How to Spend the Perfect 24 Hours in Shanghai
Ahead of November’s West Bund Art & Design fair, here’s what to do while you’re in town
Stay at The Middle House, still the best new hotel in the city. Designed by Milanese architect Piero Lissoni, the super-stylish hotel has a boutique Zen feel and wonderful outdoor bars and restaurants—you’d never know that bustling Nanjing Road West is awaiting on street level. My other alternative would be The Peninsula, an older Art Deco gem that’s much closer to the gallery action and just a block from the must-see Rockbund Art Museum.
Visit the galleries around the Peninsula such as Perrotin, Almine Rech, Lisson Gallery and more regional champions like Matthew Liu Fine Arts and Pearl Lam Galleries. Many of these galleries are hard at work preparing their new shows due to open in time for the fair.
Eat Chinese when in China. Delicious flatbreads for breakfast at the Gray Deluxe at The Middle House. I also love the dim sum at The Peninsula, especially the shrimp dumplings and turnip cakes. The Peacock Room near the Middle House has excellent Szechuan-influenced food, but the extensive tasting menu isn’t suited to all palates. Fu He Hui has an interesting and delicious tasting menu for vegetarians. And if you tire of Chinese food, the Villa Le Bec, a Brasserie style restaurant of a well known French chef set in a charming garden is an alternative, as is the concept restaurant The Sober Company which presents a experiential evening blending alternative Asian cuisine with a speakeasy vibe.
Shop not at the usual global brands but at whimsical Chinese alternatives. Shang Xia has wonderfully poetic furniture and housewares that boast a Hermès sensibility (not surprising, since Hermès is their owner). Also not to be missed is the mall Xintiandi, where you can find local designers such as Uma Wang.
Get lost in the French Concession with its abundant old world charms. And if you have time, don’t miss the Power Station of Art, a converted Brutalist electrical plant that opened in 2010 as the country’s first state-run contemporary art museum.
Thanks to Jacqueline Mocatta at the Middle House for inspiration.