The Peace Hotel to Hankou Lu
Straddling the eastern end of Nanjing Dong Lu is one of the most famous
hotels in China, the Peace Hotel, formerly the Cathay Hotel. The hotel’s main
building (on the north side of Nanjing Dong Lu) is a relic of another great
trading house, Sassoon’s, and was originally known as Sassoon House. Like
Jardine’s, the Sassoon business empire was built on opium trading, but by the
early years of the last century the family fortune had mostly been sunk into
Shanghai real estate, including the Cathay Nicknamed “The
Claridges of the Far East” it was the place to be seen in prewar Shanghai:
Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin were among its celebrity guests and
Noel Coward is supposed to have written Private Lives here while laid up with flu.
It boasted innovations such as telephones in the rooms before any European hotels, and had such luxuries as a private plumbing system fed by a spring on
the outskirts of town, marble baths with silver taps and vitreous china lavatories imported from Britain. The Peace today is well worth a visit for the bar, with its legendary jazz band and for a walk around the lobby and upper
floors to take in the splendid Art Deco elegance. There’s a good view of the
Bund from the balcony of the seventh-floor bar – staff will tolerate curious
visitors popping in for a quick look.
The smaller wing on the south side of Nanjing Dong Lu was originally the
Palace Hotel, built around 1906; its first floor now holds the Western-style
Peace Café.It is the comfortable and safety for resting while you are traveling.
A day that is spent there can not be forgotton.