A simply wonderful guide to Shanghai

By Robert La Bua (ChinaDaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2006-11-13 13:56

Just as with movie stars and athletes, some retail shops also rise above the competition and establish themselves as something more than simply a place to spend money; they embody entire lifestyles, blazing trails by setting trends instead of following them. For a very few shops, their names become synonymous with quality and style and gain recognition among the general public, even those of whom have never set foot inside their premises.

And so it is for Shanghai's Simply Life, one of the city's most beautiful home decoration shops offering a fine array of quality merchandise both with Chinese influence and without. With its flagship store located in the buzzy Xintiandi district, close to the Simply Thai restaurant that gave entrepreneur Richard Lim a foothold among the city's style mavens, Simply Life was quick to establish itself as a lifestyle shop offering more than tangible items for the knickknack shelf at home. The products are lovely, yes, but it is the wide range of merchandise, convenient locations, and level of service that sets Simply Life apart from the others--for example, offering a beautiful florist service within the shop itself.

With so much good taste flowing from the front door, it is a welcoming development to know that Simply Life has moved from restaurants to retail to now to publishing, bringing its take on Shanghai to readers in the city and beyond.

Shanghai Chic is not a travel guidebook in the traditional sense; luckily, the people at Simply Life do not feel constrained by tradition and have created a book that is equally at home on a coffee table as in a backpack. The best of Shanghai in one volume? Handy and dandy. Simply Life the shop is an eclectic mix of merchandise; not all of it is expensive, though all of it tasteful and out of the ordinary. And so it is with Shanghai Chic, a wonderful assistant to anyone looking for just the right place to shop, eat, or sleep in China's largest city. Naturally, the book's images are cleverly artistic and suitably beautiful. With everything from hotels to restaurants to spas, Shanghai Chic gives the city's visitors and residents alike an excellent overview of what's hot in China's vivacious metropolis.



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