On top of our to-go list is Duck de Chine at 1949 The Hidden City in Beijing, beloved by Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2, Stuart Weitzman and Veronica Etro. The restaurant’s beautiful interiors, with red lanterns hanging from the ceilings and teal floral paintings on the walls have not distracted them from the amazing food. “China is evolving day by day and you can breathe a different energy. Every time we go, we find different places and different sources of inspiration for our work.” - Dean & Dan Caten, Dsquared2
Great taste and fine living
The popular Chinese dish, Peking duck, is also a favourite of the designers to whom we spoke. Jeremy Hackett of Hackett London in particular prefers Da Dong's classic version. Well-travelled in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Mr. Hackett values the comfort and hospitality that a hotel has to offer. But convenience is important as well, which is why he chooses The Ritz-Carlton – just an hour’s drive from the international airport – when he is in the capital. At the end of a long day at work, Dean and Dan Caten heads back to The Opposite House, Beijing, which always feels like home, but also a place where beautiful and interesting people mingle.
Another noteworthy hotel is Park Hyatt, preferred by Veronica Etro for the fascinating contrast between its eclectic dining and zen atmosphere. She also recommends going to Capital M bar to see the view of The Forbidden City, evocative of the Ming Dynasty’s history, colourful costumes, alternative herbal medicine practice and spirituality that inspire her so much. For a heart-stopping view of Beijing, Jeremy Hackett heads to the city’s highest bar on the 80th floor, Atmosphere, where he appreciates the rich drinks list.
Speaking of bars, Shanghai, our next stop, offers numerous options, and M1NT is a must. British interior designer Kelly Hoppen, who loves Eastern culture, philosophy and vision, is drawn to its decor, accented by colourful couches and shimmering chandeliers. Ms. Hoppen counts The Yongfoo Elite Club, Yè Shanghai and the Lynn as her regular dining destinations. We also recommend Unico by Mauro Colagreco (the Caten brothers always have a good time there over cocktails and tapas); Mr. and Mrs. Bund's seasonal dishes and Xindalu – China Kitchen's Beggar's Chicken – both heartily recommended by Jeremy Hackett.
“The attentive, caring and warm hospitality – the people in the hotel are friendly and nothing is too much trouble.” - Jeremy Hackett
Inspirations and Beyond
Not only is Shanghai famous for its offer of international cuisine and luxury hotels, its blend of culture, traditions and modernity inspires many. Ed Ng of AB Concept, the Hong Kong firm which designed the stunning Shangri-la Qufu, opines that Shanghai never fails to surprise him with its hidden treasures, rich history and diverse architectural forms, from the neoclassical buildings to the French concession with traditional Chinese motifs.
“When I travel, I am always observing new design innovations, lifestyle trends and fashion styles.” -Ed Ng, AB Concept
Fascinated by architecture of an avant-garde type, renowned luxury footwear designer Stuart Weitzman explained to LUXOS that he is looking forward to Zaha Hadid Architects’ new project currently under construction in Macau, a daring 40-floor ‘City of Dreams’ hotel with an exposed exoskeleton. Fascinated by her work, together they have created unique Stuart Weitzman flagship boutiques that feature Zaha Hadid’s signature styles in a welcoming yet innovative retail environment.
Stuart Weitzman explains that while he always designs with all his customers in mind – the fashionista, celebrity, career woman, bride and the ultra-chic – his designs are more about pushing the envelope for Chinese customers’ luxury fashion expectations. On a personal level, he is much inspired by the entrepreneurial nature of the Chinese people and their culture of strong familial ties – proof that China's allure is truly multi-faceted.
More recommendations by the designers:
Duck de Chine
Gong Ti Bei Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel. +86 10 6501 8881
3/F, Tuanjiehu Bei Kou, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel. +86 10 6582 2892
83 Jian Guo Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel. +86 10 5969 6988
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Shanghai
111 Pudong South Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai
Tel. +86 21 2082 9868
24/F, 318 Fuzhou Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Tel. +86 21 6391 2811
Mr. & Mrs. Bund
6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Tel. +86 21 6323 9398
The Churchill Bar
3/F, The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou
3 Xing An Road, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel. +86 20 3813 6888
4/F, KWG International Financial Place
8 Huaxia Road, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel. +86 20 8550 0028
8 Tianhe East Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel. +86 20 8559 8088