THE MIDDLE HOUSE
By Rhiannon Taylor, July 2018
Quietly tucked away, behind a lush wall of greenery lies The Middle House, Shanghai’s slickest new hotel from the House Collective known for their designed focused properties such as Opposite House in Beijing and Upper House in Hong Kong. Despite it’s hidden location, it’s smack-bang in the heart of the city, just minutes away from the luxury shops and malls along Nanjing Road West and Wu Jiang Road, an old thoroughfare known for its little dumpling cafés, buzzing restaurants and hip bars.
The hotel is split between two curved towers which echo the local Shikumen architectural style (a traditional Shanghainese architectural style combining Western and Chinese elements that first appeared in the 1860s). Checking in you’re met with a chic, intimate space with forest-green bamboo wall tiles, a jaw dropping 3,760-piece Venetian chandelier, a curated collection of cutting-edge Chinese art and low slung couches that beckon guests to make themselves at home.
The smartly presently staff are warm and professional, greeting you by name as soon as they see you. Every request is granted with the touch of an iPad - be it the weather outlook or finding a nearby pilates class. The hotel's immaculate design flows into the basement which is clad in grey brick and black porcelain bamboo slats with a central swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gym, yoga studioand HYPOXI room. The highlight however is the Mi Xun Spa which is the first in-hotel spa to offer treatments using Cha Ling, a beauty line founded by Laurent Boillot (President and CEO of Guerlain) and developed by LVMH Research in France. Try the signature facial for incredible post-flight rejuvenation.
Milan-based architect Piero Lissoni designed the property, blending Italian sophistication with classic Chinese design. There's a distinctly masculine feel to the thoughtfully-planned rooms with dark stained floors, free-standing bath tubs and transparent partitions. Guests can bathe in private or open the blinds to surrounding vistas of Shanghai’s skyline. There’s a large pull-down silk cord next to the calligraphy-adorned bedhead in lieu of a master switch and a complimentary mini bar stocked with Italian gellies, beer and juice. The second tower is reserved for residences which range from studios to two bedroom apartments, catering for short and long term corporate travellers.
The hotel excels in its dining offering, with three restaurants across the two towers. Cafe Grey Deluxe, which acts as an all day dining space serves up a stellar a la carte breakfast with green juices, eggs, dumplings and french-style pastries to satisfy the fussiest traveller. It’s main menu is a mix of classic and modern fare - think hand cut gravlax and roast chicken with local seasonal vegetables. If you’re after soul food head to the opposite tower to Frasca, an Italian eatery with house made pizza and pasta. There’s also Sui Tang Li, an elegant restaurant serving up elevated Chinese food, drawing on a mixture of Cantonese, Shanghainese and Sichuan influences.
The writer was a guest of The Middle House and Cathay Pacific.