The Emperor

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Address: 33, Qihelou Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100006, China

Star rating:
4 star hotel

4.2

Designer digs a stone’s throw from the Forbidden City.

The closest you can sleep to the Forbidden City without being the palace janitor. That said, design-wise it’s a galaxy away from Qing pomp - think Scandinavian modernism meets A Clockwork Orange. Service is slick, with in-room check in and 24h butler service, and there’s a great rooftop cocktail bar with classy views and, less classy perhaps, a hot tub.

Location
4.4
90%
Eating/drinking
4.1
90%
Leisure facilities
4
90%
Service
4
90%
Value for money
4.2
90%
Bedrooms
4.3
90%
Public areas
4
90%

Location

A hundred yards or so from the east wall of the Forbidden City on a leafy street dotted with mysterious government buildings and restored hutong alleys. It’s a short walk southwest to Wangfujing; north to Jingshan Park.

Bedrooms

Hospital-white rooms have a swipe of orange or green wrapping around the room and into cushions lining curvy seating built into the walls. Dark wooden floors are the only evidence you’re not on the set of a TV sci-fi series. I love the sunken mini-bars set into the foot of the beds (and the fact that the drinks are free). Standard rooms – on the small side – are good value for the location, kitted out with rainforest showers and LCD TVs with international channels. Junior Suites have big tubs and glass skylights, some with partial Forbidden City views.

Public areas

The small lobby is a visual slap around the chops, if a tad antiseptic. The roof terrace is a nice spot to read a book during the day. There’s a lantern lighting ceremony each evening in spring and summer to mark the opening of the bar terrace.

Eating and drinking

Yin Bar on the roof is a trendy cocktail stop in spring and summer, though I’ve yet to witness the party spill into the hot tub (200 RMB per hour per person). Shi Restaurant serves Imperial style Chinese food and some western dishes with the emphasis on arty presentation.

Leisure facilities

Yue Spa in the basement has some fancy treatment rooms and an adjoining fitness studio.

Service

Good if a little formal, lots of English spoken.

Who stays there

Higher-end tourists, Chinese media types.

Price advice

Breakfast and WiFi included. Mini-bar has free beers and soft drinks.

Amenities

  • Fitness Centre
  • High-Speed Internet
  • Parking
  • Restaurant
  • Room Service

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • Trendiness
  • Sightseeing
  • Design and architecture

Pros & Cons

  • Modernist room design
  • Right beside the Forbidden City
  • Not remotely traditional
  • Can be tricky to hail a taxi
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