A 3/4 mile stretch of waterfront in Shanghai is creating a buzz, as travellers and expats flock to the regenerated area.
The Bund – stretching along the coast – was known in the 20s and 30s as the ‘Paris of the Orient’. Wealthy travellers from all over the world flocked to the region for a taste of tradition with a touch of glamour.
Following the revolution however, the area fell into disrepair, and much of the initial glamour that had previously made it famous was temporarily lost. The once vibrant city streets were replaced with insurance and bank offices, and the area was largely quiet and unappreciated.
The Shanghai World Expo triggered a resurgence in the area, and with the help of a $3 billion (£1.8 billion) upgrade, buildings were renovated and the once congested road along the water was diverted underground in favour of a beautiful riverside walkway.
The Bund – derived from the Urdu word for embankment – is particularly appealing because of the range of different architectural influences in the area. Visitors can see everything from art deco to gothic, renaissance and neoclassical styles.
New York-based designer Peter Marino, who helped finish the luxury Chanel boutique in 2009, said: “If you want to be a modern citizen, you have to go to Shanghai.”
Other luxury boutiques and hotels have also opened in the area, making it an especially attractive destination for tourists.
“This is a homecoming for us. The company started in Shanghai, and now we’re back in the city’s best address,” said the hotel’s general manager, Paul Tchen.
Spencer Dodington, who gives tours of the Bund area for visitors said: “One hundred and fifty years ago, this was a muddy riverbank. Now it’s the most glamorous address in Asia.”