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 York’s Yabu Pushelberg, Twelve at Hengshan, part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, makes an ideal base for exploring Shanghai’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 “secret garden” 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 Hermès 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