The Astor Hotel, Tianjin, a hotel dates from 1863

Updated: 29 Aug 2012
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Imagine tangoing with China's last emperor in this very ballroom.
The Astor in Tianjin dates from 1863 and hosted Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th U.S. president, during a two-year world tour following his second term, and Herbert Hoover in 1899, who lived in Tianjin when he worked as an engineer for the oil company Bewick, Moreing & Co.

However, the eight-story, 152-room establishment also witnessed some of the final grand days of China’s last emperor, Pu Yi (爱新觉罗-溥仪).
The Qing ruler was deposed in 1912, restored in 1917, and finally expelled from the Forbidden City in 1924. In 1925 he moved to a villa in Tianjin, where he lived for five years.

He visited the Astor every autumn with his Empress Wan Rong (婉容) and concubine Wen Xiu (文秀).

There they danced the tango nightly in the hotel’s sumptuous ballroom, while southern China descended into civil war and the north slipped under the grip of the invading Japanese.

These were the last carefree years of the Emperor’s life. In 1931, his concubine left him and Pu Yi was installed by the Japanese as the puppet ruler of Manchukuo, which ultimately led him to be charged with treason by the Chinese.

The ballroom where Pu Yi danced is still one of the hotel's major features.

The Astor Hotel, Tianjin (天津利顺德大饭店), 33 Tai’er Zhuang Lu, Tianjin 天津市台儿庄路33号 +86 22 2331 1688, Nightly rate: from RMB 2,500 (US$393) plus 15 percent service charge.
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