Shanghai Hood: Jing'an District Genre: Eco Price: $$$

In the dystopian megapolis that is Shanghai you are unlikely to overdose on bucolic peace and quiet. Urbn, Shanghai’s first carbon-neutral hotel, brings life back to human scale. Of all the hotels we’ve seen this year, Urbn is one of the loveliest: if all hotels were like this one, there’s be no need for us to create this site at all!

The Hotel

The second you walk into Urbn’s courtyard you leave the stress – and endless traffic jams of Shanghai – behind. The hotel restaurant and bar area are ideal for chilling out or meeting up with friends and colleagues. The atmosphere is warm, friendly and unrushed.

The 26-room hotel situated in a renovated 70′s era postal building is made predominantly of recycled or salvaged materials – think reclaimed timber flooring, bricks and slate rescued from demolition sites in the French Concession. The elements have subsequently been rebuilt into artful forms that bring a warm patina to this contemporary building. We also liked the occasional retro detail in the decoration – old biscuit tins and displays of ‘early technology’ which gives the place a bit of a quirk while avoiding an overblown sideshow of kitsch. Full points need to go to the design team: AOO Architecture and  Tais Cabral interior for creating a warm space that keeps you thinking.

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Urbn hotel, Shanghai - Hotels We Love
Urbn lobby features slate tiles salvaged from the French Concession and re-formed into artful geometrics (Photo © HWL)
Urbn hotel, Shanghai - Hotels We Love
Make mine an Olivetti! Retro technology at Urbn Hotel, Shanghai (Photo © HWL)
Urbn hotel, Shanghai - Hotels We Love
Dappled light on the facade of Urbn Hotel, Shanghai (Photo © HWL)
Urbn hotel, Shanghai - Hotels We Love
Bar and dining area, Urbn hotel, Shanghai (Photo © HWL)

What We Love

The generously sized guest rooms are fitted out in a modernist-meets-Asiatic minimalist palette in simple materials: timber, slate, glass and natural fabrics. The Studio rooms have lovely sunken baths, Atrium rooms have a sitting area comprised of a wrap-around bank of day-bed like couches, well-suited to lolling about or napping. If you are feeling tree-deprived, go for a Garden or Courtyard room for a view onto some greenery – the higher up the better.

Those in a cashed-up sort of mood: the Penthouse suite with its stone bath and built in chaise-longue is wonderfully calming and you’ll enjoy a lovely view through the trees overlooking red roof-tops. A low-rise view is definitely something to be treasured in Shanghai!

Urbn hotel, Shanghai - Hotels We Love
Simple comforts, nifty lamps and warm timber in the standard rooms at Urbn Hotel, Shanghai (Photo © HWL)
Urbn hotel, Shanghai - Hotels We Love
Any more Zen and you'd be in Japan: the Penthouse suite at Urbn Hotel, Shanghai (Photo © HWL)
p10209121 - Hotels We Love
Slate & terry towelling, nicely contrasting textures in the bathroom at Urbn Hotel, Shanghai (Photo © HWL)


The predominantly low-rise neighbourhood of Jing’An with it’s ecclectic mix of low-fi and fashionable stores and restaurants is also handy for varied supplies or eating out when you don’t feel like venturing very far.

Do take advantage of the complimentary bikes and take a cruise around the neighbourhood.

Urbn hotel, Shanghai - Hotels We Love
A welcome patch of greenery hits a winter sunburst at Urbn Hotel, Shanghai (Photo © HWL)


183 jiaozhou lu, shanghai china 200040