Fodor's Beijing (Full-color Travel Guide) (2015)
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Planning | Dongcheng District | Xicheng District | Chaoyang District | Haidian District | Outside the City Center
Listed alphabetically within neighborhoods.
Updated by Tom O’Malley
The first real wave of tourists to visit China in the early 1980s had little need for guidebooks—foreigners were only allowed to stay in ugly, state-run, Stalinist-style blocks. But times have changed. Now Beijing has it all: a glorious glut of the world’s best hotel brands; cheap and breezy places to make your base; intimate boutique beauties; and historical courtyard conversions.
The main hubs for hotels are around Wangfujing (Beijing’s famous shopping strip), in the vicinity of the northeast Third Ring Road, and along Chang’an/Jianguomen, one of the city’s main thoroughfares that connect the Central Business District (CBD) to Tiananmen Square. This is where you’ll find the city’s most recognizable and reputable hotels, all of which offer luxurious rooms, international-standard facilities, and attentive service. Don’t despair if you’re on a budget: there are plenty of decent dwellings next to the tourist trail at a fraction of the cost.
“Location, location, location” should be your mantra when booking a Beijing hotel, especially if you’re only in town for a few days. It’s a big city: there’s no point schlepping halfway across it for one particular hotel when a similar option is available in a more convenient area. Consider where you’ll be going (Summer Palace? Forbidden City? Great Wall?), then pick your bed. Busy execs should choose wisely in order to avoid getting snarled up in Beijing’s horrific traffic, which most likely means staying a little farther west near Financial Street or in the other commercial hub of Guomao (the CBD) in the east. Those in search of nightlife will want to be by Sanlitun, home to the capital’s best bars and restaurants. If you’re after a one-of-a-kind Beijing experience, check out the city’s courtyard hotels. These distinctive lodgings are often converted siheyuan—traditional homes built as residential quadrangles among the hutongs. Prices are for two people in a standard double room in high season, excluding 10% to 15% service charge.
Beijing’s busiest seasons are spring and fall, with summer following closely behind. Special rates can be had during the low season, so make sure to ask about deals involving weekends or longer stays. If you are staying more than one night, you can often get some free perks—ask about free laundry service or free airport transfers. Children 16 and under can normally share a room with their parents at no extra charge—although there may be a modest fee for adding an extra bed. Ask about this when making your reservation.
The local rating system doesn’t correspond to those of any other country. What is called a five-star hotel here might only warrant three or four elsewhere. This is especially true of the state-run hotels, which often seem to be rated higher than they deserve.
Tipping isn’t the norm in China—a remnant from the country’s Communist past. This may perhaps partly explain why service, in general, isn’t as smooth or smiling as you would normally expect, even in the more established hotels.
English isn’t widely spoken in Beijing, so it’s best to print out the address (in Chinese) and telephone number of your hotel before departure. This will save you a lot of trouble upon arrival—taxi drivers, in particular, will be thankful for your forethought. If you’re absolutely set on staying somewhere with English-speaking staff, look to the international chains, but call ahead, if you can, to check up on their language proficiency.
Apartment and house rentals
There’s an abundance of furnished short- and long-term rental properties in Beijing. Prices vary wildly. The priciest are luxury apartments and villas, usually far from the city center and best accessible by (chauffeur-driven) car. Usually described as “serviced apartments,” these often include gyms and pools; rents can be over $2,000 a month. There are a lot of well-located mid-range properties in the city. They’re usually clean, with new furnishings; rents start at $500 a month. Finally, for longer, budget-friendly stays, there are normal local apartments. These are firmly off the tourist circuit and often cost only a third of the price of the mid-range properties. Expect mismatched furniture, fewer amenities, and—we won’t lie—varying insect populations.
Property sites like Wuwoo, Move and Stay, Sublet, and Pacific Properties have hundreds of apartments all over town. For a bit of local flavor, check out the rental options on AirBnB.Com. These apartments are rented out by the owner and verified by the Web-based service. Centrally located and reasonably priced, they are a worthy alternative to hotel living. The online classifieds pages in local English-language magazines such as The Beijinger or City Weekend are good places to start.
Single travelers can arrange homestays (often in combination with language courses) through China Homestay Club. Generally these are in upper-middle-class homes that are about as expensive as a cheap hotel—prices range from $150 to $180 a week. Nine times out of 10, the family has a small child in need of daily English conversation classes. ChinaHomestay.org is a different organization that charges a single placement fee of $300 for a stay of three months or less.
Dongcheng District covers the eastern half of Beijing’s inner core, stretching from the Forbidden City in the center out to the Second Ring Road, which marks the boundary of the old city walls. This area incorporates some of the city’s most important historic sites. The hotels off Dongchang’an Jie and Wangfujing Dajie are within walking distance of Tiananmen Square.
Fodor’s Choice | 3+1 Bedrooms.
HOTEL | Modern, minimalist design—pure white interiors, freestanding bathtubs, individual courtyards—meets old Beijing at this intimate four-bedroom boutique hotel within the quaint alleyways (hutongs) near the historic Drum and Bell towers. This is the perfect refuge for the style-conscious visitor looking to escape the big city bustle. Or, indeed, those wanting to experience Beijing’s increasingly forgotten traditional surroundings while having access to the benefits of contemporary technology, such as iPod stereos and in-room Wi-Fi. Service is discreet; guests get their own front door key, so you’ll soon feel like a local wandering home. The owner also operates Cafe Sambal, a Southeast Asian restaurant nearby. Pros: spacious rooms; free in-room Wi-Fi and minibar; private terraces. Cons: no health club; no restaurants; occasionally absent service. | Rooms from: Y1,200 | 17 Zhangwang Hutong, Jiu Gulou Dajie, Drum Tower | Dongcheng District | 010/6404-7030 | www.3plus1bedrooms.com | 3 rooms, 1 suite | Breakfast | Station: Gulou Dajie.
HOTEL | (Běijīng fàndiàn).
Occupying a third of the original Grand Hotel de Pekin complex (with Raffles and the Grand Hotel the other tenants), this venerable hotel retains a modicum of old-world charm, its impressive lobby and enviable location next to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square making up for the rather outmoded decor.Grandees and high rollers have stayed here since it opened around the turn of the 20th century—Nixon was a guest on his historic visit, and China’s long-time premier Zhou Enlai lived and worked in room #1735. The guest rooms, many adorned with classically French touches, are comfortable enough but overdue for a spruce-up. Pros: short walk from the Forbidden City; close to shopping; a sense of history. Cons: mediocre restaurants; old-fashioned; a lack of local nightlife. | Rooms from: Y1,500 | 33 Dongchang’an Jie, off Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/6513-7766 | Fax 010/6523-2395 | www.chinabeijinghotel.com.cn | 733 rooms, 51 suites | No meals | Station: Wangfujing.
HOTEL | (Běijīng Guójì fàndiàn).
Located on the city’s main east-west central axis and close to Beijing railway station, this white monolith—curved like Miami’s Fontainebleau hotel—symbolized the rebirth of China’s tourism industry in 1987; these days, reliable service and decent facilities continue to draw tour groups and business travelers.Make sure you ask for a renovated room, as some of the older ones still suffer from the odd problem here and there (especially in the bathrooms). What with the endless hallways and gigantic ballrooms, you need to look hard for special, quiet places, but there are delightful garden nooks and smaller salons with Chinese antiques to escape to. The pool and gym are top-notch, but the hotel’s dining options are overpriced, and breakfast can be repetitive. The hotel is only a couple of stops away from Tiananmen Square on the subway. Pros: close to key transport links; near popular sites; good health facilities. Cons: expensive restaurants; can lack character; outdated in places. | Rooms from: Y1,250 | 9 Jianguomennei Dajie, off Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/6512-6688 | www.bih.com.cn | 909 rooms, 60 suites | No meals | Station:Dongdan.
Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall
HOTEL | (Běijīng Wànháo jiŭdiàn).
At the edge of the only remaining scrap of Beijing’s once-mighty city walls—there are great views from the lobby coffee shop—this hotel is in a good location, relatively near key tourist sites and the Beijing railway station.It’s reliable choice for those wanting clean, spacious rooms and excellent service. Other pluses are the comfortable beds, the well-appointed bathrooms (complete with marble finish, modern showers and tubs; a blind shields the view from bath to bed should you demand a bit of extra privacy), and the three dining rooms, which offer Cantonese, Mediterranean, and Southeast Asian menus. Pros: close to tourist sites; near the old city wall; spacious rooms. Cons: some rooms have odd shapes; lacks intimacy; extra charge for in-room Internet. | Rooms from: Y1,300 | 7 Jianguomen Nanlu, Dongcheng District | 010/5811-8888 | www.marriott.com | 649 rooms, 30 suites | No meals | Station: Jianguomen.
Beijing Sihe Courtyard Hotel
HOTEL | (Běijīng Sìhé bīnguăn).
Small, quiet, and cute, this appealing courtyard hotel—inside one of the city’s hutong and featuring a centuries-old date tree, red lanterns, and other such traditional Chinese decorations—may once have been the home of Mei Lanfang, the legendary male Peking opera star known for playing female roles.All guest rooms are furnished with rosewood beds, antique bureaus, and modern gadgets (like satellite TV), but the VIP room, as you would expect, is the largest and best, and worth reserving in advance. If that’s not available, request one of the executive rooms. Bicycles are available for free. Pros: lots of privacy; homey atmosphere; authentic experience. Cons: not all rooms have courtyard views; no restaurant; bad plumbing. | Rooms from: Y795 | 5 Dengcao Hutong, Dongcheng District | 010/5169-3555 | www.sihehotel.com | 12 rooms, 6 suites | Breakfast | Station: Dongsi (Exit C).
