In contrast to their recent stewardship of Shanghai’s legendary Peace Hotel on the Bund, Fairmont’s Beijing digs occupy a markedly less ostentatious address. Southeast of the centre, it sits just off Beijing’s main east-west avenue that scythes apart the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Yonganli subway station (line 1) is just across the street, and the Silk Market is close by. Good for shoppers, fair for the sites, low on local colour.
Somewhere between ‘grand dame’ and gadget haven, the guest rooms mix marble floors and carpets deep enough to lose an infant in with Japanese tech toilets, a bathtub telly and a wireless internet keyboard thingy for the 42-inch plasma. I love the Miller Harris toiletries and BOSE iPod player, and larger rooms come with walk-in wardrobes. The beds are some of the comfiest in town, with sensibly weighted feather duvets and a pillow menu.
The alluring lobby is dominated by a jaw-dropping sculpture of a thousand tangerine-coloured fish in a rushing shoal that, from a distance, looks like the serpentine body of a dragon. Next door in the Lobby Lounge, gold armchairs surround a gold-trimmed fireplace. It must be said, ever so posh, and just the right side of tasteful.
Eating and drinking
The Cut serves what could be Beijing’s most expensive steaks in a cool, restrained atmosphere. Lunar 8 in the basement certainly knows how to a roast a duck in its tall, wood-fired ovens, and they have a tasty tandoori selection too. The Gold Lounge fare is only so-so, lagging behind the executive offerings of other hotels. The Champagne Bar has funky nibbles and some quirky signature cocktails, and a first-rate sommelier for wine buffs.
Techno-gym equipped fitness studio and yoga room at the top of the hotel, with a smallish pool. The large Willow Stream Spa has a fancy range of rejuvenating treatments with Kerstin Florian products, and bicycle hire / tour booking is available via the concierge.
It was delightful to be welcomed by name on arrival (lucky guess maybe?) but no one carried my bag to the room. On the whole very gracious, with a few kinks to be ironed out.
Who stays there
High-end travellers, business people, some families.
Weekend rates can be up to 20% cheaper than weekdays depending on the season.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Lots of hi-tech touches
- Premium standards of comfort and luxury
- Location not the best for tourists