In the shadow of all Shanghai's hulking towers of glass and steel are the city's brick and mortar roots. And some of the best-preserved pieces of heritage architecture have been preserved as hotels. Here are five of Shanghai's best Heritage Hotels.
The Fairmont Peace Hotel 费尔蒙和平饭店
Address: No.20 East Nanjing Road, by East Zhongshan No.1 Road
- One of Shanghai's landmark buildings, the Peace Hotel was a glamorous, Art Deco hotel jewel in the crown of Sir Victor Sassoon. Full listing?
There is no building more emblematic of the Bund than The Peace Hotel. Famed real estate tycoon Victor Sassoon opened the property in 1929 as the Cathay Hotel, and in Shanghai's heady heyday it was thefashionable place to stay. An impressive list of A-listers have graced its halls. Among them were Charlie Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw and Noel Coward. In 1949 the New China was established. Seeing the writing on the wall, Sassoon fled. The government appropriated the hotel and renamed it The Peace Hotel. For decades it remained a landmark and often hosted foreign dignitaries and party cadres alike. However, much of its former splendor had been boarded up or re-purposed for offices. In 2007, the Fairmont group took over management duties and promptly shut it down for an intensive remodeling -- more like an excavation -- project. In 2010 the hotel re-opened, restored to its original splendor. The interior boasts a bright and beautiful atrium with exquisite tile mosaic floors and elegant art-deco flourishes at every corner.
The Fairmont Peace Hotel books 270 guest rooms and 39 suites. Room rates start around 2300rmb, depending on the season.
Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund 上海外滩华尔道夫酒店
Address: No.2 East Zhongshan No.1 Road, by Guandong Road
- Hilton International's luxury brand is located at 2 on the Bund. The hotel comprises two buildings. One, a newly built modern tower. Full listing?
The Waldorf-Astoria's Shanghai property is relatively new as a hotel, but the building that houses it is a Shanghai icon. It began 1910 as the Shanghai Club, a British social organization that admitted only wealthy white males. For a while the club was famous for being home to the longest bar in the world. It was a 34-meter-long plank of mahogany. Even this posh watering hole had hierarchy the prime seats closest to the windows were for the taipans, or business executives, and bank managers. Each step further down the bar was another rung lower on the social ladder. In 1941, the club was closed and occupied by the Japanese. Naturally, in 1949, it was appropriated by the Chinese government. It underwent several incarnations thereafter, among them a club for international sailors, a state-owned hotel and it was even home to the first Kentucky Fried Chicken in Shanghai for a spell. Hilton Worldwide took over management of the property in 2010 and designated it a Waldorf-Astoria property. The heritage portion of the hotel remains stunning. They've restored the Long Bar, and it is one of the more atmospheric places to get a drink in town. The hotel also boasts a beautiful, fully functional antique Otis elevator.
Room prices in the Waldorf run quite a broad range. One of its 260 standard rooms in the new tower goes for 3,000 to 4,000rmb per night. Suites in the heritage building will set you back anywhere between 5,800 and 9000rmb.
Le Sun Chine 绅公馆
Address: Building 6, Lane 1220 Huashan Road, by Jiangsu Road
- Full listing?
This tucked-away Spanish-style villa was built in 1932 and began as a property of the illustrious Sun family -- they of Dr. Sun Yat-sen fame. The famed Father of Modern China is even said to have spent some time here, making the building a heritage architecture site. Owners Chen Le and Sebastian Sun (hence the name) purchased the property in 2009 and by 2010 had converted it into a boutique hotel. With only 17 rooms spanning four floors, Le Sun Chine promises highly personalized and attention-oriented service -- enough to receive Relais & Chateaux certification. This is a global affiliation of elite hotels, guest houses and restaurants recognized for their unique decor and high standards of service and amenities. The decor here harks back to Shanghai's days as a treaty port with Chippendale cabinets, phonograph players, dressing screens and loads of chinoiserie. The lobby and reading room are complete with chaise lounges and there is champagne specializing in the elite champagne brand Salon.
Rooms in Le Sun Chine range in price from 1,880 to 5000rmb per night, depending on the size of the room. Not a single room in the place is the same, assuring a unique aesthetic experience with each stay.
The Peninsula Shanghai 半岛酒店
Address: No.32 East Zhongshan No.1 Road, by East Beijing Road
- The Peninsula Shanghai represents a return to China for the Hong Kong-based five-star hotel chain. Their HK flagship is one of most legendary hotels in the world, a grand ole dame overlooking the harbor. Full listing?
Surprisingly, The Peninsula Shanghai is the only new building on the Bund during the past 60 years, but you'd never know just by looking at it. Architect David Beer's contemporary take on classic art deco blends this hotel seamlessly into the rest of the riverfront promenade. Following in the footsteps of the original property in Hon Kong, The Peninsula Shanghai evokes a sense of early 20th century glamor with everything from its palatial Lobby with art deco accents to its world famous afternoon tea to its traditionally-dressed pageboys. Yet it embraces all of the comforts of contemporary living with a state-of-the-art health club and spa and a host of smart one-touch in-room technology. As if all of that weren't opulent enough, the hotel has a fleet of its own four signature Peninsula green Rolls-Royces and six BMW 7-series that, for a price, you can avail yourself of for transportation to and from the airport.
Room rates at The Peninsula start from RMB 3,500 and climb precipitously to RMB115,000for the lavish Peninsula Suite. Luxury doesn't come cheap.
InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin 瑞金洲际酒店
Address: No.118 Ruijin No.2 Road, by Middle Fuxing Road
- Full listing?
The site is chock full of Shanghai history. It began has the residence of British horse and dog racing magnate Benjamin Morris. Chiang Kaishek proposed to his wife Soong Mei-ling here. Chen Yi, Shanghai's first mayor after the Communist Revolution, kept his office here. For decades, the property was also a state guesthouse used solely for visiting party cadres and foreign dignitaries. As such, it has been host to the likes of party leaders like Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Zhou Enlai and the Chairman himself, Mao Zedong. Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh has also stayed here as has former U.S. President Richard Nixon. The grounds themselves are gorgeous -- 100 acres of well manicured lawns, trees, and a breathtaking water feature feel like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Two new buildings have been added to the property to house guest rooms, both are faithfully in keeping with colonial British style that dominates the architecture here. The InterContinental group came on board to manage the site 2013.
Rooms in the Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin start at around 1588rmb for a deluxe room. Superior suites go for 2688rmb.