Having reopened after a 2-year renovation, this Art Deco palace is the ultimate symbol of romantic colonial Shanghai. Built in 1929 by Victor Sassoon, a British descendant of Baghdad Jews who'd made their fortune in opium and real estate, the building was originally part office/residential complex known as the Sassoon House, and part hotel, the Cathay Hotel, one of the world's finest international hotels in the 1930s. Sassoon himself had his bachelor's quarters on the top floor where he threw lavish parties for the city's top denizens, and where you can again if you rent out the new Sassoon Presidential Suite. Or simply stroll through the wings of the finely restored lobby, and if possible (the hotel was not open for review at press time), head to the roof for a superb view of the Bund, Nanjing Lu, the hotel's famous green pyramid roof, and Pudong across the Huangpu River. Famous guests in the past have ranged from Charlie Chaplin and Noël Coward to Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.