The Puli is a breath of fresh air in the crazy concrete jungle that is Shanghai.We thought that Zen was Japanese concept but the Puli hotel gives it a modern Chinese ethos. Take a Japanese aesthetic, add some good Chinese feng shui and mix it all up with some serious American mod cons: the result is a genuine urban oasis.
This boutique hotel has around 200 rooms including 30-odd suites. Our room was one of the most generously proportioned we’ve ever seen complete with roomy lounging area and fabulous bath with a view! In term of the hotel itself, there is a cosy ‘library’ and dramatic bar area for relaxing, socialising or meetings. We liked the looks of the exciting ‘infinity pool’, but exercise fiends should be happy with the gym. We didn’t try it out but there’s an on-site spa too…
Right in the center of town, the Puli is at the intersection of two colliding worlds: the showy modern shopping district of NanJing Rd (think super-sized Vuitton and Burberry stores) and the old-style low-rise French concession with its network of small streets lined with plane trees, old shophouses and indie stores. It’s a great place to stay whether you are here for meetings or on holidays as you will feel right in the thick of it, and there’s heaps of really cool stores, cafes and restaurants within walking distance (a rarity in Shanghai). (See here for our French Concession shopping recommendations.)
Looking out the window you will see the thick, somehow majestic, glowing flow of traffic coming down the Yan An highway on one side and on the other side the golden roof of the JingAn temple, an island of old China in the middle of malls and highrises. The contrast is mind-blowing, the kind that makes China sometime so exhilarating.
What We Love
We loved the design of the place, it’s Japanese influence, both impressive, minimalist and yet extremely warm.Entering the hotel is a memorable experience – a small doorway opens to a spectacular hall, lined by the stunning ‘long’ bar that runs through the entire length of the room, onlooking onto a exterior rock pool lined with a mini forest of bamboos. The effect is immediately relaxing, it really feels like stepping into another world. The Puli is not one of these hotels that ‘feels like home’ – it certainly feels like a hotel – but it feels…GOOD.
The rooms are equally beautiful and peaceful. The views are magic. You’ve got all of the mod cons including a wonderful, king size bed, a couch, a side table and we loved the partition-able bathroom and the large bathtub right on the window edge. What a way to end the day!
The only problem with this hotel is that you may want to stay in – it is so lovely you can get lazy!
Room to Improve
We found the hotel restaurant a little on the boring side, you’d expect a place like this to be buzzing but it’s a little formal for our liking. However the concierge downstairs had plenty of good suggestions for local restaurants – and can organize bookings for you, so do venture out, it’s worth it! For other ideas check out our Play Shanghai section.
With rooms at around $180 it’s not a ‘cheap’ hotel but it is extremely good value for a hotel of this caliber.
1 Changde Rd, Jing'an