36 hours in the Real Shanghai

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai Package

    

As a growing hot bed of fashion, art, music, (finance) and design, Shanghai is China's superstar megametropolis of 20 million inhabitants. This is where the money is and you need only look to its space-age skyline for proof. Staying at the Waldorf Astoria on the elegant Colonial styled Bund we'll take you on a culinary, design, and all round cosmopolitan yet 'local's' adventure.

Epicurean escapades, local adventures,  Waldorf Astoria elegance... ALL inclusive!

Without question the best way to discover Shanghai is on foot and our '36 hours in The Real Shanghai' itinerary is an adventure into the city's 'golden age' of art deco and the boom era of the 30s, boutique shopping and design, food and drink experiences (from legendary noodle to high end cocktail bars) you'll be writing home about - and it is perfectly complimented with the luxury of the  Waldorf Astoria. Our package deliberately incorporates this landmark hotel for it's position on the Bund Promenade taking in the city's  striking river-side vantage of modern skyscrapers and iconic landmarks, well appointed rooms to die for and the fabulous inhouse Long Bar satisfying our penchant for brilliant cocktails and French Oysters. 

 

Inclusive in the '36 hours' Package at the Waldorf Astoria we'll take you on a special version of either our daytime Insider's Shanghai orientation covering secret and major sites, from art deco monuments and interiors, colonial extravagance, insights into the Middle Kingdom, private galleries, boutique designers, and lunch at a wine bar, or our 'Insider's' nightlife adventure discovering labyrinthine backalleys amidst the traditional 'shikumen', cocktail bars, street stalls and food, and what's hot about town after dark!

 

The Waldorf Astoria is perfectly located amidst all that's happening about Shanghai, from famous museums and galleries to local cafes and restaurants renowned for their delicacies, the hubbub of Nanjing Road, even the beautiful Yu Garden is just around the corner. We're all about 'experiences' and paticularly those involving eating and drinking, so to give you a head's start we're sharing some of our favourite tips (below) on what we like to do and where we like to go, either tell your guide or discover some of these 'must dos' on your own!

 

Sights, sounds, tastes, some of our 'Insider' tips for your stay ...

Would you like to see, smell, taste or imbibe at some of these incredible places below when you join our 'Insider' guide - just let us know, we're here to make it your '36 hours in' and a truly real Shanghai experience!

 

The best place for dumblings


Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
The famed, maddeningly good Shanghainese dumplings are known as xiao long bao, and are filled with pork and searingly hot soup. Yes you'll burn your tongue and spray the fabulous, fatty juice all over your shirt. It's all part of the experience! Din Tai Fung, is set well away from the usual tourist haunts, but they have a branch in Xintiandi, the swish rejuvenated dining precinct in the French Concession. Originally from Taiwan, Din Tai Fung specialises in a modern, more elegant version of Shanghainese classics. An army of red-capped, facemask-wearing cooks hand-roll the pale wheat dumpling skins, smear them with pork and pleat the top so they look like elegant moneybags. When they're steamed they emerge as the finest of dumplings, their soupy filling heavy in the base. You pluck them carefully from their bamboo abode, roll them in Zhenjiang black vinegar, and attempt to eat. It's a hit of fragrant, sticky pork, sweet fatty juices and silken dumpling skin.


Located at the South Block, Xintiandi, Lane 123, Xinye Rd. Simply ask us to make a reservation here.

 

Art deco jewel


Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation headquarters

Staying at the Waldorf Astoria allows you to begin your meanderings at the Bund, "one of the most striking and beautiful civic entrances in the world" according to a 1930's guidebook, just as visitors of old would have done after arriving by steamer up the Huangpu River. Its grand sweep of neoclassical and Beaux-Arts monuments remains a striking statement of corporate vanity - even though most of the original inhabitants have long since departed, sent packing by the Communists.

 

The most ostentatious tenant is the 1923 Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation headquarters, a grand folly of columns and domes designed to eclipse its neighbours. Now a Chinese bank, its foyer is open daily for visitors to admire the ceiling frescoes realised by imported Italian craftsmen, and the opulent dome crowned with a mosaic of Ceres, Roman goddess of abundance. The HSBC architects couldn't have picked a more apt figurehead for modern Shanghai, now the biggest city in the world's fastest growing economy.


