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Talking Travel With… Sara Naumann, LUXE Shanghai Resident Editor

As we kick off the new year, we’re checking in with the #LUXEfam, aka. our global network of resident editors around the world, to see how they spent 2021 and what they’ve got planned for 2022. First up is Sara Naumann, our fab resident editor in Shanghai – read about her best travel memories of 2021 were, her current fave spots in the city and what’s on her 2022 bucket list!

What was your travel highlight of 2021?

The absolute highlight of 2021 was a family trip we took in October with Caravan Liotard, a glamping outfit which runs trekking tours out of Shangri-La, Yunnan, in Western China. We hiked in and spent four days and three nights in the mountains, trekking from site to site.

sara naumann luxe shanghai 1
Photo: Sara Naumann

We reached nearly 5,000m on a hike overlooking a holy lake and were pampered with bonfires, local wines, and delicious French meals served in a candlelit tent every evening. The management, guides and amenities were extraordinary and the landscape was unforgettable.

A close second was a summer trip we took to Hainan with three other families. We booked a huge villa just a few minutes’ walk from the beach at Tufu Bay and spent two weeks exploring the island. We hiked, surfed and swam daily in the ocean, took a yacht out to Sanya Bay, enjoyed the next-door Capella Hotel pool and bar, and played mahjong over cocktails every evening. Hainan Island has so much to do, we didn’t even scratch the surface.

Something new you discovered in your city during COVID?

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Photo: Sara Naumann

My happy place is the West Bund waterfront. It is one of the most relaxing places in the city and by far the best place to go for long uninterrupted runs or bike rides, as well as sunset picnics overlooking the Huangpu River. It’s also one of the few places in Shanghai that is welcoming for dogs, so I like to take Lumi down there whenever we have time and the weather is good.

Your current favourite hangouts in Shanghai?

Photo: @racsh/Instagram

RAC for coffee or wine with friends and dogs, Maison Mumu for fabulous bags and Madame Mao’s Dowry for gifts.

Photo: @maisonmumu/Instagram

For staycations and spa treatments, I love the W Shanghai.

Photo: W Shanghai The Bund

For restaurants, I love Hakkasan for special occasions, Pass Residence for casual dinner and La Baracca for takeout pizza.

Photo: @hakkasanshanghai/Instagram

Your lockdown essentials:

  • My devices (obviously)
  • A good long trilogy, preferably by Ken Follett or Hilary Mantel
  • Fresh fruit
  • A comfy pillow
  • A steady supply of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Book/podcast/show recommendation?

The best non-fiction book I read this year was Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe. He narrates the audiobook which I can highly recommend. For fiction, I loved Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. I listened weekly to The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial by ABC Audio and couldn’t wait for every new episode of Succession to drop.

Video: YouTube

Tips for travelling during COVID?

Think positive, test negative!

Any travel plans for 2022?

I haven’t seen my family in over two years so I’m really hoping China relaxes the international travel policies and we can go back to the US for a visit this summer. If we can’t leave, then a long overland trip from Qinghai to Tibet is on the books.

Follow Sara Naumann on Instagram @sara_naumann to keep up with her latest adventures!

Looking for insider tips on Shanghai? Pick up a copy of the LUXE Shanghai guide!

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