As one of the world’s most populous cities and a global financial hub, Shanghai is currently enjoying its own cultural renaissance. Shanghai’s artistic community is thriving as an influx of art, media, design, and fashion professionals gradually flock to the city. Shanghai is China’s largest metropolitan area, with over 24 million people calling the city home, and it is becoming increasingly more diverse each day. Since Shanghai has seen this cultural boom, there has been new interest from residents and visitors from all corners of the globe.
Shanghai’s tourism industry is slowly seeing the same upswing as is its financial and creative industries. Although the city is becoming more popular as a tourist destination, business travel continues to dominate Shanghai’s hospitality industry. For this reason, it can be quite tricky for leisure travelers to find accommodation that do not include convention centers crammed with professionals and conferences.
However, there are more hotels making strides for tourists. The House Collective is one luxury hotel group that recognized the absence of smaller-scale accommodation and has sought to revolutionize the way travelers can experience China’s booming cities. The Middle House in Shanghai is their newest opening. It is unparalleled in its status as a small-scale, luxury hotel — The Middle House has forgone the traditional large-scale, all-purpose hotel aimed at a broad clientele, in exchange for a scaled-down and intimate experience.
Brian Williams, Deputy Chairman of Swire Hotels, the parent company of The House Collective, shared with us his thoughts on the opening of The Middle House and its strategic location in Shanghai. “Shanghai is a city you can’t ignore in China ― it’s a dynamic city,” he says. “It’s the center for the music, media, fashion, and entertainment industries of China.” Within Shanghai, The Middle House is located in Jing’an, one of Shanghai’s trendiest districts.
Close by, you’ll find Nanjing Road, one of the main streets leading up to People’s Square, an epicenter of culture and activity in the city. The surrounding area also boasts a great nightlife scene with many options for entertainment, bars, restaurants, and shopping. “It is a unique neighborhood in Shanghai,” shares Williams. “It has tree-lined streets with little boutiques, cafes, bakeries ― it’s a particularly nice area.”
The accommodation options in The Middle House are as exceptional as its location. Living up to its founding philosophy of small-scale luxury, The Middle House’s 111 hotel rooms and 102 apartment-style residences offer a comfortable, upscale experience for both short-term and long-term visitors.
The Middle House seeks to create a sense of community. The compelling way they achieve that feeling is through its alluring restaurants and bars. Café Gray Deluxe located on-site at the hotel is world-renowned Chef Gray Kunz’s restaurant collaboration with The House Collective. The delectable menu and comfortable ambiance make it an enjoyable spot for hotel guests and locals alike. The hotel also boasts Frasca, a casual Italian eatery, and Sui Tang Li, meaning “happy, free, and relaxed” which serves a wide selection of regional Chinese cuisine.
“We love to have great bars and restaurants, but we want them to be where the local community really wants to go,” says Williams. “We believe the guests that stay in our hotels don’t want to be in a homogenous, characterless place that’s just full of visiting business people. They want to go to places where there’s a lot happening.”
Though Shanghai is a bustling metropolis with its fair share of tourists traps, there are many options for exploring Shanghai off the beaten path, and The Middle House is the ideal starting point from which to do so. “Explore the former French Concession in the south area of Jing’an. It has lovely private streets, cafés, flowers, and fantastic food,” Williams shares. “Take a walk around Dishui Lake. Take a day trip to the mountains outside Shanghai. Wander around Jing’an and explore the little art galleries with wonderful art created by local artists.”
Its exceptional location, delicious food, and gorgeous rooms all make for an immensely pleasurable stay in one of the world’s busiest cities. But perhaps the best part of your stay will be engaging with the hotel’s diverse clientele and enjoying its community-oriented nature. On your next visit to Shanghai, discover how The Middle House is carving out a space for leisure travelers to enjoy the city at their own pace.