Inspired by the 1930s red-brick villas and laneways of its surrounding neighborhood but given a bold contemporary twist by Swiss architect Mario Botta and New Yorkâ€™s Yabu Pushelberg, Twelve at Hengshan, part of Starwoodâ€™s Luxury Collection, makes an ideal base for exploring Shanghaiâ€™s former French Concession area. Its facade is clad in 20,000 Italian terra-cotta bricks and encloses a number of nature elements, including an elliptical courtyard with a â€śsecret gardenâ€ť of bamboo groves, plum blossoms, and streams. Only half of the 171 rooms look out over the garden, but none lacks in appeal thanks to luxe features such as HermĂ¨s bath products and hand-painted screens. Also on hand is Sen Spa, complete with a tepidarium and heated indoor swimming pool.
12 Hengshan Lu, Xuhui District; 86-21/3338-3888; Twelve at Hengshan; doubles from US$228
See more from The Luxe List 2013