The Peace Hotel Reopens in Shanghai

Posted by Reading Time: 3 minutes

SHANGHAI, Jul. 28 – The Peace Hotel reopened its doors today following extensive renovations to restore the classic Shanghai landmark. The hotel will be taking reservations beginning tomorrow.

Closed in 2007 by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts to undergo a serious face-lift, the Peace Hotel will join a growing stable of high-end hotels along Shanghai’s Bund that harkens back to Shanghai’s prewar heydays of the 1920s and 30s.

Shanghai’s legendary Peace Hotel was built by the Iraqi Jewish émigré Sir Victor Sassoon and opened in 1929. Originally named Cathay Hotel, it was Shanghai’s tallest building for a time and one of the world’s most elegant hotels. Sassoon maintained the top floor suite as his private residence, while the hotel’s green olive pyramid shaped water tower remains a landmark of Shanghai’s Bund to this day. Noel Coward wrote his play “Private Lives” while staying there. The hotel was renamed in honor of China-Soviet Friendship after the communists took over in 1949.

The reopened Fairmont Peace Hotel will feature many dining rooms and lounges, a deli café, the famous Peace Jazz Bar, a sushi restaurant, a wine and cigar lounge, a Chinese restaurant and the Peace Grill. A skylight Roman style pool and spa will be housed in a modern low-rise complex extension and the Peace Hall, complete with the original sprung timber dance floor, will be located on the eighth floor of the building.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates comments: “I stayed at the Peace Hotel suites way back in 1992. There were originally seven “country” suites; all decorated in the styles and art of various countries, among them the United States, Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and so on. I stayed at the Indian Suite, which was massive, catering for the guests of the day who would arrive with their own servants, children and accompanying guests, plus luggage. International travel in the 1930s meant by ship, journeys were long and much space was required. China Briefing held the official launch of the second edition of our “Business Guide to Shanghai” at the main ballroom of the Hotel; the previous time it had been used was a private dinner for the Rothschild family. My Great Aunt, Ethel Bird also used to stay at the Cathay in the mid 1930s, and I am looking forward to seeing how the renovations have come along.”

The Peace Hotel joins the already open Peninsula, and the Swatch Group’s soon to be opened Swatch Art Peace Hotel – located directly across Nanjing Road from the Fairmont Peace Hotel – and the Waldorf Astoria.

Hirsch Bender Associates, the firm that oversaw the renovations of the Peace Hotel, is also in charge of the renovations to the Shanghai Club Building which will house the Waldorf Astoria. HBA principal Ian Carr remarked earlier this year that the Peace Hotel had become “time-warped and uninspiring.” The ultimate objective of the newly reopened Fairmont Peace Hotel is to become a world-class hotel. One that, according to Carr, balances “historic appeal with contemporary luxury – and which contributes to the regeneration of the Bund.”

Related Reading
Shanghai’s Peace Hotel

Business Guide to Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta (Second Edition)
Click on the image to download an excerpt from the second edition of the China Briefing Business Guide to Shanghai. This edition is now out of print and out of date, however we reproduce it here for posterity and reader interest. As noted above, this book had its official launch at the Peace Hotel ballroom.