Crowne Plaza Beijing Wangfujing
HOTEL | (Běijīng guójì yìyuàn huángguân jiàrì jiŭdiàn).
The best thing about this mid-range choice is its central location on Wangfujing, Beijing’s most famous shopping street, where there’s a mix of traditional stores, international chains, and a touristy “food” market—scorpions on a stick, anyone?The standard guest rooms, however, are small, and although the place provides everything you’d expect from a Crowne Plaza, it lacks knockout design details or killer features, as the rather uninteresting lobby makes plain. Craving more space? Try the executive floor, where guest rooms have extra work space and sprawling bathrooms. Pros: near the main sights; close to shopping; reputable brand. Cons: chain-hotel feel; service can be hit and miss; boring design. | Rooms from: Y650 | 48 Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/5911-9999 | www.crownplaza.com/beijingchn | 360 rooms, 27 suites | Breakfast | Station: Wangfujing.
Day’s Inn Forbidden City Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Xiāngjiāng dàisī jiŭdiàn).
Functional rather than fancy, the Day’s Inn is about as close as it’s possible to get to the Forbidden City without staying in the palace itself, and though guest rooms are tiny, they are definitely inexpensive and relatively comfortable.Built in an unfussy style with the slightest of architectural nods toward the city’s classic courtyard houses, it does feature such alluring touches as its grey-brick walls inlaid with traditional carvings of chrysanthemums (the Chinese national flower). Beware of booking the cheaper basement rooms unless you can live without a window. If you have time, visit the Worker’s Cultural Palace next door, laid out like the Forbidden City but on a smaller scale and without the crowds. Pros: fantastic price for the location; close to tourist sites; free Internet. Cons: restaurant is average at best; bad basement rooms; onset of mold in some shower rooms. | Rooms from: Y500 | 99 Nanheyan Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/6512-7788 | www.daysinn.cn | 164 rooms | No meals | Station: Tiananmen East.
Double Happiness Courtyard
HOTEL | (Běijīng yuè wēi zhuāng sìhéyuàn jiŭdiàn).
The rooms in this atmospheric warren of wooden corridors, courtyards, and rickety staircases are fairly spacious, with Chinese-style beds, wooden furniture, and small bathrooms, but it’s the friendly, English-speaking service, central location, and good rates that make it so popular.All rooms come with a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee facilities, and a computer. A couple of family rooms sleep up to four people, and a trio of rooms have delightful private balconies. Located midway along a hutong lane close to the center of town, the neighborhood has some good local restaurants and is just about walkable to the Forbidden City. In the evening the breakfast room becomes a simple restaurant serving Chinese and Western food. Pros: traditional architecture; hutong location; good for families. Cons: dingy entrance; old-fashioned facilities; can be chilly in winter. | Rooms from: Y780 | 37 Dongsi Sitiao | Dongcheng District | 010/6400-7762 | www.hotel37.com/en/index.asp | 32 rooms; 2 suites | No meals | Station: Dongsi, Line 5.
HOTEL | (Dù gé).
One step beyond the striking Moon Gate doorway of this 18th-century hutong home—once owned by the Minister of the Imperial Household to Emperor Xianfeng (1860)—and you’re transported, thanks to swaying bamboos, flickering lanterns, blazing red walls, and a chic lobby, to a nobleman’s courtyard house.Each of the six guest rooms has its own unique look, from the ancient Chinese four-poster beds and tints of gold in “The Imperial,” to the rich red, old-Shanghai feel of “The Peony Pavilion,” to the sheer drama of the “Golden Lotus,” with black-glass chandeliers and shimmering lotus mural. The emphasis on design means that much of the furniture and decorative pieces at Du Ge were custom-made (and can be bought from them). The availability of French wine and Cuban cigars, along with the small bar in the courtyard, add to the contemporary feel. The room rate includes an airport pickup service, refreshments, and bicycles. Pros: gorgeous decor; great location; free soft drinks at the bar all day; outstanding breakfast. Cons: small rooms; some service quibbles; Nanluoguxiang alley not as appealing as it once was. | Rooms from: Y1,500 | 26 Qian Yuan En Si Hutong, Dongcheng District | 010/6406-0686 | www.dugecourtyard.com | 6 rooms | No meals | Station: Gulou Dajie.
HOTEL | (Huángjiā yìzhàn).
Lauded for its lovely rooftop bar with views over the Forbidden City, the Emperor has a traditional exterior that belies guest rooms seemingly inspired by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey: minimalist white decor, sunken beds with tube pillows, lozenge-like sofas, and minibars that rise up from concealed cabinets. The effect is rather sterile, but at least the hotel sits on a tree-lined avenue among traditional temples and houses, making it a tranquil spot in the middle of a fast-evolving metropolis. Pros: best rooftop terrace in the city; unbeatable views of the Forbidden City. Cons: no elevator; limited gym facilities; far from the subway. | Rooms from: Y1,000 | 33 Qihelou Jie, Dongcheng District | www.theemperor.com.cn | 46 rooms, 9 suites | No meals.
Grand Hotel Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Guìbīnlóu fàndiàn).
On the north side of Chang’an Avenue, and adjoining the ritzier Raffles, the Grand offers a decent blend of luxury and comfort without the international brand price tag.The classic Chinese gateway at the hotel’s entrance is a nice touch, and Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City are a short hop away. If you want to splash out, book the Emperor suite and prepare for an extravaganza of antique carved furniture, landscape scrolls, and fiercely carved wooden room dividers. A range of dining options is at hand (note: the non-Chinese food isn’t up to snuff) but you also should plan to enjoy sunsets on the terrace bar, which has an impressive vista of the Forbidden City (only from May through October, from 5 to 9:30 pm). The breakfast buffet is recommended. Pros: good location; classic decor; great rooftop views. Cons: some rooms in need of renovation; confusing layout; little atmosphere. | Rooms from: Y1,200 | 35 Dongchang’an Jie, Dongcheng District | 010/6513-7788 | Fax 010/6513-0048 | www.grandhotelbeijing.com | 214 rooms, 50 suites | No meals | Station: Wangfujing.
FAMILY | Fodor’s Choice | Grand Hyatt Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Dōngfāngjūnyuè jiŭdiàn).
The wow factor at the this top-notch hotel—close to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City—comes from its huge glass facade and extraordinary lagoon-like swimming area: entwined around lush vegetation, waterfalls, and statues, it has a “virtual sky” ceiling that imitates different weather patterns.Guest rooms, decorated with comfortable cherry-wood furnishings, and many with floor-to-ceiling windows, aren’t quite as inspired, but they’re still grand and Hyatt enough. Big draws are the seven restaurants and bars, most notably Made in China, one of the best places in the city for Peking duck. The hotel is part of a mammoth complex that includes an upscale shopping mall, cinema, and a wide range of places to eat—so the wows keep coming. Pros: great dining; plenty of shopping; very impressive pool and gym. Cons: dull rooms; overpriced bar; Internet is extra. | Rooms from: Y2,200 | 1 Dongchang’an Jie, corner of Wangfujing, Dongcheng District | 010/8518-1234 | www.beijing.grand.hyatt.com | 825 rooms, 155 suites | No meals | Station: Wangfujing.
FAMILY | Fodor’s Choice | Holiday Inn Express Beijing Dongzhimen
HOTEL | (Běijīng dōngzhīmēn zhìxuăn jiàrì jiŭdiàn).
Cheap and cheerful does it at this value chain close to Sanlitun (Beijing’s lively nightlife center)—yes, it lacks a pool and gym, and the guest rooms are somewhat small, but everything here works, from the gleaming lobby to the surprisingly comfortable beds, while touches such as free-to-use Apple Macs next to the front desk and a games console area add a little something extra.This hotel offers both meeting rooms and a self-service laundry room, so both businesspeople and backpackers have what they need. Next to the hotel entrance is a handy tour operator that can help organize trips to the Great Wall and so forth. Pros: cheap yet extremely modern and clean; tour operator next door; close to some great nightlife and dining. Cons: breakfast can be crowded (and no lunch or dinner options); small rooms; subway is a long walk away. | Rooms from: Y558 | 1 Chunxiu Road, Dongcheng District | 010/6416-9999 | www.holidayinnexpress.com | 350 rooms | Breakfast.
Hotel Cote Cour
HOTEL | (Běijīng yăn lè 70 hào).
This boutique courtyard hideaway claims to have once served as a rehearsal space for imperial musicians during the Ming Dynasty; renovated rooms wrap around an attractive old courtyard and feature antique pieces, comfy beds with feather duvets, and the usual Western comforts.A pair of suites have freestanding tubs, sofas, and a good deal more space. A roof terrace (above the breakfast room) kitted out with lounge chairs comes with nice views of the surrounding low-rise hutong neighborhood. Pros: central location; boutique atmosphere; English spoken. Cons: standard rooms a little small; expensive. | Rooms from: Y1,300 | 70 Yanyue Hutong | Dongcheng District | 010/6523-9598 | www.hotelcotecourbj.com/indexe.asp | 12 rooms, 2 suites | No meals.
