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Shanghai Old Sassoon’s Mansion

 Formerly the Cathay Hotel (it adopted the Peace Hotel name in 1956)

Fairmont Peace Hotel has been a Shanghai landmark for over a century, enjoying a premier location on the Bund, facing the Pudong area over the Huangpu River.

The hotel is truly a fusion of ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, and was built in the Gothic style of the Chicago School.

The hotel is divided into the South Building and the North Building. Construction on the North Building, which was known as Sassoon House, started in 1926. Named for its owner, Sir Victor Sassoon, a prominent British businessman, the building rose 10 storeys and was designed by P & T (Palmer and Turner) Architects Limited. Floors four through nine comprised the Cathay Hotel, which officially opened on September 5, 1929.

The hotel was widely known as the luxurious "Number One mansion in the Far East", due to its prime location along the Bund, and for its grandeur, including the distinctive copper-sheathed roof that rises 77 meters above ground, white Italian marble floors, and priceless Lalique glass artwork.

Peace hotel-northern builing

No 20 Nanjin Road, East, built in 1928, is an outstanding modern high-riser in Shanghai of steel frame structure in 10 stories and party in 13 stories in the middle. The outer walls of the different stories are built of granite, except the ninth and the top floors of Taishan stone-paved bricks. The vertical lines, waist lines and eaves are all carved. The eastern side of the building is the front. Part of the roof on the eastern side is in a cone shape and covered with red copper. In the hotel there are British, French, Italian, German, Indian, Spanish, American and Chinese styled suites. The Old Men Jazz Band is well-known the world over. They platy the music of tunes calling memories of the past

Sassoon’s most famous property, the original Cathay Hotel (changed to Peace Hotel in 1956 and Fairmont Peace Hotel in 2010), was a stab at creating the city’s first American-style, art deco skyscraper.

It opened on August 1, 1929, and became a legend nearly overnight. Sassoon, who was flamboyant, confident and smart, was determined to make Shanghai the home base for his business, a business that was particularly interested in real estate. In a matter of years, Sassoon almost single-handedly built up Shanghai to international recognition with a multitude of different luxurious buildings, including the previously mentioned Broadway Mansions. But Sassoon's pride and joy, his baby, was the Peace Hotel, known originally as Sassoon House, home of the Cathay Hotel. Opened in the year 1929, it was Sassoon's first high-rise building, reaching a whopping ten floors, and one of the centers of Shanghai's social scene. Sassoon, who appropriately lived on the tenth floor, threw ostentatious parties in the air-conditioned ballroom. The parties were events that no-one who was anyone would dare to miss, along with its Jazz Bar (today, the Old Jazz Bar), which was always a happening hangout.

Setting new luxury and height standards as China’s first high-rise -- it had 10 floors -- the Cathay’s design and state-of-the-art amenities were unrivaled in Asia.

So was its price tag, an inconceivable building cost of more than one million pounds.

Swarmed by celebrities and wealthy wannabes, Sassoon's infamous nightclub parties -- in Shanghai's first air-conditioned ballroom, no less -- and penthouse bachelor pad tales were covered in many gossip sheets and diaries.

Local newspapers of the day speculated that the lavishness of Sassoon's parties was inspired partly out of spite toward the many Shanghai clubs that denied him entry due to his Jewish heritage.

The lavishness of the hotel, its owner and its soirees soon became known around the world, and the international elite immediately flocked to stay in the building. The pointed, green-roofed hotel became a beacon for up-and-coming Shanghai, but eventually, it became something more. For the next few years, it became a safe haven for all manner of people when the war with Japan reached Shanghai. Despite all that occurred to and around the building, from bombings to threats, Sassoon was able to hold down the fort, keeping in mind the best interests of Western countries and communities. In 1941, Sassoon was in India when his precious hotel finally fell into the hands of the Japanese. It wasn't long before the hotel was passed on to the Communist government, who used the building for offices, then reverted it back to a hotel, officially changing its name to the "Peace Hotel." In 1992, the hotel was named as one of the most famous hotels in the world by the World Hotel Association and it remains a landmark on the Bund. Closed for renovations from 2007, it has been restored to it former glory, its decadent hallways and suites reopening as the Fairmont Peace Hotel in 2010.
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