A NEW WAVE: 3 HOTELS BRINGING THE CHIC TO SHANGHAI IN 2018
2018 will be a big year for Shanghai’s hotel industry. It all kicked off at the end of last year when Capella Shanghai opened; then followed Amanyangyun and Bellagio. These three hotels represent classical aesthetics and heritage.
However, what’s coming next is quite different: the upcoming wave will be about what’s creative, independent and chic.
The Sukhothai Shanghai is the second Sukhothai in the world. According to MONOCLE’s Travel Guide’s book series, the first in Bangkok is regarded as one of the best local hotels to stay at in Thailand.
The Sukhothai Bangkok opened in 1991, setting a different tone to the other international luxury brands in Bangkok housed in skyscrapers. The architecture of Sukhothai strikes a good balance between thirteenth-century, Thai-Buddhist architecture – inspired by the ancient city of Sukhothai – and modern minimalism.Nearly 30 years later, the Sukhothai has expanded to Shanghai China. In order to stay true to its unique aesthetic combining tradition and modern touches, Chinese design studio Neri&Hu took charge of the Sukhothai Shanghai’s design. The studio has contributed to a lot of hotel projects, including the likes of the Waterhouse on the Bund and the Opposite House. Highly skilled at creating calm, oriental vibes in a minimalist way, you’ll find Neri&Hu’s design features in the hotel’s 201 rooms – expect to see clean lines, spatterings of bronze, mirror reflections, stone and wood-work.
The hotel is located in a new complex that was built by the Swire Hotels and Industrial Bank. With a mall and two hotels as its neighbours, along with the fourth hotel in the House Collective, the Middle House – the hub surrounding The Sukhothai Shanghai will not only be targeting travellers–it will also embrace the creative community and engage more with the local residences surrounding it. Five restaurants and bars will deliver different types of dining experiences, including the award-winning La Scala Italian restaurant and takeaway coffee bar.
Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 Gold List handed out awards to all three of the hotels in the House Collective. It’s no wonder, then, that we are looking forward to the birth its fourth hotel, The Middle House.
Located just across from the Sukhothai Shanghai, The Middle House looks considerably less pretentious. The entrance is hidden in a bamboo grove. The whole project is made up of two buildings: one is the hotel; the other a block of residential apartments. Piero Lissoni–the designer behind the Roomers Hotel Baden-Baden and Conservatorium Hotel – is responsible for ‘façade’ concept and interior design. It will be interesting to see a designer with strong European background to play with oriental concept.
Unlike its sisters The Opposite House and The Upper House, The Middle House does not maintain a focus on natural woods: tones of dark and white dominate, probably echoing watercolour paintings in traditional Chinese culture.
The Middle House will also continue to follow in Hong Kong–based The Upper House’s footsteps by collaborating with their New York-based chef Gray Kunz to bring Café Gray Deluxe to Shanghai.
When the first house in the collective, The Opposite House, opened in Beijing in 2008, The House Collective introduced the concept of a lifestyle hotel to China. It was the first time famous designers were invited to create unique design and make hotels engage with the local community – think everything from restaurants, bars and lounges, to pop-up stores and art exhibitions. The idea behind this kind of operation was to make each venue a destination in its own right.
Surrounded by the biggest Starbucks store in the world and independent hotel Sukhothai Shanghai, we’re looking forward to seeing what kind of excitement this upcoming House could stir.
This is one of the hotels we are expecting most from this year. The works of EDITION Hotels’ designer Ian Schrager represent the locale of the international cities they reside in–and Shanghai is probably the most suitable city in China for such a design-centric endeavour.
The hotel building was once the Huadong Electrical Building, which was originally built in the 1988. Its height and unique exterior will give the hotel a conspicuous and signature look on Shanghai’s waterfront running along the west shore of the Huangpu River, the Bund.
When the news about the building’s renovation plan came out in 2015, EDITIONS Hotels wondered whether or not they would be able to stay true to the original look of the Huadong Electrical Building. But as the design of all EDITION Hotels is always one of a kind, their decision was made for them: the original design of The Shanghai EDITION’s foundations must be preserved and become part of the cool vibe the hotel would surely emanate.
The 145 guest rooms will be similar to other EDITION hotels, with dark wooden bed headboards, white gauze curtains, faux-fur throws and Le Labo amenities.
Unlike other EDITION hotels, the Shanghai property will house three restaurants. –one of which will be led by chef Jason Atherton, whose Commune Social is quite popular in Shanghai.
Nightlife is also key to EDITION’s philosophy, so there’s no surprise that there’ll be three lounge bars, an indoor nightlife venue, and two rooftop bars on-site.
Nancy Huang is Senior Features Editor for Condé Nast Traveler China.