There wasn’t much time for sightseeing in Shanghai – we were mainly shuttling back and forth between the World Jump Rope Championships and our suburban hotel, but I managed to squeeze in a few fun experiences along the way.
One of my favourites was arriving on The Bund in a torrential downpour and accidentally taking refuge in the famous and gorgeous Art Deco beauty called The Peace Hotel.
Here’s a little touristy rundown on its history from the hotel’s website:
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.
The Cathay Hotel welcomed distinguished guests from all over the world, including politicians, financiers, entrepreneurs, important Chinese officials and celebrities, such as General Marshall, Charlie Chaplin and Bernard Shaw. It was here that Noel Coward completed his famous play “Private Lives”. The hotel was also renowned for its Old Jazz Bar, a favourite of the city’s expatriate community. Its band of six veteran musicians entertained dignitaries from around the world, and also toured to great acclaim in the United States and Asia.
In 1992, Peace Hotel was listed as one of the famous hotels of the world by the World Hotel Association. It remains the only hotel in China to have received this recognition.
One of those veteran musicians is still playing at the hotel at the grand age of 93!
I was so charmed by the hotel that I visited it twice and on the second occasion an elderly Chinese man in wing-tip shoes was waltzing with a cheongsam-clad woman on the dining room dance floor. Magical!
Promenading on The Bund at sunset was also pretty incredible, especially with a pale, blue-eyed, blonde-haired 12-year-old in tow. You’d swear Britney Spears was in town by the way the Chinese tourists reacted. The youngest posed for endless selfies and virtually every head turned as we made our way along the riverfront.
When she sat on the steps of The Peace Hotel waiting for a taxi at the end of the night, the cameras were flashing like the paparazzi had arrived.
The buildings along The Bund also light up like it’s Vivid every night and the views from the rooftop bars are spectacular.
Wine is pretty expensive in Shanghai, so I switched to cocktails and sipped them at some incredible locations including a bar called Pop and another called Char.
There was also that incredible meal I told you about in yesterday’s blog post, at a private restaurant. Freaky food but an unforgettable night.
Determined to have a bit of a culture hit despite the heat, the Team Teal mums also went to the Yu Gardens and a nearby temple one day, which was very pretty.
However, there were many things I wasn’t well enough to do – the other skipping mums raved about their visits to the French Quarter and the Jewish Museum.
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum is a museum commemorating the Jewish refugees who lived in Shanghai during World War II after fleeing Europe to escape the Holocaust. It is located at the former Ohel Moshe or Moishe Synagogue, in the Tilanqiao Historic Area of Hongkou district, Shanghai, China. The museum features documents, photographs, films, and personal items documenting the lives of some of the more than 20,000 Jewish residents of the Restricted Sector for Stateless Refugees, better known as the Shanghai Ghetto, during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.
Unfortunately my stomach wasn’t up to the long trek into town that day.
The youngest saw even less of Shanghai than me. Aside from that first night on The Bund, she stuck to the hotel, the Championships venue and the underground markets with their designer rip-offs. We were terrible at bargaining, so we paid way too much for a few pairs of fake sneakers and some fake designer gym gear and a camo hoodie by some cult brand called Supreme for the eldest.
We got to the markets via Shanghai’s excellent train system, which announces every stop in both English and Cantonese. Although most Westerners must cab it because we were always the only non-locals in the many carriages we hopped into.
Other skipping parents also raved about taking a day trip to the river towns, while there’s a Shanghai Disneyland if you’re so inclined.
But my biggest tip for visiting Shanghai would be to choose your travel time wisely. Don’t head there in the height of summer, as you won’t have the energy to enjoy the attractions.
Song of the day: Bee Gees “Night fever”