The Einstein Room at the Astor House Hotel
If you don't wish to take the elevators, the stairs are such.
This is what the elevators open up to on the third floor. Very 'Shining.'
Here are Mike and Rod in the gallery on the way to Room 304. Yup Ulysses S. Grand had stayed here too.
The odd yet endearing thing about the gallery is that it is made to look like an old English street, complete with street lamp and benches. There are some old artifacts displayed, like an underwood typewriter an old walking cane. When I told my friend Priya I was staying at the AHH, she mentioned that this was one of the British hotels that had the sign 'No Chinese and Dogs allowed.' My mother, who had grown up in Shanghai, told me of such signs hanging at the park gates in this British Concession area, but I hadn't realized that the hotels were such as well. Anyway, the Chinese staff all wear tux tails now.
So Albert Einstein first came to Shanghai by ship on November 13, 1922. The Shanghai Daily recently claimed, when a new sculpture of the scientist was revealed, that upon arriving in Shanghai, he was notified that he had won the Nobel Prize. The next day he left for Japan, but then returned a month and a half later to deliver his lecture on the Theory of Relativity. It wasn't clear which time he stayed here, but I did check in the desk drawer to see if there was an extra copy of his thesis in lieu of a bible.
Opposite of the wall where Einstein looks over the tea table and vanity is this glorious sitting area. I don't think of myself as a gal who likes baroque decor, but something about this room has huge inspiration for me--perhaps my age is showing through a sudden liking for an old world colonial aesthetic. Maybe because I immediately felt like I could hole up here for 2 weeks and just write, like Noel Coward did at the Peace Hotel down the street in 1930 when he was down with the influenza during an Asian tour and wrote Private Lives in 4 days (he plotted it for 2 weeks).
Here is the grand ballroom where the buffet breakfast is served.
It has both Chinese and Continental breakfast items and righteous coffee. I stocked up on toasted croissants and eggs over easy, since I've been pretty much eating mushroom/vegetable wontons and apples/yogurt/sesame crackers from the Lida cafeteria everyday. It's weird that my being in China has allowed me to be not repulsed by stiff colonial curlicues. I guess this is the high-brow part of a world that has become an anachronistic souvenir and has succumbed to a low-brow world (which I associate with global consumerism culture).
More objects to enhance my experience. The bathroom, by the way, is a room unto itself. You had enough room to do a small riverdance in it.
When I have the means, I'm booking it for a righteous fortnight.