HOTEL | (Mùmiánhuā jiŭdiàn).
Designed by Studio Pei Zhu (who also worked on the Olympics), this minimalist-style offering helped kick-start the boutique hotel movement in Beijing—it has large, design-conscious guest rooms, internal courtyards enclosed in glass, and bamboo and pebble gardens, as well as a quirky exterior lattice wrapped around the entire building.Though showing signs of wear and tear, it remains in a fabulous location for sightseeing (a few blocks from the East Gate of the Forbidden City), the service is friendly enough, and the price is right. Pros: comfortable rooms; near top sites; friendly staff. Cons: no pool; not everyone will like the glass-walled bathrooms; refurbishment needed. | Rooms from: Y800 | 16 Donghuamen, Dongcheng District | 010/6525-9988 | www.kapokhotelbeijing.com | 89 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Tiananmen East.
HOTEL | (Lìjùn jiŭdiàn).
The faux European spectacle that is the Legendale screams nouveau riche, but this château-like hotel, with its sparkling chandeliers, gilded staircase, and Parisian fireplace in the lobby, is genuinely comfortable and luxurious.Looming over some of the city’s best-preserved hutongs, the hotel has enormous guest rooms with acres seemingly devoted to boiserie (carved-wood) panels, Oriental carpets, and brocaded fabrics (all in rich blues, golds, and burgundies). Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining, with Camoes offering Macanese and Portuguese cuisine; Petrus, a French restaurant with a large wine collection; and Macao focusing on Chinese fare. Pros: plenty of pampering; in a great neighborhood; luxurious rooms. Cons: high prices; vast size can make it feel empty; no traditional Chinese elements. | Rooms from: Y2,100 | 90-92 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District | 010/8511-3388 | www.legendalehotel.com | 390 rooms, 81 suites | Breakfast | Station: Dengshikou.
Fodor’s Choice | Lüsongyuan
HOTEL | (Lsōngyuán bīnguăn).
The traditional wooden entrance to this delightful courtyard hotel, on the site of an old mandarin’s residence, is guarded by two menshi (stone lions)—this is a classic Old Beijing experience, turned over to tourism, with no attempts at modern updates or fancy design, but, rather, just a good choice for cheap, traditional living. The guest rooms are basic, the windows are large, there’s plenty of dark wood and red pillars, and five courtyards offer delightful escapes in the forms of pavilions, rockeries, and greenery. It’s all about location here: you’re in the middle of an ancient neighborhood, within walking distance of Houhai, and just a block away from many restaurants on Nan Luogu Xiang. Pros: convenient location; near restaurants; unfussy courtyard conversion. Cons: a lack of luxury; can be hard to find; carpets are in need of a clean. | Rooms from: Y768 | 22 Banchang Hutong, Kuanjie, Dongcheng District | 010/6401-1116 | 55 rooms | No meals | Station:Zhangzizhonglu.
FAMILY | Novotel Peace Hotel
HOTEL | (Hépíng bīnguăn).
This tower of shimmering glass has rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that afford decent views, but, other than that, there’s nothing spectacular here: service is fairly basic and the ambience is decidedly low-key; the big plus is the surrounding area, with plenty of shops and restaurants nearby (as well as Wangfujing and Tiananmen Square), making it a solid base at a good price for the location.Be warned, however, that some rooms have been updated while others have not, so ask to be put in the newer part of the hotel. For dinner you could opt for one of the three Chinese restaurants—or Le Cabernet, a French-style brasserie—but our vote would be to head out into the street to try one of the many restaurants found in this bustling neighborhood. Pros: convenient location; near plenty of restaurants; close to the sites. Cons: mixed room quality; not much ambience; lackluster service. | Rooms from: Y550 | 3 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/6512-8833 | www.accorhotels-asia.com | 402 rooms, 25 suites | No meals | Station: Wangfujing.
Fodor’s Choice | The Orchid.
HOTEL | A firm favorite among travelers looking for somewhere hip but still down-to-earth, the Orchid is a serene spot in the heart of Beijing’s most vibrant hutong district, with two tiers of flower-strewn terraces, ludicrously comfy beds, a complimentary à la carte breakfast menu, and friendly staff who have an infectious love for their gentrifying neighborhood. The standard Courtyard rooms are housed in Qing-era buildings with lovely wood beamed ceilings, while the best rooms have private gardens (and one has its own terrace with views of the Drum and Bell towers). Throw in some nifty facilities (free Wi-Fi, movies on demand, under-floor heating, cell phones), great events (weekly dumpling-making classes, regular wine tastings), and a walking map painstakingly created by the co-founder that plots the tastiest traditional eats in the area, and you can see why the Orchid’s 10 rooms are always in demand. At time of writing, a second location is being planned for Beijing’s Dashilan district. Pros: great hutong location; cool interiors; some rooms with gardens. Cons: reservations a must; can be hard to find. | Rooms from: Y800 | 65 Baochao Hutong, Gulou Dongdajie, Gulou | Dongcheng District | 010/8404-4818 | www.theorchidbeijing.com | 10 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Guloudajie.
Park Plaza Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Lìtíng jiŭdiàn).
Hidden behind the swankier Regent on Beijing’s glitziest avenue, this popular mid-range option, especially good for first-time visitors to the city, has clean and compact rooms with decent-sized bathrooms, English TV channels, a pleasant tree-shaded garden, and a fantastic location close to the Forbidden City and Wangfujing.There’s a Starbucks opposite and a selection of great restaurants, including the famed Peking duck eatery Dadong, within walking distance. Dining in the hotel isn’t recommended; the breakfast buffet, with omelets made to order, is a little pricey for the quality. Pros: close to the Forbidden City; free Wi-Fi. Cons: lobby is small and uninspiring; staff can seem a little harassed. | Rooms from: Y700 | 97 Jinbao St., Dongcheng District | 010/8522-1999 | www.parkplaza.com/beijingcn | 216 rooms, 16 suites | No meals | Station: Dengshikou.
Fodor’s Choice | Peninsula Beijing
HOTEL | (Wángfŭ Bàndăo jiŭdiàn).
Guests at the Peninsula Beijing enjoy an impressive combination of modern facilities and traditional luxury—the guest rooms are a little small for this sort of hotel, but are superlatively well-appointed, with teak and rosewood flooring, colorful rugs, and high-tech touches like custom bedside control panels that let you adjust lighting, temperature, and the flat-screen TVs; the service is excellent, as is the spa.Yun Bar, on the roof, is a lovely spot for sundowner cocktails in clear weather, while Huang Ting, the better of the hotel’s two restaurants, provides a beautiful hutong-inspired setting for some of Beijing’s tastiest dim sum. Work off the meals in the fully equipped gym or swimming pool—or take the 10-minute walk to the Forbidden City. Pros: close to sightseeing, restaurants, and shopping; rooms are impeccable; near the Forbidden City. Cons: lobby is squeezed by the surrounding luxury shopping mall; hectic; rooms could be bigger. | Rooms from: Y1,600 | 8 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing, Dongcheng District | 010/8516-2888 | www.peninsula.com | 525 rooms, 59 suites | No meals | Station: Dengshikou.
HOTEL | (Běi’ertè jiŭdiàn).
This comfortable, good-looking mid-range hotel offers modern facilities wrapped up in a slick, business-friendly package; it’s close to the Temple of Heaven and Pearl Market, and surrounded by shopping malls.The immediate area isn’t much to look at, but a subway nearby will whisk you away to Beijing’s beauty spots in no time. Pros: business-friendly; good meeting rooms; next to the subway. Cons: in a traffic-clogged area; not much around for tourists. | Rooms from: Y750 | 3 Chongwenmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/6708-1188 | www.pentahotels.com | 307 rooms, 15 suites | Breakfast | Station: Chongwenmen.
Fodor’s Choice | Raffles Beijing Hotel
HOTEL | (Běijīng fàndiàn Láifóshì).
Raffles is an iconic brand in Asia, and this property doesn’t disappoint; in 2006, Singaporean designer Grace Soh restored half of what was the Beijing Hotel into its former glory (crystal chandeliers in the lobby; a broad white staircase enveloped in a royal-blue carpet) while retaining its history—service is excellent, and the location, for tourism purposes, is flawless.Nine “personality suites” are named after notable past guests; the Henri Cartier-Bresson Suite has a grand four-poster bed and chic patterned wallpaper, plus views toward Tiananmen Square. The hotel comprises two blocks: B houses the original lobby and historic guest rooms, while E is a newer addition aimed at business travelers. For dining, choose between classic French or international, while the Writer’s Bar is replete with large leather armchairs and a polished wooden dance floor dating back to the 1920s. Pros: within easy walking distance of the Forbidden City; nifty location for sightseeing; switched-on staff; spacious rooms. Cons: pricey restaurants; not in the right part of town for business travelers; occasional problems with the pool. | Rooms from: Y2,500 | 33 Dongchang’an Jie, off Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/6526-3388 | www.raffles.com/beijing | 171 rooms, 24 suites | No meals | Station: Wangfujing.
Red Capital Residence
HOTEL | (Xīnhóngzī kèzhàn).
