Two landmark hotels say goodbye to Shanghai

Updated 2017-12-31 17:01:18 CGTN
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The Astor House Hotel  has closed. (Photo/CGTN)

The Astor House Hotel has closed. (Photo/CGTN)

Two hotels that became symbols of modern Shanghai said goodbye to the city in different ways during the last week of 2017.

The internationally famed Hilton has changed hands and is being rebranded while Astor, which has played host to such figures as Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin, has disappeared from the scene altogether.

Workmen began removing the Hilton logo from the front of the hotel on Saturday to signify the transfer of ownership on January 1 to the homegrown hospitality conglomerate, Jinjiang Hotel.

Jing'an Hilton was the first entirely foreign-owned hotel in Shanghai. Launched in 1988, the 42-floor, 775-room hotel was the international chain's inaugural project in China.

Peter Budd, the British structural engineer who worked on the construction of the hotel between 1979 and 1984, once said that the building was a symbol of China's opening-up to the world.

News of the Hilton's rebranding and the closure of Astor with effect from December 31 have sparked reminiscing about how the buildings used to be a landmarks in Shanghai in the 90s and symbolized an era of the city.

The opening of Jing'an Hilton attracted lots of media attention.

Chen Yunrong, a former food and beverage manager at the Hilton, recalled how she was envied by friends because she worked in an air-conditioned working environment.

"Since no one had any idea what a five-star hotel was, we were sent to Hong Kong for two months to stay at various luxury hotels and experience the service standards," said Zhang Shuhao, a former housekeeping manager.

Astor House Hotel, known as Pujiang Hotel, is seen as a historic building and received global celebrities such as Einstein and Chaplin since its opening in 1846.

On social media, people expressed their disappointment at the news.

"It really represents the history of Shanghai and we often hung out around the building in my childhood ," said Matt.

The area will be used as an exhibition and education base.

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