Shanghai’s only all-villa urban resort opened in September 2017 in Xuhui, one of the last remaining clusters of shikumen architecture dating back to the 1930s.
A rare quaint respite from the hustle and bustle in Shanghai. The low-rise development is nestled among taller residential and commercial buildings in a walking-friendly neighbourhood with a small supermarket and F&B outlets nearby. Cosy eateries and bespoke shops line Capella’s front perimeter and its entrance, next to the bakery, is a discreet entryway into a residential compound.
Each of the four-storey villas, with a small rooftop, was originally built to house multiple families sharing common facilities. Each row of side-by-side villas are sectioned off and protected by a metal gate, opened with a hotel access card that also opens the main door of the villa. A welcoming small garden area separates the main door and the front door of the ground floor living room.
The elegant interiors feature Chinese and French elements and all the comforts of a modern luxurious home away from home, and minibar soft drinks and snacks are complimentary. Each level of the villa serves a separate function and provides self-contained living, entertainment, relaxation and sleeping spaces. The three-bedroom villa features a spacious dining area and a dining table that seats eight people.
The good lighting and well-positioned desk in my one-bedroom villa provided the right conditions for work and the inclusion of a yoga mat in the wardrobe was a good reminder to stretch during my two-night stay.
Opposite the reception building is the main signature, French celebrity chef restaurant le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire. It can accommodate 70 people for an exclusive sit-down dinner and about 100 for cocktails. A cold buffet selection and a choice of a cooked breakfast offer a delicious start to the day.
Dinner is when the kitchen showcases the fusion cuisine movement of Michelin-star Pierre Gagnaire. It is said chef tore at the conventions of classic French cooking by introducing “jarring juxtapositions” of flavours, tastes, textures and ingredients. Perhaps a good example is the Lilysing salad which combines pink grapefruit, orange, celeriac, yellow mango, rocket salad and fermented tofu paste.
The Capella Library, tucked inside the reception area can accommodate 40 people and offers a relaxing space where guests can also enjoy coffee, tea and cookies. The fitness and recreation area will appeal to leisure and business guests alike. It houses a state-of-the-art 24-hour gym and there are five single and two double treatment rooms at award-winning Auriga Spa, which features a flotation tank, vitality pool and salt-wall lounge.
The care and concern from the friendly and attentive staff made me feel pampered and right at home.
Capella’s luxury shikumen experience and staying in a Shanghai residential neighbourhood was a new experience for me. It was like going home each day after completing my appointments and I will miss this special feeling.
No. of rooms 55 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas
Rates From RMB3,400 (US$536)