The best classic hotels

History meets glamour at these opulent Shanghai hotels

Get a taste of old Shanghai in these three classic hotels, which are among the best in the city and our top luxury accommodation tips.

The Peninsula Shanghai

For its stunning interior, charming service and sheer attention to detail, The Peninsula at the north end of The Bund is probably the best hotel in Shanghai. It’s decked out in luxe modern Art Deco style, but the elegant interior doesn’t get in the way of mod-cons – the 235 large rooms feature cool touches like internet radio, humidity control and TVs by the baths.

The afternoon tea in the airy lobby is the best in town; the Art Deco swimming pool is airily stunning; the Great Gatsby-inspired ESPA is gorgeous; and we gave European fine dining restaurant Sir Elly’s a five-star review.
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Waldorf Astoria

A lot of Shanghai hotels do old Shanghai glamour, but the Waldorf Astoria on The Bund does it better than most. Part of the hotel is housed in the old Shanghai Club on The Bund, and has been beautifully restored.

Here, you’ll find 14 suites with free-standing claw-foot baths and gorgeous period styling, as well as the Long Bar, which has been restored from the days when it was the longest in the Far East, and is now one of the city’s most elegant bars. The other part is a new tower, which features 238 rooms all done in elegant Art Deco style with marble bathrooms. Dining options include Pelham’s, a New York-style fine dining restaurant. 

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The Fairmont Peace Hotel

For a slice of history, The Peace Hotel on The Bund – once the legendary Cathay Hotel – is so iconic that tourists come and take pictures in the lobby. Though it doesn’t feel quite as opulent as The Peninsula or the Waldorf-Astoria, that’s because it’s more authentic, having been painstakingly restored on Government orders.

The Jazz Bar, where Shanghai’s oldest jazz band (average age: 77) play nightly at 8pm, is dark and strangely gothic because that’s how it was in legendary mogul Sir Victor Sassoon’s Cathay Hotel; The Cathay Room European restaurant, similarly, is a place to hear the clink of cutlery on china. The 270 rooms are elegantly bronze-hued, and the Willow Stream Spa is designed to evoke the 1920s and 30s.

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