Flashy, new, gleaming high-rise hotels are great. And, there certainly is no shortage of modernity in the booming city of Shanghai. But, nothing compares to the elegance of an historic property that has been fully restored and brought back to its glory. The Peace Hotel, Shanghai’s legendary hotel address since 1929, is a cherished city landmark that was revived in 2010 by a team of top designers, architects, historians and management experts.
After a three-year restoration process, the Fairmont Peace Hotel was complete. During the restoration, the hotel underwent a detailed structural study to define and reinstate the original floor plan and design schematics.
Entering the hotel through one of four vintage revolving doors, guests immediately feel a sense of the style and sophistication of its 1930s heyday. Ornately carved original moldings throughout the hotel are another reminder of past glory.
Just off the lobby, the ground floor has been restored to its original function as a Retail Arcade featuring luxury brand flagships across custom-patterned stone mosaic floors. Guests can experience the same arcade interior planning and grand-scale lobby that guests did when the original hotel opened in 1929.
Fairmont has combined 1930s period flourishes along with contemporary comforts and cutting-edge technology in guest rooms. Luxury materials of the day, such as grey-vein marble, Noir St. Laurent dark limestone and walnut burl grain woods, adorn the interior surfaces. A soft buff and blue color palette, ornately coffered ceilings, polished copper balustrades and Lalique glass fixtures can be found throughout.
Vintage furnishings conceal state-of-the-art in-room technology, like a 37-inch plasma TV, Blu-ray DVD player and wireless and Broadband Internet with ‘plug-and-play’ connectivity. Marble clad bathrooms feature double vanities, a bath-side LCD screen and rainforest shower.
Many of the Fairmont Peace Hotel’s sumptuous dining venues assume their original locations within the hotel and once again become the most prestigious tables on the Bund. Chic European elegance defines The Cathay Room, which steps out to an expansive ninth-floor terrace.
Original coffered ceilings and carved pillars complement the refined Shanghainese cuisine at Chinese restaurant Dragon Phoenix. Mezzanine level cigar and wine bar Cin Cin, a new addition, and ground-floor Jasmine Lounge, famous for its high tea tradition, allows guests to enjoy the ambiance of the restored legendary address while the Jazz Bar faithfully revives a Shanghai institution.
Going so far as to improve on tradition, Fairmont Peace Hotel also welcomes the addition of a Willow Stream Spa, fully equipped Fitness Center and private sky-lit swimming pool. These wellness offerings are located in a sensitively designed low-rise extension to the original heritage building.
We arrived the the Fairmont Peace at around 9pm after 20 hours of flying from DFW and missing a full night of sleep. Needless to say, we were exhausted. As soon as our car pulled up to the hotel, a bellman greeted us and took our luggage. We were recognized by the Reception as Fairmont Gold guests and escorted to a private check-in on the 9th floor. Fairmont Gold guests have access to a variety of special amenities, one of which is the elegant concierge lounge on the 9th floor. Discerning guests will find Fairmont Gold well worth the additional cost.
After a quick check-in, we were escorted to our suite on the 7th floor. The only word that can accurately describe our room is "amazing". We entered into a small entryway with a mini-bar/coffee bar with espresso machine. Two queen-sized beds, a large desk, sofa and coffee table were in the bedroom. The carpeting, upholstery and overall decor looked fresh and new and were very tastefully executed. A closet area connects to a large marble bathroom with separate shower, toilet and claw-foot bathtub.
The mattresses and bedding were as good as you will find anywhere, and better than most. After being awake for more than 24 hours, a comfortable bed is a godsend. Peace Hotel delivers. The marble bathroom features a large glass-enclosed shower with rainshower head, a full-size claw-foot bathtub, marble vanity and and secluded toilet. A large closet/luggage storage area is positioned between the bathroom and bedroom. Solid-core, heavy, sliding pocket doors with affixed full-length mirrors separate the rooms. The suite's coffered ceilings are high and exude elegance only found in legacy properties.
As good as the accommodations are at Fairmont Peace Hotel, they pale in comparison to the warmth of the hotel staff. Every employee is smiling, pleasant and very accommodating. When staying in a foreign and unfamiliar country, it is nice to come "home" to a comfortable, inviting environment. Fairmont Peace Hotel provides that comfort.
We have been extremely fortunate over the past ten years to experience some of the most highly regarded hotels and resorts in the world. Fairmont Peace Hotel will be regarded as one of our all-time favorites. Not only can we highly recommend this hotel, we will definitely return should our travels bring us back to Shanghai.