The Best Luxury Escape for a Shanghai Weekend Getaway: Alila Wuzhen

Alila Wuzhen recently opened, and it’s our pick for the best luxury escape. We’re calling it a luxury escape for a few reasons:

  • It’s only 1 hour away from Shanghai city centre, meaning there’s no 3+ hour drive there and the dread long Sunday drive back to the city
  • The hotel is in Wuzhen, but outside the ‘water town’ area, i.e. secluded and quiet
  • The design is so distinct that it conveys feelings of calm, escapism, clean and uncluttered
  • You’ll forget Shanghai for 48 hours

So, it’s the best way to feel like you’ve left the filthy city far, far behind – while getting there is very convenient. Just take the Humin elevated road to the S4, to the S32.

Here are some simple phone snaps:

The room:

The garden villa is your best choice, with lots of space both inside and an outside courtyard to bask in (in warmer months). Everything in the room is top quality – the bed, towels, shampoo, heated bathroom floor, and the TV’s movie system.

The restaurant:

When we stayed, they alternated Chinese and Western menus from day to day. For most travellers, the Chinese menu would be more interesting and different, while the Western menu is pretty decent, if a little general. Understandably, the hotel wants to do the ‘something for everyone’ concept, but could probably benefit from adopting one particular specialisation as it gets more mature.

The breakfast there was the only thing that wasn’t so great in the hotel. It’s OK, but a small buffet lets things gets cold quickly. They would be better-off emphasising a fresh, made to order eggs menu. It’s low cost, doesn’t take cooking expertise, quick, and can still be a fun and enjoyable breakfast to offer several varieties of eggs on a menu.

The surroundings:

If you haven’t been in China for many years, then Wuzhen is a decent place for a weekend visit – never on Chinese public holidays, but on days that are less popular with locals, i.e. when it’s very lightly drizzling or when it gets hotter. The East part, the old part, is pretty dull, while the West area looks nicer and is more interesting, with better snacks. It’s a 30+ minute walk away from the hotel, or a 3 minute taxi ride.

Why you should go!:

With a unique design, exceptionally comfortable room and ideal distance from the city, Alila Wuzhen is definitely your best luxury escape from Shanghai. There are few places that carry the design, secluded positioning, quality of materials/features – and when it’s really so close to the city, it’s such a great way to arrive on a Friday and totally forget Shanghai for 48 hours.