[photopress:hotels_du_yu_sheung.jpg,full,alignright]In Shanghai, its French Concession, the old trading quarter run by colonial France, remains a charming low-rise neighborhood of tree-lined avenues.
Here a few small, intimate hotels have opened over the past 18 months. One is the Mansion Hotel, a gracious and spacious 1930s villa.
This was once the clubhouse of Du Yue Sheng, aka ‘Big Ears Du’, one of the city’s wealthiest and most notorious gangsters.
He was a triad king who had his base in the French Concession where he bought houses and police chiefs with equal ease. He lived for many years in the mansion which later became the Donghu Hotel on Donghu Lu, and amongst his many businesses ran a bank which owned the Central Plaza building on Yanan Lu near the Bund. He had a number of wives, many concubines and links into the highest levels of Chinese politics, particularly the Nationalists led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
(You can read the full story of this interesting if not over-savory character in Tales of Old Shanghai which I strongly commend to you.)
In The Mansion hotel the fittings are of that period with rosewood cabinets, Art Nouveau lights and Shanghai-style 1930s winged armchairs.
The Mansion Hotel is about a 20-minute taxi ride from The Bund and a 15-minute drive from The People’s Square in the heart of the city. It is opposite a splendid onion-domed Russian Orthodox Church, now a library, and is close to little boutiques and cafes along Xinle and Shaanxi Roads.
There are 30 bedrooms and have all the modern gizmos which are essential to traveling life. Big flat screen TVs, printers, faxes and scanners are standard fittings in each room.
Each room is also equipped with free Wifi and also offers free broadband access. ‘Big Ears Du’ would have approved. He was ever an excellent communicator.
Source: The Independent on Sunday