Jewel of the Bund

Updated: 2015-01-17 07:00

By Wang Ying(Shanghai Star)

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Jewel of the Bund

A picture of the Fairmont Peace Hotel as it looked when it was first built. [Photo provided to Shanghai Star]

The building was much like a modern commercial complex: the ground floor featured a luxury shopping arcade under a glass rotunda, the next three floors were used as office space and could be reached via a black marble staircase or electric cage lift.

The building's eighth and ninth floor are dining rooms.

During the 1930s, Sir Victor lived in the penthouse on the 10th floor (now the Sassoon Presidential Suite), a suite of spacious and luxuriously appointed rooms with sweeping vistas of the Bund and Huangpu River - a view Sassoon referred to as "his muse."

The hotel is in a shape of the Chinese character feng (丰), which means lavish. Clearly, the hotel was expected to be prosperous by both the designer and the owner.

Ever since it opened, the hotel has held the city's best parties, balls, events, and celebrations. Famous guests have included British playwright Noel Coward, Irish playwright and Nobel Prize laureate George Bernard Shaw, and English comic actor and filmaker Charlie Chaplin. But the Japanese occupation between 1941 and 1945 put an end to the hotel's era of glamour.