Choose one of these luxe Beijing hotels as your base for exploring China’s frenetic capital.
Raffles Beijing, almost next door to the Forbidden City, offers both comfort and history. Founded as the Grand Hôtel de Pékin in the early 20th century, the hotel’s décor, from the grand lobby to each of the 171 unique rooms and suites, is a mix of Chinese Imperial and classic French Oriental with a touch of Communist history thrown in: Chairman Mao once danced on the polished wooden dance floor of the hotel’s Writers Bar and framed badges once worn by Qing dynasty courtiers hang over the reception desk. Facilities include a fitness centre, library, restaurants and butler services.
33 East Chang’an Jie, Dongcheng
If you want extreme views along with extreme luxury, head for the Summit (pictured). Its 278 rooms, over levels 64-77, average a generous 65 square metres. All feature floor-to-ceiling windows; even most bathtubs have views. On a good-air day you can contemplate the Forbidden City or even the city’s crazy, modern “hyperbuildings” from either the 78th-floor infinity pool or 80th-floor Atmosphere bar. The hotel provides 24-hour butler service, personal shoppers and more. There’s also a rooftop garden and a 2,340-square metre ballroom with bulletproof windows, just in case. In the heart of the CBD, the Summit is linked by interior walkways to malls, offices and the Guomao subway station.
1 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Chaoyang
Close by Wangfujing, the ancient street of “princely residences” now devoted to dining and shopping and within easy reach of both the CBD and Tiananmen Square, the elegant Peninsula is currently undergoing renovations (to be completed mid-2016). Its new rooms, all 60 square metres or larger, will feature the Peninsula’s signature advanced in-room technology, accessible in 11 languages. The Peninsula Spa features an Oriental tea lounge and the hotel’s restaurants include the Huang Ting, a gorgeously recreated Chinese tea room serving Cantonese food.
8 Jinyu Hutong, Dongcheng
Hotel Éclat Beijing
What can you say about a hotel in which 20 rooms have their own swimming pools and where even standard rooms feature work stations with Philippe Starck-designed chairs; where each art-littered floor is designed with its own cultural theme (one is a conceptual vision of a Beijing hutong – a laneway); and whose owner has gilded a sculpture by Salvador Dali and added to it a beating electronic heart? Éclat is over the top, fun, arty, jaw-droppingly luxurious and contemporary Beijing in a nutshell.
9 Dongdaqiao Road (Parkview Green), Chaoyang
DuGe Boutique Hotel
There are many courtyard hotels in Beijing but the relatively new DuGe, with its six themed rooms with bespoke furniture and generously proportioned rooms, stands out. Once home to three generations of Qing dynasty ministers, beginning in 1860, DuGe is located in an historic hutong just 30 minutes walk from the Forbidden City – and minutes from the exuberant crowds, shops and cafes of Nanluoguxiang.
Qianyuanensi Hutong 801, Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng