The third largest city in China, coastal Tianjin has much to offer visitors, beginning with The Astor Hotel. Dating back to 1863, this landmark property has hosted dignitaries, embassies and international treaties, and these days it uses its historic status to its advantage. Rather than going for a popular Zen-sleek vibe, it offers Victorian-era ambience, particularly in its Astor Wing, where theme suites pay tribute to two of the hotel's most illustrious past guests: Sun Yat-Sen and US President Herbert Hoover. House dining ranges from Shui An (local flavors) to 1863 Bistro (classic British fare). There's even a traditional pub on-site, as well as an indoor pool and hotel museum. The latter is a great place to start exploring the area's history, before heading out to visit Ancient Culture Street, home to excellent examples of Qing dynasty architecture.