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This post was edited by Cicci at 2012-3-29 10:31|
Beijing is a rarity -- a major world capital with lots of affordable hotels. Here are our top value picks
By Tom O’Malley
That amazing opening ceremony or Usain Bolt's record-breaking 100-meter run might be what much of the public still remembers, but for travelers there's a more important legacy of Beijing’s Olympic Games party: hotel beds.
Thousands of rooms and beds, from big-chain luxury operations to chic courtyard hostels, are left unfilled in the city.
Lots of rooms means lots of bargains on Beijing hotel rooms.
Whether you want to bathe like an emperor in the central business district (CBD) or drop a rucksack an alleyway near the Forbidden City, Beijing has got you covered in covers.
LuxuryThe Opposite House (瑜舍)
Marble bathrooms are so last century.
Opened in 2008, this six-story, glass-walled, 99-room boutique hotel is the city’s hippest address. The work of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, it shows off Beijing's Olympic commitment to design and style.
White rooms have a breezy, yoga-studio aesthetic. Even the bath is wooden.
Downstairs you’ll find a stainless steel pool -- like something from Doctor Evil’s lair, though with no piranhas -- and Bei, one of Beijing’s finest restaurants. The hotel even has its own nightclub, Punk.
In the middle of a large shopping and dining complex, The Opposite House is in a good setting for night owls.
The Village Building 1, 11 Sanlitun Lu, near Dongzhimenwai Dajie 三里屯路11号,三里屯Village1号楼, 近东直门外大街, +86 10 6417 6688, room rates: from RMB 2,500, www.theoppositehouse.com
China World Summit Wing (国贸大酒店)
A sanctuary in the clouds (also referred to as smog).
Rising like a steel mast over Beijing's CBD, the 81-story, 330-meter China World Tower 3 (the city’s tallest building) hosts Shangri-La’s Summit Wing hotel on its uppermost floors (64th-80th floor).
Bill Gates books a suite here when he’s in town, but even the standard rooms measure in at an impressive 55 square meters, with Narnia-sized wardrobes and a tub big enough for one-on-one water polo.
This slick business hotel has decorative Oriental flourishes, giant feather pillows and jaw-dropping vistas, smog-permitting.
Since opening in 2010, Atmosphere Bar on the 80th floor has garnered a following for its views of the bright lights of CBD.
The 25-meter infinity pool on the 78th floor -- yup, it’s like swimming in the sky -- might well be the highlight of your stay.
1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, near Dongsanhuan Zhonglu 建国门外大街1号, 近东三环中路, +86 10 6505 2299, room rates: from RMB 1,888, www.shangri-la.com/en
Raffles Beijing (北京饭店莱佛士)
Tea and scones at Raffles Beijing's grand old Writers Bar.
Beijing’s grande dame hotel, the 171-room Raffles Beijing (formerly Hotel de Pekin) has seen it all in its 80-plus years of service.
The building was occupied by the Japanese military between 1937 and 1945. A decade later, the People’s Liberation Army held banquets here before the Great Hall of the People went up at Tiananmen Square down the street.
A bit faded, the hotel still exudes class from every glittering chandelier and four-poster bed.
Rooms in south-facing Block "B" (the original section of the hotel) overlooking Chang'an Jie are prime real estate.
Even if you don’t stay here, afternoon tea in the Writer’s Bar with its antique wooden dance floor (upon which a certain Mao Zedong was known to tango on occasion) is worth doing.
33 Dong Chang'an Jie, near Wangfujing Dajie 东长安街33号, 近王府井大街, +86 10 6526 3388, room rates: from RMB 1,588, www.raffles.com/beijing
The Aman at Summer Palace (颐和安缦)
Imperial living far from the masses.
Within Aman’s 1.2-square-kilometers of polished clay floor tiles lies the last word in imperial luxury -- a period Qing Dynasty resort of crisscrossing courtyards, halls and suites, unfolding symmetrically like a miniature Forbidden City.
Attached to the Summer Palace (it even has its own secret entrance), Aman is Beijing’s priciest hotel.
