These top hangouts are ideal for power drinks and provide world-class nightlife where Bradley Cooper and Christian Louboutin party into the early hours in the city.
It can be daunting to navigate the best destinations in China’s two major cities.
Whilst in Shanghai, a myriad of old lanes and glossy new builds stand next to charming, art deco era architecture hiding some of the most fashionable spots of the city; whilst the urban sprawl of the Chinese capital Beijing is an altogether different creature. There, grey socialist blocks give way to imposing skyscrapers and what remains of the old hutongs, but within the mix lie some stellar gems for locals and visitors alike.
This tranquil hotel is in the north of Beijing and so exclusive that it has it’s own entrance into the Imperial Summer Palace gardens. The hotel’s elegant traditional architecture is inspired by the aristocratic siheyuan courtyard houses characteristic of China’s dynastic eras. Lush weeping willows and traditional pavilions frame a small lake.
The whole property appears a romantic simulation of ancient China, though serviced (as with most Aman properties) to an impeccable international standard. Chinese cinema stars Daniel Wu and AngelaBaby have filmed there and it’s hosted the likes of Rosamund Pike, Kate Moss and Pippa Middleton.
Address: 1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace, Beijing, China.
Tel: +86 1059879999
A huge swarth of chainmail curtain cuts across the cool, light flooded interior of the Opposite House hotel in Beijing’s lively, commercial Sanlitun area. Designed by Kengo Kuma, the geometric cubed glass exterior is one of the area’s most famous landmarks, and interiors fuse contemporary minimalism with Chinese design elements.
Hip and happening, the bar and lounges here become a fashionable, go-to hangout for visiting crews, producers, designers and stars like Rebel Wilson, David Beckham, Blake Lively and designer Paul Smith.
Address: Building 1 No 11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China. Tel: +86 10 6417 6688
Tall, sweeping, lit up archways and dimmed cozy lighting make this a setting for Beijing’s bold and beautiful. Featuring as an art space in daytimes, at night the crowd includes the creative elite come and those who come wanting to rub shoulders with them. A fantastically comprehensive bar means a selection of impressive cocktails in this achingly glamorous yet laid back space.
Address: Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.
Housed in a 1921 Twin Villas heritage building off a busy commercial street, this exclusive private members club is home to Shanghai’s well-heeled elite and visiting VIPs. Sister property to the Hong Kong club of same name, the Shanghai KEE Club’s salon style bar, restaurant and lounge has the ultimate in old world charm, mixing stylish celebrities, the city’s old money set with a smattering of nouveau riche. Celebrating its birthday this month (SUBS: Oct), KEE Club’s scene remains one of the most interesting in the city after 8 years, and full of power players.
Address: 796 Huaihai Middle Rd, HuaiHai Lu ZhongDuan, Lu Wan Qu, Shanghai, China. Tel: +86 21 3395 0888
Decades ago this gorgeous old building has housed the British, Vietnamese and Russian Embassies. Today, it’s a time warp to bygone eras, and a peaceful sanctuary in the diplomatic district. A curving candle lit pathway leads to one of Shanghai’s most eclectically decorated villas, housing a treasure trove of fine antiques and quirky vintage. Sip cocktails in the courtyard garden amongst ancient pine and maple trees.
There’s a charm to the slightly weatherworn eccentricity of Yongfoo Elite, which has captured so many film and media types over the years. The restaurant serves gourmet Shanghainese cuisine taken from traditional recipes of local aristocratic families – and just became of one of seven restaurants to receive two Michelin stars in city’s first Michelin guide.
Address: 200 Yongfu Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai, China. Tel: +86 21 5466 2727
China’s Le Baron (sister to the cult Parisian nightclub) opened almost exactly two years ago, and remains deserving of its reputation as the place to be seen in Shanghai. With a stylish mix of chic, wealthy locals, in-the-know expats and the fashion set; this is where Liu Wen, Christian Louboutin, Orlando Bloom and Bradley Cooper party into the early hours when in the city.
Music here, unlike many Chinese nightclubs, is world class, with a long and enviable line up of visiting international DJs and musicians. A strict, guest list only door policy means that unless you book a table, it’s best that you know somebody who knows somebody before attempting entry.
Address: 20 Donghu Lu. 7/F, Shanghai, China. Tel: +86 2154245181