Insider's guide to Shanghai

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For a "heavenly" stay, consider the Grand Hyatt (shanghai.hyatt.com), in Pudong, Shanghai's financial district. The highest hotel in the world, located on the 53rd to 87th floors of the Jin Mao Tower, floats above the city with spectacular skyline and river views. Face the Bund, a riverside avenue of colonial buildings that helped create Shanghai's glamorous image in the 1930s. Or spend an evening in the Cloud 9 sky lounge and enjoy the view from the 87th floor with cocktails and Asian tapas. Pricey, but worth it.

The Portman Ritz-Carlton (ritzcarlton.com/hotels/shanghai) isn't far from Shanghai's Hong Qiao International Airport. One of Asia's finest business hotels, this is the ideal spot for a power lunch with clients.

If your travel budget has been trimmed, try the Equatorial. It's conveniently located, moderately priced, with an indoor pool, health club and spa, making it a favorite among prudent executives at agencies such as Grey Global Group and M&C Saatchi. "Why pay more for the Hyatt when you're in/sleep/up/out?" asked Ian Thubron, CEO of M&C's offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

For lunch, dinner or the ultimate Sunday brunch, reserve ahead for M on the Bund (m-onthebund.com/e/). Besides patrons Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone, it offers exquisite food, decor and service. Hong Kong regulars will recognize the general manager, Australian Michelle Garnaut, who opened the popular M at the Fringe in Hong Kong in 1989.

For a casual Chinese meal, head to 1221 The Dining Room for home-cooked Shanghainese dishes in a spacious, minimalist setting.

Not sure what you're in the mood for? Go to Xiantiandi (xiantiandi.com), the only Chinese Communist Party Congress hall to be revamped into an upscale entertainment complex. Now a thriving pedestrian area, Shanghai's newest night spot houses lively restaurants such as La Maison, Ye Shanghai, Xing Ji Shi, Zen and Va Bene-a branch of the chic Italian restaurant in Hong Kong-plus trendy outdoor cafes and nightclubs. "Xiantiandi is really the spot for all, business people and tourists," said Bessie Lee, managing director, WPP Group's MindShare, Shanghai.

To see and be seen, head to Park 97 (sibling restaurant to Hong Kong's Post 97) in Fuxing Park in the heart of the old French colonial district. The coolest restaurant and bar in Shanghai also serves the city's best pizza.

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