The best places to stay in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)

$

Captain Hostel
21-room hostel, housed in a nicely maintained art deco building; somewhat cheesy nautical decor, but clean dorm beds in a central location (near the Bund); rooftop bar means cheap beer with a bonus: views of the Huangpu River. 37 Fuzhou Lu; tel. 86 21 6323 5053.

Old House Inn
“Charming and authentic yesteryear Shanghai vibe, complemented by a super-stylish attached restaurant.”—Damian Harper, author, Lonely Planet Shanghai 2008. Old Shanghai lives on in this 1930s-era house near the leafy French Concession—the area formerly occupied and governed by France. Four-poster beds and well-preserved antique furniture coupled with modern renovations and amenities; 12 rooms. No. 16, Lane 351 Huashan Lu; tel. 86 21 6248 6118. www.oldhouse.cn

$$

Astor House Hotel
“Heady with the flavors of Concession-era Shanghai, plus a winning North Bund perch.”—Damian Harper. Restored 130-room hotel has had many incarnations, including as host to U.S. presidents (Grant) and brainiacs (Einstein); charming old touches, i.e., antique furniture and spacious rooms. 15 Huangpu Lu; tel. 86 21 6324 6388. www.pujianghotel.com

Hengshan Moller Villa
“No one has discovered a pea under a mattress at this fairy-tale castle, but many have found good rest.”—Megan Shank, senior editor, Newsweek Select. Shipping magnate Eric Moller built the Norwegian-style gingerbread mansion in the 1930s for his daughter; revived in 1949 as a meeting spot for the Shanghai Communist Youth League; boutique hotel with some original decor intact and kitsch value to spare; 45 rooms. 30 Shanxi Road; tel. 86 21 6247 8881. www.mollervilla.com

Jia Shanghai
55-room boutique inn follows its popular, Philippe Starck-designed Hong Kong sister hotel; homey feel of urbane apartments reflects the building’s beginning as a sweeping European Concession structure. 931 West Nanjing Road; tel. 86 21 6217 9000.

No. 9
“The friendliest blend of past and future, with heated mattresses, touch lamps, a smiling staff—all guarded by life-size statues from an ancient walled city.”—Matt Gross, “Frugal Traveler” columnist, the New York Times. Five-room bed-and-breakfast run by gregarious Taiwanese furniture designer David Huang; superb Chinese breakfasts. 9 Lane 355, Jianguo West Road; tel. 86 21 6471 9950.

Ruijin Guesthouse
“As close to waking up in colonial Shanghai as you’re going to get.”—Sharon Owyang, author, Frommer’s Shanghai. Cluster of buildings in a rambling garden; set on the former estate of a colonial-era newspaper mogul; five villas host a collection of rooms and suites that vary in size and comfort. Tip: Book a large, renovated room in Building Number 2. 118 Ruijin No. 2 Road; tel. 86 21 6472 5222.

$$$

JW Marriott
“Grand luxury and unparalleled views atop one of the most brilliantly designed buildings in town.”—Sharon Owyang. Rises asymmetrically above Tomorrow Square; central business district location—across the street from People’s Square and its museums—ideal for business visitors interested in cultural sightseeing; Mandara-brand spa and sweeping views of downtown—from the bathtub; 342 rooms and suites. 399 Nanjing Xi Lu; tel. 86 21 5359 4969. www.marriott.com

Portman Ritz Carlton
Warm and elegant antithesis of the city’s modernist towers; club floor guests have use of a generous lounge, with a seemingly endless stream of food and drink; central location in the Shanghai Center; 599 rooms and suites. 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu; tel. 86 21 6279 8888. www.ritzcarlton.com

The Regent Shanghai
“With some of the biggest rooms in town, this is a luxurious refuge to repair to after a hard day of sightseeing.”—Sharon Owyang. West-end location is a bit remote, but the slim glass tower hotel is an under-the-radar gem; 511 modern and minimal rooms and suites; rain shower heads and large plasma screens; hotel lap pool has an infinity edge built to look like it cascades onto the sidewalk far, far below. 1116 Yan An West Road; tel. 86 21 6115 9988. www.regenthotels.com

Shangri-La Pudong
“You could spend a week cloistered in this hotel and still not exhaust its luxurious facilities and world-class restaurants.”—Sharon Owyang. 950-rooms in two mismatched towers connected by a long corridor; rooms in the taller, newer tower offer panoramic views at a comfortable height. Tip: Sunday brunch in Yi Café draws locals for its ten show kitchens, preparing made-to-order dumplings, noodles, sushi, Mongolian barbeque, and take-home boxes of chocolate. 33 Fu Cheng Road; tel. 86 21 6882 8888. www.shangri-la.com

The Westin Bund Center, Shanghai
The hotel’s round tower and lit crown form perhaps the most identifiable silhouette on the low-slung Bund skyline; bustling location; 570 rooms and suites frequently booked to capacity; award-winning Sunday brunch is a lively social scene. Tip: Vie for a room in the Grand Tower, where even the views from the bathtubs are top-notch. 88 Henan Central Road; tel. 86 21 6335 1888. www.starwoodhotels.com

$$$$

Grand Hyatt Shanghai
The world’s highest hotel soars 87 stories above Pudong, Shanghai’s booming financial district; 555 rooms and suites; elevator rockets to the 54th floor lobby, housed in a soaring atrium with 360-degree views of surrounding skyscrapers—none as tall. Tip: Take a relaxing swim in the temperature controlled pool on the 57th floor. Jin Mao Tower, 88 Century Boulevard; tel. 86 21 5049 1234. www.shanghai.grand.hyatt.com

Mansion Hotel
No-holds-barred boutique hotel shows—with its $500-plus rooms—just how far Shanghai has come in the age of new commercialism; five-story, gated limestone French villa; cathedral-like lobby; well located in an exclusive part of the French Concession. 82 Xinle Road; tel. 86 21 5403 9888.

St. Regis Shanghai
“Out-and-out pampering Pudong-side, with virtually every need attended to.”—Damian Harper. Five-star features aside (328 large rooms, Bose radios, pocket doors giving access to huge bathrooms), it’s the St. Regis butler—with his or her laundry press, dinner suggestions, even a pillow menu—who sets this hotel apart. The top butler benefit: a personal translator and guide. Tip: Women can opt to stay on one of three women-only floors. 889 Dong Fang Road; tel. 86 21 5050 4567. www.stregis.com

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