Peace Hotel, Shanghai
The former Sassoon House, built by Sir Victor Sassoon and designed by Palmer and Turner Architects with a floor area of 36 317 square meters, was constructed between 1926 and 1929. The building has thirteen levels with a basement, standing 77 meters tall. Sassoon's private apartment was on the top floor.
Boasting to be Shanghai's social heart, the Peace Hotel - crowned with a pyramidal copper-faced roof that has turned green with age - is a distinctive landmark along The Bund.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel is a red-brick building not to be confused with the Fairmont Peace Hotel and is the southern building of the former Shanghai Peace Hotel, founded by a British businessman in 1854. It had no relation to its northern neighbour until 1949, when the Chinese government took over both structures and operated them under the Peace Hotel brand.
Today, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel sports three concepts under one hood: shopping, artist residences and accommodation.
One of the more interesting aspects of this hotel is that the Swatch Group as primary investor invites a limited number of international artists to live and work in the building for free. They revamped 18 rooms on the hotel's upper stories into workshop-apartments for visiting artists, who can use the Shanghai skyline or streets below for inspiration for as long as six months, after which they donate one art work to the hotel for future exhibitions.
The hotel houses four watch boutiques affiliated with the Swatch Group: Breguet, Omega, Blancpain and Swatch, while the rooftop terrace has a stunning view of the Pudong skyline.
This building is also known as Sassoon House which housed the former Cathay Hotel, built in 1929 by Sir Victor Sassoon. It was once the tallest building in Shanghai and is famous for its jazz band in its cafe. The top floor originally housed Sassoon's private apartment.
Shanghai is famous for its Bund area, and the pearl of the Bund is doubtless the Peace Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in China. The art deco styled hotel has a high profile history; formerly known as Cathay Hotel, it is housed in buildings erected during the first decades of the 20th century, it has hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin and is a fine example of Western architecture in Shanghai.
The North wing is more famous than the South wing, and here is where you will find the famous water holes. Why come here? Well, it is not for the famously expensive food, rather for the atmosphere of a place that has seen many a celebrity and that exemplifies the melting pot history of Shanghai. The Jazz bar on the ground floor features nice Jazz music (if you fancy that type of mucis) and the bar on the eigth floor is the place to be seen.
Even if you don't go for a drink or dinner, go inside to have a look at the original style interior decoration.
The Peace Hotel is one of those places you just have to see in Shanghai, without ever really knowing why.
The north building of The Peace Hotel was originally Sassoon House, with The Cathay Hotel occupying the 4th to 7th floors, and was built in 1929, some fifty years after the more austere south building (although the latter was rebuilt in 1906).
The Peace Hotel's green dome is a distinctive landmark from the river, and it was always intended as a sign of opulence by the Sassoon family.
Famously, some of the bedrooms were modelled on different themes, and this has been kept true to style, so the visitor can stay in German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, British or Chinese rooms. The vast majority of guests have to be content with the hotel soap and maybe a toothbrush, as the themed rooms are extraordinarily expensive.
Most of the public areas of the hotel can be discretely inspected, including the banqueting facilities on the top floors. Just look as if you are a lost guest. The Art Deco detailing is fantastic, and it is a miracle that its decadence survived the 1960s and 1970s, but then the Gang of Four used the Peace Hotel as a regular meeting place.
Enter the door of the Peace Hotel and you are whisked back to Shanghai in its pre-war golden age. Every night in the bar on the ground floor, the Jazz Band of now rather elderly musicians plays New Orleans-style jazz and dance music from the Big Band era.
You hear so much about it from other travellers and from locals, but it really does live up to expectations...... well worth atleast afew hours on a night out.
This ancient Jazz Band have been playing here for donkey's years, and the music is still just as calming and classy. Its just a shame the entry fee is so high, making this a must-see but only if you have the cash to splash (Y50 admission).
The drinks are also expensive, but if you're game for this choice of night out, you will not be disappointed. The Bar is open from 8pm until 2am daily.
Pictured here, the grandiose elevators of the Peace Hotel South, which may be the oldest in Shanghai... Apart from the meeting of the International Opium Commission, this hotel is also famous as the place for the celebration party of Sun Yatsen's inauguration...
The Peace Hotel South, formerly called the Palace Hotel, was built in 1906 and is most well known as the location for the meeting of the International Opium Commission which took place in February of 1909 after an initiative by the U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, setting a framework for the international control of narcotics... Pictured here, is the plaque outside the building, commemorating the meeting...
This 5-star hotel, built in the 1920s, is a beautiful example of art deco. I didn’t stay here (and probably couldn’t have afforded it) but it was fun to look around in the lobby.
The famous hotel sitting along The Bund. It is the building with the green top on the right hand side of the photo.