Sometimes the best vacation is a staycation

Li Anlan
A local staycation is an ideal way to spend quality time with family, friends and loved ones. It is a ticket to relaxation and fun.
Li Anlan
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Shanghai is a big city, and exploring one of the metropolis’ many different districts can be fun. You don’t have to go far — spending a weekend on the other side of the Huangpu River is as good as any place to have a change from your daily routine.

A local staycation is an ideal way to spend quality time with family, friends and loved ones. It is a ticket to relaxation and fun.

An ideal staycation does take a little bit of planning, involving hotel selection, restaurant reservation and activity scheduling.

So this week, we at Shanghai Daily composed a local staycation guide featuring five hotels, each with its very own unique features, and what to do in those neighborhoods.

Embrace the wildlife: Hyatt Regency Chongming

If you are planning a weekend staycation with furry friends, the Hyatt Regency Chongming is one of the city’s few pet-friendly hotels that allow guests to bring dogs. It features 24 dedicated dog-friendly rooms complete with enclosed outdoor courtyards and special canine comforts.

The resort’s five buildings are connected by a covered Chinese-style walkaway and guests can enjoy extensive gardens landscaped with flowers, streams and arched bridges on a leisurely stroll.

A large fleet of mountain bikes, tandems and kids’ bikes are available for guests wishing to explore the numerous attractions around Chongming Island, including natural wetlands, temples and rural villages.

Across the hotel, there are five restaurants and lounges serving fine local and global cuisines, with an emphasis on fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from Chongming’s organic farms.

Sometimes the best vacation is a staycation
Ti Gong

The Hyatt Regency Chongming is one of the city’s few pet-friendly hotels that allow guests to bring dogs.

What to do in the area:

The hotel is located near Dongtan Wetland Park, one of the best birdwatching spots in the city. It’s also a good spot to admire the stars at night.

Chongming Island is home to endangered Chinese alligators and visitors can see these rare animals at Dongtan Wetland Park.

The Chinese alligator is not a particularly active species. Like many other cold-blooded animals, they spend most of their time motionless in the water, which helps regulate their body temperature during the hot summer. The area of the park, known as Que Ming Du, has a tiny lake-bounded island covered with reeds and marsh grass, it’s the ideal spot to see alligators.

By day, Que Ming Du provides rental boats to visitors. Each boat can seat up to five people. The small lake in the southeast corner of the park has a small island in the middle where some alligators are nested.

Chinese alligators are not aggressive and are shy around humans, but it’s still necessary to keep a safe distance. The reptiles breed in summer and can become aggressive if they perceive a threat to their nests.

Family fun: Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai

Shanghai Disney Resort is an ideal destination for a family with children, but transportation can be very time-consuming and tiring especially for the younger ones.

If you are planning to take the children to Shanghai Disney Resort and explore the park for the weekend (there’s also 10 percent off of the two-day ticket), booking a hotel nearby is much easier as it also takes care of housework.

En route to Shanghai Disney Resort, Kerry Hotel Pudong is only 25 minutes’ drive from the theme park, and guests can book the hotel’s shuttle buses to and from Disney at the reception.

Kerry’s family fun room package starts from 1,388 yuan (US$202) net for a family of three, the room offers plenty of fun features for children: play with plush toys, enjoy a warm cup of milk before bed and dream under their own tents. Children can also embark on a scavenger hunt across the hotel floors.

The family staycation package is available from Friday to Sunday every week. The package includes a daily buffet breakfast at The COOK for two adults and one child under the age of 6 and unlimited access to the Adventure Zone, an indoor playground known for thrilling slides with ball pools and airshot ball shooters.

On the rooftop, children can try the climbing wall or play at the basketball and tennis courts. On weekends, the hotel also has a bouncy castle for children on the adjacent plaza when the weather is permitting.

Sometimes the best vacation is a staycation
Ti Gong

Kerry’s family fun room package provides toys and special snacks for children.

