Peace Hotel


Peace Hotel

The Peace Hotel (Chinese: 和平饭店) is a world famous hotel on The Bund in Shanghai, China in the former International Settlement and overlooking the Huangpu River. The hotel today comprises two buildings. The North Building is Sassoon House, which housed the former Cathay Hotel. The South Building is the former Palace Hotel. The two buildings both face the Bund, but are divided by the famous Nanjing Road, arguably the busiest street in Shanghai. It was announced on April 16th, that the hotel will soon be closing, going through a complete renovation and reopening in 2009 as the pre-eminent luxury hotel in Shanghai as the Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai.

North Building

The larger North Building at Number 20, The Bund, is called Sassoon House. It was built by Sir Victor Sassoon, of the famous Sassoon family who dominated Shanghai business and real estate in the early 20th century. He was a British Sephardic Jew of Lebanese origin, and his family had extensive business in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Calcutta. Sassoon House was the first high rise building built by Victor Sassoon. It was designed by P & T Architects Limited (Palmer and Turner), with a reinforced concrete structure. It occupied 4617 square metres, with a floor space of 36,317 square metres. Construction began in 1926 and completed in 1929. The building is ten storeys in height, partially thirteen storeys, and with a basement. The total height is 77 metres. From external design to interior decor, a consistent design scheme was followed. The building featured extensive use of straight lines in the exterior, with decorative patterns at pediments and eaves. Most of the building features granite facing, with the ninth floor and the roof 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 metres. The pyramid is faced with copper (which is now green).

The building features an "A" shaped cross section. Before 1949, the ground floor space facing the Bund was leased to two banks. This space later became the Shanghai branch of Citibank in the 1980s. The rest of the ground floor featured a shopping arcade. Two main walkways crossed in the centre at an octagonal hall. The first to third floor were leased as offices. Sassoon's companies and subsidiaries had their offices in the fourth floor. The fifth to seventh floors housed the Cathay Hotel, with rooms decorated in exotic international themes. The eighth floor housed the main bar, a ball room, and a Chinese restaurant. The ninth floor is a night club and a small dining hall. The tenth floor was Victor Sassoon's private apartments. Within the pyramidal roof was the large dining hall.

Before 1949, the Cathay Hotel was regarded as the most prestigious hotel in Shanghai. Most international envoys visiting Shanghai would stay in the hotel. 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 resumed trading as a hotel under the name "Peace Hotel". In 1992 Peace Hotel was listed as one of the famous hotels of the world by the World Hotel Association. It remains the only hotel in China to have received this recognition. Today, it is particularly renowned for its Jazz Band and its roof terrace restaurant, overlooking the now booming district of Pudong across the Huangpu.

outh Building

Separated from the North Building by busy Nanjing Road, the South Building was built as the Palace Building, formerly known as Central Hotel. Central Hotel was founded in the 1850s. In 1903, the hotel was restructured to form Palace Hotel. At the same time, the building was rebuilt as a six storey building, the tallest building on Nanjing Road at the time. In 1909, the first meeting of the World Anti-Narcotics League was held here. In 1911, after the success of the Xinhai Revolution, Sun Yat-sen stayed at the hotel and advocated commitment to the revolutionary cause.

The present building was completed in 1908. It occupies 2125 square metres, with a floor space of 11607 metres. It has a brick veneer structure, with six storeys reaching 30 metres in height. The exterior adopts a Renaissance style. The hotel has around 120 guest rooms. It also featured two elevators, the first building to do so in Shanghai. 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 trading until 1952, when it was confiscated and used by the Municipal Construction Department. In 1965 it resumed trading as a hotel as a part of the Peace Hotel.The South Building, across the street, is the former Palace Hotel, built in 1906. After the founding of the People's Republic it was closed, and reopened in 1965 as a wing of the Peace Hotel.

In 2004, it was featured as the 10th pit-stop in The Amazing Race 6, a very popular reality TV show.

See also

* "Private Lives", a play by Noel Coward written in the Cathay Hotel

* The Bund

References

* [http://www.shanghaipeacehotel.com Official website]
* [http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=103843 Peace Hotel]
* [http://users.bigpond.net.au/lsc/ionad/Shanghai/Shanghai4.html Buildings of the Bund]


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