China’s financial capital is leading the way to a cleaner tomorrow with organic restaurants, green retailers and eco-friendly accommodations. By MANUELA ZONINSEIN
Cities worldwide are trying to reduce their carbon footprints. T+L partnered with Greenopia, the leading publisher of eco-guides to U.S. cities (greenopia.com), applying Greenopia’s environmental criteria to hotels, restaurants, stores and sites in Paris, London, Stockholm and Shanghai.
§ Meets at least 25% of Greenopia’s criteria
§§ Meets at least 50% of Greenopia’s criteria
§§§ Meets at least 75% of Greenopia’s criteria
§§§§ Meets at least 90% of Greenopia’s criteria
In a city where hotels seem to compete on height and lavishness, URBN Shanghai §§§§ (183 Jiaozhou Lu; 86-21/5153-4600; urbnhotels.com; doubles from RMB1,300) stands out for its size — 26 rooms — and its Zen-like atmosphere. It also towers over others in its eco-ambitions: housed in a former post office in the pedestrian friendly French Concession, the hotel features repurposed materials such as mahogany planks and bricks from old houses and vintage furniture. Courses in Mandarin, Chinese cuisine and tai chi put travelers in touch with the local culture. It’s also China’s first carbon-neutral hotel, with investments going towards alternative energy projects.
Vintage Living §§§§ (2068 Nanjing Xi Lu; 86-21/6249-8419; vintageliving.cn; dinner for two from RMB200) dishes up American-style home cooking made from produce harvested from its own organic farm outside of the city. Brunch on the rooftop garden is a favorite among expats — make sure to try the blueberry french toast.
Made from yak’s milk, Mei Xiang Cheese §§§ is produced by a Tibetan family in Yunnan province, part of an initiative to help herders become entrepreneurs. In Shanghai, you can taste this tangy cheese at Jujube Tree (258 Fengxian Lu; 86-21/ 6215- 7566; dinner for two RMB200), a vegetarian eatery, and at Just Grapes (justgrapes.cn), a wine shop–restaurant with three locations.
Located in a revamped factory in Shanghai’s artsy neighborhood of Taikang Lu, Nest §§§§ (210 Taikang Lu; 86-21/6466-9524; nestshanghai.com) showcases handcrafted housewares, clothing, stationery and furniture from local designers who embrace the earth-friendly ethos. Among our favorites are Bambu, colorful dining ware fashioned from bamboo; A00, a line of furniture created out of recycled plywood and cardboard; and Hape’s toys (handmade trucks and dolls) made from certified wood and other natural materials.
No, Naked Retreats §§§ (248 Taikang Lu; 86-21/5465- 9577; nakedretreats.cn; RMB350 per person weekday; RMB450 per person weekend) isn’t a nudist colony, but a rustic-chic getaway in the bamboo forest of Moganshan, about two hours from Shanghai. Solar power heats the water in the bungalows, while recycled water irrigates the grounds. Guests get a taste for local life with activities like bamboo-shoot hunting and tea harvesting.
Dragon Well Manor §§§ (399 Longjing Lu; 86-71/8788-8777; dinner priced according to ingredients) demonstrates that locavore-eating isn’t just a Western conceit. The chefs use pesticide-free, seasonal produce sourced daily from local farms. Sauces and additives are shunned.
Originally published as part of the September GREEN CITY SPECIAL FROM TRAVEL + LEISURE and GREENOPIA