Luckily, there is a very pleasant and little-known alternative to be found on the 87th floor of the JinMao Tower, the top floor of the Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel which resides within it. Here, complete with huge futuristic columns, steel girders and a 360° view of the surrounding city, lies the opulent magnificence of Cloud 9, the Hyatt hotel’s stunning skybar. For only the price of your drinks (which, business travel to China admittedly, are not cheap), you can seek your way to the top of the tower, navigating three elevator changes designed to keep the enigmatic bar as exclusive as possible, and marvel at the sparkling city below, cocktail in hand, through the ubiquitous floor-to-ceiling windows. If you enjoy a classy beverage, a good view, and being surrounded by Shanghai’s elite - the surrounding tables are usually occupied by high-flying businessmen, gossiping socialites and twenty-something trust fund babies - then this is the place for you.
3. People’s Square and the Huasheng Metro shopping mall beneath
You might expect the People’s Square in Shanghai to be that little bit more impressive than its less eminent counterparts China tours throughout China. On the contrary, it is little more than a large, tree-covered park, a green oasis in the midst of towering steel, home to a small oriental garden, a miniature fun fair, Shanghai Art Museum and the station at the crux of the city’s metro system. Nice though it is, the square’s real distinctiveness stems instead, for me, from the sprawling yet initially invisible shopping mall which lies beneath it.
Accessible from the metro station itself, the mall occupies two underground floors filled with glass-walled boutique after boutique, selling a bountiful variety of clothes, shoes and accessories, all perfectly decent quality, at ridiculously low and endlessly haggle-able prices. Even for a shopaphobe like me, this place is pretty special - perhaps for the very reason that, eventually, you’re guaranteed to find exactly what you’re after at not a Jiao more than you’re prepared to spend. How refreshing, after being surrounded by the hopelessly expensive designer brands of Nanjing road, to be able to actually purchase the handbag or tank top for which your heart yearns! And, best of all, when you’re wilting under the weight of shopping bags and ready for refreshment, the Café Du Metro lies waiting - a small, velvet-seated sanctuary plucked right from the streets of Montmartre, owned by a Frenchman named Frank and tucked away in a back corner of the upper floor (near to Yangtze River cruises exit 10), ever-ready with French espresso, crisp Chardonnay, and complementary cups of chocolate mousse.
Welcome to FC2!