But I do want to share an outstanding experience I had recently at a five star hotel in Beijing, if only to promote this beautiful city and the top-knotch hospitality that can be found here. Here goes . . .
When I arrived at the hotel for my meeting and subsequent weekend stay, I was greeted by a front desk staff that knew exactly who I was. A friendly Belgian woman whisked Matt and me up to our room for a private check-in (there's a first time for everything), and I was able to freshen up a bit before heading back downstairs for the meeting.
Our room was tasteful and modern, with a bathroom that can only be described as over-the-top luxurious. The large bathtub, even larger shower, and fully secluded toilet area (somewhat of a rarity in China) were more than sufficient to delight us, and the small television screen inside the bathroom mirror was a unique addition that would wow the savviest of tech aficionados.
A lovely fruit platter and handwritten cards from the director of marketing and the GM himself were personal touches that made us feel rather special. The large desk and workspace, complete with hotel stationary (that Matt promptly pocketed) would have been a prime spot for me to get some work done if our room hadn’t also come with Executive Club membership, but we were glad it did!
I proceeded to receive a thorough tour of the hotel. I had done my research, so I was glad that the information they shared wasn’t a regurgitation of the hotel website or fact sheet. What I learned was, in fact, much more interesting; for example, about the hotel’s close connection with the local and international art scene, exhibited by the many fascinating works of art on display (and for sale) in seemingly every corner of the hotel.
There are certain aspects of a hotel you simply cannot experience by looking at a computer screen, and the hotel’s Chinese restaurant was one of those. It’s impossible to do this place justice in writing: the stunning red and gold corridor, the tinkling sound of running water from the bubbling fountains in some of the rooms, the subtle opulence of the exclusive bar area for guests enjoying one of the restaurant’s private dining rooms. The cuisine itself has been the recipient of many an award, and was outstanding. Matt and I can attest to the quality of the stir-fried lamb, thinly sliced and cooked with fat, juicy leeks, and the luscious pineapple dumpling and coconut sorbet we indulged in for dessert. The chilled wasabi cabbage rolls, recommended to us as an appetizer, were a bit too zingy for our taste, however. We had already enjoyed complimentary cocktails in the executive club before dinner; otherwise, we might have been tempted to peruse the iPad wine list more closely.
In the spirit of getting to know every aspect of the hotel, we headed to the pool after dinner, which was particularly beautiful at night, offering a lovely view of the city. We soaked in the spacious Jacuzzi for a while before returning to our room and enjoying a hot shower and comfortable night’s sleep in our deluxe room.
Breakfast was the typical five-star, bounteous spread of Chinese and Western cuisine, and I particularly enjoyed the somewhat unusual additions of fresh papaya and homemade breakfast quiche.
I spent all afternoon catching up on some work in the executive lounge and enjoying the various cakes, sandwiches, and salads brought out to accompany tea. The space was quiet and professional, and the staff was very attentive. I was disappointed that I had to check out very early on Sunday morning to attend a company outing, because I would like to have tested the workout room, EC breakfast, and tea garden as well. But I wasn't disappointed for long, as our company outing involved a hike and picnic on the Great Wall of China. Life is good.
I don't have a picture from our stay, but here are a few from the group outing (Simatai section of the Great Wall):