The oldest Western hotel in China, the Astor House does an admirable job of capturing the ambience of Victorian Shanghai. The lobby's dark-wood columns and vaulted ceilings are accented by potted orchids and photos of famous visitors from the hotel's illustrious past (including Charlie Chaplin, Ulysses Grant, and Albert Einstein). The hotel has maintained its popularity with both budget and business travelers with its spacious, high-ceilinged rooms, often decorated with
historical memorabilia, that more than compensate for the hotel's lack of views. We especially like Executive Room A, with its hardwood floors, oriental carpet, and rain-forest shower. Skip the renovated modern penthouse rooms—they lack the charm of the lower floors.