The Astor House Hotel (formerly known as the Richards Hotel) is located to the north side of Waibaidu Bridge, a well-known landmark at the Bund, Shanghai. The hotel was built in 1846 (the 26th year of Daoguang reign) by a British man, Richards. It was the first western hotel in China, and enjoyed the reputation of "the finest hotel in China".
The Astor House Hotel is a distinguished gathering place for both Chinese and foreign political figures, as well as well-known celebrities. Dignitaries such as Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Russell, and Zhou Enlai, have all stayed at this hotel. The Astor House Hotel is a place where Chinese culture and western civilization converged. The first electric lamp, the first telephone, the first semi-sound film, and the first Western-style social dance all made their debut in China at the Astor House Hotel.
The present Astor House Hotel is well facilitated, including standard rooms, restaurants, unique bars, and conference rooms. It not only retains the classical and Victorian architectural style, but also added Executive Rooms, Celebrities’ Rooms, featured services, and modern facilities, such as satellite TV, broadband Internet access, and so on.
The Peacock Hall, which had long enjoyed the reputation of “the finest ballroom in the Far East” and was the Shanghai Stock Exchange trading floor, remains flawless after the elaborate restoration. With an area of 500 square meters and a high ceiling of 10 meters, it is a multi-functional hall capable of holding large-scale conferences, fancy banquets, buffets, fashion shows, and dances.