Each of the four rooms at this boutique courtyard hotel—located in a carefully restored home in Dongsi Hutong—are decorated with antiques and according to different themes, such as the Chairman’s Suite, in playful homage to Mao, and the two Author’s Suites (one inspired by Edgar Snow, a 1930s U.S. journalist who lived in Beijing, and the other by Han Suyin, the Japanese novelist who wrote Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, among other best sellers). There’s also a cigar lounge where you can sit on original furnishings used by China’s early revolutionary leaders, as well as a wine bar housed in a Cultural Revolution-era bomb shelter. You’ll know the hotel when you find it—Madame Mao’s Red Flag limousine sits outside. Pros: Fodorites rave about the friendly service, unique atmosphere, and intimate feel. Cons: small rooms; limited facilities; quaint more than comfortable; dysfunctional website. | Rooms from: Y1,200 | 9 Dongsi Liutiao,Dongcheng District | 010/6402-7150 | www.redcapitalclub.com.cn | 4 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Zhangzizhonglu.
Fodor’s Choice | The Regent
HOTEL | (Běijīng Lìjīng jiŭdiàn).
Luxurious (if businesslike) rooms, a prestigious location on the corner of ritzy Jinbao Jie close to Wangfujing, and a spectacularly soaring glass-walled lobby are reasons why the Regent is a top choice for high rollers.The impeccable decor features dark teak woods, beautifully carved furniture, couture bedspreads, sleek daybeds, artist-designed rugs, and mahogany-encased walls. But nothing can compare with the fabulous views out of those floor-to-ceiling windows: witnessing the twilight hour here, as Beijing lights up for the night, can be wonderful. The hotel also houses a branch of excellent Hong Kong restaurant Lei Garden as well as a Morton’s steak house. Pros: convenient location; close to the subway; spacious rooms. Cons: unimpressive breakfast; occasional blemishes in some rooms; check-in can be slow. | Rooms from: Y2,250 | 99 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District | 010/8522-1888 | www.regenthotels.com | 500 rooms, 25 suites | No meals | Station: Dengshikou.
Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng Hotel
HOTEL | (Běijīng Jīnyú Xĭláidēng).
Though it can feel a little in the middle of nowhere, near the 2008 Olympic area, the Sheraton Dongcheng, with its cubic glass facade, great-value lunch deals, and spacious, clean, and up-to-date rooms, is a decent high-end choice.Some good restaurants (Yue does particularly good dim sum) and views of the architecturally impressive “Bird’s Nest” (National Stadium) help make up for the lack of good eats in the area, and the guest rooms themselves serve as perfect cocoons, with soothing colors and woods on show. It’s near the Beijing International Convention Center. Pros: lots of dining opportunities; close to the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube; plenty of taxis and easy subway access. Cons: out of the way; not much to do nearby. | Rooms from: Y1,400 | 36 North Third Ring Rd. East, Dongcheng District | 010/5798-8888 | sheraton.com/beijingdongcheng | 441 rooms, 70 suites | No meals | Station: Hepingxiqiao.
Fodor’s Choice | Temple Hotel Beijing
HOTEL | (Dōng jĭng yuán).
Five hundred years in the making, this beguiling combination of boutique luxury and heritage architecture is one of Beijing’s most romantic hotel experiences.The eight guest rooms here are housed in a once-forgotten Tibetan Buddhist Temple, painstakingly restored and strewn with thoughtful art, custom furniture pieces, and major creature comforts. The temple, called Zhizusi, or The Temple of Wisdom, was commissioned by the Kangxi Emperor in the 1600s and was one of a trio of Beijing temples designed to print Buddhist religious texts. Later it became a private residence to a prominent Tibetan Buddhist religious leader. The Dragon Phoenix room, the largest, is in a cavernous former prayer hall with tall ceilings and polished beams (and, most important, cozy under-floor heating). More modern rooms are housed in stylishly restored 1960 annexes, built when the complex was a television factory—Mao slogans inciting workers are still visible hanging from the main temple wall. The hotel is also the home of Gathered Sky, the first permanent light installation by artist James Turrell in China. Guests can attend “Sunset Session” viewings for free, and anyone can go along at sunset every Sunday to view it. Breakfast is served in-room in custom designed “bento” boxes; the Temple Restaurant Beijing shares the complex and is open for lunch and dinner. Pros: historic buildings in hutong location; great for art lovers; exceptional. Cons: no gym, pool, or spa; expensive. | Rooms from: Y2,400 | 23 Shatan Beilu | Dongcheng District | 010/8401-5680 | www.thetemplehotel.com | 8 rooms | No meals.
Fodor’s Choice | Waldorf Astoria Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng huá’ěr dàofū jiŭdiàn).
No expense has been spared on this stunning, boutique-inspired hotel in central Wangfujing; the public areas have walls of Suzhou silk, staircases of gold-flecked Italian marble, and countless pieces of art, while guest rooms strike a delightful balance of contemporary style and high-tech luxury, with Apple TVs, Bose sound systems, Nespresso machines, Japanese toilets, heated bathroom floors, and a Samsung tablet beside the bed to control the lights, TV, and curtains, and also order various services.The building itself is astonishing—it’s a gleaming latticework of copper and bronze, designed to age and oxidize over time. Brasserie 1893, the flagship eatery, is impressively kitted out with a pair of spectacular custom-made Italian ranges. Behind the main hotel building, a cluster of renovated siheyuan courtyards houses the Waldorf Hutong Villa, a palatial suite with its own swimming pool, underground cinema, and a dining room for 12 guests. Pros: Beijing’s most beautiful hotel; brand-new; central location. Cons: expensive; not much nightlife in the immediate area. | Rooms from: Y2,500 | 5-15 Jinyu Hutong, Dongcheng District | 010/8520-8989 | waldorfastoria3.hilton.com/en/hotels/china/waldorf-astoria-beijing-bjswawa/index.html | 176 rooms | No meals | Station: Dengshikou.
FAMILY | Zhuyuan Hotel
HOTEL | (Zhúyuán bīnguăn).
The charming “Bamboo Garden” was actually once the residence of Kang Sheng, a sinister character responsible for “public security” during the Cultural Revolution, who nevertheless had fine taste in Chinese art and antiques (some which are still on display).Still, as the hotel’s English name suggests, the beautiful and peaceful grounds are the real highlight here. The neighborhood is perfect if you want to experience the lifestyles of ordinary Beijingers. Sure, this spot can’t compete with the high-rise crowd when it comes to amenities, but its bamboo-filled gardens make it a treasure for those looking for a true Chinese experience. It’s within walking distance of the colorful Houhai lakes area. Pros: traditional feel; interesting hutong neighborhood; free Wi-Fi. Cons: room quality is variable; pricey for what you get; not that close to the big-name sights. | Rooms from: Y880 | 24 Xiaoshiqiao Hutong, Jiugulou Dajie, Dongcheng District | 010/5852-0088 | www.bbgh.com.cn | 40 rooms, 4 suites | No meals | Station: Gulou Dajie.
Xicheng District lies to the west of Dongcheng. It makes up the other half of Beijing’s inner core, with the Forbidden City’s western edge as its starting point. This area is home to many of Beijing’s old hutong alleyways and is a great place to stroll around the neighborhood’s famous lake.
FAMILY | DoubleTree by Hilton Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Xī’ěrdùn yìlín jiŭdiàn).
Soaring 22 stories into the air, the DoubleTree is a solid hotel with perks that compensate for its out-of-the-way location, from the warm chocolate-chip cookies in the lobby to the alluring oasis of the terraced outdoor swimming pool.More pluses include the bright and modern guest rooms and the well-stocked gym. On the debit side, the dining options are not exactly spectacular, and the hotel’s location is a little off the beaten track (but there are usually enough taxis on hand to ensure that neither is much of an issue). Pros: gorgeous pool area; decent value. Cons: a little too remote; lack of good dining options. | Rooms from: Y880 | 168 Guang’anmenwai Dajie, Xicheng District | 010/6338-1888 | www.beijing.doubletreebyhilton.com | 543 rooms, 118 suites | No meals | Station: Caishikou.
InterContinental Financial Street Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Jīnróngjiē zhōujì jiŭdiàn).
The spacious rooms at this well-appointed business hotel show hints of traditional Chinese art.It’s smart, smooth and comfortable—think of this place as an exercise in corporate chic (apt considering this InterContinental is in the heart of Financial Street), including a 24-hour business center, plus an indoor pool, spa, and state-of-the-art fitness center rounding out a perfect package for traveling executives. Try are sizzling steaks at the Steak Exchange and excellent buffet meals in the café. Pros: convenient location within Beijing’s financial hub; great for business travelers; excellent facilities. Cons: no appealing quirks; lack of culture nearby; business vibe may put off families. | Rooms from: Y1,500 | 11 Financial St., Xicheng District | 010/5852-5888 | www.ichotelsgroup.com | 318 rooms, 10 suites | No meals | Station: Fuchengmen (Exit C).
HOTEL | (Mínzú fàndiàn).
The Minzu was built in 1959 as one of Mao’s “Ten Great Buildings” to celebrate a decade of the People’s Republic—this paean to China’s unity has welcomed many dignitaries over the years, but with the rise in the number of luxury hotels around Beijing, the hotel no longer attracts any significant visitors, and the only reason to stay here—other than price—is if you have business in the area.A lack of international brand recognition means it lies slightly off the usual tourism radar, despite its location near western Chang’an Jie, relatively close to Tiananmen Square. Pros: close to the Xidan shopping area; good quality for price; spacious. Cons: service can be lackluster; feels tired; lack of buzz. | Rooms from: Y950 | 51 Fuxingmennei Dajie, Xicheng District | 010/6601-4466 | www.minzuhotel.cn | 512 rooms, 40 suites | No meals | Station: Xidan.
Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street
HOTEL | (Běijīng Lìsīkă’ěrdùn jiŭdiàn).
With ample amounts of glass and chrome, the Ritz-Carlton could be mistaken for one of the many sleek office buildings that crowd this very business-oriented area; the interior is equally swish and contemporary, with smart East-meets-West decor that’s up to the Ritz standard—its location, excellent amenities, and eager-to-please staff make it popular with tour groups as well as businesspeople.The Greenfish Café offers a great contemporary buffet (low-calorie fare); Cepe provides some of the best high-end Italian dining in the city. The enormous health club has an indoor pool and a spa with six treatment rooms. Pros: impeccable service; luxurious atmosphere; incredible Italian dining. Cons: far from the city’s attractions; expensive; lobby lacks pizzazz. | Rooms from: Y2,000 | 18 Financial St., Xicheng District | 010/6601-6666 | www.ritzcarlton.com | 253 rooms, 33 suites | No meals | Station: Fuchengmen.
Westin Beijing Financial Street
HOTEL | (Wēisītīng jiŭdiàn).
It’s business as usual at this worthwhile spot: comfortable rooms with plush beds, neutral tones, and marble bathrooms; a plethora of amenities, including dining spots both formal and fun; and not forgetting the perhaps-to-be-expected, well-staffed executive lounge.As one of the trio of big players on Financial Street—along with the InterContinental and the Ritz-Carlton—the Westin won’t wow you to your core, but has more than everything you’d need and expect, and it does it all well. Business travelers will be particularly pleased. Pros: sumptuous beds; high-tech gadgets; business location. Cons: glass between bathroom and bedroom not for the timid; gym could be bigger; not in a good spot for tourists. | Rooms from: Y1,400 | 9B Financial Street, Xicheng District | 010/6606-8866 | www.westin.com/beijingfinancial | 486 rooms, 25 suites | No meals | Station: Fuchengmen.
Chaoyang District is outside the old city walls and extends east of Dongcheng, so there’s little of historical interest here. This is, however, home to Beijing’s more modern, urban center, including the Central Business District. You’ll also find some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and shopping malls here. The nightlife hub of Sanlitun is of particular note.
China World Hotel
HOTEL | (Zhōngguó dàfàndiàn).
Once placing high on lists of top Beijing hotels, this place now does opulence in a rather unsubtle way—gold highlights in the lobby; marble tubs in the luxe rooms; high-priced fine dining—but it still just about lives up to its look: the service is slick, the restaurants are very good (Aria, serving contemporary European cuisine, is particularly special), and the attached mall/cinema is a welcome escape.It’s no surprise that during conferences and exhibitions, business travelers pack its modern, well-appointed rooms. Pros: convenient location for business travelers; very good dining; close to both the subway and shopping. Cons: the bustle here can be overwhelming; big and impersonal; rooms are small for the price. | Rooms from: Y1,500 | 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District | 010/6505-2266 | www.shangri-la.com | 716 rooms, 26 suites | No meals | Station: Guomao.
China World Summit Wing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Guómào dànjiŭdiàn).
Occupying the upper floors of Beijing’s tallest building, the business-chic Summit Wing offers knee-trembling views from its luxurious guest rooms—if you need a drink to steady your nerves, the excellent 80th-floor cocktail bar makes a perfect Old Fashioned.Guest rooms average 700 square feet, each with complimentary broadband Internet access, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, bathroom LCD televisions, iPod docking stations, and Nespresso coffee machines. The 25-meter (82-foot) infinity pool on the 78th floor might just be the highlight of your trip. Pros: jaw-dropping views; close to the CBD; Grill 79 does a great steak. Cons: traffic in the area can be hellish; dining gets very expensive; lack of culture nearby. | Rooms from: Y1,800 | 1 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Chaoyang District | 010/6505-2299 | www.shangri-la.com | 278 rooms, 17 suites | No meals | Station: Guomao.
HOTEL | One of the capital’s newest luxury hotels is in a distinctively curved, tapering tower on the east Second Ring Road; its standout personality extends to touches like Vivid, a rooftop nightclub and lounge, and the skyline views from the guest rooms, enlivened through lozenge-shaped windows. Though this is a business hotel at heart, night owls won’t be disappointed, with champagne cocktails in Vivid’s rooftop garden a fine way to jump-start an evening at the restaurants and bars of nearby Sanlitun. Pros: sparklingly new; original design; fun rooftop bar. Cons: not that near to most of the sights; restaurants still a work in progress. | Rooms from: Y2,100 | 29 Bei Dong San Huan, Chaoyang District | 010/6584-6000 | conradhotels.hilton.com | 272 rooms, 17 suites | No meals | Station: Hujialou.
Courtyard by Marriott Beijing Northeast
HOTEL | (Běijīng Rénjì wànyí jĭudiàn).
More an option for business travelers than casual tourists—meaning it’s not too far from the airport and a number of work hubs—this hotel near Wangjing High Tech Park understands that a functional location doesn’t have to mean a completely utilitarian aesthetic.A 24-hour fitness center; modern, well-equipped guest rooms; plus a handy café and decent breakfasts all come in very handy. Pros: good value; well located for doing business in Beijing’s northeast; reliable. Cons: extremely far from the tourist hot spots or downtown; little to do nearby; more for work than pleasure. | Rooms from: Y800 | 101 Jingmi Lu, Chaoyang District | 010/5907-6666 | courtyardbeijingnortheast.com | 258 rooms, 43 suites | No meals | Station: Sanyuanqiao.
Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town
HOTEL | Běijīng Cháoyáng yōutáng huángguàn jiàrì jĭudiàn).
Expect modern, good-sized guest rooms, a great pool and gym, a sparkling marble lobby, and many convenient dining and shopping options in the integrated U-Town shopping mall (even a German-themed bar that brews its own beer).The locale, within Chaoyang’s commercial district, makes this a popular option with those doing business in the area. Beijing’s nightlife district and CBD are both short taxi rides away, but tourists keen on being close to the sights will want to look elsewhere. There’s nothing special on offer here, but it does everything you’d expect, and it does it well. Pros: conveniently attached to a buzzing mall; nicely functional. Cons: not close to tourism; lacks character. | Rooms from: Y1,200 | 3 Sanfeng North Area, Chaoyangmen Wai Dajie,Chaoyang District | 010/5909-6688 | www.crowneplaza.com | 360 rooms, 13 suites | No meals | Station: Chaoyangmen.
Fodor’s Choice | EAST, Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Dōngyú).
From the folks behind the Opposite House, EAST is a business hotel with pizzazz, from the contemporary, light-filled guest rooms done out with oak floors and huge windows (the corner rooms have the best views), to Xian, a hip bar, lounge, and music venue with delicious wood-fired pizza and a connoisseur’s selection of single malts.Business travelers who need to be close to Wangjing, the airport or the 798 Art District couldn’t ask for more; those hoping to hit up all the sights should probably look elsewhere. There’s a vast mall next door with plenty of shopping and eating. Pros: a business hotel with style; impeccable service; great in-house dining and drinking. Cons: far from the main tourist sights (other than 798); nearby subway yet to open. | Rooms from: Y1,250 | 22 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Jiangtai, Chaoyang District | 010/8426-0888 | www.east-beijing.com | 346 rooms, 23 suites | No meals.
HOTEL | (Běijīng Huábīn fèi’ěrméng jiŭdiàn).
Glowing inside and out in rich shades of bronze and gold, the Fairmont Beijing, close to the Silk Market and the diplomatic district surrounding Ritan Park, stays just on the right side of tasteful, with guest rooms that mix marble floors and deep carpets, Japanese tech toilets, bathtub TVs, iPod players, and a pillow menu.The Cut restaurant serves some of the finest (and priciest) steaks in the city, and the hotel’s Wellstream Spa, located on the futuristic-sounding “skybridge,” is a fine spot for posh pampering. Pros: handy for business and shopping; great executive lounge; excellent spa facilities. Cons: traffic can be grueling; breakfast is mediocre; surrounded by offices. | Rooms from: Y2,000 | 8 Yong An Dong Li, Chaoyang District | 010/8511-7777 | www.fairmont.com | 222 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Yong An Li.
Fodor’s Choice | Four Seasons Hotel Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Sìjì jiŭdiàn).
Even the most modest “deluxe” rooms at the Four Seasons Beijing come with state-of-the-art tech, bathtubs with city views, and clever architecture that seems to amplify the already generous 46 square meters (500 square feet) of living space.Overlooking the embassies of the United States and Japan, Four Seasons Beijing occupies a business-minded part of the city. The see-and-be-seen Italian and Chinese restaurants here could be destinations in their own right, and the serene internal tea garden matches the tranquil bliss of the spa that surrounds it. This level of quality and service comes at quite a cost, of course, but if you enjoy the finer things in life and are OK with paying dealy for them, you’ll feel right at home. Pros: some of the best service in the city; elegant rooms; impeccable attention to detail. Cons: very expensive; not particularly close to key tourist hubs; lobby feels a little cramped. | Rooms from: Y3,200 | 48 Liangmaqiao Rd., Chaoyang District | 010/5695-8888 | www.fourseasons.com/beijing | 247 rooms, 66 suites | No meals | Station: Liangmaqiao.
Fodor’s Choice | Grace Beijing
HOTEL | (GeÏruiÃsī Běijīng).
