Slap bang in the centre of town, it's a quick stroll from some top tier sights including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and several museums, theatres and galleries. Shoppers won’t be disappointed either. The hotel is just off the main street so traffic noise shouldn’t be an issue, though ongoing construction in the area might. It’s also handily sandwiched between two subway lines, both under 10 minutes walk away.
Size matters. Even the smallest rooms (Deluxe) have walk-in wardrobes, free-standing tubs and six-head showers. The beds, TVs and towels are similarly super-sized. I don’t much care for the décor - all that brown, black and slate comes off a bit bachelor “gadget pad”, and the rooms are starting to show little marks and scratches (I do have a critical eye for this, so don’t worry too much). They are, however, especially well-appointed, and – joy – you can even open the windows. At 65sqm, the Deluxe Plus rooms are a good choice for families who need an extra bed or two. Request a west-facing room on floor 10 or higher and you can glimpse the Forbidden City and Beihai Park’s white dagoba.
Minimalist, granite-grey lobby dotted with chairs and some stark, glassed-in fireplaces. It’s certainly stylish, but erring towards ‘Bond villain lair’, and not in the least bit Chinese. The Library beside the lobby is a bit warmer, with funky armchairs and sofas.
Eating and drinking
The “Fizztastic” champagne brunch – one of Beijing’s many yuppie Sunday booze-fests – is your ticket to three hours of unlimited Tattinger champers and international buffet grub for a relative bargain. Breakfast at Vascos is a bright, sunny affair, with excellent pastries. Chynna is the obligatory Cantonese restaurant, and Flames is a rather nice Martini bar by Chinese standards.
A spa, top floor swimming pool, fitness studio and bike hire.
Good to strained, depending on occupancy levels. The concierge is particularly adept at sight-seeing requests and booking onward train and plane tickets.
Who stays there
Americans, Europeans, independent business travellers, touring performers from the NCPA.
Rooms are cheaper from the beginning of November and go up again immediately after Chinese New Year in February. Look out for web promos in July and August when the city heats up and the locals thin out.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Culture vultures
- Families with younger children
- First-time travellers
Pros & Cons
- Decent dining options
- Huge, well-equipped rooms
- Central location
- Décor a bit masculine