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Face, Shanghai - A tranquil refuge in the former French Concession.

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A welcoming and tranquil refuge located off Ruijin Road, a street famed in the French Colonial days as 'avenue joffre', Face couldn't be further from its counterparts. Set in the beautiful gardens of the Ruijin Guest House, surrounded by extensive lawns and trees, sits the beautifully restored villa Can Ying Lou. Built in Shanghai's heady prewar days for a Japanese trader, the building combines the warmth of an old country home with the opulence and wealth of its past.

Either a summer playground or a winter retreat, Face has the rare ability to indulge every mood. As the sun sets in Shanghai's heat, guests can re-live those colonial days with a gin and tonic (a refreshing green tea, a tropical Summer Breeze or even a chocolate mint martini) on the large terrace in front of the house and enjoy the view across the lawn. If the sun is too much then the cool veranda, draped with floating white curtains and bright Asian fabrics provides a more secluded and shaded spot. As the colder weather arrives, head inside and soak up the vibrant decor, relax on the lustrous red sofas or even recline on the luxurious opium bed.

The ambience continues inside with a choice of two superb restaurants. Hazara, named after a tribe and region in Afghanistan, offers a tasty selection of Northern Indian cuisine combining healthy rustic with stylishly refined cooking. Its signature dish, Raan e Huzara (Tandoor Shredded Leg of Lamb) is one of many dishes on the menu to come highly recommended across Shanghai. Brimming with exotic antiques and furniture, the restaurant's sensual atmosphere creates a unique dining experience making it a deservedly popular venue for residents and visitors alike.

Equally steeped in character, is Lan Na Thai. Its name 'many rice fields' is an area in northern Thailand and both the food and serene surroundings reflect this. Reputed to be one of the few authentic Thai restaurants in Shanghai, the menu-complete with chef's recommendations-offers all the favorites along with some enticing alternatives. The Green Curry (Gaeng Kiew Wan) and Thai Omelette (Kai Yat Sai) are particularly good. Looking out onto Face's terrace below and the beautiful lawns of Ruijin make Lan Na Thai a perfect setting for both a relaxing lunch and an intimate dinner.

After your meal, return to Face Bar to make the most of the extensive drinks menu. Absorb the peaceful surroundings or even play pool (the pool table blends perfectly into this serene setting. It's made, of course, out of red felt and dark wood to match the rest of the furnishings) before stepping back out onto the bustling streets of Shanghai.

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