Searching for hassle-free family stays in China? Boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have taken the hard work out of choosing child-friendly destinations! Let’s take a look at some of their fab reco’s in Shanghai and Beijing!
Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund, Shanghai
Style: Contemporary-Chinese crossover
Setting: Bund-side beauty perched on the banks of the Bund, Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund boasts jaw-dropping views of Shanghai and family-friendly activities right on your doorstep.
Sleeping: Extra beds can be added to Premier Bund Pudong View Rooms and suites for CNY550 a child a night, with baby cots supplied free of charge. For a bigger family, it’s possible to book interconnecting rooms; the Deluxe Bund Pudong View Room interconnects with a wheelchair-accessible room, and the Bund Terrace Glamour Suite joins up with a Premier Bund Pudong View Room.
Activities: Juniors will go mad for the hotel’s 1.2 metre-deep swimming pool, with panoramic views of the Bund and city beyond (children must be supervised at all times).
There’s plenty to do within walking distance. The Bund itself is a stretch of architecturally significant buildings, many from the art deco era, fringing the Huangpu River. Cruises along the river leave from Shiliupu Dock, just near the hotel. Lasting from 30 minutes to three hours, these are a great way to view the waterfront (and an exciting ride for small sailors). Ask the concierge to make a booking for you.
Feasting: Children are welcome in hotel restaurants Char (which serves seafood and steaks with sweeping cityscape views from the 29th floor), and the more casual Quay. There isn’t a special kids’ menu, but the chefs at Quay are happy to adjust dishes to suit young palates if required. Booster seats are available at both restaurants.
Sassy savings Book with Smith at least two days in advance for stays of two nights or more in select rooms by 31 December to take advantage of the mouth-watering breakfast offer, and receive breakfast for two included in the rate.
Hotel G, Beijing
Style: Boutique-bordello luxury
Setting: Heart of the high-rises colourful city stay Hotel G in Beijing is a treat for the young’uns and the young at heart. Set in stylish Sanlitun, it’s a handy launch pad for exploring the best of the bustling capital.
Sleeping: Cribs are free for babies, and older kids can stay in extra beds for CNY250 plus tax a night. For extra space, book the Great Room King, featuring a lounge area and lots of goodies included in the room rate (from breakfast to WiFi access, soft drinks from the minibar, and the use of G-bikes).
Activities: Let the kids loose in leafy Jingshan Park, a 57-acre former imperial garden facing the North Gate area of the Forbidden City (itself a must-do for first-time visitors). For book-loving little ones, visit the Bookworm Café on Nan Sanlitun Road, Beijing’s largest English bookshop, coffee shop and restaurant. Fancy something more energetic? Reserve a lane at Gongti 100, the world’s largest bowling centre, for a family ten-pin tournament.
Feasting: Hotel G has two top restaurants: Mediterranean tapas bar Scarlett and Japanese-flavoured Morio. Beyond the hotel walls, laid-back Annie’s Sanlitun serves up a homely Italian menu, where the kids will love making their own (free!) mini pizzas.
Sassy savings Book with Mr & Mrs Smith before the end of December to enjoy a 15 per cent off deal on a Good Room or Great Room King when you book at least three days in advance.
The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai
Style: Designer dockyard digs
Setting: Riverside by the famous Bund set in a converted 1930s factory in the docklands, The Waterhouse at South Bund hotel in Shanghai is a boutique city stay dripping with cutting-edge design. Fashion-forward Smith parents will adore this industrial-chic retreat, which can also accommodate young travelers (with teen-approved cool factor guaranteed).
Sleeping: Complimentary baby cots are available, as are extra beds for older kids for CNY500 a child a night. For added space, book a Courtyard Suite or above; two of the Bund Suites feature views towards the towers of Xujiahui financial district.
Activities: The Waterhouse is perfectly placed for wandering the city’s most charming and historic neighbourhoods around the Bund. The easiest way to get across the river to futuristic Pudong is by local ferry, which moors close to the hotel. At just CNY2 it’s a bargain ride and a fun way to soak up the sights. The gravity-defying Shanghai Acrobatic Show is a spectacle to wow the whole family (performing seven nights a week at the Shanghai Baiyulan Theatre; www.shanghaiacrobaticshow.com).
Feasting: Book ahead for a meal at Table No. 1, the Waterhouse’s rustic, mod-Euro restaurant created by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton. From the hotel, it’s just a short trip to Shanghai’s iconic Bund waterfront, which is packed with wining and dining options (many boasting spectacular views of the Bund and Pudong).
Sassy savings: Book with Smith before the end of the year to take advantage of the 15 per cent discount offer, valid on bookings made at least 14 days in advance of your stay on all rooms excluding Copula One and Copula Two.