Choose from real-life palaces, sleek design stays and business hotels.
Aman Summer Palace
The suites of Aman Summer Palace are former reception rooms in which courtiers used to await an audience with Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing dynasty. And the experience is certainly fit for royalty: elegant pavilions, clustered in threes around serene courtyards, are appointed in the style of the Ming dynasty, with some notable modern comforts. There are 18 guest rooms, 33 suites and an incredible nine-room underground spa complex plus indoor pool, Pilates studio and a squash court. In addition to its tranquil courtyards, luxurious rooms and wellness complex, Aman has three excellent on-site restaurants. The experience takes on an even more regal feel upon stepping through a red door directly into the Summer Palace complex, a 290-hectare expanse of parklands, pavilions, lakes and temples. There are special after-hours tours for Aman guests only. There’s no need to venture outside this Imperial world, which is the idea: the hotel is located north-west of Beijing and there’s not too much else in the vicinity except the Summer Palace. And with rooms like these, why would you ever leave?
1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace; +86 10 5987 9999
The Opposite House
A glossy emerald-green glass box in the middle of the heaving night-life and café district of Sanlitun, The Opposite House is airy and spacious. There are 99 apartment-style studios, including one incredible penthouse with a full kitchen. The minimalist interiors – think crisp white sofas and blond wood floors – are offset by floor-to-ceiling windows and bathrooms that are pure zen, with gorgeous cedar tubs and rain showers. There are several excellent eateries: the avant-garde Spanish/Italian Sureño; Jing Yaa Tang, specialising in regional Chinese dishes; Village Café, for breakfast and casual dining; Bao for light meals; and the moody Mesh bar, which has a tempting menu of Korean fried chicken, homemade dips and sliders.
11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District; +86 10 6417 6688
Located in the Beijing CBD, Rosewood runs like a well-oiled machine with eager and plentiful staff, 282 sizeable rooms and suites and facilities including a spa, gym, yoga studio, pool and sauna. There are six restaurants including Country Kitchen, which serves up Northern Chinese specialities such as the famed Peking duck and pleasing pot-sticker dumplings. Two imposing bronze lions flank the entrance and subtle Chinese flourishes, such as cloisonné paintings, are dotted throughout the guest rooms.
Jing Guang Centre, Hujialou, Chaoyang District; +86 10 6597 8888
The Peninsula Beijing
The Peninsula Hotels company has a long and storied history in Asia: the very first Peninsula Hotel was built in Hong Kong in 1928 and there are now Peninsulas in Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila as well as Chicago, New York and Paris. Step off the manic Goldfish Lane into Beijing’s Peninsula, which received a US$123 million refurbishment (A$160 million) in 2016, and the noise of scooters, cars and street vendors fade. The din is replaced by soft music in the tranquil three-storey marble lobby, which is anchored by six enormous columns. The hotel originally opened as The Palace Hotel in 1989 and the latest renovation doubled the size of its rooms – each one now has separate bedroom and living areas and some truly impressive tech. An in-room tablet controls climate, lights, TV and hotel reservations such as spa and restaurant bookings.
8 Goldfish Lane, Wanfujing District; +86 10 8516 2888
China World Summit Wing
This place is up there. Shangri-La’s China World Summit Wing occupies the top 16 floors of Beijing’s tallest building, the 330-metre China World Tower. The 278-room hotel is a lesson in understated elegance – all the better to allow the dusky orange Beijing sunsets to take centre stage. All suites and rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms with L’Occitane toiletries, while the expansive Presidential Suite has separate bed, dining and sitting rooms with 800-threadcount sheets and 24-hour butler service. The Club Lounge provides refreshments to all guests throughout the day: breakfast, drinks, fruit and snacks are complimentary. Four restaurants, two bars and a lounge cover the gamut of cuisines and experiences, including the sky-high Atmosphere bar on level 80.
1 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Beijing; +86 10 6505 2299
Beijing Penthouse over Dragon Lake
This spacious 25th-floor apartment overlooking central Beijing’s Longtan Lake has two bedrooms and an enormous leafy patio with a barbecue. It’s located just east of the Temple of Heaven and its spacious layout and green outlook make it a rarity in bustling Beijing. The famous Panjiayuan Antique Market and loads of restaurants and bars are nearby but if you fancy staying in, there’s a well-stocked library and a well-stocked bar fridge.
Hotel Jen Beijing
The main drawcards of Hotel Jen: it provides value for money, it has large, comfortable and technologically equipped rooms and it’s right beside the central shopping district. Part of the Shangri-La Group, the new-build hotel is connected to the China World Complex in buzzing Guomao, from which there’s access to major subway lines and plenty of restaurants. The hotel is fitted with a state-of-the-art two-level fitness centre, Trainyard, complete with pool, spin classes and a boxing ring. There’s also an on-site gastropub and all-day dining available at San Wu Tang.
1 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang District; +86 10 6505 2277
Located in Beijing’s prime night-life district Sanlitun, Chao hotel has more going for it than being within easy stumbling distance after a night out. The Chao team gutted the former City Hotel and remade it into a sleek, modern space that manages to feel warm and welcoming amid the polished concrete, muted greys and custom-built walnut furnishings. There are 180 rooms, two restaurants, an art centre and an amphitheatre. Chao also hosts an intriguing program of workshops, cultural events and art exhibitions throughout the year.
4 Workers’ Stadium East Road, Chaoyang District; +86 10 5871 5588
Sunrise Kempinski Hotel
Kempinski has a downtown property, the Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, but if being in town isn’t a priority, check out the architectural wonder that is Sunrise Kempinski Hotel. The arresting circular building is located about an hour from the centre of Beijing and appears to be emerging directly from Yanqi Lake. The 21 floors comprise 306 guest rooms, each offering views of the lake and the nearby Yanshan Mountains or the distant city. There’s no need to leave, with eight restaurants and bars within the hotel, including the impressive glass-roofed View’s Bar.
18, Jia, Yanshui Road, Yanqi Lake, Huairou District; +86 10 6961 8888
Top image: Rosewood Beijing
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