Shanghai has an impressive collection of mansions and villas built by foreign venturers during the city’s colonial era. Among these, Moller Villa stands out for its fairytale-like appearance and history.
The villa is known among locals as one that was built by a wealthy foreigner for his daughter who dreamed of living in a house like those in the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. The father dotted on his daughter so much as to commence the construction of this villa with the girl’s sketch of it as the blueprint.
Although historical files and actual interviews with the foreigner’s daughter have proved the tale false, it wasn’t enough to extinguish the legend that stoked visitors’ fantasies. Today, the villa is a hotel and restaurant that is popular among tourists for its nostalgic atmosphere.
Situated on the northwestern edge of the French Concession, Moller Villa was built in the 1930s by Swedish-British entrepreneur Eric Moller. The Moller family opened a business in Hong Kong in the 1860s and later expanded their venture to Shanghai. The villa used to be home to Eric Moller, his wife and their six children.
Despite its evident Scandinavian features, the villa also displays some oriental characteristics. For example, the entrance is guarded by two formidable stone lions, and the window sills are decorated with chinaware antiques.
The villa has become a popular place among expats in Shanghai who hold small gatherings there. Also because of its fairytale charm, the villa is a favorite venue for young people to hold weddings.
Address: Shaanxi Nan Lu 30, Shanghai
Location: South side of Yan’an Zhong Lu