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“The essence of Shanghai”
Review of Astor House Hotel

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Astor House Hotel
Ranked #81 of 5,035 Hotels in Shanghai
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“The essence of Shanghai”
Reviewed 25 December 2012

You could not get a better location. Step out of the hotel and 5 minutes away you are on the Bund taking a picture of yourself and the Pearl Tower as a backdrop.
Its like staying in an old victorian mansion complete with the ballroom now used for weddings and a superlative buffet breakfast. The room we had with my two children was huge and warm and had two queen sized beds. The beds are hard but not as hard as some Chinese beds. The bathroom was modern and had a nice shower.
The staff added to the atmosphere by playing their roles well. If you like history and are looking for somewhere a little different and romantic this is the place for you.
It is centrally located making easy access to get a ferry to the Pudong side of the river or a small walk to Nanjing East station.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank NZyoungfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Stanstead Abbotts, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
134 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 December 2012

The unheated bathrooms and corridors and bare wooden floors won’t appeal to everyone but if you enjoy staying in historic buildings then don’t be put off by the amateur web site and that Trip advisor has lumped it in with the hostels, you will consider it a privilege to stay here!

The hotel web site says that they are working towards becoming a 4 star hotel but given the flexible nature of China’s rating system, I’m surprised that they haven’t claimed 4 stars already – I’ve stayed in far worse that have! When for so much of China, the end of the Mao era represents year zero, it is amazing that not only the building, but so much of the original features have survived both the Japanese occupation and the Cultural Revolution. The photos on the corridor walls alone are worthy of a museum exhibition. There are other “historic” hotels in Shanghai, but the Astor is more than a 100 years older than some – the more famous Peace Hotel didn’t actually become a hotel until the 1950’s.

My only real disappointment was the bar – the photos on the wall show what a splendid bar the Astor once had whereas the small windowless room currently used as a bar fails to provide an adequate focal point so that the hotel feels dead in the evenings. The Jazz bar in the nearby Peace Hotel provides a convenient and convivial alternative, but to fully appreciate the tragedy of what the Astor has lost you need to walk further down the Bund to the Long Bar in the Waldorf Astoria, dating back to 1911 when the Astor’s American Bar was already of pensionable age!

The top two floors of the Astor a currently closed for refurbishment and herein lies the source of future tragedy. This unique and historic building should be a protected World heritage site with the refurbishment carried out by UNESCO with help from English Heritage. However, the Chinese don’t really do heritage and Chinese builders lack both the skill and desire to properly restore such an important building. To personify the problem, they are taking a Helen Mirram or a Joanna Lumley and creating a Joan Collins – the end result will inevitably be both more expensive and less attractive! My advice therefore is to visit as soon as possible – I stayed in room 8103 – Marconi’s lodgings – mercifully unrestored, the room is pretty much as Marconi left it (apart from the bed sheets!).

The location is perfect for exploring southwards along the Bund, but do remember to also explore westwards along the Suzhou Creek / Wusong River which has many fine colonial era buildings along both banks and within ten minutes you will reach Tiantong subway station – more convenient than East Nanjing Road if you want Line 10 (for Xintiandi and beyond to the French Concession). There you will find a huge Chinese market, an emporium of cheap Chinese goods and replica brands largely undiscovered by tourists so you can drive the prices much lower once you have shaken off the hustlers who would otherwise claim an introductory commission from the stall holders.

As a final footnote, if you like colonial legacy hotels then you should also check out the French equivalent to the Astor, the Shanghai Imperial Palace Club, the contrast could not be greater – chalk and fromage, so to speak!

Room Tip: Pay the extra for an upgrade to a celebraty room!
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled on business
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5 Thank Nicholas C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Parker, TX
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 December 2012

I stayed two separate times at the Astor House, one night at the beginning of my trip, one night at the end. The room I occupied my first evening had a glass wall separating the bedroom and the bathroom. Although shades can be drawn to achieve some privacy, it was still weird. That second floor room was not quiet as street noises (honking, construction, bull horn, shouting, etc.) early in the morning easily entered the room through the closed window. Despite this experience, I chose to go back at the end of my trip, as the location is convenient with easy access to many sights and the Bund. My second evening was spent in a 3rd floor room, which may have faced a smaller street as no street noise was experienced this time. Rooms were comfortable and modern despite the age of the hotel, and I didn't have problems with heating. Breakfast had many choices food and the setting of the Peacock Lounge can't be easily rivaled.

Room Tip: Ask for a higher floor room facing a quieter street. If interested, you can also ask for the room in...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank WWJ_TX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
97 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 December 2012

Yes it is old, yes it could be loud outside – as always in China due to construction sides and yes it is sometimes not comparable with western expectation, but this hotel has a very special flair. The old floor with the wooden shelf reminds me about how the times passing by. Still I can see and smell the good OLD times!

I never ever felt lost during the night when I am woke up and wondered where I am due to the special decoration style. The location is perfect to explore Shanghai with a very short walk to the bund and Nanjing Lu.

Room Tip: 5th floor has a view - sometimes :-)
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank fanrou007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
45 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2012

Great historical hotel in a great location, riverside at the end of the Bund. The rooms have a great charm, they are very large and wood flooring. The breakfast is excellent, providing plenty of choices. On the negative side, the rooms are pretty cold in the winter months, and the room is slow to heat up. Some rooms have been fully renovated, so try to ask for those rooms. Overall, an oasis do calm in the busy and dynamic Shanghai.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank YR2008Ott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
117 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 December 2012 via mobile

When you stay in this hotel, do not expect the modern facilities like a 5 star hotel but appreciate the history. Think back in time, the decoration, the location and the unique ballroom, this is one of the must to see by the bund. I stayed here twice and price I paid is only a third of a 5 star chain hotel. Love it, the location is great.

Stayed December 2012, travelled solo
Helpful?
2 Thank Dominic Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 November 2012

We just returned from wonderful Shanghai where we stayed at Astor House Hotel. The hotel is ideally located close to the Bund. Our large room (care to waltz?) had views of two rivers. As has been mentioned, the hotel has maintained its historic charm but does look rather warn in areas. Fortunately the bathrooms have been modernized. We had dinner in the main restaurant and also used the cafe in the lobby on two occasions. There is no wifi in the rooms but in the lobby. Unfortunately the wifi was down for most of the time we were there.

Room Tip: Several rooms had views of the Huongpu River.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bonita65_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Astor House Hotel

Property: Astor House Hotel
Address: No.15 Huangpu Road, Hongkou District, Shanghai 200080, China
Region: China > Shanghai Region > Shanghai > Hongkou , The North Bund
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#28 Best Value Hotel in Shanghai
#60 Romantic Hotel in Shanghai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Astor House Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 130
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Astor House Hotel Shanghai
Astor Hotel Shanghai

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