HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates, designers of the prestigious new Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai, are set to revive a second landmark heritage property on the city’s iconic Bund waterfront. The world’s leading hospitality design consultancy has been appointed by Hilton Hotels Corporation to transform the former Shanghai Club at No. 2 The Bund into the Waldorf Astoria On The Bund Shanghai.
Set to open in 2011, the Waldorf Astoria On The Bund Shanghai will be the first hotel in Asia for Hilton’s prestigious luxury brand. HBA was the obvious candidate for the high-profile project on account of its unrivalled experience in preservation and adaptation of landmark hotels around the world. HBA has its own history of augmenting new brands within global hotel groups and in the past have delivered classic restoration designs in New York, Paris, Chicago, Athens and other gateway cities. HBA’s signature design elegance and timeless grace, uniquely adapted for today’s luxury travelers, is a perfect fit for the legendary Waldorf Astoria brand.
According to HBA Principal, Ian Carr, “Restoring or converting these properties, such as is the quest for the Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai is a true labor of love for the design team, the ultimate challenge of taking the historical context and adding the up-to-date convenience and style of current expectations. The hotel, when completed, will become a bellwether property for this high-end emerging brand.”
The exquisite English Renaissance style building was completed in 1910 and opened as the now-legendary Shanghai Club in January 1911. Throughout the city’s 1920s and 30s Pearl of the Orient heyday, it was Shanghai’s most exclusive gentleman’s club, filled with decadent delights like bowling alleys, restaurants, an oyster bar, games rooms, a barber’s shop and two wine cellars. One of the highlights was its celebrated Long Bar – which at 110 feet was once the longest bar in the world.
Still one of the finest architectural gems along Shanghai’s waterfront promenade, the whitewashed facade is adorned with Palladium columns, intricate gables and a pair of sculpted rooftop cupolas. The interiors – including the original Sicilian marble columns and stained glass imported from Birmingham, England – will be painstakingly restored through extensive use of archived photographs and records.
HBA’s renovation of this historic pleasure palace will continue the Shanghai Club’s legacy of refined indulgence, while equipping the building with the luxury amenities demanded by today’s discerning traveller. The new hotel will comprise 266 rooms across two buildings. The charming heritage building will be connected via a courtyard to a modern tower bordered by Sichuan Road. HBA’s design will encompass both buildings, including all the guestrooms, four restaurants, two bars, a patisserie, lobby lounge, extensive banqueting facilities, a swimming pool, health club and spa.
The Waldorf Astoria brand builds on the traditions established by the original Waldorf Astoria in New York, defining the ultimate in hospitality luxury and encapsulating the core values of being legendary, timeless and cultured. Hilton Hotels Corporation is developing Waldorf Astoria hotels and residences in key cities around the world, including Florida (2009), Sarasota (2010), Shanghai (2011), Montreal (2011), Beverly Hills (2011) and Philadelphia (2012).
The Waldorf Astoria On The Bund will revive a much-loved Shanghai institution. Like its cherished predecessor, the Shanghai Club, it will capture the spirit of 1930s Shanghai and become a bastion of civility and style for the refined modern traveller.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.