Peace Hotel

Coordinates: 31°14′27.9″N 121°29′04.5″E / 31.241083°N 121.484583°E / 31.241083; 121.484583
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Fairmont Peace Hotel
Front view of The Fairmont Peace Hotel
General information
Architectural styleArt deco
Location20 East Nanjing Road, Shanghai
Coordinates31°14′27.9″N 121°29′04.5″E / 31.241083°N 121.484583°E / 31.241083; 121.484583
OwnerJinjiang International
ManagementFairmont Hotels and Resorts (North Building), The Swatch Group (South Building)
Technical details
Floor count13
Other information
Number of rooms270
Number of suites39
Number of restaurants6
Peace Hotel
Simplified Chinese上海和平饭店
Traditional Chinese上海和平飯店

The Peace Hotel (Chinese: 和平饭店, pinyin: Hépíng Fàndiàn, Shanghainese: Wubin Vaedi) is a hotel on The Bund in Shanghai, China, which overlooks the surrounding areas.[1] The hotel has two different buildings. The Sassoon House, originally housed the Cathay Hotel and is today the Fairmont Peace Hotel run by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts of Canada. The South Building was built as the Palace Hotel and is today a residence and studio for artists, known as The Swatch Art Peace Hotel. The two buildings both face the Bund, but are divided by Nanjing Road.[2]

North Building[edit]

The south building on the left, north building on the right

The larger North Building is called Sassoon House. The building was built by Sir Victor Sassoon, of the Sassoon family, which built a Shanghai business and real estate empire in the early 20th century. He was a British Sephardic Jew of Iraqi origin, educated at Harrow School and Cambridge University. His family owned the trading company "E.D. Sassoon & Co.", which managed extensive business interests in Bombay, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Sassoon House was the first high-rise building built by Victor Sassoon, and one of the first skyscrapers in the Eastern Hemisphere. Sassoon bought a full city block on a prominent spot on the Bund prior to construction.[3] When built the Sassoon House topped out at fifty feet taller than the next tallest building on the Bund.[3] It was designed by architects Palmer and Turner, with a reinforced concrete structure. Construction began in 1926, and was completed in 1929.[4]

The Cathay Hotel incorporated a high standard of luxury and modern amenities such as indoor plumbing, which made it a more esteemed establishment than other nearby hotels such as the Kadoorie family owned Majestic and Astor House Hotels.[3] The Cathay featured a floor of rooms referred to as the “national suites,” with each room decorated in a different foreign style. According to author Jonathan Kaufman, the Japan Suite featured tatami mats, Indian rugs and cushions were found in the India Suite, and Chinese furniture and ceramics in the China Suite.[3]

The building occupies 4,617 square meters (49,697 square feet), and offers 36,317 square meters (390,913 square feet) of floor space. The building is ten stories in height, and the tenth floor is a penthouse, where Victor Sassoon once lived.[5] The North Building is 77 meters (253 feet) high to the roofline, and 83 meters (272 feet) to the spire.

The builders followed a consistent art deco scheme, from exterior design to interior decor. Most of the building features granite facing, while the ninth floor and the roof are surfaced with terracotta. The eastern facade (facing the Huangpu River and the Bund) features a pyramidal roof with steep sides, and a height of about 10 meters (33 feet). The pyramid is faced with copper, which has corroded to light green.

Banks and shops leased the ground floor space until 1949. This space became the Shanghai branch of Citibank in 2002.[6] The fourth through ninth floors once housed the Cathay Hotel.[7]

High resolution photograph of The Peace Hotel in 1994
The hotel in the early morning, July 1994. Locals are doing morning Taichi exercises across the street.

After the Communist takeover in 1949, some of the offices were used by the Municipal Finance Committee. In 1952, the building was taken over by the Municipal Government. In 1956, it once again became a hotel under the name "Peace Hotel".[8] During the Cultural Revolution, the hotel was used by the Gang of Four, most famously by Zhang Chunqiao as he headed the Shanghai Commune from headquarters in the Peace Hotel.[9]

Its Old Jazz Band was recently the basis for a movie, "As Time Goes By" a film by Uli Gaulke.[10] Its roof terrace restaurant overlooks the district of Pudong across the Huangpu. This hotel was also used as an inspiration for Vicki Baum's 1937 novel "Shanghai '37",[11] also known as "Hotel Shanghai" and "Nanjing Road".

