Historic Hotels in Shanghai, Where the City’s Old Lifestyle is Represented

Historic hotels in Shanghai represent the city’s heyday nearly a century ago. At that time, Shanghai was perhaps the most exotic, controversial, and colourful city on the planet. In the former French concession and the international settlement area, many buildings have European styles. Some of them were private buildings, while others were hotels. Today, some of those private buildings have transformed into historic hotels in Shanghai.

All of the historic hotels in Shanghai described in this post are in the city centre, near major sightseeing. Metro or public transportation are nearby. To stay in one of those historic hotels in Shanghai is a way of time traveling into the city’s history. These buildings are also like historical books, telling visual stories from old Shanghai.

In recent years, Shanghai has built many ultra-modern and luxury hotels. The price per night is even much higher than those of historic hotels in Shanghai. Therefore, as travelers, staying in one of those traditional hotels in Shanghai is the best way to combine cultural travel and luxury experience. By all means, these hotels are worth blowing your budget.

Shanghai Skyline view from the Suzhou Creek

The historic hotels in Shanghai

Each of the following hotels has a lengthy story to tell. Those hotels have also kept many historical materials and things to inspire guests a journey through history.

Several hotels are in the former French concession or near the area, while others are near the Bund, not far from the Huangpu riverside promonade.

Hotels in the former French Concession

Hotels near the Bund

Mansion Hotel (首席公馆酒店)

The French architect Lafayette designed the hotel in 1932. It used to be the clubhouse of gangsters Du Yuesheng and his partner Huang Jinrong, where they handled many large deals. The entire architectural style is a mix of classic French and Asian architecture. More than 300 pieces of 100-year-old antiques, including artifacts and photographs, witnessed the neoclassic building’s history.

Other features of the hotel are such as antiques, dark and waxed wood, and high ceilings. Some rooms with balconies have views over the Russian Orthodox church. Guests can book the honeymoon suites. The hotel is also near the area’s well-known clubs and pubs.

The hotel has 30 rooms, each has0 individually decoration The High Tea in the Mansion Lobby and the rooftop restaurants present the past glory of the clubhouse. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Take Metro line 1 and exit at South Shanxi Road.  Then turn left on Xin Le road until the crossing of North Xiang Yang Road. South Shanxi Road Metro Station is 400 metres away. And, Changshu Road Metro Station is 600 metres away.

Mansion Hotel

Hotel Massenet at Sinan Mansions (思南公馆酒店)

The area bounded by Fuxing Road to the north, Sinan Road to the west, and Chongqing Road to the east, includes a group of European-style villas dating from the early 20th century. The villas have been renovated or redeveloped. And, most revamped villas now host house restaurants and bars. Shaded by tall plane trees planted by the French authorities 100 years ago, this is a pleasant area to stroll and perhaps stop for a coffee and cake.

Some of the villas in the group are now part of Hotel Massenet (Sinan Road was formerly the Route Massenet in the French period.) The hotel integrates luxurious architecture with all the necessary comforts.

How to get there

Take metro line 10  and exit at Xintiandi metro station. Then walk around 700 metres toward the west.

Hotel Massenet at Sinan Mansions (思南公馆酒店)


(Jin Jiang) Park Hotel (上海国际饭店)

Built in 1934, designed by the Hungarian-Slovakian architect László Hudec, the 83.8 metres tall building was the highest building in the Far East in the 1930s and 1940s. It remained the tallest building in China until 1966, and in Shanghai until 1983. The hotel overlooked the horse racing course owned by the Shanghai Race Club. Besides, it was one of the most prestigious locations in Shanghai at the time.

Many famous people stayed in the hotel in its heyday, such as Madam Song Qinglin and the United States Secretary of State Henry Alfred Kissinger. It was also the geographical centre of old Shanghai. There is a mark inside the hall to mark the geographical point.

Today, the renovated hotel resurrects the European and American Art Deco construction style. This 15-story hotel offers 250 guestrooms and suites. All rooms feature upholstered armchairs, dark-wood armoires, and neutral colour schemes. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there
Take metro line 2 and exit at People’s Square. Walk out of the subway station at gate No. 10. The hotel is about 190 metre away.

