Luxury Hotels

Five luxury hotels that were the scene of momentous summits that are still in business today

Whether it was Nixon meeting Mao in Shanghai, Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Mountbatten discussing the creation of Pakistan, or Hong Kong surrendering to the Japanese in the second world war, these historical meetings all took place in luxury hotels. Here are five that are still in business today

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 June, 2018, 11:48am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2018, 1:26pm

Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump are in for a treat. The historic meeting between the North Korean leader and the US president will be held in one of the most luxurious hotels in Singapore, the Capella.

The two countries may have chosen the venue for security reasons, due to its secluded location on Sentosa Island, but the world leaders might also be able to find time to stroll around the nearby tropical rainforest or quiet beaches.

For the Singaporean Kwee family who own the Capella, the historic summit could be a scoop for which the hotel will be forever associated. That’s good for business – especially if history is made during the high-stakes meeting.

Here are five other luxury hotels you can visit where world leaders stayed or met during important missions.

The Imperial, New Delhi (India)

The last British viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, held several discussions in preparation for the 1947 creation of Pakistan with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah in this grand hotel.

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The building, with an impressive white facade, was designed by F.B. Blomfield, one of the architects in charge of transforming New Delhi into the new capital of British India, while injecting some ‘imperial grandeur’ to the city.

The venue, located in one of the main boulevards of New Delhi – originally Queen’s Way but since renamed Janpath Road – was inaugurated in 1936 and soon became the playground of the Indian and British social elite during the last days of the Raj.

La Mamounia, Marrakesh (Morocco)

“This is a wonderful place, and the hotel one of the best I have ever used,” Winston Churchill wrote to his wife, Clementine, during one of his stays in La Mamounia.

The two-time British leader fell in love with Marrakesh, and often tried to capture its light while painting from the balcony of the hotel.

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Churchill’s love for the Moroccan city was such that he persuaded then US president Franklin D. Roosevelt to visit the city in 1943, just after the Casablanca Conference, where the allied leaders fleshed out the strategy for the last push to end the second world war.

Despite war against Germany and Italy being in full swing in Europe and the Pacific at the time, the leaders managed to briefly retreat to the city and spend an evening gazing at the captivating purple sunset over the Atlas Mountains.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

The celebrated Hong Kong hotel is not only home to the most popular afternoon tea in town. The third floor of The Peninsula was the venue where the British Governor of Hong Kong at the time, Sir Mark Young, surrendered to the Japanese troops on Christmas Day, 1941.

The venue, formerly considered a symbol of British splendour, was transformed into the headquarters of the new Japanese administration, and Governor Young was incarcerated in room 336, before being sent to Formosa (Taiwan) and, later, to Manchuria.

Jinjiang Hotel, Shanghai (China)

“It was good enough for Nixon,” reads a TripAdvisor review of the Jinjiang Hotel, located near the former French Concession in Shanghai.

And indeed it was: the sumptuous hotel played a key role in China’s history, as it is where the then US president signed the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972, a first step towards rebuilding diplomatic relations between his country and China.

Despite this, Nixon himself might not be able to say much about the hotel’s menu. According to China Daily, most of the food he ate that night was shipped from the United States, and only after the diplomatic milestone did he try three Chinese-style dishes: chicken, fried shrimp balls and broad beans fried with mushrooms.

Claridge’s, London (United Kingdom)

One of London’s most famous stays, it started as a single house operation at 51 Brook Street. But Claridge’s became a favourite of socialites, political leaders and even European monarchy after expanding its business across five buildings in 1854.

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The kings of Greece, Norway and Yugoslavia sought refuge among its corridors during the second world war and, at the request of Winston Churchill, suite 212 was declared Yugoslavian territory to avoid Crown Prince Alexander II being born in a foreign country.

Later, celebrities including Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Onassis stayed at the renowned hotel.