The Four Seasons At Pudong vs. Four Seasons Shanghai vs. The Peninsula Shanghai vs. Mandarin Oriental are often considered the best four luxury hotels in Shanghai, but which is best?
We think that the best luxury hotel overall is the Peninsula and the Four Seasons Pudong. They are hard to choose between. Next up is the Mandarin Oriental, and finally, the Four Seasons Shanghai comes in at the bottom.
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When to Visit?
Whichever hotel you choose to visit, Four Seasons At Pudong vs. Four Seasons Shanghai vs. The Peninsula Shanghai vs. Mandarin Oriental, it is worth paying attention to the weather as it can be pretty ropey in Shangai. Shanghai weather is generally mild and moist, with four main seasons: a pleasant warm spring, a hot, rainy summer, a pleasant cool autumn, and an overcast cold winter. The region’s location at the estuary of the Yangtze River to the East China Sea makes it so wet that it rains for about one-third of the year. The hottest time here comes in July and August, with more than 10 days at temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F). The coldest time is from late January to early February. The spring from March to May is recommended as the best time to pay a visit.
The best located of these four luxury hotels for tourists, families, and couples traveling to Shanghai is the Peninsula located on the Bund. If you are in Shanghai on vacation, this is a great and lively location and ideal for sightseeing.
If you want to be in Pudong, the business district, try the Four Seasons Pudong, which arguably also has one of the best locations in Shanghai, with the best views in Pudong.
The Four Seasons Shanghai also has a great location in the lively Century Avenue area. There are lots of good places to eat in the surrounding area.
The worst location of the four hotels is the Mandarin Oriental, located in an uninteresting and depressing area of Pudong, by the river. While business travelers may love the location, it is not the most central hotel for leisure travelers since a lot of the sightseeing action takes place around the Bund across the river and where the Peninsula is located.
The name of this location is new Harbour City development, a skyscraper-dotted expanse of green in the heart of Pudong’s growing financial district, just minutes away from Shanghai IFC and the Shanghai World Financial Centre. Even though this is a great luxury hotel in other ways, the views can be bland and depressing from this hotel. River views sound glamorous and exciting, but, given the smog and the surroundings, some river views are just that. The brown river is pretty much all you can see.
Rooms at the Four Seasons Pudong are very thoughtfully designed and are our top pick. They are excellent. Electrical outlets are where you need them, and there is a power strip at the desk, there’s a double basin in the bathroom, which makes the bathroom ideal for two, and there’s a great walk-in shower. The Junior Suite is the accommodation to pick if you want the best from the Four Seasons Pudong. Corner rooms are also a great choice and have an open plan layout, great for longer stays or with a significant other/travel partner.
The Mandarin Oriental rooms are also very good. Slightly smaller than the Four Seasons, and the bathroom has sliding doors, which, if left open, means you are visible to most of the room from inside the bathroom. I like this open-plan open bathroom design, but not everyone will. Rooms offer a river view, but this is not always a good thing. From some, all you can see is the rather bland river.
The rooms at the Peninsula are excellent too, but those at the Four Seasons Shanghai are not quite as good with a much more traditional decor that feels dated. These are the least attractive rooms, in my humble opinion.
The complimentary internet at both Four Seasons hotels is decent, and there is an option to pay for premium access which is faster. There are no problems accessing Google, etc., from both the Four Seasons and from the Park Hyatt, for that matter, which is also a great luxury hotel option in Beijing. The Mandarin Oriental and Peninsula’s internet is not usually as good.
The pool at the Four Seasons Shanghai At Pudong is amazing and pictured above. Pretty unbeatable worldwide, for sheer, glorious luxury and incredible views. The Mandarin Oriental has a superb pool, but it is downstairs, so it doesn’t offer this amazing view. The more Four Seasons in the center of Shanghai also has a pool in the sky with views, but the design is traditional and a bit boring. It doesn’t make you feel like a rockstar! The Peninsula pool is similarly traditional in design and, again, doesn’t have the Joie de Vivre of the pool at the Four Seasons at Pudong.
The Peninsula doesn’t have a club lounge. Four Seasons Shanghai and Four Seasons at Pudong both have great club lounges with great spreads of food and views. I prefer the Pudong lounge as I like the modern feel. The Mandarin Oriental also has an excellent Club lounge, and all three of these club lounges feature in my best club lounges in Shanghai. If you want a hotel with a club lounge, don’t book into the Peninsula.
The Four Seasons Shanghai At Pudong offers a truly spectacular breakfast spread across three different rooms. It can’t be beaten, although, in all honesty, the breakfast on offer at all four of these luxury hotels is out of this world. You really can’t go wrong.
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, centered around an enclosed landscaped garden, is a highlight. Sandy-colored marble, pale oak wood floors, and butterfly motifs throughout creating a tranquil atmosphere and chic design. The Spa has 13 spa suites, including two couple’s suites and two VIP suites. There is also a crystal steam room, tepidarium chairs, aroma experience showers, sauna, and ice fountains. Treatments are excellent, but it is the tranquil surroundings that give this spa the top spot when choosing between these four luxury hotels.
The Langham is a great choice with a club lounge and lots of great restaurants. The Ruijin InterContinental offers a very peaceful setting, almost like you’re not in the city, and it’s in the heart of the former French Concession area, which is one of the best districts in Shanghai. Tourists tend to head to the Bund area, where The Peninsula, Fairmont Peace Hotel, and Waldorf are located. You may or may not want to be near or far from these crowds.
Amanyangyun is another option with a good spa, a 57-meter outdoor pool and an indoor pool, a cultural center (with lots of activities like calligraphy, meditation, and so on), gorgeous, modern hotel rooms. The problem with this hotel is that it has no real sights to see nearby and is a 1-2 hrs drive from downtown Shanghai. Much like Amanemu in Shima, Japan, this is a beautiful spa and wedding destination resort, but it is not convenient for exploring Shanghai itself.
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