports, so expect to see my review of the hotels I stayed at…sometime next year. In the meantime, I know a lot of other folks are headed to Shanghai around this time and are probably wondering which hotels to book. I stayed at two different hotels in Shanghai and made my way around the whole city over a week. Location matters and depending on where you stay, that will differ. So I decided to put this guide together on the best places to stay in Shanghai, by area.

Shanghai Hotels in People’s Square

People’s Square is a bustling area perfect for those who want to shop or have easy access to tourist buses, public transportation, and pretty much anything else.

People's Park View from the Le Royal Meridien Shanghai
View of People’s Park from the Le Royal Meridien Shanghai

Le Royal Meridien Shanghai

The Le Royal Meridien Shanghai is the absolute best place to stay in People’s Square. It’s located across the street from People’s Park and within walking distance of a million shopping malls, restaurants, and train station.

I had spent the first three nights at the Hyatt on the Bund and found that location to be far from pretty much everything. When I moved to the Le Meridien, the city just came alive. Not only is the location superior, but the rooms are cleaner and in much better condition here. The staff is also notches above the Hyatt’s. I really couldn’t recommend the Le Royal Meridien Shanghai more, especially if you’re looking for a hotel in People’s Square.

Runner-up: Radisson Blu Shanghai New World 

The Radisson Blu Shanghai is right on Nanjing road, steps from the Le Meridien. There’s a shopping center on one side of the hotel and on that street, you can find pretty much everything you might need: Food courts, banks, tourist bus stops, the metro, and more. The hotel itself is a little rundown but you’re probably not going to spend a whole lot of time there anyway.

The Radisson People’s Square goes for 44,000 points or around $130 per night in December. I personally wouldn’t redeem points at this hotel. The rates are reasonable and if you have the Barclay Arrival Plus Card, you can make pretty good use of the sign-up bonus. Or use whatever Arrival Mile balance you can accrue within 120 days of booking.

Shanghai Hotels on The Bund

I was surprised at how dead The Bund was during my visit to Shanghai. Maybe it was the intermittent rain that kept people away. That being said, the waterfront was beautiful and reminded me of Hamburg. Locationwise, I don’t think there’s much of a point in staying at a hotel on The Bund. Unless you want to spend most of your time taking selfies in front of the Pudong skyline. Or maybe you just want a room with a nice view of the waterfront.

Shanghai The Bund on a rainy day
Shanghai The Bund

Fairmont Peace Hotel

When I asked for hotel recommendations in Shanghai, the Fairmont Peace Hotel came up several times. You might be thinking, “Fairmont = pricey” but that doesn’t have to be the case. When I stayed in Shanghai, rates were around $250 per night for a club room and roughly $200 for a standard. Not bad for a luxury hotel.

You might be able to score a good deal through Club1 Hotels or American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. It’s worth looking into. I will say, the Fairmont has one of the best locations on The Bund. It only has one immediate neighbor and is just steps away from those tourist bus stops.

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai

If you have Hilton points to burn, you might want to consider the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on The Bund. A free night goes for 73,000 points. Book five nights and you’ll essentially get a 20% discount with Hilton’s 5th night free benefit. I’ve researched pretty much every hotel in Shanghai and I don’t think the rooms anywhere are as luxurious as at the Waldorf Astoria.

Hotels in Pudong

Pudong is what most people envision when they think of Shanghai. It’s also the majority of the photos Google turns up when you search for “Shanghai.” Located on the East Bank of the Huangpu River, Pudong is home to the city’s financial center and incredible shopping malls alike. I really liked Pudong and had some of the best food at Yershari (tip: watch out for numbing sauce in the Shanghai noodles).

If you’re staying in Shanghai for several days, it might not be a bad idea to book a hotel in Pudong for at least part of your stay.

Pudong Skyline from Shanghai
Pudong Skyline from Shanghai

Pudong Shangri-La East

The Pudong Shangri-La East is located near the International Finance Centre, which is where you’ll find popular shopping malls, restaurants, and Oriental Pearl Tower. Rates are also reasonable, especially for a hotel of this caliber. In mid-January you can book a room for as little as $160 per night.

Runner-up: Ritz Carlton Shanghai Pudong

The Ritz Carlton Shanghai Pudong is a luxury hotel in a true sense of the word. That’s not always the case at least in my experience. Aside from offering superior accommodations, the hotel also has a great location near the IFC.

Paid rates can get pricey at around $400 per night or 60,000 Marriott points. Again, if you can score a good deal through Club1 Hotels, then it might be worthwhile.

Do you have any hotel recommendations for those visiting Shanghai? Please share in the comment section.

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  1. Park Hyatt is awesome!

  2. We fell in love with the JW Marriott. Easy walk to the train and the view was incredible.

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