Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Astor House Hotel - 浦江饭店

thank god my hotel wasn't in the middle of the shanghai's huangpu river (黄浦江) as google maps placed it!

instead it was close to but just over the historic waibaidu or garden bridge (外白渡桥) where more than 100 years ago non-chinese could cross for free and chinese had to pay a toll simply because it was built by a british guy. crazy. it just happened to be that the day k-chan and i arrived was the opening of the bridge after it had been removed for renovation earlier this year.
that explains why there we so many people taking photos of this pretty "normal" looking bridge.

our hotel; astor house hotel or known as the pujiang hotel in chinese (浦江饭店) was also a historic building which was built in 1846 (that's 163 years ago!).
in its day it was apparently the "place to be" as was promoted as the "most grand hotel in the world".

astor house hotel in 1927

i don't wanna bore anyone with history but these astor house hotel "1sts" are kinda amazing:
- it was the 1st building in china to be lit by electricity (1882)
- the 1st building in shanghai to have running water (1883)
- has the 1st telephone installed in shanghai (1901). the telephone number was "200".
- the 1st home of the shanghai stock exchange was this hotel (1990)

and check out some of these famous people who have stayed here:
- 18th united states president ulysses grant (1879)
- albert einstein (1922)
- charlie chaplin (1931 & 1936)
and many more, but i don't recognise their names...

overall i was happy with this hotel, friendly staff, comfortable room, awesome location, and not to forget that it felt like i was living in a bit of shanghai's history.
the only disappointments were breakfast which was nothing special, the creaky floorboards during the night. can't really complain about this though as this hotel is old, and those creaks were probably just ghosts...
oh, the shower water smelt like it was pumped straight from the river... but then again shanghai is still china.

the hotel's current entrance

illuminated at night & locals taking photos of the bridge

the grand breakfast area

me in the enclosed inner courtyard and the lobby


Luuworld said...

wow, what a great lookin hotel! sure beats the place i stayed in in berlin. old, grand buildings are supercool.

world of sekimachihato said...

* Luuworld
i love grand old buildings too.
such a shame that todays buildings often lack in such character and glamour.
where possible i always try to stay somewhere that is a bit unique. beats a normal room in a normal hotel anyday!

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