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Shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai's shopping scene befits its economic status and the city boasts easily the best shopping on mainland China.

Key areas

High-end retail outlets such as Plaza 66 on Nanjing Lu, Three on the Bund and Bund 18 complement Nanjing Xi Lu's status as Shanghai's Fifth Avenue. You can find super-cool boutique clothes outlets, art galleries and design stores at Xintiandi, Xinle Lu, Fuxing Lu, Taikang Lu and Changle Lu.

Markets

For tacky tourist memorabilia, nowhere can beat the Old Town area around Yu Yuan Gardens and Bazaar. Try Old Street or Dongtai Road Antiques Market. The most uniquely regional ware from Shanghai is the local blue cloth, patterned in blue and white and similar to batik cloth. The Chinese Printed Blue Nankeen Exhibition Hall, at 24, Lane 637, Changle Lu, is open daily 0900-1630, and is the highest quality producer of this. You can buy beautiful Suzhou-style ladies' silk slippers in hand-woven patterns at Suzhou Cobblers, 17 Fuzhou Lu (near the Bund). Good-quality Chinese porcelain with hand-painted modern designs is available from Spin, Building 3, Lane 758 Julu Lu (near Fumin Lu), 1200-2200. Hu & Hu Antiques, 1685 Wuzhong Lu, by Laohongjing Lu, is a little way out of town, but is Shanghai's most reputable collector, restorer and vendor of genuine Chinese antiques.

Shopping centres

Parkson on Shaanxi Lu, typifies the international-style department stores in the former French Concession area. Further out of town, hypermarkets and mega-malls are sprouting on typically Chinese scale, with Ikea, B&Q, Wal-Mart and Carrefour operating huge premises.

Opening hours

Usual shopping hours in Shanghai are 1000-2200.

Tax information

VAT is charged at 17%, which cannot be reclaimed upon departure.

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Featured Hotels

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Quintet

In the heart of the French Concession, the spotless rooms, great service and attention to detail at Quintet has been winning over visitors. As the name suggests, there are just five rooms, each individually designed to a standard you’d expect from pricier stays. The staff are super friendly too, with a wealth of knowledge about the area.

The Waterhouse at South Bund

Once a dockyard factory, The Waterhouse is now one of Shanghai’s sharpest boutique hotels. Lavish furnishings and the odd nod to the city’s shipping heritage offset its industrial chic. There are just 19 rooms, 11 of which are suites. Thanks to its location, views across the river to Pudong are stunning whichever one you bed up in.

Magnolia Bed & Breakfast

This cosy little bed and breakfast located in a 1930s French Concession home has art deco features as well as modern comfort and design. There are only five rooms so book well in advance.

Fairmont Peace Hotel

After more than three years of renovations, Shanghai’s definitive art deco building reopened in 2010 under the direction of the Fairmont group. The main challenge in modernising the building was balancing out the architectural integrity of its history with the need to upgrade a building that was not originally designed to be a hotel. Connoisseurs of old Shanghai will be pleased to know that the famous antediluvian jazz band is back in action.

Mansion Hotel

Combining historic charm and modern luxury like no other Shanghai hotel, this truly exceptional stay is housed in a beautiful 1930s building and was originally the residence and office of a trio of Shanghai gangsters. The lobby, corridors and even the rooms are filled with 20th-century memorabilia, but there's exquisite luxury too with super-soft carpets, beautifully upholstered wood furniture, big-screen satellite TVs, Wi-Fi and private Jacuzzis.

Pudi Boutique Hotel

This exquisite 52-room boutique hotel in Shanghai has trendy, ultra-modern rooms, professional staff and an elite, but accessible, atmosphere. The interior is super stylish and alluringly dark hued, while rooms are beautifully attired and spacious.