Park Hotel Shanghai: A Prime Example of Art Deco Architecture

Park Hotel Shanghai is located at No. 170 West Nanjing Road, overlooking the People’s Park. This hotel is a prime example of Art Deco architecture designed by the Slovak-Hungarian architect László Hudec. The 83.8-meter-high hotel, with 22 stories above ground and another 2 stories underground, held the record as the tallest building in Asia for decades and remained the tallest in China until 1982.

Park Hotel Shanghai

Park Hotel Shanghai, known as the Shanghai International Hotel in Chinese, was invested by Joint Savings Society, which was jointly established by Yienyieh Commercial Bank, Kincheng Banking Corporation, the China & South Sea Bank, and the Continental Bank, so it is also called Shanghai Joint Savings Society Building.

Park Hotel opened for business in 1934. The automatic elevator, international direct call service and other advanced facilities, as well as the considerate service, gained the hotel a great reputation. Since its opening, many celebrities have visited Park Hotel, such as the late US President Hoover, President of Peking University John Leighton Stuart, Chiang Kai-shek’s private consultant W.H. Donald, etc. The hotel was also a site for many significant social events. On 19th May, 1937, the opening ceremony of China-America long distance call service took place here. It also witnessed the Engagement Ceremony of social activist Chen Xiangmei and Captain of Flying Tigers (American Volunteer Group) Chennault.

Park Hotel Shanghai-2

Seen from the sky, Park Hotel looks like a dumbbell, with its two ends large and the middle part small. Seen from sideways, its profile resembles a ladder, with two sides shrinking floor by floor and the top part turning into the shape of a turret. The turret by the side of West Nanjing Road reaches its peak, thus makes the side facing West Nanjing Road extremely high and slim. Even amidst the clusters of high-rises, this reddish-brown building is imposing all the same.

Like all high-rises of those days, this edifice has no annex. This kind of design gives the building as much space as possible, and meanwhile the vertical lines on the walls become extremely remarkable. Employing lines to achieve the aesthetic effects is just one feature of Art Deco.

Park Hotel Shanghai-3

Going through the brass revolving door, you will reach the atrium lobby, with a huge marble pillar in the middle, a little bit like the tree supporting the tree shelter.

Park Hotel Shanghai-4

Park Hotel also served as Shanghai’s original point in mapping survey. In 1950, the then Survey and Mapping Division of Lands Bureau chose the flagpole on the roof of Park Hotel as the origin of plane-coordinate system, the projection of meridian passing the point on the planar surface as the vertical axis, and they determined that the location of Park Hotel is the position “0” of Shanghai. Today, the hotel placed a symbol in its lobby to show the spot of the city’s zero center point.

Park Hotel Shanghai-5

Travel Tips:

Park Hotel is in a very good location. Next to the hotel, the board which writes “Huanghe Food Street” is quite eye-catching, guiding you to enjoy the feasts. Although the stores there are small, each has its own specialties.

Park Hotel Shanghai-6

Another neighbor of Park Hotel is the New World Emporium. On its 10th floor is Madame Tussaud’s where you can find wax figures of many stars, such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chen, Yao Ming and Liu Xiang. Riding on the transparent direct elevator to the top, you can have a whole view of People’s Square.

If you are a vegetarian, Gong De Lin on No. 445, West Nanjing Road, with a history of nearly 90 years, would be a super choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *