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PREVIEW: review coming soon This city-centre design hotel makes its mark, both architecturally and environmentally

Eco


Overall eco rating


PREVIEW: review coming soon, but here's what we know based on preliminary research. Ratings are provisional.

URBN might not be the greenest hotel on EcoLuxHotels.com but they may be the most imaginative, vibrant and effective at promoting green issues especially given they are based in Shanghai, the world’s largest city and a financial powerhouse, but a city where the environment is not at the top of everyone’s agenda.   We get the impression that URBN are on a steep learning curve but they are blazing a trail in China and we look forward to seeing some of their proposed developments elsewhere in China.

  • Opened in 2008 as China’s first carbon neutral hotel, the hotel was OK from a green perspective but not exactly cutting edge
  • URBN has since become a champion of environmental issues in Shanghai and is held up as a best practice example
  • Recently hosted a Wild Aid event with Richard Branson highlighting the horrors of shark fin soup
  • When built the hotel boasted good credentials in terms of materials – retrofitted into a 1970s warehouse, lots of recycled content, local materials where possible and creative use of reclaimed timber and brick from demolition in Shanghai’s French concession
  • Since 2009, the hotel has implemented advanced grey water recycling to reduce reliance on the local water company by 70% and is upgrading lighting to LEDs and looking at solar
  • URBN has ambitious plans to expand with the next generation of hotels aiming at LEED Gold and expected to include renewable energy
  • Still offsets hotel emissions and offers offsetting to guests by planting trees through Shanghai based Million Tree Project

  • The hotel is not as green as many others on this website but we are not aware of any greener hotels in Shanghai (and it is on a par with some of the hotels we have included in London and New York)

People

URBN are enthusiastic, energetic, creative and bring a fresh perspective to community and green issues.

  • URBN is a champion of green issues in Shanghai and hosts various events including Green Drinks, charity fund raisers, candle lit dinners for Earth Hour
  • The Million Tree project is Shanghai based and developed in partnership with Roots and Shoots looking to reforest a part of Outer Mongolia to raise awareness of environmental issues
  • Restaurants working to set up supply chain with local farmers
  • Wide range of cultural activities promoted by URBN including Mandarin language classes, chopstick making, walking and bicycle tours, shopping tours (your guide doubles as your personal, professional haggler) and can hook you up with local tailors, florists and other small businesses

Animals & nature

China doesn’t have a great reputation for animal welfare but URBN is helping to change this.

PETA assessment of cruelty free credentials of cleaning products and toiletries to come.

  • Works with Hong Kong based Ocean Ethix to source more environmentally sound seafood (farmed or wild caught by suppliers vetted by Ocean Ethix)
  • Recently hosted a Wild Aid event with Richard Branson highlighting the horrors of shark fin soup

Environment & buildings

We like URBN – their first hotel in Shanghai made a noise about being China’s first carbon neutral hotel (in our view a slightly naïve approach), quickly learned that maybe they weren’t as green as they thought but with a few small changes, the hotel could be a lot greener, went about making the necessary changes and then went looking for more ways to boost their eco cred emerging as something of a champion for green issues in China.  You have to admire the blend of chutzpah, desire for self improvement and ability to get things done in a short space of time.

  • Opened in 2008 as China’s first carbon neutral hotel, the hotel was not really very green in comparison to cutting edge western developments
  • When built the hotel boasted good credentials in terms of materials – retrofitted into a warehouse, lots of recycled content, local materials where possible and creative use of reclaimed timber and brick from demolition in Shanghai’s French concession
  • URBN has since become a champion of environmental issues in Shanghai and is held up as a best practice example
  • A 2009 joint study involving the US-China Sustainable Buildings Project identified significant energy and water savings
  • Zero and low cost measures included changes in temperature settings, improved maintenance, better monitoring, reduction in toilet flushing volumes
  • Since 2009, the hotel has implemented advanced water recycling - grey water is collected and treated to potable standards on site reduces reliance on local water company by ~70%
  • The hotel is in the process of upgrading lighting to LEDs and looking at solar
  • URBN has ambitious plans to expand with the next generation of hotels aiming at LEED Gold and expected to include renewable energy
  • Still offsets hotel emissions and offers offsetting to guests by planting trees through Shanghai based Million Tree Project

  • The hotel is not as green as many others on this website but we are not aware of any greener hotels in Shanghai and URBN is on a par with hotels in New York and London

Reviewed by Tim Starley-Grainger


Luxury


Overall luxury rating*


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URBN Hotels Shanghai

183 Jiaozhou Lu, Shanghai 200040

China
+86 5153 4600

Standard room rates from €198

Eco

Luxury*

"Shanghai has countless high-rise hotels that could be anywhere in the world, but intimate hostelries that feel connected to the city are rare. URBN's owners set out to create Shanghai's first carbon-neutral hotel and in the process created a stunningly beautiful getaway with a terrific restaurant and top-notch service" Conde Nast Traveller

"China is not the first place you'd look for climate-consciousness in the travel sector, but Urbn Hotels Shanghai is an unexpected global pioneer of eco-friendliness" Daily Telegraph

"For URBN it's all about the environment: it boldly claims to be the first carbon-neutral hotel in China" The Guardian