Housed in a redbrick Bauhaus factory building in Beijing’s 798 Art District, this stylish boutique hotel mixes French-colonial and art-deco touches, with contemporary artworks dotted throughout the stylish guest rooms, which range from boxy singles to spacious suites with freestandng tubs.There are few more attractive hotels in the city, and its location places you directly inside one of the capital’s most creative hubs, where there are world-class galleries, art shops, and style-conscious cafés to explore. Pros: unique art-themed hotel; on-site restaurant is excellent; perfect for visiting 798. Cons: far from everything else; no subway; no pool. | Rooms from: Y1,100 | D-Park, Jiuxianqiao Lu 2 Hao Yuan, 798 Art District, Chaoyang District | 010/6436-1818 | www.gracehotels.com | 30 rooms | Breakfast.
Grand Millennium Beijing Hotel
HOTEL | (Běijīng Qiānxĭ dàjiŭdiàn).
Deep in the heart of the Central Business District, this glass tower is a well-appointed business hotel with smart, unassuming guest rooms and a top-notch pool and gym.Though there’s little that’s visually exciting, and service standards can vary, the facilities are all modern, and Yao Chi’s open kitchen is a tasty little option for those in search of dinner and a culinary show. Pros: centrally located; near subway; close to the Silk Market. Cons: food outlets are expensive; difficult to get a taxi; some rooms need sprucing up. | Rooms from: Y1,000 | 7 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District | 010/8587-6888 | www.millenniumhotels.com | 521 rooms, 118 suites | No meals | Station: Jintai Xizhao.
Great Wall Sheraton
HOTEL | (Běijīng Xĭláidēng chángchéng fàndiàn).
One of the oldest luxury hotels in Beijing, the Great Wall Sheraton is still going strong because of its popularity with tour groups.The guest rooms are comfortable but dated, and the top-floor restaurant has pleasing city views and dishes up some decent Sichuan and Cantonese food. Note that the service throughout can be a little uneven. Pros: in the embassy district; lovely views. Cons: location isn’t convenient; old-fashioned. | Rooms from: Y800 | 10 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Chaoyang District | 010/6590-5566 | www.sheraton.com/greatwall | 827 rooms, 98 suites | No meals | Station: Liangmaqiao.
HOTEL | (Běijīng Xī’ěrdùn jiŭdiàn).
At one of the elder statesmen of the city’s hospitality scene, good deals can be had.Despite smaller than average rooms and some aging decor, it has several fine pluses: an assured staff that is always helpful; excellent restuarants, including One East, serving upscale North American and European cuisine; and one of the liveliest hotel bars in town (with an extensive wine list). Guest rooms are clean and modern (if rather simple), and the pleasing health center is a real asset. Though some distance from the sights, it’s convenient for the airport and the nightlife of Sanlitun. Pros: One East restaurant does a great roast; good fitness center. Cons: far from the tourist sights; neighborhood lacks charm. | Rooms from: Y1,690 | 1 Dongfang Lu, Dongsanhuan Beilu, Chaoyang District | 010/5865-5000 | www.beijing.hilton.com | 502 rooms, 52 suites | No meals | Station: Liangmaqiao.
Fodor’s Choice | Hilton Beijing Wangfujing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Wángfŭjĭng Xī’ěrdùn jiŭdiàn).
Even the smallest rooms at this big-brand boutique-style hotel come with walk-in wardrobes, freestanding tubs, and six-head showers, and if you can stand the very bachelor-pad brown and slate interiors, you’ll reap the benefits of being just a stroll from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.Standards of service and comfort are as you’d expect from the brand, and west-facing rooms on floor 10 or higher even come with Forbidden City views. The hotel opened in 2008 for the Olympics, and by now the rooms are showing the odd sign of wear and tear, but it’s still a great option, especially for first-timers to the city. The Fizztastic champagne brunch, held every Sunday, is certainly worth a splurge. Breakfast at Vascos is a bright, sunny affair with excellent home baked pastries. Pros: central location; quiet; huge guest rooms. Cons: not easy to get cabs; service can get a little strained. | Rooms from: Y1,800 | 8 Wangfujing Dong Jie, Dongcheng District | 010/5812-8888 | www3.hilton.com | 197 rooms, 58 suites | No meals.
HOTEL | (Běijīng yí hēng jiŭdiàn).
Attached to Parkview Green, Beijing’s artsiest and most upscale shopping mall, this playfully ultra-luxe option has “lagoon” suites with their own private swimming pools, and a fabulous art collection that includes original works by Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol.Guest rooms are tricked out with some impressive comforts and hip lifestyle gadgets (3D TVs, Japanese toilets), and some come with fully equipped kitchens and prestocked fridges. All suites come with personal butler service, and though dining in the hotel itself is limited, Parkview Green has an excellent and varied selection of restaurants, including a new “express” edition of the legendary Dadong that serves some of the city’s best Peking duck. Pros: excellent service; free minibar and other welcome treats; attached to shopping mall. Cons: expensive; not that close to sights; immediate area lacks local color. | Rooms from: Y2,300 | 9 Dongdaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District | 010/8561-2888 | www.eclathotels.com/beijing/default-en.html | 74 guest rooms; 26 suites | No meals | Station: Dongdaqiao, Line 6.
HOTEL | (Běijīng Kūnlún fàndiàn).
A bewildering array of restaurants, bars, and lounges coupled with spacious, well appointed guest rooms means this popular Chinese business hotel deserves even wider recognition.The public areas are impressive, adorned with Dragon Empress carved dividers, gigantic lanterns, sofa fabrics that could be satin ceremonial robes, and gigantic smiling Buddhas; or you can opt for the more modern lounges, often grand spaces made cozy with sofas, tasseled velvet cushions, and fine teak furnishings. Topped by a revolving restaurant, this 28-story tower has high ambitions. From the spacious Basic rooms to the Superior suites, they’re all done out in a low-key but tranquil style. The Kunlun isn’t too far from the clubs of Sanlitun. Pros: gorgeous decors throughout; well-finished, restful rooms; a good choice of dining. Cons: staff can be a little slow; not a top choice for sightseeing; quite business-oriented. | Rooms from: Y980 | 2 Xinyuan Nanlu, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District | 010/6590-3388 | www.hotelkunlun.com | 600 rooms, 50 suites | Breakfast | Station: Liangmaqiao.
Jianguo Hotel Beijing
HOTEL | (Jiànguó fàndiàn).
One of Beijing’s first modern hotels, Jianguo was built in 1982 as an exact replica of the Palo Alto Holiday Inn, with direct dialing from rooms and other innovations (for the time).Diplomats, journalists, and business executives aplenty took advantage, and it’s still going strong today thanks to friendly service and close proximity to the conference facilities of the more expensive China World Hotel a block away. Nearly half the guest rooms have balconies (although most overlook a noisy road) and it’s too bad that the gym and pool lack a modern touch, but the courtyard gardens in the back are a nice addition. Pros: central location; fairly reasonable rates for the area; welcoming. Cons: limited amenities; rooms are small; can be a little noisy. | Rooms from: Y750 | 5 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District | 010/6500-2233 | www.hoteljianguo.com | 459 rooms | No meals | Station: Yonganli.
JW Marriott Hotel Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng JW Wànháo jiŭdiàn).
As you might expect at one of Beijing’s older luxury hotels, the guest rooms and bathrooms are pokier than current top-end expectations, but the JW makes up for it in the details: immaculate service, elegant public areas, fabulous dining (including a branch of the world-famous sushi destination Nobu), and some of the city’s best high-end shopping in nearby Shin Kong Place.Pros: sleek style; spectacular service; attention to detail. Cons: rooms and bathrooms a little small; traffic-clogged area; not particuarly close to sights. | Rooms from: Y2,000 | 83 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District | 010/5908-6688 | jwmarriottbeijing.com | 586 rooms, 100 suites | No meals | Station: Dawanglu.
Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center
HOTEL | (Kăibīnsījī fàndiàn).
One of the capital’s older luxury hotels, the Kempinski could stand to give its guest rooms a refresh, but the facilities remain first-rate thanks to a well-equipped gym, easy access to shopping in the attached Lufthansa Center, and plenty of dining opportunities.The likeable Kempi Deli is always popular at lunchtime for its excellent European pastries and sandwiches, and the microbrews at the Paulaner Brauhaus are a draw even to revelers in the nearby Sanlitun neighborhood. Pros: excellent service; a good bar; easy access to the airport. Cons: some areas are in need of renovation; far from the big tourist spots. | Rooms from: Y1,100 | 50 Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District | 010/6465-3388 | www.kempinski.com | 526 rooms, 114 suites | No meals | Station: Liangmaqiao.
FAMILY | Kerry Centre Hotel
HOTEL | (Běijīng Jiālĭ zhōngxīn fàndiàn).
Recently renovated, this Shangri-La owned stalwart is now more appealing than ever, with the stylish Centro Bar joined by the excellent all-day Kerry’s Kitchen, and a brand new top-of-the-range health club that has a play area just for kids.Called Adventure Zone, it’s kitted out with slides, a play village, and a supervised toddler zone. The service remains impeccable throughout, and the guest rooms have been spruced up to new levels of business chic. Pros: reasonably priced luxury; great for kids; nearby shopping. Cons: smallish rooms; congested area; expensive bar. | Rooms from: Y1,250 | 1 Guang Hua Lu, Chaoyang District | 010/6561-8833 | www.shangri-la.com/beijing/kerry | 487 rooms, 23 suites | No meals | Station: Guomao.
