Part 3 - Peninsula Beijing
This was my first time staying at the Peninsula Beijing. The lobby, and two levels below it, are basically heaven for high-end boutique lovers. Retailers from Harry Winston to Tiffany to Brioni was represented...with many others there too. Perhaps this sort of retail mix is a sign of affluence in Beijing, but the privacy and serenity of a typical Four Seasons property (or other Peninsula properties) lobby is what I greatly prefer.
Check-in was quick and easy. I have no status (which I don't think is even an option here), and was on a corporate rate, so I ended up in a room on the lowest level of rooms (the fourth floor, room 468). The clerk was very thoughtful and offered a late check out to me. Due to my planned tour, it was not something I needed, though I thanked the young lady for offering.
Reception area and lobby lounge
Several people offered to help me with my bags, but I am able to handle them on my own without issue.
Lift lobby on level 4
The room itself was fine - nothing over the top - but satisfactory in almost every way. There were no nicks or scratches anywhere. Frankly, the only thing that would have been a welcome improvement would have been a shower stall separate from the tub.
The shower/tub combo did have glass doors - something I rarely see in a hotel, but a welcome change to the dreaded shower curtain.
Say what you will, this little shelf is a great spot to rest your blackberry!
The main power controls by the door offered information about the outside weather, which I find helpful. They give both the temperature and the relative humidity. Both are important metrics in Beijing.
The night of arrival, I ordered a room service dinner. Nothing exotic, just a club sandwich and some beer. The food came within 20 minutes, and was very good. The young lady who delivered the food was clearly still learning English, but she did a very nice job, and I praised her language skills. She blushed effusively.
My room rate included breakfast (in the restaurant), as well as free wifi. Breakfast was reasonably good, and included both western and eastern options. Nothing about breakfast was over the top, however. And, frankly, on Thursday, it had the hum more of a cafeteria than the breakfast room of a five star hotel. The staff were all very nice and quick to refill a drink or remove a dirty plate. English was comfortably spoken most staff. Nearly all of the guests seemed to be speaking English or other European languages. Despite the somewhat challenged ambiance, all of the food was of very good quality.
A private dining room was available
"Pork Floss" was offered as a congee mix. ;)
Like most (all?) Peninsula hotels, this property had a very nice spa, gym and pool. I made use of all three facilities, including a two hour spa treatment. The spa time was quite a decadent treat. I did not take pictures in this area - while it was never crowded, I was never alone, either.
Whereas normally I run outside, I've run in Beijing enough to know the air is so poor as to make it worthwhile staying in. I've run from Financial Street to Tiananmen Square previously (about 10k round trip), and afterwards, the grime was visible on my skin. This time, I simply stayed in and used the treadmill. I took a dip in the pool each time after. I found the pool to be just the right temperature...low 80s....cool, but not cold.
The gym is well looked after, and staff were there to provide headphones, wipe up after you, and provide any assistance needed.
The obligatory Rolls Royce (the hotel has two)
Stores across the street - not quite the same as the Peninsula in NYC!
A colleague and I also used the business center for an impromptu call with some investors from a different nearby country. They were able to set us up with a private room, phone and lunch (Club sandwich #2) within minutes.
Perhaps the only downright negative thing to say about the hotel had to do with its ATM. The ATM was the second level down in the basement, in a deserted, only partially illuminated corridor. It was a little creepy going down there. If my wife were to stay at this hotel, i would advise her to have someone from the front office escort her if she needed the ATM. (Sorry if this comes across as sexist; I mean it in a protective way. While crime didn't seem to be an issue, anyone using an ATM in an unfamiliar city in a dark basement corridor should keep their guard up!)
Complimentary shoe shine service was available
Maybe it is time for a new pair of shoes?
I decided to keep the flowers from my dinner trolley in the room
Departure in Saturday morning was also handled very quickly. My bill was accurate.
While not over the top by Asian standards, the Peninsula was a solid hotel and one I would have no hesitation retuning to.
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I added in some other meetings with clients while I was in town, and took one at the Park Hyatt. Very similar to their Tokyo property, the Park Hyatt Beijing is on the top floors of an office tower. Service in the lobby on the 63rd floor was very good. The decor was a pleasant contemporary feel, with some traditional touches. This property seemed much newer than the Peninsula. It had a commanding view of the CCTV building, a building that really fascinates me. I would welcome staying at the Park Hyatt Beijing once in the future.
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The end of this trip report will feature gifting of a new set of Air China Business Class pajamas.
8 Goldfish Lane, Wangfujing
Beijing 100006 PRC
Tel +86 10 8516 2888