The Luxe List 2009, China: The PuLi Hotel and Spa, Shanghai

This highly anticipated hotel finally opened its doors in June on the fringe of Shanghai’s Jingan Park, just off bustling Nanjing Road. A collaboration between Indonesian designer Jaya Ibrahim and Australian firm Layan Design Group, the 229 rooms are edgy but classic, with stone-and-wood floors, dragon-scale panels, and tables topped with ink-pot slate. There are a host of mod cons as well, from GPS phones to iPod docks and Nespresso machines. The sole restaurant, Jing’An, is impeccably executed. Amid bronze urns overflowing with blindingly pink water lilies, talented young New Zealand chef Dane Clouston turns out such imaginative dishes as black ravioli with crab and butterscotch sauce. Visit the city’s first Anantara spa for tea-inspired treatments, or relax in the library, which overlooks a bamboo grove (1 Changde Lu; 86-21/3203-9999;; doubles from US$494).

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