The best luxury experiences in Shanghai

Wine, dine and party in Shanghai like your money never ends

Historically famed for a being a playground for the rich and famous, Shanghai screams luxury at pretty much any given opportunity. According to Forbes, the city has a population of 40 billionaires who make for a combined net worth of 91.9 billion USD. Let’s imagine for a second that you are one of those 40 – maybe with some questionable taste, but you're not too showy. Still, you have no qualms about burning money for a special meal. What else in your day-to-day experience runs on a monetary combustion engine?

While on your spending spree, splash your cash at Shanghai's top designer boutiques.

High falutin' fine dining

For most everyday wage-slave types, food is food – as in, feed me but don’t poison me. But moving up the foodie food chain, meals involve swanky set menus, hidden locations and required deposits served with a side of exclusivity and a soupçon of culinary theatrics. These things can give the price a ‘stipulation markup’.

Ultraviolet

Paul Pairet’s single-room sensory affair books up three months in advance, seating only ten guests per night. This achingly avant-garde, meticulously crafted, three Michelin-starred dining experience guides guests through a 22-course journey in which everything is served at its absolute best moment, though innovative cuisine is only one aspect. UV incorporates immersive visuals, scents and sounds alongside service so plush that the team even knows whether you’re right- or left-handed. At 6,000RMB per person for the top-tier menu, a trip here might take months of saving, but it’s an unparalleled experience worth every jiao.

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Taian Table

Veteran chef Stefan Stiller’s intimate venue offers guests a front row ticket to their meal’s unfolding. Diners sit at granite countertops around three sides of a pristine open kitchen. Personal attention from the chefs follows each course’s arrival. With a 14-course tasting menu of flawless fare priced at 1,388RMB, Taian Table is certainly a luxe treat.

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Zhenning Lu

The Cupola

Want your ass to touch the same seats as Tom Cruise and Beyoncé? Book yourself a swanky night at The Cupola, which might very well be the most exclusive private dining venue in Shanghai. Once a bell tower, this lavish space boasts 360-degree views of The Bund and the Lujiazui skyline from both the ‘lower’ Cupola (with seating for two to eight) and the ‘upper’ Cupola (a very intimate space just for two). Dine on a specially designed menu from Jean-Georges or POP whilst a private butler tends to your every need, including but not limited to private limo service and speciality cocktails. Bey would not say what she paid. Maverick said something about thetans.

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3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu

Bo Shanghai

This small speakeasy-style restaurant, hidden inside Daimon Gastrolounge at Five on the Bund, offers an extravagant ten-course tasting menu of innovative, modern takes on China’s eight great regional culinary traditions, each married with techniques and ingredients of another international cuisine. Helmed by ‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung of Hong Kong's three-Michelin-starred 'X-treme Chinese' restaurant Bo Innovation, you're paying for both name and ingenuity. At 1,680RMB per person plus ten percent service charge, it’s certainly not cheap, but this isn’t your usual excursion into Chinese fine dining – it’s an all-out, no-regrets menu of some the most interesting food in the city. 

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20 Guangdong Lu

Suite life in luxury hotels

A staycation at a five-star, executive presidential deluxe despot hotel suite is like cheating on your apartment. No matter how nice and familiar your real apartment is, there’s a unique thrill to eloping with a larger, more luxurious and more equipped suite that runs for six figures a night.

The Peninsula

The Peninsula’s fully equipped presidential suite is 400sqm for 135,000RMB per night, but that’s not including an optional deluxe room connection for 3 bedrooms total. There’s also a private gym, high-ceilinged grand dining room, full kitchen, pantry, a working fireplace and a balcony with views of Pudong and the Bund. The Peninsula’s marble-and-velvet art deco glamour is a fine covering for its modern, up-scale luxury.

The Peninsula Hotel also has a luxury yacht for charter. Up to 10 passengers can turn their Azimut 47 yacht into a classy booze cruise, with extra charges for onboard food, drink, and spa service. 8,000RMB an hour after before 7pm, and then 12,000RMB an hour after 7pm, on weekdays and public holidays.    

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32 Zhongshan Dong Yi LuOnline booking

Fairmont Peace Hotel

For those that want a trim of history to line their luxury, the Fairmont Peace Hotel on The Bund has suites to serve your nostalgia. The hotel’s main structure was finished in 1929 and has changed hands over the years, but the original Art Deco details remain the same – if not restored and updated with WiFi functionality. The hotel’s Nine Nation Suites offer 178sqm of space for 12,000RMB a night, and they are styled with the aesthetic ephemera of nations that have shaped Shanghai’s history and identity. If you’re really looking to splash the cash, the Sassoon Suite, named after the hotel’s founder, is a 268sqm space that runs for an auspicious 88,888RMB a night.

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20 Nanjing Dong LuOnline booking

The Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi

A more reasonable 60,000RMB per night at The Langham’s top floor Chairman Suite gets you two levels, 345sqm, floor-to-ceiling views of the city and all the other amenities you should expect out of a room that costs ten times the average monthly salary in Shanghai. Ultramodern aesthetics are sleek but warm, and the hotel’s prime Xintiandi location can’t be beat.

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99 Madang LuOnline booking

Park Hyatt

Going lower in price but higher in height, a modest 40,000RMB per night Chairman Suite at the Park Hyatt gets you 194sqm of space, 24-hour in-room dining with a personal chef and a view of the world nearly 100 floors up. But if one of the world’s tallest hotels feels too high, the room has a foyer art piece of plastic puppies on astroturf to help keep you grounded.

