With its futuristic skyline, high-end hotels and fantastic culinary scene, the bustling metropolis that is Shanghai has an incredible amount to offer, even if you’re only in town for a flying visit. Those lucky professionals who find themselves on business in Shanghai will discover a wealth of things to see and do between meetings, from cultural attractions to culinary delights.
Where to stay: With a fully equipped business centre (which includes the services of a “technology butler”), views out over the Bund and an enviable location in the financial and commercial hub of the city, the Ritz-Carlton in Pudong is a great choice for business travellers. Alternatively, the Peninsula Shanghai offers private offices in its business centre, not to mention a fleet of secretarial staff and, of course, the renowned rooftop bar, Sir Elly’s Terrace, set directly over the Huangpu River.
For designer digs with a conscience, the downtown URBN Shanghai is the place to go. You may have flown around the world to get here, but this petite green hotel will give you environmental brownie points. And, to top it off, it’s within walking distance of the French Concession.
Where to eat: A great option for light business lunches, M on the Bund is a popular choice for its inventive cuisine and fantastic city views. For something a little more carnivorous, explore the Wood, Charcoal, Grill section of the menu at Jason Atherton’s stylish Table No. 1. And with its laid-back ambience and sensational, rich Yunnan cuisine, Lost Heaven is a superb dinner choice.
Having made it onto the 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Ultraviolet should definitely feature on your Shanghai itinerary (just make sure to book in advance), especially if you want to impress business guests or clients. A high-concept adventure in food, the Foie Gras Can’t Quit is one of the signature dishes to look out for.
Where to go for evening drinks: If you prefer your cocktails served up with dizzying skyline views, head up to Flair when on business in Shanghai. This rooftop bar, perched on the 58th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Pudong, offers a great drinks menu and delicious tapas, perfect for pre-dinner indulging. If you’re after something a little more relaxed, swing by the Fairmont Peace Hotel for live music and drinks at the Jazz Bar.
There’s an impressive wine list at the Roosevelt Wine Cellar, should vino be your tipple of choice. Or for old-school sophistication, the Long Bar at the Waldorf Astoria will hit the spot, with its elegant wood panelling, single malt selection and top-notch Cuban cigars.
Top sights: Just because you’re on business in Shanghai, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the cultural sights of the city. The Jade Buddha Temple, an active Buddhist temple that’s beautifully bedecked with lanterns and statues, is a relaxing place to visit if you need to unwind. Another must-do, whatever your reason for visiting, a walk along the Bund on the Huangpu riverfront will offer up some of the city’s best architectural sights, both historic and contemporary.
If you have time for a museum visit, make sue to stop by the Shanghai Museum. Even if you had days to explore this impressive collection of historical Chinese artefacts, you’d still not manage to take it all in – take the pressure off, then, and enjoy having a wander around when you have some free time. For a dose of contemporary art, head to “M50“, the Moganshan Lu creative district home to galleries like ShanghART, as well as a good assortment of bars and cafes.
Great gifts: Exploring the atmospheric French Concession offers both sightseeing and shopping, which is great if you’re pressed for time. For gents’ fashions, Project Aegis Co. is a great place to visit, and you can pick up some beautiful homewares from the curated collection at Showroom. Garden Books should also feature for its superb English-language selection – perfect for any avid readers in the family.
And, if you’ve left present shopping until the very last minute, don’t dash around the city frantically searching for gifts (that way tourist traps lie). Instead, head over to the department store-style shop 10 Corso Como, which has everything from designer threads to jewellery and toys.
Going local: You can’t miss out on dumplings, no matter how busy you are with business in Shanghai. Pick up some Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings, at Jia Jia Tang Bao (90 Huanghe Road, +86 21 6327 6878), a small but much-loved (and therefore often very busy) local hotspot that offers some of the best examples of this Shanghai delicacy.
To experience Shanghai’s favourite pastime, you’ve got to warm up the old pipes and prepare to give karaoke a go. Leave your inhibitions at the door of one of the many karaoke clubs, like Haoledi KTC (there are branches all over the city), and pick your anthem. If nothing else, it’s a great way to bond with your Shanghai colleagues.
Where to break curfew: If a night of belting out karaoke isn’t your favourite way to spend an evening, there are plenty of other ways to while away the hours when lesser travellers would be sleeping. Bar Rouge, popular with locals and out-of-towners alike, has great music and talented mixologists. Or, start the night with some tapas at UNICO (from two Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco, no less) and prepare for dining to give way to dancing at this Latin soul lounge.
Feature image © hxdyl/iStock/Thinkstock
Virgin Atlantic offers direct flights to Shanghai, making it easy to book your next business trip.
Have you been on business in Shanghai? Where were some of your favourite places? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Giverny Tattersfield