FAMILY | Metropark Lido Hotel
HOTEL | (Běijīng Lìdū wěijĭng jiŭdiàn).
In a leafy northeastern suburb of Beijing lies Lido Place, an enormous commercial and residential complex in which you’ll find the Metropark Lido as well as a British-style pub, a Tex-Mex joint, and a buffet restaurant that makes this feel like Anywheresville.While this is a world away from the bustle of “real Beijing,” the area’s quieter roads and tree-lined streets make it a family-friendly alternative. It’s a decent price for a comfortable stay, and especially handy if you want to be closer to the airport. Pros: plenty of restaurants nearby; quiet streets; convenient for 798 Art District and airport. Cons: slightly sterile neighborhood; far from the sights; part of an expat enclave. | Rooms from: Y731 | 6 Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District | 010/6437-6688 | www.hkctshotels.com/lidohotel | 433 rooms, 89 suites | No meals | Station: Sanyuanqiao.
New Otani Changfugong
HOTEL | (Běijīng Chángfùgōng fàndiàn).
This Japanese-run hotel deserves praise for its crisp service and a great downtown location that makes it a reliable middle-ground for businessmen and (largely Japanese) tour groups alike; rooms are modern and crisp, plus the hotel overlooks a delightful garden where guests can participate in morning exercises.A decent Japanese restaurant ensures that diners aren’t sold short. lIt’s also accessible for people with disabilities, which isn’t always the norm for Beijing. Pros: close to the sights; efficient staff. Cons: pricey food; worn-out carpets. | Rooms from: Y800 | 26 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District | 010/6512-5555 | www.cfgbj.com | 460 rooms, 18 suites | No meals | Station: Jianguomen.
Fodor’s Choice | The Opposite House
HOTEL | (Yúshě).
In the heart of the Sanlitun nightlife district and designed by the famed architect Kengo Kuma, this exemplar of 21st-century China has a huge atrium and contemporary art in the stunning lobby, plus spacious and warm guest rooms kitted out with natural wood and Scandi-Asian minimalist chic.The modern and uncluttered style extends to the casually dressed staff, who employ every effort to make you feel right at home. Technology is strongly embraced, too, from the iPad check-in service (no boring front desks here) to the touch-panel lighting and Bose speakers for your iPod in the rooms. Due to the hotel’s location, many of Beijing’s best bars and restaurants are right on your doorstep; as a result, however, traffic here is some of the worst in the city. Pros: a design addict’s dream; fantastic food and drink options (both within and around); unique experience. Cons: too trendy for some; not close to the tourist trail; awful traffic. | Rooms from: Y1,725 | 11 Sanlitun Lu,Chaoyang District | 010/6417-6688 | www.theoppositehouse.com | 98 studios, 1 penthouse | No meals.
Fodor’s Choice | Park Hyatt Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Bòyuè jiŭdiàn).
An easy-to-like (if costly) slice of luxury, this 63-story tower hotel offers plenty of pampering (just imagine your own spa-inspired bathroom with oversized rain shower, deep-soak tub, and heated floors), with large guest rooms that are a tad businesslike but packed with the obligatory modern amenities.Other pluses include the rooftop pool and excellent spa, a 360-degree views of the capital, great service, and easy access to the adjacent Yintai Center shopping mall. The China Grill restaurant serves excellent international cuisine with views to match. Pros: spectacular views of the city; the hotel’s buzzing Xue bar has a fab rooftop terrace; good location for business. Cons: pricey; lacks intimacy; hard area for walking around. | Rooms from: Y2,000 | 2 Jianguomenwai Dajie., Chaoyang District | 010/8567-1234 | beijing.park.hyatt.com | 237 rooms, 18 suites. | No meals | Station: Guomao.
The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Lìsīkă’ěrdùn jjiŭdiàn).
In an area where Ferragamo, Chanel, and other couture practically spills out onto the street, this Ritz-Carlton feels rather at home; the dinky marble lobby, mahogany-decorated rooms, excellent Italian restaurant (Barolo), and Davidoff-sponsored cigar bar feel like something from another age, which is no bad thing if you can afford it.As a time-tested symbol of old-fashioned luxury, it fits into this location as a rather quaint example of this well-known brand. Pros: superior service; great location; impressive restaurants. Cons: dark public areas; expensive food; small lobby. | Rooms from: Y2,040 | 83A Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang District | 010/5908-8888 | www.ritzcarlton.com | 305 rooms | No meals | Station: Dawanglu.
HOTEL | (Běijīng Wàndásŭofēitè dà jiŭdiàn).
Tang Dynasty style mixes with contemporary French flair at this plush hotel, where swanky rooms and suites are enlivened with subtle Asian motifs; a well-equipped fitness center boasts a 25m-long pool and state-of-the-art gym; the hotel restaurant Héritage serves high-end French.Tech-savvy travelers will enjoy the built-in LCD TVs in both the bedrooms and bathrooms, plus complimentary broadband access. Sadly, the views aren’t up to much, thanks to some large-scale building nearby, but it’s nice enough inside that you can shut the curtains and make the most of it. Pros: good design; plenty of tech touches; near subway. Cons: traffic-clogged area; the view could be better; tourists may want to be closer to the sights. | Rooms from: Y1,100 | 97 Jianguo Road, Tower C (Wanda Plaza), Chaoyang District | 010/8599-6666 | www.sofitel-wanda-beijing.com | 417 rooms, 43 suites | No meals | Station: Dawanglu.
Fodor’s Choice | St. Regis
HOTEL | (Běijīng guójì jùlèbù fàndiàn).
At this favorite of business travelers and dignitaries, the luxurious interiors combine classic Chinese elegance with modern furnishings, but it’s the facilities that really stand out: the health club is equipped with a Jacuzzi that gets its water directly from a natural hot spring, the glass-atrium swimming pool offers a sun-drenched backstroke, and the smart, wood-paneled Press Club Bar has the air of a private club.Add to that some plush rooms backed by excellent service,and it feels like you’re getting something more for your money here. Pros: grand lobby; fantastic facilities; good Asian and European restaurants. Cons: the little extras really add up; local area a bit tired; not many good places to eat nearby. | Rooms from: Y1,742 | 21 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District | 010/6460-6688 | www.stregis.com/beijing | 156 rooms, 102 suites | Station: Jianguomen.
HOTEL | (găngao zhōngxīn Ruìshì jiŭdiàn).
With easy access to the Second Ring Road and Line 2 of the subway, this mid-range hotel is a decent enough hub for sightseers: the marble lobby is impressive, the health club includes an open-air tennis court, and rooms are a decent value.Although this will never be one of the city’s more glamorous hotels, it’s a solid fit, plus it’s only a short walk to the nearby Nanxincang complex of restaurants, housed in a former Ming Dynasty granary. The hotel coffee shop also dishes up a good buffet—and a great fondue. Pros: regular jazz performances in the lobby bar; good amenities; easy access to the city. Cons: can be noisy; generally mediocre food; a little on the old side. | Rooms from: Y750 | 2 Chaoyangmennei Dajie, Dongsishiqiao Flyover Junction (Second Ring Rd.),Chaoyang District | 010/6553-2288 | Fax 010/6501-2501 | www.swissotel-beijing.com | 430 rooms, 50 suites | No meals | Station: Dongsishitiao.
HOTEL | (Guómào fàndiàn).
A functional name for a utilitarian hotel, Traders is located inside the China World Trade Complex, hence the prevalence of business travelers to be found staying here; its good-value, simple (think muted colors), efficient guest rooms hit the mark, as does its fine service and excellent health club (you’ll want to eat out, though, but that’s not always such a bad thing).This place certainly knows its market. Oh, and it’s attached to a shopping mall too. Pros: moderate price for a business hotel; near the CBD; plenty of shopping. Cons: a lack of good dining; not really for tourists; lobby could be bigger. | Rooms from: Y800 | 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District | 010/6505-2277 | www.tradershotels.com | 570 rooms, 27 suites | No meals | Station: Guomao.
W Beijing Chang’an
HOTEL | (Běijīng cháng’ān jiē W jiŭdiàn).
The sassy Starwood brand W has finally landed in China’s capital, bringing tech-laden guestrooms, comfy beds, pillow menus, and free snacks..The “cool corner rooms” have great city views. The Yen restaurant serves contemporary takes on Cantonese and northern Chinese delicacies. The hotel is close to Beijing Railway Station, and it’s just a few subway stops west to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City Pros: Brand new; hip design. Cons: A little farther out than the Wangfujing hotels. | Rooms from: Y1288 | 2 Jianguuomen Nan Dajie, Chaoyang District | Beijing, China | 010/6515-8855 | 349.
Westin Beijing Chaoyang
HOTEL | (Jīnmào Běijīng Wēisīdtīng dàjiŭdiàn).
