The latest EDITION Hotel has officially opened its doors, this time in Shanghai. The Shanghai EDITION is the cherry on top for a city that has seen its powerful growth manifest into becoming one of the most vibrant cultural hubs in Asia. It’s also a milestone along Shanghai’s path to becoming a global lifestyle capital.
The boutique hotel brand, conceived by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International, finds its place right in the pulsing heart of Shanghai, on Nanjing Road, the iconic shopping street a few meters away from the Bund. The venue spreads across both Shanghai Power Company’s headquarters, built in 1929, and a new skyscraper that houses the 145 guest rooms of the hotel. Altogether, it’s a successful fusion of local heritage and contemporary design, perfectly matching the identity of the city.
The venue acts as a microcosm of Shanghai’s best offerings in terms of leisure, nightlife and fine dining. It was the city’s vibrant social scene that inspired Schrager to develop the concept behind the hotel. “Here I can feel the excitement and the energy in the air, the intensity of the people, and the idea is to stay tuned to that and try to catch that DNA of the people of Shanghai,” he explains at the hotel’s opening. “This is a hotel not only for visitors of Shanghai; this is a hotel for the people of Shanghai, because when somebody comes to a city they want to go to those places that people in the know of that city go to. And I think that when you mix all of that—the entertainment, the program, the aesthetics, the service—an alchemy happens, an inexplicable magic happens.”
Upon entering the hotel, it’s clear that you have crossed a gate into a world that offers both celebration and pampering. While the check-in area lies discreetly nestled on the right side of the entrance, the Lobby Bar is the first sight, a layout in line with Schrager’s philosophy that the lobby is “a new kind of gathering place.” From the center of a wood coffered ceiling, a glowing sphere by French designer Eric Schmitt hangs elegantly like a piece of jewelry in the middle of it all. The bespoke plaster relief artwork behind the bar elegantly hints at old Shanghai’s typical carvings which you can find in the few Shikumen (stone-gated houses) that remain in the city.
The lobby extends into a 9.5-meter-high gray stone walled room, an entrance to the old building and to a full array of dining and drinking options. Beginning with star chef Jason Atherton’s brasserie, Shanghai Tavern on the ground level, every floor is full of surprises. There’s traditional Cantonese cuisine at Canton Disco, stunning views of the city from HIYA (the Japanese restaurant designed by Neri & Hu) and a rooftop garden offering a unique panoramic view on the Huangpu river and Pudong’s glittering skyline. There’s also Electric Circus, a club and VIP lounge conceived in the Studio 54 tradition, and the sophisticated cocktail lounge, Punch Room.
As Schrager points out, “We don’t go by demographics and we don’t go by marketing studies or statistics, and we don’t design hotels for millennials. We’re appealing to a sensibility and that cuts across all ages, all strata of wealth or territorial lines. All that doesn’t matter, it either resonates with you or it doesn’t. We have a specific look, we have to be true to ourself, and we like things that are really really simple and really refined and pared down—not minimal but simple.” This mentality was already applied to the Sanya EDITION in China, where it was of equal success.
Along with the lavish entertainment options, the refined simplicity of the hotel’s accommodation options is definitely one of the features which makes the Shanghai EDITION stand out. They yield a luxuriant but cozy experience. Bedrooms are clad in light oak, carefully selected textiles, opaque glass doors and screens that diffuse natural light on the white marbles of the bathrooms. Tiny details such as the little food delicacies awaiting guests to spoil their palate as they just arrive, can make anyone’s stay quite unforgettable. It’s no wonder the place earned fame even before the official opening.
Rooms, which start at $240 per night, can be booked online.
Images by Alessandro De Toni