- Jim Boyce
Like any major city, Beijing has its fair share of international hotel chains – yet it also has venues inspired by art and local culture that make a stay in China‘s capital city a special affair. Here are ten options that range from the rustic to the refined that will get you away from the same old, same old.
A relative newcomer, CHAO offers 180 rooms, starting with 40 m2 twins that have free mini bar, WiFi, Nespresso machines and more. CHAO also has a nice range of dining, drinking and event space options, making it attractive to everyone from travelers who seek a base in the heart of Sanlitun to those who want to mix business and pleasure.
4 Workers Stadium East Road (corner of Workers Stadium East and Workers Stadium North), Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, + 86 10 5871 5588
This hotel, located just off an alleyway near the Drum Tower and Bell Tower, has rooms facing a central garden and is an oasis in one of the hipper areas of town. Guests at The Orchid can grab food in the hotel’s restaurant, Toast, or from the many street vendors, cafés and restaurants nearby. It’s also easy walking distance to Houhai Lake.
65 Baochao Hutong, Gulou East Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, +86 10 8565 9295
The Opposite House
This sleek venue is close to many of the city’s best restaurants and bars. In lieu of a check-in counter, guests arriving at The Opposite House are greeted in a spacious lobby that features rotating art displays. Those seeking sustenance in-house can grab cocktails at Mesh, or Mediterranean-themed dishes as Sureno and Chinese favorites at Jing Yaa Tang.
Taikooli Sanlitun North, 11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, +86 10 6417 6688
Red Capital Residence
History buffs will appreciate this hotel even if its reputation for comfort – think hard beds – might not match the other venues listed here. This restored courtyard residence includes plenty of historical mementos as well as a bomb shelter bar, accessible via a hidden entrance in the garden, that includes communications equipment, gas masks and decorations from a bygone era.
Dongsi Sixth Alley, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing, China, +86 10 6402 7151
The Emperor Qianmen
While there were formerly two Emperor hotels in central Beijing – The Emperor Qianmen and The Emperor Forbidden City, famed for its rooftop Yin Bar – The Emperor Qianmen is the sole survivor. Given its links to a historic bathhouse nearby, the hotel has a water theme that includes an artificial rain installation in the lobby. The rooftop bar Shang offers views of Qianmen and shares space with a pool that allows guests the luxury of taking a dip in the middle of downtown Beijing. The hotel is close to quality restaurants, both Chinese, such as Quanjude Beijing Duck, and Western, such as Capital M. It’s also an easy walk to Tiananmen and many of the city’s intriguing hutongs.
87 Xianyukou Street, Qianmen Commercial Centre, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, +86 10 6701 7790
Part of Parkview Green, a massive retail and office complex beneath a triangular glass encasement, Éclat is an art lover’s dream. The hotel features a wealth of fascinating pieces by artists including Salvador Dalí, Liu Ruowang, Gao Xiaowu and Andy Warhol. Each suite has a unique decor and it is possible from top-floor rooms to touch the roof, made with the same heat-retaining material as the Beijing Olympics swimming center.
9 Dongdaqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, +86 10 8561 2888
Aman Summer Palace
Near the east gate of the Summer Palace, a UNESCO site, this is a luxurious getaway complete with fine dining and a spa. Far from the city center, Aman Summer Palace offers a sense of seclusion and peace for guests.
1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace, Beijing, China, +86 10 5987 9999
The Brickyard at Mutianyu
This venue has drawn a who’s who of visitors over the years due to the appeal of staying in comfort in a local village with easy access to the Great Wall. It’s managed by Schoolhouse Hotels, which got its start by converting a former primary school into a restaurant and an art studio into guest rooms. The project later expanded to include local residences, leased from their owners, transformed into guest houses. Check out the rooms here and the houses here.
Beigou Village, Beijing, China, +86 10 6162 6506
This hotel is inspired by the Ming Dynasty, right up to a two-ton metal sculpture in the lobby, and is also close to the sprawling 798 art district. After getting a dose of culture there, guests at Nuo can grab a drink at O’Bar or a meal at Chinese restaurant Jia.
2A Jiangtai Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, +86 10 5926 8888
This relatively new hotel in the Central Business District is already considered one of the city’s best. The Rosewood lobby features commissioned pieces and an attitude toward art that permeates the entire hotel, which includes the well-regarded restaurant Bistrot B and bar Mei.
Jingguang Centre, Hujialou, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, +86 10 6597 8888