When a luxury hotel comes along with its own nightclub pre-installed, take it as evidence of Shanghai’s re-emergence as Asia’s glam party capital. In the decadent 1930s there were up to 200 ballrooms and clubs dancing until dawn in Shanghai, many in hotels. Paul French, author of Shanghai true crime novel City of Devils notes that, “Most famous perhaps was the Tower Nightclub, in the tower of the Cathay Hotel – a very cool, swank spot indeed.”
Several decades and revolutions later, The Shanghai EDITION arrives, appropriately, in its own Art Deco 1930s building, formerly the Shanghai Power Company, a few doors up from the Cathay (today the Fairmont Peace Hotel) on central Nanjing Lu. The hotel is the seventh to open under the new EDITION hotel brand, an ultra-luxe cooperation with Marriott. The Shanghai EDITION has 145 rooms, on-trend restaurants, rooftop bars, pool, spa and gym, and the aforementioned nightclub, Electric Circus. Unlike Shanghai in the 1930s, however, this club has an extra swagger straight out of midtown Manhattan, circa 1977.
Namely, the stamp of celebrity hotelier Ian Schrager, EDITION’s founder and the person generally associated with creating the boutique hotel concept in the 1980s. But Schrager is perhaps more famous as the founder of New York’s now legendary A-list nightclub, Studio 54, one-time disco-driven haunt of Andy Warhol, David Bowie, and even a youthful Donald Trump.
“A hotel should fit into and reflect its surroundings,” said Schrager at the hotel’s opening in October 2018, “and so that's what we’ve done with The Shanghai EDITION, by making it a place to party with great nightlife and great dining – a reflection of what Shanghai itself is known for.”
The hotel’s dining is championed by Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton, who puts his name to Shanghai Tavern, a brasserie inspired by his own Berners Tavern in the London EDITION, serving luxe takes on comfort food like mac and cheese and retro ‘Flaming Alaska’ for dessert. Above, HIYA is Atherton’s 27th floor Japanese izakaya with a fusion twist, highball cocktails and views over the top of the historic Bund to the space-age Pudong skyline beyond.
Meanwhile, Canton Disco (not a nightclub) serves playful Cantonese fare lifted from the menu of the much-lauded Ho Lee Fook restaurant in Hong Kong’s Central district - dishes like their ‘prawn toast’ tower that riffs on Japanese okonomiyaki, and wagyu beef short ribs. And there’s not one but four bars, the pick of which, ROOF, has live DJs and some of the best open-air views in the city.
EDITION’s drinking, dining and dancing take place in the original six-floor Art Deco building, designed by an American architect in 1931. Guest rooms, however, are located out of earshot in an attached high-rise, built in the 1980s and renovated for the hotel. White and black marble bathrooms boast tubs with a view, while the guestroom TVs default to a channel that plays surreal visual art animations.
2018 looks to be a landmark year for EDITION, a brand that has over a dozen more openings in the pipeline, to bolster its repertoire of hotels that includes New York, London, Miami, Sanya, Barcelona and Bodrum.
By Tom O’Malley