In 2007, the hotel closed for a three-year renovation of both the exterior and interior, including the guest rooms, the lobby, and the dining and entertainment venues. The North Building reopened in 2010, as the Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai.[12] The hotel now offers 270 guestrooms and 39 suites,[13] including Victor's Café, named for Sir Victor Sassoon. The eighth floor hosts the Peace Hall,[14] plus several meeting rooms, and an outdoor terrace.

A low-rise extension has been added to the rear of the hotel, housing guestrooms, a swimming pool, and spa.[15]

South Building[edit]

The Swatch Art Peace Hotel

Separated from the North Building by Nanjing Road, the South Building dates back to the 1850s, when it was known as the Central Hotel. In 1903, the hotel was restructured and renamed the Palace Hotel. The building that stands today was completed in 1908, and offered two elevators, the first building in Shanghai to do so. It was also once home to a Kuhn & Komor shop.

The hotel occupies 2,125 square metres (22,870 sq ft), with a floor space of 11,607 square metres (124,940 sq ft). It has a brick veneer, with its six stories reaching 30 metres (98 ft) in height. The exterior is in a Renaissance style. The hotel has eighteen artist residences and seven guest rooms.[16]

In 1911, after the success of the Xinhai Revolution, Sun Yat-sen stayed at the hotel and advocated commitment to the revolutionary cause. During World War II, the building was occupied by the Japanese army. In 1947 it was purchased by a Chinese company. After the revolution in 1949, it continued operations until 1952, when it was confiscated and used by the Municipal Construction Department. In 1965 it resumed operations as a hotel, as a wing of the Peace Hotel.

Similar to its counterpart to the north, the South Building was renovated in preparation for the 2010 World Expo. It emerged as The Swatch Art Peace Hotel.[17] It hosts artists from around the world who live and work for a limited time in apartments/workshops. The heritage facade and public rooms of the building have been restored.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shanghai Hotel: Luxury Hotel in Shanghai, China -Fairmont Peace Hotel". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Shanghai's Shopping Venues". Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Kaufman, Jonathan (2020). The Last Kings of Shanghai. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780735224421.
  4. ^ "Fairmont Peace Hotel – A History". Fairmont Peace Hotel. Fairmont Peace Hotel. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Fairmont Peace Hotel – A History". Fairmont Peace Hotel. Fairmont Peace Hotel. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  6. ^ Ni, Ching-Ching (22 March 2002). "Citibank Enters China's Consumer Banking Market". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Fairmont Peace Hotel – A History". Fairmont Peace Hotel. Fairmont Peace Hotel. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  8. ^ "The Peace Hotel that has seen war and revolution".
  9. ^ Lonely Planet. "History of Shànghǎi – Lonely Planet Travel Information". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  10. ^ "As Time Goes By: Uli Gaulke & Helge Albers". Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Timeless Novels about 1930s Shanghai". 19 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Fairmont Peace Hotel". Fairmont Peace Hotel. Fairmont Peace Hotel. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Fairmont Peace Hotel FactSheet". Fairmont Peace Hotel. Fairmont Peace Hotel. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Peace Hotel—New Design". The Most Famous Hotels in the World. The Most Famous Hotels in the World. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  15. ^ Thomas, Stephanie (28 July 2010). "The Fairmont Peace Hotel: The reawakening of a Shanghai legend". CNN. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  16. ^ Staff, CNNGo (9 November 2011). "The Swatch Art Peace Hotel: A Shanghai heritage hotel with an artistic future". CNN. Retrieved 12 August 2015. {{cite news}}: |first1= has generic name (help)
  17. ^ "The Swatch Art Peace Hotel". The Swatch Art Peace Hotel. The Swatch Art Peace Hotel. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  18. ^ "The Swatch Art Peace Hotel". Design Hotels. Design Hotels. Retrieved 12 August 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tallest Building in Shanghai
1929 – 1934
Succeeded by

31°14′27.9″N 121°29′04.5″E / 31.241083°N 121.484583°E / 31.241083; 121.484583