Expect all the fawning and comforts “Aman junkies” take for granted: huge bathrooms, period furnishings, a packed program of tours and cultural events and seriously fine dining at Naoki Restaurant, which serves Japanese kaiseki cuisine.
Some distance from the city center, this one is designed for escape, not exploration.
1 Gongmenqian Lu, Summer Palace, near Tongqing Jie 颐和园宫门前街1号, 近同庆街, +86 10 5987 9999, room rates: from RMB 4,000, www.amanresorts.com
Park Hyatt Beijing (北京柏悦酒店)
Wagyu steak with a view at China Grill.
Check-in takes place on the 63rd floor at this haven in the sky, and from there it's breezy comfort all the way.
Generous suites come with a butler, the biggest bathtub in town and soothing views -- just the place to unwind after a long evening clinking baijiu glasses with your Chinese business partners.
China Grill offers premium dry-aged steaks and seafood. For cocktails and a hopping house band, rooftop bar XIU regularly packs out, especially on its near-legendary "ladies night" every Thursday.
If buying bling is your bag, the Park Hyatt sits atop some of the best luxury shopping in the city, connecting directly with China World Mall beneath the street.
2 Jianguomenwai Dajie, near Dongsanhuan Zhonglu 建国门外大街2号, 近东三环中路, +86 10 8567 1234, room rates: from RMB 2,100, beijing.park.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels
The Peninsula Beijing (王府半岛酒店)
The jewel at the heart of Wangfujing still shimmers.
Everyone from the doorman to the butlerwho comes to replenish the mini-bar seems to make it their mission to make you feel fabulous at this centrally located palace.
Standard rooms are a little smaller than at some of Beijing’s newer five-star hotels, but the 14th floor has a row of funky duplexes with tall windows.
There’s always the 660-square-meter Peninsula Suite with private elevator, banquet room and tub with a view reaching as far (in nice weather) as the Forbidden City and Jinshan.
An annex built in 2008 holds one of Beijing’s most luxurious spas, The Peninsula Spa, with an extensive menu of treatments for both sexes.
8 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing, near Dongdan Beidajie 王府井金鱼胡同8号, 近东单北大街, +86 10 8516 2888, room rates: from RMB 1,600, www.peninsula.com
Mid-rangeGrace Beijing (格瑞斯北京)
Breakable art abounds in the guest rooms -- step carefully.
Back in the 1990s, artists like Ai Weiwei (艾未未) set up shop in the empty factory buildings that would eventually become the 798 Art District. With the opening of Grace Hotel (formerly Yi House Art Hotel), the area’s gentrification is complete.
Though it’s outside of town, the hotel is surrounded by world-class contemporary art galleries.
There are only 30 guest rooms, but from boxy singles to spacious suites they claim lofty ceilings, original Bauhaus windows (that open), luxury linen and lots of arty prints.
You can fill up on terrific European fare at Yi House Bistro, which has a great two-course lunch deal for RMB 108 (except for Sunday).
2 Jiuxianqiao Road, 798 Yishu Qu, 706 Hou Jie 1 Hao 酒仙桥路2号院, 798艺术区706后街1号, +86 10 6436 1818, room rates: from RMB 616, www.gracebeijing.com
The Orchid’s twinkling terraces by night.
Billed as a "hostel for grown-ups," The Orchid is a laid-back boutique in one of Beijing’s most vibrant hutong neighborhoods.
The lobby bar hosts regular wine tastings (free for guests), and serves potent locally brewed beer -- pretty soon everyone is well-acquainted, especially with only 10 guest rooms.
The most affordable rooms occupy wooden-beamed Qing-era buildings that surround an idyllic courtyard.
Premium rooms have private outdoor space and come with thoughtful extras like a mobile phone pre-loaded with useful numbers.
All rooms have an Apple TV set, goose-down beds and jars of high-grade tea.
From the trio of roof terraces you can catch sight of the Drum and Bell Towers looming over tiled rooftops.
65 Baochao Hutong, Gulou Dongdajie, near Nan Luogu Xiang 鼓楼东大街宝钞胡同65号, 近南锣鼓巷, +86 10 8404 4818, room rates: from RMB 680, www.theorchidbeijing.com