The Peace Hotel was at its peak in 1930s, when everyone, but everyone my dears, stayed there. But war, revolution and ill-conceived renovations battered the Bund institution and what was once the most luxurious hotel in the Far East faded into a shadow of its former self. Although the charm was still there if you search.
Now the rush is to finish the $73 renovation of the Shanghai landmark in time for next year’s World Expo.
The heyday of the Art Deco hotel, then known as the Cathay, ended in August 1937 when two Japanese bombs exploded outside its doors. It remained open until 1941, when Japanese forces occupied the city.
The famed building reopened in 1956 for visiting Soviet delegations as the Peace Hotel. But key parts of its original fittings were destroyed or covered up in the intervening years.
Lu Jiansong, a professor of cultural heritage at Shanghai’s Fudan University, said, "Modern people have different taste … I’m very sceptical of the assumption that tourists would love the style of the 1920s." He needs to get out more.
AFP reports the new centrepiece of the hotel will be the lobby topped by a rotunda with skylights, which had been covered up over the years. On thing that should not be restored is the infamous Peace Hotel traditional jazz band. It was truly appalling.
Fairmont has said the Peace Hotel will reopen in time for the six-month World Expo, which begins on May 1.