Editors' Picks

Capella Shanghai

Live like a local in 1930s Shanghai

480 West Jianguo Road., Shanghai 200031

+86 21 5466 6688

See Website

At a Glance

No hotel in Shanghai captures the imagination quite like Capella, a group of lovingly restored shikumen buildings that feature an innovative blend of East and West.

Indagare Loves

  • Exquisitely preserved shikumen buildings, evocative of colonial Shanghai
  • The cutting-edge spa with Hypoxi machines, a salt room and flotation tanks
  • Intimate yet spacious townhouse accommodations


Of China’s major cities, only Shanghai evokes an old-world, European glamour, largely due to its expat communities of the early 20th century. Today there are few vestiges of that Western influence left. In that regard, it was a coup for Capella to acquire the last remaining cluster of shikumen (stone gate) townhouses in the former French Concession and transform them into an atmospheric boutique hotel. Staying here feels like living like an expat, circa 1930.

This stunning, all-villa hotel is comprised of 55 villas spread over three lanes, plus 40 residences for guests staying for a year or more. The entire property, from top to bottom, is a throwback to colonial Shanghai, when the city was known as the Paris of the East. Each villa has five floors, consisting typically of a foyer and dining area, a sitting room, bedroom and main bathroom, plus a small roof terrace. Note these terraces involve a fair number of steps, so it’s not suitable for anyone with mobility issues.

While much of the property is imbued with Old World romance, the hotel’s spa is cutting edge. Capella’s branded spa concept, Auriga Spa, is based on principles of traditional Chinese medicine, targeting qi (life force) movement, weight management, sleep quality and pain management. Apart from regular bodywork, the spa features Hypoxi machines, which are meant to triple the user’s fat-burning capabilities; a salt room and two flotation tanks.

Capella has an elegant French restaurant and bakery, le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire, where guests enjoy breakfast with views of the hotel’s charming tree-lined street.

Who Should Stay

Boutique hotel lovers will adore this unique property, where one feels like an expat in the French Concession.

Who Should Not Stay

First-time visitors to Shanghai wanting an iconic view of the Bund and the Huangpu River will prefer The Peninsula. The villa’s multi-level layout is not ideal for anyone with mobility issues.

Written by Janine Yu

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