Money Can’t Buy
|By: Abby Zhang, Issue 46 – Autumn 11|
|With the help of a high-end concierge company to tailor your visit, almost anything is possible in Shanghai, according to Abby Zhang.|
|Gaining instant and priveliged access to Shanghai is made easy for the luxury traveller by high-end concierge companies that know the city well and will call upon their contacts to make things happen for you. You tell them what your interests are and they’ll dream up an outing for you that, well, money can actually buy. |
|The Shanghai region has a culture unique in China. In Mandarin it’s called a “Hai Pai” culture, which refers to its mixture of east and west, the traditional and the modern. Besides the urban lives of its citizens, chic restaurants and glamorous hotels, the most significant signs of Shanghai’s Hai Pai culture are in the city’s architecture and layout, with modern skyscrapers designed by European architects, lively old Longtangs (narrow alleys) and the French Concession area. |
Luxury Concierge China can arrange a tour through some of the city’s most interesting and lesser known Longtangs, as well as make special arrangements for you to see places not normally accessible to tourists like The Old Shanghai Municipal Council Building and private Art Deco homes in the French Concession.
|Shanghai is one of China’s hotspots for contemporary art. Often referring to the Cultural Revolution, contemporary Chinese art is a major presence on the international art scene and is reported to be the fastest growing sector in the world art market. Galleries like M50 exhibit some of Shanghai’s best artistic talent. Luxury Concierge China can arrange for visitors to attend a cocktail party with a well-known artist like Zhang Jian-Jun, who is a member of the China Artistic Committee and an adjunct professor at the Fine Arts Department of New York University. They can also take you to visit working artist studios in remote parts of the city. |
|Shopping is great in Shanghai. You’ll find flagship deisgner stores and international labels. But if you’re interested in luxury “Made in China” items Luxury Concierge China can take you to hidden stores in the French Concession like Mary Ching, a Shanghai-based shoe and accessory designer. |
In the 1920s and the 1930s, the Shanghai styled “Hai Pai” Qipao was the most significant and common dress in China. Today it remains a Chinese cultural symbol. Often made with high quality silk, its feminine shape can enhance the the female shape, highlighting a woman’s gracefulness, elegance and vitality. The men’s equivalent is the Changshan, a long shirt or gown worn over pants. Luxury Concierge China can arrange to have a Qipao or Chengsam customised for you by an experienced Shanghai Qipao tailor using traditional techniques.
|Chic restaurants such as M on the Bund and Hong Rui Xing are on the “where to dine” list of the rich and famous, but if you want to lose yourself in old Shanghai, Yongfoo Elite is a great choice. Located in a quiet phoenix-tree lined street in the French Concession, it was built in the 1930s in typical Chinese style and was previously used as the British Consulate. Today it’s decorated with vintage furniture and traditional Chinese paintings. Luxury Concierge China can arrange a sought-after dinner or lunch reservation.|
Food is an important part of everyday life for Chinese families. Markets, where everything from vegetables and fruits to meats and seafood are all freshly harvested and sent in from nearby farms, are popular with locals. Los Angeles-based luxury concierge travel company The Bluefish can arrange a visit to Shanghai’s bustling wet market accompanied by award-winning chef and author of New Shanghai Cuisine Jereme Leung. Here you can collect ingredients for dinner at his Shanghai restaurant to be cooked by celebrity chef Ming Tsai. If you like to cook yourself, Luxury Concierge China can arrange a one-on-one cooking class on a private terrace in the French Concession with chefs Craig Willis of the Peninsula Shanghai or Brad Turley of the Park Hyatt Shanghai.
|If car racing is your thing, The Bluefish can arrange member access to the Formula One Paddock Club at the Chinese Grand Prix held every April. The visit includes open bar with champagne, access to the circuit, a Pit Lane walkabout, access to the support race paddock, a privileged seat and all kinds of VIP extras.|
|Qantas flies direct from Sydney to Shanghai daily and from Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth daily. Return economy fares start from A$1,088 and business from A$9,686.|
|Luxury Concierge China|
Half day bespoke experience from CNY2,500 (about A$383) and three days from CNY22,500 (about A$3,450).
Membership is US$2,500 (about A$2,475) per year though single requests are accepted. The Jereme Leung tour is part of the eight day Flavours of China tour from US$6,950 (about A$6,950) per person. The Formula One Paddock Club experience is US$5,000 (about A$4,950) per person.
|Where To Stay|
|The Bluefish Recommends:|
The Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai.
1376, Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai
+86 21 6729 8888, ritzcarlton.com
RATES: from CNY2,100 (about A$322) per night.
Luxury Concierge China Recommends:
Park Hyatt Shanghai
100 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai
+86 21 6888 1234
RATES: from CNY2,160 (about A$332) per night.
No 32 The Bund, 32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai +86 21 2327 2888
RATES: from CNY2,100 (about A$322)