Hotels like to bandy the word exquisite about—yet very few are. This one, though, might actually be worthy of the adjective. Stunning, too. In this newly built (2016, at a cost of US$516 million) five-star property on the southern end of The Bund, every floor is another symphony in jade—clear jade, green jade, inlaid jade—every chandelier is another delicate and custom-designed craft, every painting a tour de force by the likes of renowned impressionist Shi Qi. Room carpets are richly hand-woven, and there's enough marble to cover every football field in the NFL. This is an expression of modern Chinese energy, everything is carefully considered and contemporary to satisfy a choosy international clientele. (The second floor is home to Club Reign, a private club for China's one-percenters.) A Michelin-starred chef runs the French restaurant, and every single thing in the Japanese restaurant, which has a terrific view of Pudong's skyscrapers, is imported from Japan. It's the sort of hotel where you can't pass a staff member without being greeted, and where the daily breakfast buffet is more expansive than most wedding banquets. Room doors don't have boring old peepholes; they have digital screens showing the hallway view. They have Ogawa massage chairs so guests can absorb the luscious view through floor-to-ceiling glass during back-and-feet massages.

All this supple luxury should cost much more—it's almost as if the owner is operating at a loss. Well, the owner probably doesn't care. He's Wang Jianlin, and when this showplace opened, he was the richest man in China. His national celebrity naturally means that it attracts mostly a Chinese clientele—many of them younger and sophisticated because of the social cachet of his equally famous son—but at these sensible prices, which compare well to the Peninsula and the Four Seasons, it deserves wider appreciation among Westerners. Occasionally some staff will not be able to speak English, but so feverish are their desires to please you that the problem never lasts long and you're delivered to someone who solves the issue and then some. All of this finery is a proud comment on the explosive financial changes in Shanghai over the past few decades—yet the ancient Yu Garden, a vestige of China's simpler but no less elegant centuries, is just a 5-minute walk west.