The Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo houses fifteen historic villas on its sprawling green grounds in the heart of Shanghai’s former French Concession district
By Rachel Will
Nestled in the former French Concession district, the Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo provides a green respite from urban Shanghai. Seven hectacres of sprawling gardens are encased within the hotel’s wrought iron and brick fences, including 15 villas leased and serviced by the hotel, many of which are protected by the Shanghai Preservation Department. The hotel respects the old world charm of the original property built in the 1920s while the area was still considered a French consular district. Shady magnolias and fragrant pine trees dot the grounds, some more than 100 years old. It is said that Mao Zedong enjoyed many an afternoon beneath the property’s great camphor tree in the 1950s, when he inhabited Villa One with his wife.
The Look: As the Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo shares its property with 15 other villas, the styles of the buildings exhibit a range of design aesthetics from neoclassical to British-influenced garden style. Snaking garden pathways traverse the grounds and lead to the hotel on the northern tip of the property with a wrap around driveway. The exterior features a modern glass and steel façade that opens unto an opulent two-story high ceiling lobby. Inside, three massive chandeliers set in crown molding illuminate the lobby with a marble grand staircase.
The Rooms: Guests can check-in at the main lobby or on the Executive Plaza Floor for guests in club floor rooms. The hotel adheres to boutique dimensions with just 190 rooms, 40 of which are suites. Rooms feature standard business traveler amenities, with clean, white linen sheets and lacquered Chinese-inspired furniture. Bathrooms include bath soaps by Crabtree and Evelyn and marble floors with matte gold details. Wireless internet access is free throughout the hotel and electrical plugs are aplenty near the beside and by the desk.
The Appeal: Originally opened in 2001, the Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo recently underwent a mini-renovation, refreshing its pool facilities and meeting spaces in the basement of the hotel. While authentic Cantonese and Shanghainese specialties are on offer at the hotel’s Li Palace Restaurant, skip the hotel’s spread and discover the endless appeal of the former French Concession just steps away on the iconic Ferguson Lane.
The Surrounds: The hotel is just 30-minutes from Hong Qiao International airport and one-hour from Pu Dong International Airport. Abundant taxis, metro lines, and pedestrian walkways make Shanghai navigable, but growing concerns about air pollution have threatened the city’s easy-going bike culture. A cab ride to the Bund is just thirty-minutes away making the space ideally positioned on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River.
For those in the know… Along with Chairman Mao himself, the Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo has hosted former President George Bush, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and former Kenyan President Raila Odinga for diplomatic meetings.
78 Xing Guo Road; 86-21/62129998; Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo; starting from US$495
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