Where we discovered the ancient past and modern present in Shanghai
Donghu Hotel (moderate)
Some people, even the most jaded New Yorkers, may find themselves overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. Luckily for them, there's the Donghu, a cluster of accommodations that are situated along a peaceful stretch of road in the historic yet trendy French Concession district.
Super 8 Feng Ye (inexpensive)
After upping its presence in China in preparation for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Super 8 is now the country's largest foreign operator of economy hotels. This, a new outpost in Shanghai, is fresh, clean, and comfortable; is within walking distance of the popular Bund district; and includes several two-story guest rooms that will remind you of the small studio apartment you lived in right out of college.
Lu Bo Lang (moderate)
Annie: “We’ll have dim sum in Chinatown.” Walter: “Is there wheat in it?” So goes a scene from 1993’s memorable Sleepless in Seattle. But where she really should have taken him for good dim sum is to this three-story, state-owned eatery in Shanghai’s Old Chinese City. Fans of its dumplings (everything from sea cucumber with shrimp roe to shredded-turnip shortcake) reportedly include Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton.
New Heights (moderate to expensive)
While its name refers not to its food but to its panoramic perch atop the Three on the Bund building (gloriously redesigned by Michael Graves), New Heights will tempt your taste buds with a menu packed with Eastern and Western bistro-style dishes such as bamboo-and-pork spicy noodle soup and the rib eye with home fries sprinkled with rosemary rock salt.
Huxin Ting Teahouse
Huxin Ting’s entire neighborhood is a throwback to the traditions of ancient China, none of them perhaps more sacred than a good cup of tea. Make sure you get here early in order to grab a seat by the window, where you can sit and let the flavor of the tea leaves, the wafting scent of jasmine, the view of the surrounding gardens, and the soothing sounds of classical Chinese rhythms take you back in time.
If, like Ed Norton, you’re a fan of great art, make a point to seek out this burgeoning arts district. (M50 can be a little tricky to find; tell your cab driver you want to go to 50 Moganshan Road.) Here, the contemporary musings on canvas of Xue Song, oversize abstracts of Ding Yi, and works of more than 100 other artists are brought to light in refashioned factories and warehouses, often works of art in themselves.