(Jin Jiang) Park Hotel (上海国际饭店)

Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa Hotel (衡山马勒别墅饭店)

Built in 1936 by Eric Moller, a Swedish shipping magnate, the distinctive design includes brown-tiled Gothic and Tudor gables, spires, and steeples. The unique northern European style building looks just like a Christian Andersen’s castle in the fairy-tale world. It integrated oriental architecture and western architecture. The uneven walls form the unique architectural appearance, and the well-arranged colorful firebricks look like a beautiful dress on the building. Moreover, Moller Villa has a garden covering an area of about 2000 square meters.

The hotel has 43 luxury rooms and suites decorated in authentic European-style. It also features famous restaurants and bars to provide guests with world-class cuisines. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Take metro line 2 and exit at West Nanjing Road Subway Station. Or, take metro line 1 and exit at South Shaanxi Road Subway Station. It is about 10 minutes walk from the subway station.

Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa Hotel (衡山马勒别墅饭店)

InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin (瑞金宾馆)

The hotel premise used to belong to the Benjamin Morris family’s estate. The Morris family owned the oldest English-language newspaper in China, the North China Daily News.

InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin includes four houses, numerous outbuildings, and ornate gardens, covering almost 100 acres. Many famous people had stayed on the hotel premises. For example, in 1927, Chiang Kai-shek and his wife stayed in the hotel after their engagement. Their room is well-kept in the original status. Like in the Intercontinental Carlton in Cannes, most rooms have a plaque displayed outside, showing the names of the famous individuals who had stayed.

You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.
How to get there

Take metro line 9 and exit at Dapuqiao subway station. Then, walk 900 metres to the hotel.

InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin (瑞金宾馆); Historic Hotels in Shanghai

Okura Garden Hotel Shanghai (花园饭店)

Part of the hotel was the former French Club with full Parisian style. Okura Garden Hotel is less famous, but has a Grand Ballroom on the second floor, known to be the No.1 ballroom of the far-east, with the giant dome ceiling and spring floor. Besides, the center part of the dome used large sheets of colored glass, and the oval dance floor in the center of the wooden floor sinks by 20 cm.

Two arched pavilions were removed to give the space needed for the building in 1949. In 1959, a copy of the old pavilion was back in the center of the garden. The white pavilion stands out in its elegant status and merges romantically into its surroundings. Nowadays, the pavilion is a popular place for garden weddings. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Take metro line 1 and exit at Shaanxi South Road Station. The hotel is 650 metres away from the subway station.

Okura Garden Hotel Shanghai (花园饭店)

Shanghai Fenyang Garden Boutique Hotel (上海汾阳花园酒店)

Designed in the 1930s by Mr. L.E.Hudec, a famous Austro-Hungarian architect in Shanghai, the hotel brings a noble and elegant atmosphere to the guests. The typical Spanish-style building features a red roof, white wall, spiral pillars, cement decorations, dazzling crystal chandelier, iron railings, and a traditional lobby fireplace. It is the historical heritage that witnessed the prosperity of Shanghai.

The hotel is in the middle of a lovely garden. There are 70 superior guest rooms of different styles with luxury and comfort. Some of those rooms have balconies. The main building includes a Chinese-style dining room, a western food dining room, a banquet room, and a multi-functioned hall.

Shanghai Fenyang Garden Hotel is in the former French Concession of Shanghai, close to Shanghai College of Music. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Get off at subway station South Shanxi Road. It is 700 metres to the hotel.

Shanghai Fenyang Garden Boutique Hotel (上海汾阳花园酒店)

Shanghai Donghu Hotel (上海东湖宾馆)

Shanghai Donghu Hotel is a charming garden-style business hotel located in the heart of Shanghai’s former French Concession. Situated between the shopping street Huaihai Middle Road (淮海中路) on one side and the charming restaurant street Donghu Road on the other side, the Donghu Hotel enjoys easy access to some of the city’s most eclectic bars and restaurants.

Shanghai Donghu Hotel has seven buildings constructed in different years and styles. The main building (No. 70 Donghu Road) used to be Du Yuesheng’s home, a tycoon in old Shanghai. It has pillars with colorful paintings, Mahogany Furniture from Ming and Qing style, presenting the luxurious lifestyle of old Shanghai. Later, the main building was offices of the Sino-French Bank, Bank of Communications, and the US General Consulate.

