JingJiang Hotel Cafe, Rue Cardinal Mercier (Now Maoming Nan Lu)

Jjhotel002I have passed so many times in front of this landmark of Shanghai that is the Jing Jiang Hotel. Tonight, I was walking next to it on the way home and decided to visit it for a change. So I am having a Cafe Late in the upstairs Cafe. One gets through the underground entrance to the hotel, and the Cafe is on the first floor, after climbing the grand stairs. The furnishing is certainely not the original from the 1930’s and the renovation has been done without really taking care of the original decor, but this place still has an atmosphere. The current JingJiang hotel was a high class serviced appartment (Cathay Mansions) when it was built in 1928. Like in all the JingJiang hotels, the service is mediocre and the company is mostly exploiting the grandeur of the buildings taken over at liberation.
Jjhotel001It feels like air of old times in here, looking through cafe glass roof towards the hotel walls. The music is tasteless and very few people sit in the cafe. At roughly 7:00pm, I am about the only customer. It’s easy to think about all the activity that was happening here in the 30’s, and how this point of the French concession was clearly the center of the activity. The Lyceum Theater, the Club Sportif and the Cathay Cinema are just few steps away, this place must have been the ideal place for a coffee before the entertainment. Sitting here, I cannot help thinking about the Astoria Hotel in Budapest, or another old hotel in Prague that I forgot the name of.
With all the new hotels being build in Shanghai (starting with the new JingJiang next door), it’s easy to understand why there is so little activity here, but sitting here is a time travel to old Shanghai.

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