URBN Hotel Shanghai
What We Love
- Continental breakfast included in the rate
- Rigorously eco-friendly design and operations
- Great location near the French Concession
- Excellent programming, like in-room Mandarin lessons and bike tours of Shanghai
- Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking colonial-era buildings in Garden View Rooms
What To Know
- Rooms are a little small
- Not ideal for families
- The Social bar is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
- Free WiFi
Green isn’t a word often thrown around with new hotel construction (or any construction, for that matter) in China. But the Urbn Shanghai, which opened a few blocks off Nanjing Road in early 2008, manages to deliver a dose of eco-consciousness wrapped up in a decidedly stylish package.
Housed in a former factory and post office, the 26-room hotel integrates reclaimed and local materials wherever it can. The mahogany floorboards, gray brick and slate (which is most serenely used in the hotel’s interior bamboo garden) were all reclaimed from buildings due for demolition. Even the hotel’s more decorative touches give a nod to sustainability. The lobby is anchored by a wall sculpture made from recycled vintage leather suitcases, and the hanging lanterns use fluorescent bulbs.
While many eco-friendly hotels feel a little too earnest, the Urbn balances its comprehensive eco plan with comfort and style. The rooms, though small, are well designed, with clean lines, large, low platform beds, sunken wraparound seating areas (the bench cushions are, naturally, covered in hemp) and huge windows that allow in tons of sunlight. The rooms also feature an abundance of natural materials: mahogany-paneled inserts in walls that house flat-screen TVs and, in some rooms, raised slate bathtubs. The whole effect is very Zen, though not at all austere.
For dining, the hotel offers a new restaurant concept in partnership with Australian restaurateur David Laris. At Downstairs with David Laris, the waiters wear patchwork aprons and serve global comfort foods (truffled mac and cheese, Asian-inspired chicken noodle soup) that is organic and sustainably grown wherever possible.
The adjacent lounge and rooftop bar offers biodynamic and organic wines, along with a menu of other tasty cocktails. In an effort to connect guests with Shanghai, the Urbn has created a range of creative programs, from in-room Mandarin lessons and tai chi classes to workshops in traditional tea ceremonies and tours of the city by bike.
How to Get There
We had stayed in this hotel 2 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. So we rebooked for this year. WHAT a disappointment. Restaurant was not available due to refurbishments, which I did not have a major issue with. But they never told us on booking. Breakfast was served in the room but it was very cold. When we complained, we told reception, they said they would tell the manager but nothing changed. Reception staff were VERY disinterested. The only goodbye we got was from the lovely housekeeping lady who did a great job as the rooms were lovely, spacious and very clean. Otherwise, I can say I would never stau here again????????????
I booked this hotel as it is listed as the first carbon-neutral hotel in China. It is also wonderfully stylish, with old colonial suitcases lining the walls and other clever touches. However it doesn't have an on-site restaurant so breakfast as per your order is brought to your room, but there isn't really a table to sit at. Just a stylish wide couch area. And it was a bit cold by the time it was delivered. Also we found the reception very unwelcoming - in contrast to at least 8 other hotels in China during our trip where we had had nothing but warm, friendly welcomes.
URBN really puts you in the middle of the hip part of Shanghai - Jing An! Just being able to walk to so many great cafes, pubs and shops is what made my week trip worthwhile honestly. The hotel itself has a pretty cool vibe and the staff are pleasant. If you dont like those big mega luxe hotels, I think URBN is a fine alternative.