Altogether, this Shanghai hotel houses over 271 rooms and seven different types of villas. The Chinese and international breakfast buffet is popular among guests. One Korean restaurant and three Chinese restaurants specializing in Shanghai, Guangdong, Cantonese, and Sichuanese cuisines are also on-site. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

Shanghai Donghu Hotel (上海东湖宾馆), Historic Hotels in Shanghai

How to get there

Take metro line 1, line 10, or line 12 and exit at South Shaanxi Road Station. It is about a 7-min walk or 500 metres to the hotel.

Jinjiang Hotel (上海锦江饭店)

Jinjiang Hotel includes three buildings, the 13-story Cathay Mansion apartment building completed in 1929, the 18-story Grosvenor House apartment building completed in 1934, and a three-story side wing of Grosvenor House.

The name “Jinjiang” derives from a restaurant opened in 1935 by female entrepreneur Dong Zhujun in Hongkou district, Shanghai. In 1951, the new government took over Cathay Mansion and converted it into a hotel. Since then, the hotel has hosted senior party officials and more than 300 state leaders. It is one of the historic hotels in Shanghai frequented by many VIPS from all around the world.

When Dong’s restaurant moved into Cathay Mansion, the hotel was renamed Jinjiang Hotel. Meanwhile, Dong became the hotel’s first chairman. Her restaurant offered the classic international and Asian cuisines of the restaurant. It was popular at that time, according to a New York Times reporter. Today, the three elegant European-style buildings offer guestrooms equipped with modern facilities. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Take metro line 1, line 2, or line 8 and exit at People’s Square Subway Station. It is about 2 minutes walk.

Jinjiang Hotel (上海锦江饭店)

Fairmont Peace Hotel (和平饭店)

Peace Hotel has two buildings, the North Building and the South Building. The South Building is the Swatch Art Peace Hotel today and the residence of artists from the world.

The construction of the North Building, known as Sassoon House, today the Fairmont Peace Hotel, started in 1926. It used to be the Cathy Hotel. It features the distinctive copper-sheathed roof that rises 77 meters above ground, 83 meters to the spire, white Italian marble floors, and priceless Lalique glass artwork. Without a doubt, Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai’s legendary landmark in the heart of the Bund, enjoying a premier location on the Bund, next to the Shanghai riverside promenade.

In history, the hotel welcomed VIPs from the world, including politicians, financiers, entrepreneurs, Chinese VIPs, and celebrities, such as General Marshall, Charlie Chaplin, and Bernard Shaw. Fairmont Peace Hotel represents the heydays of old Shanghai.

In 2010, after an extensive restoration, the hotel reopened as the Fairmont Peace hotel. It offers 270 deluxe guestrooms and suites with a selection of six restaurants and lounges, such as a wine and cigar bar. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Take metro line 2 or line 10 and exit at East Nanjing Road Station. It is 5 minutes walk to the hotel.

Fairmont Peace Hotel (和平饭店), Historic Hotels in Shanghai

Metropolo Classiq, Shanghai, YMCA-People square (上海商悦青年会大酒店)

The history of YMCA started in 1844 when Englishman George Williams founded the international organization. In 1900, a group of Chinese elites and sponsors established the YMCA in Shanghai. Completed in August of 1931, the nine-story Chinese YMCA Building was the first Chinese architecture to incorporate the traditional elements into a tall building, a so-called Chinese Renaissance Style.

Pillars and beamed ceilings, stone staircases, latticed window work, and the usual Chinese roof of glazed temple tiles are in harmony. Most of the features in the building are well preserved.

Nowadays, the Chinese YMCA rents out most of the building to the Jinjiang Metropolo Classiq. Compared to the other historic hotels in Shanghai, the Jinjiang Metropolo Classiq is rather a middle-range hotel, but with a prime location. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Take metro line 8 and exit at Dashijie subway station. It is about 2 minutes walk to the hotel.

Metropolo Classiq, Shanghai, YMCA-People square (上海商悦青年会大酒店)

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (上海外滩华尔道夫酒店)

The hotel premise was the principal men’s club for British residents of Shanghai, the Shanghai Club Building. Opened in January 1910, the total building ground is 1,811 square metres, while the total floor area is 9,280 square metres. The building’s main facade uses a tripartite design, and the middle section features six Ionic columns. The architect was H. Tarrant, and the interior designer was the Japanese architect Shimoda Kikutaro. However, the most outstanding feature of the interior is the 34-metre black-and-white marble bar, called the Long Bar.

Interestingly, it was notable from 1990 to 1996 for hosting the first KFC restaurant in Shanghai. In 2009, the Hilton group leased the building and converted it to the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, a luxury hotel. You’ll find this hotel at Hotels Combined and Booking.com.