With 34 floors of guest rooms, the Westin Beijing Chaoyang isn’t exactly a small affair, but what the hotel lacks in intimacy, it more than makes up for in luxury: highlights include the trademark “Heavenly” beds and thunderous rain-forest showers, waking up to the best and most abundant breakfast buffet in the city, and service that is relaxed, charming, and attentive.Guest rooms err toward the businesslike—they are decorated with techy gagdets and contemporary furnishings. On Sundays, Taste restaurant is the haunt of Beijing’s brunch set for Bubbalicious, an all-you-can-drink champagne fest with dozens of live cooking stations that’s a relative bargain. The Westin Spa has an extensive menu of massages and treatments. Pros: convenient location near the airport expressway; beautiful atrium-style swimming pool; great breakfast buffet. Cons: in northeast of the city, far from tourist sites; not as shiny as it used to be; check-in can sometimes be slow. | Rooms from: Y1,400 | 1 Xinyuan Nanlu | Chaoyang District | 010/5922-8888 | www.westin.com/chaoyang | 550 rooms | No meals | Station: Liangmaqiao.
Kid-Friendly Hotels in Beijing
Many Beijing hotels have special programs and facilities that appeal to children. Metropark Lido Hotel, in the Chaoyang District, has a 20-lane bowling alley, video games, a sprawling swimming pool, and a park next door. Kerry Centre Hotel, also in the Chaoyang District, has two indoor tennis courts, a large pool, a special splash pool, a play area for kids, and a rooftop outdoor track for in-line skating. CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport, near the Capital Airport, has children’s programs in summer; among its outdoor facilities are a playground, tennis courts, a volleyball court, an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, and horse stables nearby. Schoolhouse Hotels is a chain of country houses that provide a lot of activities for children of primary-school age, such as nature classes and orchard walks. There are trails along the wall where kids can go for a hike or bike riding.
The Haidian District, in the far northwestern corner of Beijing, is where you’ll find the university district, the city zoo, and numerous parks. The main attractions here for visitors are the Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace.
Fodor’s Choice | Aman at Summer Palace
HOTEL | (Běijīng yíhé ānmàn).
The epitome of blissful indulgence, this luxury hotel (part of the famed Aman chain) is spread out across a series of carefully renovated ancient Qing Dynasty courtyards—it even has its own private entrance to the Summer Palace—with guest rooms decorated in restful earth tones (lovely traditional wooden screens and bamboo blinds) and grounds that are positively stunning.Luxury and peace are the order of the day as guests enjoy breakfast overlooking a reflecting lotus pool, stroll the boutique, or relax in the excellent Aman Spa. Pros: right next to the Summer Palace; restaurant Naoki serves fine kaiseki (Japanese) cuisine; beautiful setting. Cons: very pricey; extremely far from downtown; too isolated for some. | Rooms from: Y4,100 | 1 Gongmen Qian Street, Summer Palace | Haidian District | 010/5987-9999 | www.amanresorts.com | 51 rooms, 33 suites | Breakfast | Station: Yiheyuan.
HOTEL | (Yŏuyì bīnguăn).
One of the largest garden-style hotels in Asia, the Friendship Hotel was built in 1954 to house foreigners (mostly Soviets) who had come to help rebuild the nation; these days, it relies more on tour groups and those who need to be close to the university area.It remains far removed from most sights, and many of its rooms, done in a traditional Chinese style, are in need of a redo and more up-to-date furnishings. Facilities include restaurants, a swimming pool, and a driving range. Building #1 is the most comfortable and up to date, and more expensive. Pros: a bit of history; inexpensive; gardens are attractive. Cons: far from the city center; needs updating; not much to do nearby (unless you’re a student in search of cheap drinks). | Rooms from: Y538 | 1 Zhongguancun Nan Dajie, Haidian District | 010/6849-8888 | www.bjfriendshiphotel.com | 1,700 rooms, 200 suites | No meals | Station: Renmin University.
Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing
HOTEL | (Běijīng Xiānggélĭlā fàndiàn).
With its landscaped gardens, luxury mall, and the addition of a more modern wing, the Shangri-La is a slice of charm for business travelers and those who don’t mind being far from the city center; the service is spot-on throughout, from the pristine rooms to the efficient check-in, while the dining options are excellent (the pick of the bunch being the superb and expensive S.T.A.Y, a French restaurant from the brain of Michelin-loved, three-starred chef Yannick Alléno).Pros: nice gardens; excellent amenities; great restaurants. Cons: far from the city center; no subway; older wing not as good as the newer one. | Rooms from: Y1,180 | 29 Zizhuyuan Lu, Haidian District | 010/6841-2211 | www.shangri-la.com | 670 rooms, 32 suites | Breakfast.
OUTSIDE THE CITY CENTER
FAMILY | Commune by the Great Wall
RENTAL | (Chánghéng jiăoxià gōngshè).
An hour from Beijing, Commune is a design-led cluster of villas in wildly contrasting architectural styles set amid the hills and scrubland of the Great Wall; there’s plenty of space, so it’s an ideal spot for families and small groups (and includes private access to the Wall); Bamboo House and Suitcase House are the best of the villas, but overall the service and upkeep is spotty following changes in ownership.Facilities such as a kids’ club, pool, restaurants, and spa mean that, even though you’re out in the sticks, you won’t be roughing it. Pros: rustic environment; comfortable accommodation; near the Great Wall. Cons: you will likely share the villa with other guests; sketchy service; not in the city. | Rooms from: Y1,600 | Exit 20 at Shuiguan, Badaling Highway,Yanqing County | 010/8118-1888 | www.communebythegreatwall.com | 40 houses | Breakfast.
FAMILY | Grandma’s Place (Schoolhouse Hotels)
RENTAL | (Năinaijiā).
This two-bedroom rental cottage is part of a project that offers gorgeous self-catering stays in remote villages around the Great Wall; Grandma’s Place is the pick of the bunch, created using stones salvaged from Ming and Qing Dynasty structures, as well as massive beams from an old village house, with a cozy, traditional kang—a brick bed heated from beneath—and a very private fruit garden and terrace that provides jaw-dropping views of the Great Wall. There are two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, wireless broadband, a kitchen, and laundry facilities. The Brickyard Hotel, also by the Schoolhouse brand, offers more rooms with Great Wall views nearby. Pros: a wonderfully rustic getaway with modern comforts; views of the Great Wall; The Schoolhouse restaurant is nearby. Cons: guests need a car to get here; no hotel services; outside of Beijing. | Rooms from: Y2,600 | The Schoolhouse,12 Mutianyu Village, Huairou District | 010/6162-6282 | www.grandmasplaceatmutianyu.com | 2 rooms (8 homes available) | No credit cards | Breakfast.
Hilton Beijing Capital Airport
HOTEL | (Běijīng Shŏudūjīchăng Xī’ěrdùn jiŭdiàn).
The number of worthwhile hotels next to Beijing’s airport has flourished in recent years, and the Hilton doesn’t disappoint, with surprisingly good restaurants considering the lack of passing trade, and plush, soundproofed rooms decked out in cozy deep-red wood accents.Sure, given the hotel’s distance from the main swell of the city, your stay here is likely to be somewhat of a brief encounter, but you’re unlikely to leave disappointed. The extensive business and conference facilities mark this Hilton as a spot for business events, trade exhibitions, and transit passengers, rather than leisurely loungers. A handy shuttle bus (five minutes from T3; 15 minutes from T2) ferries guests to and from the polished hotel. Pros: less than 1 km (0.6 mile) from airport terminal; good choice of restaurants; slick rooms. Cons: not suitable as a base for the sights; a pain to get a taxi from. | Rooms from: Y1,200 | 1 San Jing Road, Beijing Capital International Airport (Terminal 3) | 010/6458-8888 | beijingairport.hilton.com | 265 rooms, 57 suites | No meals | Station: Airport Express.
Fodor’s Choice | Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport
HOTEL | (Běijīng Shŏudūjīchăng Lăngháo jiŭdiàn).
Airport hotels have a reputation for dullness—not so with Langham Place, a fun and funky spot next to Terminal 3 that screams style with high-tech guest rooms, luxurious marble bathrooms, and soundproofed floor-to-ceiling windows; the in-house contemporary art gallery and stylish dining options point to this hotel’s playful sense of creativity.A pink (and free) shuttle bus will drop you at the airport within minutes, from where you can ride the subway into town. Business travelers are just ten minutes from the New China International Exhibition Center, but if you want to be near the sights, or among the downtown action, then this is not the one for you. Pros: airport hotels are rarely this stylish; fantastic service; good facilities. Cons: far from the city center; overly long corridors; can feel too quiet at times. | Rooms from: Y1,608 | 1 Er Jing Road, Beijing Capital International Airport (Terminal 3) | 010/6457-5555 | beijingairport.langhamplacehotels.com | 372 rooms, 67 suites | No meals | Station: Airport Express.
FAMILY | Fodor’s Choice | Shan Li Retreats
RENTAL | (Shānlĭ yìjū).
These five village houses have been renovated into gloriously beautiful rental properties, with old wooden beams and traditional-style beds mixed with subtle modern touches, all nestled among the mountains and valleys of Huangyankou village (120 km from the city), next to crumbling Great Wall watchtowers on the hill above.Larger groups will want to go for “Po Shang,” a two-story, three-bedroom home, complete with fireplace, bathtubs, iPod stereo, private garden, and two outdoor terraces. Couples may prefer to opt for a room in “Stone House,” an old barn now converted into smaller one-bedroom studios. Pros: a bucolic escape from the city; good hikes nearby; beautifully restored village homes. Cons: a car is required to get there; guests need to take their own food. | Rooms from: Y1,500 | Huangyankou Cun, Beizhuang, Miyun County | 138/1171-6326 | www.shanliretreats.com | Five houses | Closed Nov.-Mar. | No meals.
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