Join our day time orientation and our local experts will take you to some of the best period foyers and vantage points over the now famous Shanghai skyline and the Bund.

 

Past meets present, historical hubs ...


From Pudong's skyline to the shikumen
It is staggering to consider that 80 per cent of "old" Shanghai has been razed and rebuilt since the mid-1990s. Pudong, the jaw droppingly futuristic new CBD on the Huangpu's east bank, is a compelling case in point. Its first superstructure, the Oriental Pearl, or Space Tower, went up in 1995. Fifteen years later, this former industrial zone houses hundreds of skyscrapers, including the current third- and sixth-tallest buildings on earth.

 

Traditional "shikumen" terrace houses of former slums Xintiandi (New Heaven on Earth) and Tianzifang have been reborn as boutique villages of cafés and galleries patronised by the local bourgeoisie.They are only remarkable today because they were spared the wrecker's ball and preserved for posterity. Their attraction is summed up in a quote about the redevelopment at the Shikumen Open House Museum in Xintiandi: "Older people find it nostalgic, younger people find it trendy. Foreigners find it Chinese and Chinese find it foreign."

 

 

  

The French Concession, wine bars, high street shopping, cocktails


Globus Wine Bar

Not so long ago, finding a decent glass of wine anywhere in China was a tough ask. Wine was traditionally the reserve of the upper class and many of Shanghai’s better restaurants boasted limited and pricey selections. But times have changed, and as interest in wine has grown over the past decade, particularly within the younger generation, a wave of new wine bars, wine shops and savvy wine professionals have sprung to life, offering consumers wide-reaching selections from right around the globe and expertise to match.

 

One of our favourites is the Globus Wine Cellar (Ferguson Lane, 376 Wukang Lu, near Hunan Lu), one of Shanghai’s first serious wine destinations and today remains among the best. Part wine shop, part wine bar, Globus boasts more than 300 bins from around the world, plenty of which are offered by the glass. A stellar range of Champagne is an obvious highlight.

 

The French Concession, high end shopping, the Glamour Bar

French Concession, has gone through a rapid period of regentrification. Having been an international settlement during the early part of the 20th century, today the Concession is home to an ever-increasing number of cafes, bars and galleries. As a result, many an expat and well-heeled Shanghainese choose to call the French Concession home.

 

With such a massive amount of money flowing into Shanghai, high-end stores are everywhere, and the best place to flex your credit card is on The Bund. As noted The Bund is home to a range of historically significant buildings of various architectural styles. Within them you will find the likes of Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and all the other usual suspects that you tend to find in luxury shopping precincts.

 

In our books a much better way to part with your money on The Bund is to head for Building No 5, and take the express elevator to the top floor. Here you will find the aptly named Glamour Bar (No 5 Zhongshan Rd, Huangpu), a cavernous warehouse-like space with a quirky, decadent interior serving up some of the city’s best views with killer cocktails to match.

 

For reservations just let us know here!

 

 

 

  
Insider Experiences & Highlights:
 

Shanghai is a juxtaposition of futuristic glass and steel, colonial elegance, traditional  'shikumen' terraced houses, high end stores, exciting local design, galleries, memorable food and drink experiences... the options in this city are near endless. Yet Shanghai is still light on English speakers, so we're here to help you discover the best of what it has to offer and venture off the beaten track with key highlights over a '36 hours in' package itinerary ... be prepared to be 'wowed'!

 

Our '36 hours in' package provides brilliant value coupling staying at one of the world's landmark hotels, the Waldorf Astoria, and an exciting 'local's orientation' with our 'Insider' guides. We're all about real experiences, far removed from the tourists yet taking in the key sites along the way. This might include joining 'Shanghainese' to practice tai chi or qigong in the early morn, or, night time cocktails at some of our favourite bars with spectacular evening views onto the dramatic skyline, strolling about quaint alleys and lanes with boutique stores, noodle kitchens and galleries you'd never find alone – it's a perfect adventure! Depending on whether you'd like to join us for an outing during the day time or evening we'll arrange one of our fantastic local experts to meet your interests - if from art history, architecture, food and wine, design and heritage or a mixture of each - you'll enjoy a real Shanghai experience. 

