Built in the late 1920s, the grande dame of Shanghai originally opened in 1929. It was known as the Cathay Hotel until 1950, when it was renamed the Peace Hotel.
Following the Communist conquest of China in 1949, business at the hotel sharply dropped off as most foreigners and many rich Chinese – the hotel's key markets – fled the country. And those that remained were keeping a low profile.
From 1952 through 1956, the hotel housed government offices and small shops. It reopened in 1956 as a state owned hotel, but many of the government offices and shops remained in one of the hotel's wings.
By the turn of the millennium, the hotel was falling into a sorry state of disrepair. But happily, it had “good bones”, and many of its original mouldings and fitting were still intact.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
In 2007, the building was taken over by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a Canadian based group that specializes in restoring and managing historically significant properties. An extensive restoration project was launched to restore the hotel to its former glory.
A new wing was added to incorporate the requisite mod coms expected by modern travelers – a spa, a fitness centre, an indoor swimming pool, a business centre, and other amenities.
Food and Beverage
The Fairmont Peace Hotel now has six food and beverage outlets.
On the 9th floor, the Cathay Room serves European style haute cuisine in elegant surroundings. One floor below, Dragon Phoenix serves Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine, featuring live seafood, barbecued meats, and seasonal produce.
Both dining rooms afford dramatic views of the Whampoa River and Shanghai's Pudong new development zone.
Pastries, savouries, chocolates, and baked goods as well as sandwiches, pies, quiches, and soups are served at Victor's, an informal eatery located on the ground floor. Get a table by the window and watch the world pass by.
The Jasmine Lounge, Cin Cin, and the Jazz Bar round out the Fairmont Peace Hotel's F&B outlets.
Location, Location, Location
The Fairmont Peace Hotel is strategically located on the Bund at the foot of Nanjing Road East, one of Shanghai's premier shopping streets, and Zhongshan Road, offering superb views of the Whampoa River and the Putong new development zone, which is located across the river.
Some of the city's key tourist attractions, including Yu Yuan Garden, the Shanghai Museum, and the Grand Theatre, are all within close proximity of the Fairmont Peace Hotel.
Copyright: Michael Taylor Pictured: the copper roof of the Fairmont Peace Hotel is beautifully illuminated at night : Photo Credit: Fairmont Peace Hotel