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100 Century AvenueOnline booking

Private parties

When luxury goes clubbing, clubbing gets exclusive, and exclusive gets pricey. But that’s no problem if your wallet could stand to shed a few pounds. And Shanghai is more than happy to help you burn that off, privately.

Kee Club Shanghai

Not the ‘clubbing’ you were expecting? You clearly don’t belong in KEE Club, a members-only affair that takes making friends with the right somebodies and then paying the membership dues (we would tell you how much but we only know all the wrong somebodies) to join. After that, you’re a part of KEE Club’s intimate and exclusive private space for food, drink, arts and the uppercrust luxury lifestyle community.

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No 796 Huaihai Zhong Lu

Le Baron

The ‘Fellini of Fashion’ Alexandre de Betak designed Le Baron’s private KTV rooms (5,000-10,000RMB). He’s made them out like a fever dream where every room in your apartment has black lacquer decor and KTV setups: Kitchen-KTV, bedroom-KTV, bathroom-KTV, and your dark reflection singing back at you from the black lacquer dimension. Outside that dimension, you have a blend of trendy folks that are there to show off. These KTV rooms are a great way to avoid them.

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20 Donghu Lu

MuseK

MuseK is one of the town’s newest KTV offerings, with different rooms to meet all desires – ranging from an over-the-top spaceship-themed hub (with a 20,000RMB minimum spend on weekdays; 30,000RMB on weekends), to more grounded but still ritzy spaces that have enough plush leather couches for large groups of well-paid bureaucratic butts. Whichever aesthetic you go for, MuseK offers a private club atmosphere with fancy room service and drinks.

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123 Xingye Lu

Club 33

A semi-secret lair (apparently) hidden just west of Mickey Avenue, facing the Enchanted Storybook Castle and the Gardens of Imagination, Club 33 is said to serve the only alcohol allowed at Shanghai Disneyland. You just need to be a member, which costs a rumoured 12,000USD a year (around 80,000RMB). That comes with access to all parks worldwide (each with their own Club 33's), no queues, lots of booze, food and maybe even real princesses – but more likely your regular old non-magical corporate executives.

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Shopping

There is no shortage of luxury brand stores in Shanghai. Throw a stone into a Jingan crowd, you’ll probably ding some shatterproof glass protecting a luxury product display that’s a part of some super mall with Alicia Keys doing live sets. Then again, if you would rather avoid the crowds (i.e. un-Fiji-washed masses), you can visit boutiques that are smaller scale and more specifically tailored to your individual self.

Shang Xia

Nothing says boutique like an interior design by a famous Japanese architect (Kengo Kuma). But it does not stop there: Chinese-style chairs made out of carbon fibre, hand-painted playing cards, tailored cashmere Mao coats, and so on. Yes, Shang Xia’s Shanghainese designer is going for that ‘old-is-new’ aesthetic, with clothing, housewares and jewellery.

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233 Huaihai Zhong Lu

Mian Hua Tian

There’s a villa compound on Changle Lu with a cockatoo on its front porch. With the lack of signage, you might think the bird is the baoan to some high-profile embassy official's home. No, the bird is the baoan to Mian Hua Tian, a high-profile boutique store that keeps a low-profile, but not just on the outside.  Inside, you will find subdued, zen-decor that’s adorned with the occasional article of elegant jedi clothing. The price tags are among the stars, in a galaxy far, far away.

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564 Changle Lu

WW Chan & Sons

WW Chan & Sons is a storied high-end tailor. They claim direct lineage to the ‘Red Gang’, a cabal of early 20th century Shanghai tailors who mixed Russian, British, Japanese and Chinese techniques. Their new tailors needed three years training before being allowed to cut trousers. With all this rich history, one could say that all their suits come with an additional piece: a conversation piece. You need to say that verbatim to anyone who asks about your WW Chan & Sons suit. They also do women’s clothing.

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165-5 Maoming Nan Lu

VISIONAIRE By Rui Cheng

If freedom is a luxury, then a personal stylist is a luxury that frees you from the burden of choice. Hire someone to dress you according to your physical lines and a word-cloud of personal attributes. It takes a pro to match clothes to character in a way that feels natural and comfortable.

Many high-end shops like Lane Crawford, 10 Corso Como and others have personal stylists on staff. Also, there are freelancers and agencies dedicated to style consulting, like Visionaire By Rui Cheng, who can show you how to shop for your body type, dress proper for occasions and more. Whoever you go to, expect to pay at least 600RMB an hour for an experienced personal stylist, not including the cost of your new clothes.

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Wellness

They say wealthy people live longer, healthier (at least physically) lives. Ever wonder why that is?

Kerry Sports

Kerry Sports might be Shanghai’s largest and cleanest 24-hour gym. Starting at 16,900RMB for an individual six-month membership, you get access to free weights, a heated 25-metre swimming pool, a vitality pool, tennis court, rooftop jogging track, basketball court and plenty of exercise classes in aerobics, spinning, yoga and so on. 

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1388 Huamu Lu

Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai

Mandarin Oriental’s gym uses cutting-edge technology to map out your love handles and figure out a fitness routine to help you turn them into love crimps. You can expect the usual gamut of features that an expensive gym offers: equipment, free weights, classes, blah, blah and blah. The gym is open 24 hours, while the pool is only 24-hour for hotel guests.

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111 Pudong Nan Lu

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