Water embodies winter, a season of stillness and rest. Yet it's a highly concentrated element, full of great potential and energy awaiting release.
Three On the Bund
This watershed development resurrected the reputation of the Bund, or waterfront, as the milieu for the moneyed set. With Armani's flagship China store, the Evian Spa, and restaurants by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, David Laris, and Jereme Leung, this dining and shopping destination has become Shanghai's premier address and boasts enough star power to equal the lights illuminating the mile-long Bund. 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, 011-8621-6323-3355, www.threeonthebund.com.
Shanghai is a city that works hard and plays hard. It's no surprise, then, that its spa scene has blossomed in recent years. Evian Spa sets the standard for sybaritic bliss, with a Zen-garden-like atrium and supple white leather Eames chairs in the relaxation room. The minimalist white-and-glass palette of the 14 treatment rooms symbolizes the purity of Evian water, which is used in the spa's teas and several treatments. 2/F, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, 011-8621-6321-6622, www.threeonthebund.com.
Propaganda Poster Art Center
Propaganda posters spread party-line messages to the masses from the 1950s through the '70s. Millions of posters were printed, but scant hundreds exist today. Yang Pei Ming has made it his personal mission to preserve these posters before their artistic and historic lessons are lost to posterity. His personal collection of 3,000 provides the basis for the Art Center, the only propaganda-poster museum in China. 868 Huashan Lu, Room BOC, 011-8621-6211-1845.
The Pudong Shangri-La's new tower has cemented this riverside property's popularity with business travelers. Spacious rooms have oversize desks with broadband and fax machines and unparalleled Bund views. The Adam Tihany-designed Jade on 36 Restaurant & Bar pushes the culinary creative envelope, while Yi Café offers an extraordinary daily buffet. The Chi Spa's 11 suites are sinfully indulgent, with huge soaking tubs and treatments drawing upon the five elements of qi. 33 Fu Cheng Lu, Pudong, 011-8621-6882-8888, www.shangri-la.com.
Wang Bao He
Shanghai's culinary delicacy is hairy crab, served in all its glory at Wang Bao He. The restaurant, dating to 1744, is Old Shanghai, its decor all wood with red accents. But the big wheels who keep New Shanghai turning fill the private dining rooms, toasting deals over the restaurant's 50-odd crab dishes and potent Shaoxing wine. 603 Fuzhou Lu, 011-8621-6322-3673.