Shanghai Favorite # 1 – The Fairmont Peace Hotel where we stayed. A landmark art deco building built by prominent businessman Sir Victor Sassoon, and is located on the Bund facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River.
The hotel touts itself as “truly a fusion of ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, and was built in the Gothic style of the Chicago School.” Go figure! There’s that Chicago architecture thing “again.” The building was started in 1926, rose to 10 stories, and was designed by P & T (Palmer and Turner) Architects Limited. Ed read somewhere that Victor put a moratorium on buildings being built taller than it, but I’m not sure where he read that. So I might be writing a “white lie.”
Our favorite things at the Fairmont: the Parisian style Victor’s Café where we sipped on cappuccinos surrounded by Germans whose conversations I eavesdropped; my massage that cured my jet lag at The Willow Street Spa where the décor and serenity blew me away; the delicious food at the Dragon Phoenix Chinese restaurant; and X Style the wonderful gift shop owned by Sieglinde Simbueger, a German lady originally from Paderborn, Germany, a city not far from my relatives in Arnsberg. We conversed in German, as I stopped by frequently to purchase postcards and souvenirs.
A deciding factor in Ed’s decision to book us at the Fairmont was the esteemed Jazz Bar, Shanghai’s premier destination for Jazz, located in the hotel. Nightly, from 7:30 to 9:30 the Old Jazz Band, the long-time resident band made of seven musicians over 70 years old (the oldest member boasts of a whopping age of 92) plays. I found a quote on the web that says it all: You won’t hear much improvisation in their jazz music, but you’ll be moved by their passion and devotion when they perform.
They’ve even had a movie made about them. We stayed for a drink.