Located on a drab corner of Wuning and Changshou Lus, opposite the soon to be opened Haopu ‘Lady Plaza’ shopping mall, Aisen (as with many love hotels in the city) labels itself a ‘fashion hotel’. There’s certainly a unique sense of style here, with the path to the reception desk leading you through a series of disorientating corridors covered in mirrored panels and brightly coloured floral carpet. The reception area itself is even more bewildering, with red rose-patterned tiles on the floor and a ceiling covered in faux-crystal beads (another common feature in love hotels around town).
Given this entrance, the rooms are surprisingly okay. We’re shown a few different options, all of which feature circular beds with red heart-shaped spotlights shining upon them and large spa tubs in the bathrooms. Beside the circular beds are small controllers that enable you to adjust the lighting, including a ‘romantic’ dimmer setting. Unfortunately there isn’t a switch to make the beds rotate, Austin Powers style. Of the available accommodation types, the ‘Mini Room’ seems the best deal, providing most of the comforts of the larger rooms for 398RMB/night and still with plenty of space.
As with most love hotels, there’s a ‘short stay’ rate as well, but on our visit most of the guests seem to be young couples looking for a reasonably priced bolthole rather than sleazy old men or ladies of the night. The hotel also operates similarly-themed branches in Minhang, Yangpu and Zhabei districts, see their website for full details.
Cost From 168RMB/four hours or 398RMB/night.
Aisen Hotel Fifth Floor, 988 Changshou Lu, near Wuning Lu, Putuo district (5239 2356; www.aisenhotel.com). Longde Lu. 普陀区长寿路988号5楼, 近武宁路
Upon entering the 8 Colors Hotel on Changshou Lu, subtly located on the third floor of a tower block with minimal signage, it seems that this Japanese-run property has decided to betray their name by decking everything out in black. The walls, reception desk and flooring are all black or, at the lightest, charcoal coloured, with a long, tall black corridor stretching off toward the rooms. Even the shagpile carpet in the lift is black and grey.
Other bands from the colour spectrum are brought into play by the guest rooms however (though there is a monochrome-themed room available as well), with red, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink themes on offer. Completing the eight room types are the ‘Plus’ and ‘X’ deluxe suites, with the latter representing a lack of imagination with names rather than anything risque.
With most of the 32 rooms occupied upon our visit, we’re forced to go for a pink one (number 7), which turns out to have been embellished with a decidedly un-hot Hello Kitty theme. There are Hello Kitty stuffed toys on the pink chaise lounge, a Hello Kitty rug and Hello Kitty stickers on the glass divider between the bed and the twin showers. Thankfully the cutesy cartoon character doesn’t appear on the bed itself, which is surrounded by pink lace curtains underneath a circle of dangling faux-crystal beads, but the motifs are nevertheless all a bit off-putting. The facilities are comfortable and the hotel in general is smartly presented, if not exactly romantic, but if you are checking in here, specify a colour other than pink for your stay.
Cost From 338RMB/three hours (Sun-Thur), 358RMB/three hours (Fri-Sat) or 558RMB/night.
8 Colors Hotel Third Floor, 479 Changshou Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu, Jingan district (3253 0188; www.8colors.net). Metro: Changshou Lu. 静安区长寿路479号3楼, 近胶洲路
With two branches in Shanghai, four in Qingdao and one in Beijing (plus another in Nanjing currently under construction), Fashion Home is one of the country’s leading love hotel chains. Not that it really sees itself that way however – the brand sells itself as a hip ‘theme concept hotel’, aimed at young couples on citybreaks. As a result, some of the rooms at the People’s Square branch (located next door to a middle school) have the feel of a brightly coloured business hotel, though they’re at least more comfortable than those at the similar, but seedier, Weibo Hotel chain, whose ‘romantic rooms’ have a maximum six hour stay.
However, some of the rooms feature classic Chinese love hotel characteristics such as dangly faux crystals, circular beds and shared showers or tandem bathtubs. Some are even quite stylish, though be sure to see a room first if you want to avoid Hello Kitty and Winnie the Pooh (and Optimus Prime in one room) staring at you while you’re in bed. And if you do decide to check in, bear in mind that all guests will need to show a valid Chinese passport; Fashion Home does not allow foreigners to stay.
Cost From 188RMB/night.
Fashion Home 68 Huaihai Dong Lu, near Yunnan Nan Lu, Huangpu district (6326 6777). Metro: Dashijie. 黄浦区淮海东路68号, 近云南南路
Sounding like a Japanese lager with special powers, Magical Kirin is the most centrally located of Shanghai’s love hotels, occupying the corner of Fumin Lu and Yanan Zhong Lu. The leaflet at reception and photos on Dianping.com show rooms with circular beds surrounded by lace curtains, a bed which looks to be on some sort of mock boat and a minimalist 2001: A Space Odyssey-style room.
However, on our visit we’re told none of these are available, and are taken instead to a far less salubrious offering that wouldn’t be out of place in a second-tier city motel. The rectangular four poster bed is hard and rickety, while the glass that separates the bedroom and the pokey couples bath has small ‘erotic’ pictures on it. It’s all a bit tawdry, but at least there’s a branch of Sarnies directly downstairs (you have to walk through the sandwich shop to access the hotel) if you fancy a bit of extra nosh.
Cost From 468RMB/night.
Magical Kirin Hotel Second Floor, 1007 Yanan Zhong Lu, near Fumin Lu, Jingan district (6279 0222). Jingan Temple. 静安区延安中路1007号2楼, 近富民路
With three branches around town, We Love Hotel has some of the best facilities of all the options featured in this article. It’s about as classy as Shanghai’s love hotels get, with spacious rooms and large baths that make their short stay rates (for three hours) seem less like an encouragement for some off the radar philandering and more like an invitation to enjoy your own private bathhouse for a few hours.
The rooms at the Taopu Lu outlet, found beside a large Carrefour store near Zhenbei Lu, all feature comfy circular or four poster beds, often adorned by heart shaped cushions. But it’s the bathing facilities that really make the hotel stand out, with the deluxe suites’ stylish interiors embellished by generous Jacuzzi-like tubs set in the floor, making the rooms feel like mini-New Star bathhouses.
Even the cheaper rooms, such as the ‘Ingenious Suites’ or ‘Elegance Suites’, feature far bigger tubs than your average business hotel. We Love’s other two hotels are on Wuzhong Lu, near Caohejing Hi-Tech Development Park, and a little further west on Hongzhong Lu, near Wuzhong Lu. Both offer similar accommodation to the Taopu Lu branch.
Cost From 98RMB/three hours and from 368RMB/night if you sign up for a membership card priced at 1,000RMB with 100RMB free credit.
We Love Hotel Fourth Floor, 306 Taopu Lu, near Zhenbei Lu, Putuo district (3360 6582; www.welove-hotel.com). Shanghai West Railway Station. 普陀区桃浦路306号4楼, 近真北路