The PuLi Hotel
A wall of scent hits you as you step across the threshold of the PuLi Hotel - "That's lemongrass, mint and I'd have to kill you if I tell you what else," says the hotel manager. Situated on the edge of JingAn Park, The PuLi Hotel and Spa lies at the heart of Shanghai's busy commercial district, yet it is truly a world away.
Black glazed tiles line the floor of the lobby and bounce light around to illuminate all 32 metres of China's longest bar - a 'grab and go' breakfast of cereal and fruit is served in the mornings but come nighttime, visitors swap fresh juices for perfect lychee martinis. The bar leads out onto the hotel's garden terrace which is set next to a pebble-filled pool and framed by trees overhanging from JingAn park. Use the indoor-outdoor space as a sun trap over afternoon tea. A peaceful library with thousands of titles beckons guests looking for a quieter form of relaxation. All furnishings and artefacts are aligned according to the principles of feng shui.
This sense of tranquility is also felt in the 229 rooms, which are so balanced that one half almost perfectly mirrors the next. Dark wood furnishings and a neutral colour palette make for an air of understated elegance that contrasts with the cityscape that pours in through the hotel's vast window-walls. Run a bath with natural Tibetan rose-scented products and relax while you watch the city buzz beneath you. A mini bar stashed with M&M's and China's favourite white rabbit candy is complimentary, and opening a fully stocked stationery drawer genuinely feels like hitting the jackpot. Housekeeping is unobtrusive and meticulous - leave your toothbrush or makeup out of place and invisible hands will quietly set them straight.
If you're travelling from Europe, jetlag will hit you like a tonne of bricks, so make the most of your weird waking hours in the PuLi's luxurious spa and gym. Located on the third floor, the Anantara spa is a sanctuary from the city and offers a range of treatments inspired by tea, Asia's original healing tonic. Try the aromatic massage to help with sleep deprivation and follow with a pick-me-up tea in your dressing gown. If you're more into a wake-up call of light exercise, a quick gym session or a few laps in the infinity pool overlooking JingAn park should do the trick.
Once you're up breakfast will beckon. Good luck choosing from a sumptuous selection of fresh fruit - lychees, dragon fruit and pineapple - breakfast dumplings, wonton soup, cured meat and cheeses, bread, pastries and everything in between.
The PuLi Hotel & Spa offers a Corner Deluxe King from £478 (RMB 4,577) per night. All rates include complimentary stocked mini bar, Wifi and unlimited use of health club, sauna, steam room and indoor infinity pool
1 ChangDe Road JingAn District Shanghai 200040