How to get there

Take metro line 2 or line10 and exit at East Nanjing Road Subway Station. It is about 1 km distance to the hotel. As the hotel is just next to the Bund, it is also quickly reachable by car.

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (上海外滩华尔道夫酒店), Historic Hotels in Shanghai

Broadway Mansions Hotel (上海大厦)

The Broadway Mansions Hotel is also named Shanghai Mansion and is an Art Deco hotel designed by Mr. Bright Fraser, an architect from the UK. The building was an exclusive residential hotel. It took four years to complete.

At the time of its construction, the telephone system was installed. And its original phone number (46260) has remained unchanged, which is the last five digits of the current number.

The Broadway Mansions Hotel has four treasures. Two of them are the piano, transported from the UK to Shanghai in 1932, and the Antique Snooker Table, made in the UK in 1934. The third treasure is the OTIS Elevator, an antique hand-operated elevator. Lastly, the Gramophone was a product from Victor, an American phonograph company in 1917. Besides, it is also the best location to enjoy the Shanghai Riverside views.

Now, have you decided in which hotel would you prefer to stay?

Broadway Mansions Hotel (上海大厦), Historic Hotels in Shanghai


  1. Wow. I was not aware that a place like Shanghai had so many of these historic buildings converted into the most top notch hotels. I have been planning my trip to Shanghai and this post will surely help me choose the right accommodation. The quality and service of most of these seem at par or above some of the world class 5 star hotels I have seen and read about. In terms of the large scale InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin takes the lead I must admit. Thanks for sharing these great hotels

  2. Shanghai is such an interesting city. The old and the new come together in unexpected ways. I saw the Waldorf Astoria while visiting the Bund but didn’t realize there were so many historic hotels. Looking forward to a future visit.

  3. I like to stay in historic hotels. There is so much drama and story there. If I get a chance to visit Shanghai, will certainly check the Mansion Hotel. I can just visualise all those deals–sounds really exciting to me.

  4. Wow, that is quite the list of historical hotels in Shanghai. I really like the idea of French and Asian architecture so it seems like Mansion Hotel would be a good one to explore. Considering it was designed by Lafayette, I can imagine the interiors would be impressive! I also quite like the outdoor spa experience at Hotel Massenet at Sinan Mansions. The bedroom at Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa Hotel is amazing!

  5. I love historic hotels stay and I never knew that there are so many historic hotel options in Shanghai. I loved the lobby of Mansion hotel by French architect Lafayette. Also the views from the terrace of Hotel Massenet are wonderful.

  6. I love reading about historical hotels that have a history. Shanghai never ceases to amaze me, I just love that city. There are some really beautiful old historic hotels listed in your article. I would love to plan a week in Shanghai visiting each one and soaking up their history and their culture.

  7. A lot of times the historic hotels are the most expensive, it’s good to know that isn’t the case in Shanghai. These all look so opulent, it would be hard to choose which one to stay in. The InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin is enormous! It’s very cool that there are plaques outside the doors to show the famous people that stayed in each room.

  8. This is a wonderful list of historical hotels! I hope to visit Shanghai soon, and I would love to stay at the Okura Garden Hotel Shangha. The entrance looks stunning.

  9. This is a very informative list! I’m glad that you also wrote about the directions on how to go there. This will be helpful for my China Trip!

  10. China might have lots of controversy (which I believe because of misunderstanding of Chinese culture), but this country is the home for lots of luxurious hotels. I would love to visit them all.

  11. So many things to love about Shanghai! It’s really beautiful out there. Truly a bucket list material.

  12. Wow, all these hotels are so stunning from afar, I bet it looks more beautiful inside. Haven’t been to Shanghai, I hope I could spend a night to one of these.

  13. The architecture and decoration are amazing. It is astonishing how they were built in old age and still are in good constructed condition. No doubt, why Shanghai is a popular spot.

  14. All these hotels are so grand! I would make you feel like royalty if you had a chance to stay in any of them. I have been to Beijing but not to Shanghai (yet). I will bookmark this article for future reference.

  15. These hotels look amazing. Great pictures. A friend of mine is visiting Shanghai next month I will share this with him.

  16. Shanghai is on my list for summer 2020, will make sure to visit one of those Hotels, as an Architect I’m sure I’ll enjoy the ancient art and the history behind those buildings.

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