Sometimes the best vacation is a staycation
Ti Gong

Adventure zone

What to do in the area:

Besides planning day trips to the Shanghai Disney Resort, Century Park neighborhood is also great for family activities.

The hotel is next to the leafy Century Park, the city’s largest park and a perfect place to host picnics among other outdoor activities. Children can also observe some wildlife in the park. It is also one of the best places for runners. The park is surrounded by comfortable plastic tracks and each lap is 5 kilometers.

The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum offers a unique experience to learn about science, education and culture with interactive exhibition and science-themed theaters. The museum is closed on Mondays.

Pampering and relaxation: Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund

Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund is an urban oasis in the heart of Shanghai and a cosmopolitan sanctuary for those who are looking to relax from their busy work life or celebrate an anniversary with a loved one.

The Banyan Tree Spa, spanning three floors of the resort, features 11 treatment rooms plus hair and nail salons. The award-winning spa is themed on the five elements of traditional Chinese healing philosophy and uses indigenous herbs and ingredients in the treatments.

The Royal Banyan is a well-loved treatment that combines Eastern and Western massage techniques to promote blood circulation and ease muscle aches. The therapist uses a warm herbal pouch dipped in sesame oil, and the treatment includes coriander cucumber cleanser, jade face massage and a therapeutic herbal bath as well.

TOPS, the rooftop bar with spectacular views of Pudong and Puxi skyline, has launched a new brunch on Sundays, which is comprised of six appetizers, one main course of choice and one dessert.

The appetizers are quite notable: a seafood platter featuring Boston lobster, Alaskan king crab, imported oysters and boiled prawn, served with cocktail sauce, aioli, mignonette, tabasco and lemon, a charcuterie selection of five types of cold cuts served with pickles and olives, plus lighter dishes such as Caesar salad and sugar-cured Atlantic salmon, all perfect to pair with champagne.

The Sunday brunch is 588 yuan per person including free flow of soft drinks, or 788 yuan per person with free flow of Champagne, plus 16 percent service fee and applicable tax.

Sometimes the best vacation is a staycation
Li Anlan / SHINE

Sunday brunch at TOPS

Energetic vibe: W Shanghai ­— The Bund

Every Saturday starting from June 22, W Shanghai — The Bund will host the Sun Set series at the Ibiza island-styled WET Bar.

For 250 yuan per person net, you can enjoy unlimited cocktails, wine, brews and soft drinks against the sunset chill, iconic bund view and electrifying music performances.

The Kitchen Table also hosts a “Social Retox” Sunday brunch for guests. It’s a relaxed gourmet journey — specialty charcuterie and raw bars, premium cuts of meats and seafood finished in the Josper and pastry pantry that adds a sweet ending.

For families, there’s also the Mega Fun package that includes a stay at the Mega room for two adults and two children, daily buffet breakfasts and two complimentary 200-yuan spa vouchers at AWAY Spa for any face or body treatment longer than 60 minutes.

Sometimes the best vacation is a staycation
Ti Gong

Live DJ for Sunset Series

What to do in the area:

Both Banyan Tree on the Bund and W Shanghai — The Bund are located in the North Bund area, an extension of the Bund that’s grown in popularity in recent years. There is a lot of classic architecture to see in the area and the hotel is about 2 kilometers from the famous Waibaidu Bridge, or The Garden Bridge, an all-steel structure bridge on Suzhou Creek.

The bridge was rebuilt several times, and the one we see today is the second Waibaidu Bridge after the wooden Garden Bridge was demolished in 1906 (a wooden bridge approved by Shanghai Municipal Council and opened to public in 1873 for free).

Waibaidu Bridge is the starting point for a fun trip on foot along the Suzhou Creek to see the historic buildings such as the former Union Church designed by British architect W.M. Dowdall in 1886, the General Post Office of Shanghai with interesting sculptures on the tower and beautiful bridges.

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