Shanghai's Twelve at Hengshan opens with designs by Mario Botta

Twelve at Hengshan, A Luxury Collection Hotel opened as a property in Shanghai’s Hengshan Road neighborhood. 

Italian architect Mario Botta created the residential-style retreat designed in modern-Chinoiserie style. The design of Twelve at Hengshan is said to draw inspiration from the area’s “history and traditional Chinese hospitality,” said to have been updated with romantic flourishes and contemporary amenities. Botta’s portfolio of structures includes the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea.

The hotel’s contemporary architecture provides a contrast with the atmospheric neighborhood lanes, preserved art deco buildings and restaurants, boutiques and galleries in the surrounding area. Incorporated within the low-rise heritage district, the hotel comprises a five-story rectangular building surrounding an elliptical internal garden. A large entrance portico facing Hengshan Road with a sheltered semi-circular driveway provides a dramatic entrance stage. The front portico also houses the hotel dining venues and meeting facilities.

The façade is dressed in more than 20,000 natural terracotta tiles baked and imported from Italy. Terracotta is a popular trimming on many of the historic buildings in the area, most notably the former American International School on Hengshan Road. It is also a natural and eco-friendly material.


The main hotel surrounds an elliptical courtyard housing a Chinese-style “Secret Garden” for hotel guests, adorned with cherry blossoms, bamboo groves and streams. Large windows looking into the courtyard from the lobby and guestrooms bring the greenery into the hotel. Over half the Garden-facing bedrooms also have private balconies.

Twelve at Hengshan’s interiors are by New York-based cult hospitality design duo Yabu Pushelberg, who also designed St Regis San Francisco and W Hotel Times Square New York. Partners George Yabu and Glenn Pushelburg have been honored with the Platinum Circle Award for their achievements in the hospitality industry.

Garden motifs – in the carpets, wallpapers and bed-back screens imprinted with plane tree leaves echoing those along Hengshan Road – appear to contrast the architecture. A five-story spiral staircase in the entrance linking the restaurants and event venues on the upper floors and the spa, swimming pool and conference rooms below ground, is a focal point.

The Chinese restaurant Twelve Hengshan offers a hand-painted mural across the length of the main dining room, depicting a traditional Suzhou garden scene. Rose-glass screens and porcelain chandeliers add a non-traditional touch of the Orient, while the eight private dining suites seating between four and 16 people, each offer their own layout and design.

The rooftop is reserved for all-day brasserie Tops & Terrace, where an expansive wraparound terrace overlooking the heritage rooftops and skyline of Shanghai is adorned with private garden gazebos for dining and lounging.

More than 13,993 square feet of meetings and events spaces include two “in-the-round” Boardrooms ringed in terracotta stone mirroring the hotel’s façade. The 4,574-square-foot Grand Ballroom offers hand-painted raw-silk murals and a large Pre-function Area with a wall of windows peering into the treetops of Hengshan Road’s plane trees.


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