Stopover Guide: 24 Hours in Shanghai

26 May 2017
Read Time: 7.4 mins

Take one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, combine it with the world’s fastest-growing economy, and roll it all together in a city of over 25 million people and you have fabulous, frenetic, always-on Shanghai. Here’s a guide to squeezing as many unforgettable experiences as possible out of your next business stopover in Shanghai.

 Where to Eat

Diners at riverside restaurant by the side of the Yangtze River, China Shanghai is bursting with places to eat, like this restaurant by the side of the Yangtze River. Image: Getty

Being the mega-city that it is, Shanghai is certainly not short of world class restaurants. While it’s also brimming with modestly priced eateries and fantastic street food, if you only have 24 hours in this city you may as well eat in style.

Mao Long Restaurant

134 Jinxian Rd, Lu Wan Qu

Mao Long Restaurant is featured in the Michelin Guide 2017 and is a tiny, family-run restaurant with a big menu and loads of atmosphere. They offer numerous seafood dishes and are especially proud of their braised pork. There are just five tables and around 20 seats so you’ll be more than likely sharing your table. It’s very popular and you need to book weeks in advance. Try going for lunch if you haven’t made a dinner reservation.

Table No. 1

No. 1-3 Maojiayuan Road, Huangpu

Serving world-influenced European cuisine, Table No. 1 is a destination restaurant with a sleek and simplistic interior. For the world traveller who prefers progressive fine dining in the European style, Table No. 1 is a must. The wine list is good, the courtyard terrace is a great place for a pre-dinner drink, and the communal tables encourage conviviality. This restaurant also features in the Michelin Guide 2017.

And for Breakfast…

Steaming dumplings ready to be served China’s favourite morning meal, dumplings, are hot, tasty and available everywhere. Image: Getty

Where to go if you’re not breakfasting at your hotel? Here are our top picks: Try the dumplings at Jia Jia Tang Bao, 90 Huanghe Rd, Huangpu Qu – very tasty, but watch out, they’re hot; eat your Asian/European fill from the Breakfast Buffet at Yi Cafe in Pudong Shangri-la; and for the die-hard Western palate, you can’t go past Mr. Pancake House at 877 Wuding Road. The name says it all.

Where to Stay

While Shanghai offers travellers a dizzying array of accommodation options, from modest lodges to luxury retreats, the business traveller is unique. Forget chocolates on the pillow, just make sure the Wi-Fi is free. Business travellers also need as many power points in common areas as is reasonable, chargers for laptops and phones in guest rooms, while keyless room entry and streaming services on TVs (such as Netflix) are also big favourites. Here are some top hotels that do it well.

Swissotel Grand, Shanghai

1 Yuyuan Road, JingAnSi, Jingan Qu

Interior view of the Presidential Suite at the Swissotel Grand, Shanghai, China Relax in style in the Presidential Suite of the Swissotel Grand, Shanghai. Image: Swissotel

Located in Jing’an, the upmarket central district of the city, Swissotel Grand, Shanghai, is a luxury, 5-star hotel with everything a business traveller could want including in-room Wi-Fi, an exclusive Executive Club lounge and first class health facilities. The immediate neighbourhood is vibrant as well as relaxing, with some of the city’s best shopping existing right alongside the beautiful Jing’an Gardens and Jing’an Temple, the oldest Buddhist shrine in the city.

Fairmont Peace Hotel

20 Nanjing E Road, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu

Interior view of one of the bedroom suites of the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China Comfort and luxury in one of the bedroom suites of the Fairmont Peace Hotel. Image: Fairmont Peace Hotel

The Fairmont Peace Hotel is Shanghai’s iconic, Art-Deco masterpiece, right in the heart of the Bund – the famous waterfront district regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years and now home to some of the finest restaurants and bars in the city. If you want to add a little old fashioned glamour to your stopover, this is the place to stay.

And, if you do choose to book this SmartSTAY Shanghai hotel through your FCBT Travel Manager, you get the added benefit of complimentary Wi-Fi internet access (up to 1GB a day), 15 per cent discount on lunch and dinner (excluding alcoholic drinks), a complimentary spa credit and a complimentary room upgrade (subject to availablility).  

Grand Hyatt Shanghai

Jin Mao Tower, 88 Century Avenue, Pudong

Looking upwards into the 33-storey atrium of the Grand Hyatt, Shanghai, China The 33-storey atrium of the Grand Hyatt, Shanghai is an architectural marvel. Image: Getty

For architecture enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys the ultimate five star treatment, the Grand Hyatt, Shanghai is the place to stay. The hotel is located on floors 53 through 87 of Jin Mao Tower and is a landmark destination within Shanghai’s business hub of Lujiazui. It’s not short on stunning features, with the impressive barrel-vaulted atrium beginning on the 56th floor and extending upwards to the 87th floor, with a clear height of approximately 115 metres. Guests have a choice of ten award-winning restaurants and a vast choice of other amenities to enjoy, such as the spectacular sky pool.

Where to Play

Woman do a fan dance on the Bund in Shanghai, China Take your pick of things to do in this vibrant, dynamic world city. Image: Getty

From exquisite gardens and historic temples to dazzling skyscrapers and designer shopping, there is no shortage of things to do in Shanghai. The question is, if you’re only stopping over, what’s top of your list? Here are just three suggestions from the multitude of possibilities…

The Bund

Night scene of the vibrant Bund promenade, Shanghai, China It’s said that if you haven’t walked the Bund, you haven’t been to Shanghai. Image: Getty

Shanghai’s iconic waterfront promenade provides the best vantage point to step back, take a breath, and enjoy the stunning views of Pudong’s skyline. Take a walk along this living museum and appreciate the history of Shanghai through architectural styles including Gothic, baroque and neoclassic. This promenade is also home to designer boutiques, top class restaurants and luxury hotels.

Yu Garden

The Pavilion of Listening to Billows in Yu Garden, Shanghai, China The Pavilion of Listening to Billows in Yu Garden. Image: Getty

Yu Garden (or Yu Yuan Garden) was built between 1559 and 1577, and is a beautiful example of the Chinese classical garden style. It’s popular, but for good reason. There are literally gardens within gardens, and the maze of Ming Dynasty pavilions, elaborate rockeries, arched bridges and goldfish ponds are encircled by an undulating dragon wall. A cultural experience that is uniquely Shanghai.

Jade Buddha Temple

Chinese prayer ribbons hanging from bonsai trees at the Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai, China Chinese prayer ribbons hanging from bonsai trees at the Jade Buddha Temple. Image: Getty

This working Buddhist monastery is built in the style of the Song Dynasty and is famous for housing two ornate Buddha statues, each carved from a single piece of white jade. The sitting Buddha is 1.9-metres high and is encrusted with agate and emerald. Whether you are Buddhist or not, the Jade Buddha Temple is definitely worth a visit, with its peaceful, transcendent atmosphere that offers respite from the bustling city.

Erin Bennion

Based in Brisbane, Erin is a writer with a penchant for using fancy old French words wherever possible and an insatiable hankering for trawling through vintage markets in small Scandinavian towns (no really). One of her dreams is to take her family to see General Sherman in Sequoia National Park and give that old guy a group-hug. Don’t follow her, she could end up anywhere. Twitter @erinbennion

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