I’m writing this from the Executive Lounge of the Hilton Beijing Wanfujing hotel. Tonight will be my 8th consecutive night, and tomorrow I’m flying home nonstop on United 888 PEK-SFO. I have had a fantastic time in Beijing, but I’m ready to head back to the States. That being said, I’m definitely not ready to leave the Hilton Wanfujing! This is a truly elite property, and I cannot wait to return.
My arrival at the hotel was a bit hectic. The taxi driver who picked me up at the international terminal at the Beijing airport didn’t speak a lick of English. While I figured there would be a large language barrier, I figured that a cabbie going to the international terminal might speak enough! I clearly wasn’t pronouncing Wanfujing correctly. I got out my iPhone and showed him the hotel name, and he still didn’t quite get it. He ended up figuring out that I needed to go to Wanfujing Street, even though he still wasn’t familiar w/ the hotel. We did a bit of live google mapping together, and somehow we were able to find the hotel!
Check-in was rather uneventful. I booked a rate that included free breakfast, and I was told that as a Hilton Honors Gold member, I could eat breakfast either in the lounge or in the restaurant. I got my two keys and headed up to my room. I was very impressed by the room! While it wasn’t what I would call a full-on suite, it was VERY spacious and had many amenities. The first thing I noticed was that not only was there a totally awesome hotel teddy bear on my bed, but there was even a hotel rubber ducky in the bath tub! Haha cool! I guess it’s the little things that get me going :-) .
The bathroom accommodations were very nicely done. When you first walk in, there’s a closet area with plenty of room for suitcases and hanging clothes. Then there is a toilet and a shower. The shower is very large, has a bench inside, and has two kinds of shower-heads. There is an interesting overhanging arm-style shower-head, and there is also the “rain style” that comes out of the ceiling.
The bathtub and sink area were really nice. You can see the purple rubber ducky in the bathtub! The room was really huge, and there was a desk with a wired internet connection. Wireless is also available. There was also a printer / scanner all-in-one device in the room! This is the first hotel I’ve ever seen that has had this in the room. While I had no use for it, I appreciate the effort. Let’s see… what else was nice about the room…
Ah! Motorized curtains! Two sets of them. The first set would raise and lower and was basically just to keep anyone from looking in, but they didn’t block much light. The most inner set opened horizontally, and these were designed to block out the light 100%. And yes… they did an excellent job. On my Saturday in Beijing, when I was catching up from jetlag, I intended on sleeping til noon, and I had no problem doing so, thanks to the curtains blocking out all the light!
The elite amenity was really great too. It was basically a “3 story” glass case with three floors of snacks. On the bottom, there were little cookies on top of coffee beans. In the middle, there were colorful cookies on top of popcorn. And on the very top, chocolate / yogurt covered strawberries atop raisins. Very classy. Very tasty. Kudos to Hilton for doing a good job with elite amenities.
Speaking of elite amenities, I haven’t even mentioned the lounge yet. The executive lounge at this property is fantastic. Surely I’ve been to lounges that are prettier or larger, but this one is really a perfect size. It is quite overstaffed, in a good way, so someone is there to fill your drink for you as soon as it nears empty. The breakfast staff is so friendly in the morning, and they bring out snacks in the afternoon. At 6PM, they have free beers for a few hours as well. Heineken and Tsing Tao for all! There is free internet in the lounge, and there are always free soft drinks. It just has a very calm, serene atmosphere with a delightful staff. I actually watched the Lakers take care of the Celtics there for Game 7 last week ;). GO LAKERS!
The gym, pool, spa, and “garden” are on the 6th floor of the hotel. The gym is small, but the equipment is well maintained, and it was never busy during my stay. I got quite a bit of usage out of the gym, and the women who work the gym were very friendly and always kept the equipment nice and clean. While I never used the pool, I did wander over there to take a look. My apology for not snapping a pic or two. It’s a nice pool, to be sure, but it’s indoor in a “greenhouse-like” room. I’d say the pool is a great spot to soak after a day in the Beijing heat, but I wouldn’t rush to this property for the pool. The “garden” is fairly silly. It’s just a roof-top grass patio. I suppose it could be useful for sunbathing, but this hotel is pretty far downtown so it’s not like it’s very quiet or comfortable.
Ah and speaking of location, that is another one of the hotel’s best features. Take a look at Beijing on Google Maps. You’ll see that there are rings of freeways around it. The city keeps growing and growing and growing, and they keep building more freeway rings around it. The Hilton Beijing Wanfujing is located about as smack dab in the middle as you can get! It’s also very close to the subway stop, which at 2 yuan, is about the best deal in the city. It’s very clean and efficient. Think DC metro-style clean. Or BART. Way cleaner than NY’s subway.
The surrounding area, including Wanfujing Street, is filled with plenty of fantastic shopping, dining, and other sites to see. You’re only a short walk away from Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and many other fantastic Beijing sites. Also, hungry? How about some scorpion on a stick?
All in all, Beijing is a great place to visit, and while I can’t compare this hotel to the competitors in the area, I can say that the Hilton Beijing Wanfujing would make an excellent place to stay for your next business or pleasure trip (I was here on business, but I used the weekend to do some site seeing!).