Fairmont Peace Hotel

By Laura Ivill, March 18, 2011
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Sir Victor Sassoon's 'most beautiful hotel east of Suez' renovated in its original Art Deco style

Sir Victor Sassoon's 'most beautiful hotel east of Suez' renovated in its original Art Deco style

When the Jewish financier Sir Victor Sassoon built his Art Deco masterpiece in Shanghai in 1929, he wanted to create "the most beautiful hotel east of Suez, and the most modern".

The refurbished and newly re-opened 11-storey riverside edifice which overlooks Shanghai's Huangpu River is China's answer to the Savoy. The green domed building attracted the glitterati to parties throughout the Jazz Age.

The atrium has a vast expanse of Art Deco white and black Italian marble flooring with geometric patterns made from tiny mosaic tiles in mother-of-pearl, teal, chocolate and cream.

There are Lalique light fittings and the roof is decorated with stained-glass.

So rich is the texture of this living work of art – as Sassoon had designed it to be – that it became quite a joy to feel at home among its many spaces.

The Art Deco theme extends into the bedrooms. Standard guestrooms overlook the inner courtyard and come with a walk-in closet and a marble bathroom that has a claw-foot tub, an LCD screen and are finished with large chrome fittings and Miller Harris toiletries.

There are a number of suites, many of which have a river view. They range from one bedroom to the Sassoon Presidential Suite that spans the 10th floor where Victor Sassoon once lived. My Fairmont Gold room was deliciously quiet.

Six lounges and restaurants cater for an international clientele.

A drink on the terrace of the ninth-floor Cathay Room restaurant has eye-popping views across the sweeping bend of the Huangpu river to the illuminated retro-futurist telecoms tower and skyscrapers opposite, all built since the mid-Nineties.

The Dragon Phoenix restaurant offers a modern Chinese menu and the Jazz Bar retains its mock-Tutor smoky English pub interior. The latter has table service and some top-flight musicians – go for the after-dinner entertainment (reservations essential).

Drinks will set you back as much as any five-star hotel in London and glasses of wine are small, but the whole place is grand without being stuffy.

Fairmont President's Club members, can take advantage of complimentary Wi-Fi. Otherwise there is a charge.

It took two years to renovate this hotel and no doubt Sassoon would find this 21st-century incarnation suitably beautiful and modern.

Rates: from 2,300 RMB (£217)
TEL: 0845 0710153

    Last updated: 10:49am, March 18 2011