If you’re looking for a Beijing hotel that references the old-world charm of the surrounding Hutong houses combined with luxury creature comforts, VUE Hotel’s first flagship property in Beijing is a must-visit, offering both a picturesque lakeside setting and the buzz of the nearby Houhai ‘Bar Street’.
Created by Singapore-based practice Ministry of Design, which aims to ‘question, disturb and redefine the spaces, forms and experiences that surround us’, the new VUE hotel comprises a myriad of quasi-historic buildings from the 1950s, which have been unified by the practice’s creative overhaul.
Given the slightly bizarre mix of existing architectural styles, the firm has managed to cleverly combine the different stylistic references to create a cohesive look.
‘Although they were designed primarily in the Chinese vernacular, the different buildings boast various decorative elements, from highly decorative roof eaves, characterful gargoyles, sculptured balconies and latticed window frames, to pared-back jack roofs and plain brick work wall finishes. Our design approach has been to unify this diverse collection through colour and landscaping,’ said the firm.
The buildings are brought together through the use of a dramatic charcoal grey exterior, with key architectural details highlighted in a striking contemporary gold finish that stand out against the dark backdrop. The architect firm has also used the ‘in-between’ spaces that join the existing buildings together to add contemporary detailing, including a bold graphic lattice pattern that’s inspired by traditional Chinese screens.
The hotel is made up of a series of intriguing spaces, including intimate landscaped gardens, a bakery-cum-cafe that looks out towards the bustling Hutong streets, a restaurant in a former warehouse, the gym, plus 80 rooms and suites, some with private gardens or views overlooking a nearby park or Houhai Lake.
The FAB cafe and bakery is the perfect spot for a people-watching and to soak up the atmosphere of the local culture – there’s an al fresco terrace, or cosy seating nooks inside if you want a bit of peace and quiet.
Upstairs, you’ll find the Pink Rabbit restaurant and rooftop Moon Bar, which are situated in an impressive industrial building. Sat on the lakeside edge, the Pink Rabbit is entered through a whimsical art installation where you’ll be greeted by two giant wire-frame rabbits before you enter the lounge-style restaurant to enjoy an extensive tapas and sharing menu. For something a bit special, you can request one of the private dining rooms, or sit among the trees in the rooftop Moon Bar and jacuzzi pool to enjoy panoramic views of Houhai Lake and the neighbouring park.
At the end of the night, the guest rooms will offer all the creature comforts you crave, with restful, spacious sleeping quarters and dramatic, luxurious bathing spaces. The contemporary elements of the hotel design really come into their own in the suites – the fantastical theme continues through the use of art, plus bold and unexpected pops of colour and interesting materials add an element of surprise to each room. Aside from the standard suites, you can expect generous living and dining spaces, huge bathrooms and al fresco lounge areas.