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Get among Ruijin's treasures

SET in the heart of Shanghai, Ruijin No. 2 Road is a street that buzzes with noise and activity. Cars, bicycles and occasionally, trucks, rush past down the road, on their way into or out of town. The familiar sound of traffic plays in the background as you walk down the wide, tree-lined street. It is a treasure trove of small eateries, distinctive shops and converted mansions that double up as nightspots. While away lazy afternoons in bookish cafes, and for dinner tuck into cheap and good local fare at one of the quaint restaurants. At Ruijin No. 2 Road you can experience the real Shanghai longtang, a distinctive Shanghai architecture style, and catch a glimpse of street life.

Ruijin Hotel, a fine estate

The former Morriss family estate, now the Ruijin Hotel, is perhaps one of the finest examples of old Shanghai. Comprised of gracious buildings and manicured lawns, it is a grand oasis of calm in the heart of the city. The Morriss family owned North China Daily News, then the most influential English-language newspaper in China. They also bred racing dogs and owned "Canidrome" (a dog racing track) located just behind the estate on Yongjia Road. Harry Morriss' own house was Building 1, a gorgeous mansion in the French provincial style. His brother Gordon also lived on the estate in Building No. 3, the art deco beauty on the grounds. Harry died before 1949, but Gordon remained in Shanghai. The residence later was turned into a government guesthouse. Today, you can stay at the Ruijin Hotel and enjoy the magnificent Morriss Estate as a guest.

Address: 118 Ruijin No. 2 Road

Tel: 6472-5222

Art Deco Garden Cafe & Bar

An oasis of calm nestled in the heart of the busy street, this cafe bar within the cloistered walls of Ruijin Hotel offers visitors some peaceful respite. Art Deco Garden Cafe & Bar is housed in one of the beautiful French-styled houses in the compound, with long bay windows that look out onto sprawling greenery. Enjoy a languid summer afternoon on the patio outside with a cup of tea against the backdrop of verdant gardens. Light bistro meals are provided in the day like sandwiches (30 yuan), cakes (25 yuan) and wonton soup (30 yuan), as well as small snacks like popcorn, nuts and cookies. A more extensive menu is available for drinks, which cost between 30 yuan for group coffee to 45 yuan for English floral tea. By night, the bar is an ideal place for conversation over drinks with friends.

Opening hours: 10am-midnight

Address: No. 3 Building, Ruijin Hotel, 118 Ruijin No. 2 Road

Tel: 6472-5222 ext 3006

Tian Yuan Rattan Works

Founded in 1997, Tian Yuan Rattan Works has become the place to find quality rattan furniture. Rattan, which originates from Asia, is a popular material as it is strong and tough, yet lightweight at the same time. Furniture made from it is also environmentally friendly and extremely comfortable to rest in. The company imports the material from Indonesia, but has a local factory that manufactures the furniture. As such, while the shop carries several basic styles, furniture can be tailor made in terms of size and color. The larger, full sofa sets cost between 15,000 yuan and 25,000 yuan, while smaller and simpler pieces range from 1,000 yuan to 7,000 yuan. While not exactly cheap, the high quality of products justifies the superior prices. Even if you're not looking to buy furniture, the shop also carries smaller items like porcelain vases and weaved bags, so take your time to browse through the racks.

Opening hours: 9am-8pm

Address: 77 Ruijin No. 2 Road

Tel: 5306-4607

Su Silver jewelry range

Su Silver is a small shop filled to overflowing with unusual silver jewelry, from rings to pendants and from formal to everyday wear, giving a bold and cool feeling. Su Silver was established in 2005 by two local young designers who combine Chinese traditional elements with modern, vogue styles. Each collection showcased has a theme expressed in necklaces, earrings, pendants, brooches, bracelets and bookmarks. Their specialty is mixing silver with traditional Chinese elements such as porcelain, redwood and embroidery. Many items in the regular collection cost from 300 yuan to 1,000 yuan. Su Silver also offers items for important festivals such as Spring Festival, Christmas and Valentine's Day.

Healthy Yamada Bee Farm

The health benefits of honey have long been extolled by fans of the sweet sugary liquid. Honey has antiseptic, antioxidant and cleansing properties, which make it unsurprising then that the renowned Japanese Yamada Bee Farm uses it as the main ingredient in its products. The Shanghai store opened in September 2007, and has no lack of fans for its honey -- and royal jelly-based skin care series. All products are formulated using natural, plant-based products like rose, wheat or lavender in addition to honey or royal jelly. Among the products in the Honey Lab and RJ skin care series are bath gels, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and face masks. For the sweet-toothed, candies and toast honey jams are on sale too, so you can enjoy your sugar fix without feeling guilty.

Opening hours: 9am-9pm

Address: 99 Ruijin No. 2 Road

Tel: 5306-8983


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