 

Who are our local 'Insider' Guides? They are a mixture of journalists, architects, fashion designers, beer and wine aficionados, and others - all compelling, fun, professional and highly informed!

 

Inclusions:
 

Waldorf Astoria Hotel room for two and guided 'local's orientation' / activity of choice as well as - where applicable - Museum & Heritage Buildings' Entrances.

 

Activity Duration: Approx. 4 hours
 
Meeting Point:
 

Collection directly from the foyer.

    
Getting there:


See our partner airlines Cathay Pacific or QANTAS who have regular flights to Shanghai on a daily basis from all major hubs. Full details from travel agents or the Cathay website or QANTAS website where special fares are often available.

 


We're offering a discounted room rate with our special day or after dark Orientation activity all inclusive - limited rooms are available at these rates. Save over $80 USD off our normal seasons rates!

 

For direct information on the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai click > here

 

To secure the 36 hour package inclusive this room and activity rate inclusive ask us and book now! 

 

We also include complimentary access to the Library Lounge. 'The Library' serves as a venue for guests to catch up on their emails or unwind over the evening news. Guests can also meet up with their business associates for a casual chat or quick update on the latest business plans. Beverages including coffee, tea, select drinks and canapés available over the whole day. Enjoy in style!

 

(The Library is pictured above in the main image.)

        

Shanghai Waldorf Astoria

Best Authentic Dining Experience 


Chun
A modest four-table restaurant serving up better than homestyle Shanghainese tucker. No English is spoken and that makes it a lot more fun! This is in our opinion the best place to get a taste of Shanghainese - its is really just a miniscule diner, nicely tucked away  in the French Concession, the owner Ya Ya will let you know what time you'll come, what you'll have, how fast you should eat, and how much you should pay, with no hint of a menu. All in Chinese. The elegant simplicity of river prawns wok-tossed with a hint of sugar is wonderful, as is the depth of flavour in a chicken, cloud ear and bamboo shoot soup. If you get to try the pomfret fish with a thick sweet soy sauce you'll be in luck - delicious! As for décor, it's a clean, wood-panelled space with nothing much apart from the four tables to fill it.

 

Located at 124 Jinxian Lu, Shanghai, +86 21 6256 0301 or simply ask us to book it for you here.

 

The Delightful Yuyuan Gardens ... and dumplings worth waiting for! 

 

The Yu or Yuyuan Gardens
The Yu or Yuyuan Gardens are exquisite and really worth a visit, especially as they're located close by the Waldorf Astoria. Conceived in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yunduan as a comfort for his ageing father, the garden was the largest and most prestigious of its era in Shanghai, but ironically its upkeep and expense helped ruin the family! During the First Opium War, the British army used the Huxinting Teahouse as a base of operations, and in the Taiping Rebellion, the Small Swords Society ran its headquarters in the Dianchun Hall; by the time Qing troops recovered the garden, the original structures had nearly all been destroyed. They were damaged again by the Japanese in 1942 before being repaired by the Shanghai government and declared a national monument in 1982.


Today you'll find probably the most famous dumplings in Shanghai served in the majestic Old Town restaurant of Nanxiang at the Yuyuan Gardens. How famous you may ask? You might - on a given day - line up for an hour at the takeaway counter for a single serve; 16 of their famed buns. Inside a glassed cube, chefs in hats that look like inverted dumplings can be seen relentlessly rolling and filling dough. These are rustic, old-style dumplings with thick, hunger-curbing skins and a rich porky filling. Brilliant!
 

Just ask your guide what you'd like to do and we'll be delighted to share our considerable historical insights, culinary adventures, introduce you to local architects and designers, hit the best stores and bars about town - it is all in the name, we're about you experiencing 'the real Shanghai'!


 

 

  

t. China Phone (Chinese 中文): (+86) - 106-462-9276

t. China Phone (English): (+86) - 173-108-16461

e. reservations@variarts.com

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