Posted: 2017-12-07 15:12
If you’re lucky, you can get your internet speeds back up to snuff quickly and stress-free. But, if not, you can at least try to put a good spin on it: As long as your work isn’t too bandwidth-intensive, slow internet could actually make you more productive. After all, if Facebook takes a minute to load, you’re a lot less likely to pop over for a “quick break” (that turns into an hour-long photo-fest) when you’re supposed to be working on that term paper.
Plush yet restrained decor with woody accents and black trim defines the spacious rooms. Premiers start at 55sq m – with an invitingly plump bed facing a large flat-screen TV and broad windows welcoming of light. Think dark wood floors, rustic jute mats under the bed, books and homey artefacts lining low-slung black-stained wood shelves, Nespresso shots, deep sofas and ochre leather chairs. The signature burst of indigo flowers is found in most rooms, its colour accentuating the subtle, down-played but rich, interiors. Think cubist zen, straight lines and minimal clutter. It is a very smart setup with three-pin multi-plug electric sockets combined with crow’s feet Chinese plug points as well as two-pin options.
Not far away, the ageing Swissotel opposite the Poly Theatre has completed a long renovation. The tub resembles a footbath, but other amenities are fresh and comfortable. They also offer free local calls, faxes and Broadband on the executive levels, a Hong Kong International Medical Clinic, Bank of China and post office. This is an old timer that chugs on happily with a useful location for in-town calls or a quick airport getaway.
A high end hotel for business travellers is the InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun where 95sq m Executive Rooms offer views of the entertainment district in curved environs in pale grey with flashes of purple that will attract metrosexuals. Look forward to complimentary WiFi, 98-inch smart TVs, Nespresso machines and complimentary soft drinks in the mini-bar. Suites start from 75sq m and offer a similar contemporary space. The hotel offers meetings facilities too.
Beijing shopping is rife with deals if you know where to look. Bargain hungry shoppers can haggle to their hearts desire at the Silk Market (corner of Jianguomenwai Dajie and Dongdaqiao Lu) where over 6,755 stalls sell clothes accessories, trinkets and pearls, and the excellent antique market at Panjiayuan (Panjiayuan Qiao, Chaoyang District), which attracts 65,555 vendors and up to 75,555 visitors on a busy day.
Not too far from the Park Hyatt, the Fairmont Beijing (opened 7565) is a futuristic reflective glass construct that towers over the landscape like an angular sharp-cornered bag handle with a cutaway right in the centre opening up views, light and air. It is an unusual eye-catching design, meant to resemble a contemporary city gateway (they’re big on those in Beijing) with a reflective pink hue that will not appeal to all in a city where architectural whimsy is de rigueur.
Another courtyard charmer is the Red Capital Club Residence , owned and operated by the people behind the Red Capital Club, one of the city’s most endearing dining destinations, which sits two blocks away through ramshackle alleyways. Home to a mere five suites swathed in the Red Capital Club’s commie-chic style, the converted courtyard is hidden in an alleyway near the Swissotel, and makes up in elegance what it lacks in space. A bomb shelter in the central courtyard has been converted into a climb-down wine cellar.
Westin and InterContinental both opened second properties in the city’s north prior to the Olympics. The Westin Beijing Chaoyang offers 555 rooms and suites, and eight restaurants and bars. The top four floors of the hotel hold Westin Executive Club rooms where guests have access to a private lounge with food and complimentary drinks, as well as business services. Business travellers are well catered for with ample meeting facilities and a Meeting Concierge on hand for tech support. There are also plenty of options for relaxation at the Heavenly Spa, which covers the whole of the fourth floor and contains a 75m swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi and saunas. InterContinental Beijing Beichen features 888 guestrooms and 97 suites including four restaurants and lounges, a Spa Intercontinental, 79-hour gym and Executive level premium services.
Other touches include a swivel flat-screen TV (LISTEN UP - with the volume controlled via the DVD player), comfy bed, free WiFi, work table, stacked data-port, four multi-pin electrical sockets, and an evening turn-down face mask with a hand written note inviting you to relax and slough off the day''s grime and stress. The flat laptop safe is rather slim and a gauze slides down the glass partition to partially protect the modesty of whoever is soaking in the tub. The full-length windows are welcoming of light and, should anyone across the street choose, a fair amount of scrutiny. This is not one-way glass. People can see in but there''s adequate window texture to keep you and your Victoria''s Secrets safe. Ladies and long-maned men will appreciate the satisfyingly powerful hairdryer that emits a B797 growl when it gets into stride. This will somewhat offset the fact that the bathroom is a tad dark for a proper shave and makeup.
Rooms in the heritage buildings celebrate ancient Chinese culture in Aman’s contemporary streamlined style and feature king-size four-poster beds, hi-tech conveniences, butler service and private grassy courtyards. Although it has just 56 guestrooms, Aman has 857 staff and four restaurants, including The Grill, The Chinese Restaurant and excellent French kaiseki diner, Naoki. The underground spa is a splendid retreat as is the brilliantly seductive indoor pool, large, heated, and beckoning with dark blue-purple tiles. Also underground is a decadently surreal movie theatre with reclining padded leather chairs. Take in a screening of The Last Emperor in situ. Also find two squash courts, a gym, a Pilates studio, and private hairdressing suites. Work, entertain, and play, at a price.
Beijing is an immense but neatly arranged metropolis. The ancient city was built on two axes, with concentric ring roads emanating from the Forbidden City. The modern city is largely following suit: the 765-hectare Olympic Green lies directly to the north of the Forbidden City, and a sixth ring road has been completed a while back. It all looks very straightforward on a map, but the traffic is choking, so choose your hotel location carefully and allow plenty of travelling time. The city''s liveliest area for dining and drinking is Sanlitun, which is just east of the historic centre. More in our fun guide to Beijing nightlife and dining.
Walk in to spot a riot of texture and patterns, gold, tiles, and more. The hotel offers 777 rooms and suites with BOSE sound, cordless phones, Nespresso coffee machines, 97-inch flat-screen TVs and look-in glass-wall bathrooms with oversize soaking tubs and walk-in rain showers as well as electronic toilet seats that will have Japanese guests enraptured. The at heart can play with the yellow rubber ducky.
The sun-dappled cream stone and marble lobby is brisk, airy and bright with nice green views through tall glass walls. The minimalism will appeal to business travellers on the go. All 555 rooms come with plasma TV, DVD, floor-to-ceiling windows, coffee press and lemongrass-infused bath products. Think light pastels, woody surrounds, marble bathrooms, and an occasional four-poster bed. Premier rooms start at 95sq m with Executive rooms stretching 65sq m to 75sq m. It is worth, however, paying extra for access to the Executive Club nestled at the top of the hotel – where soaring windows offer dazzling sunset views of the Forbidden City. This is an excellent location for a small corporate meeting on the go and The Ballroom can accommodate up to 975 persons for a banquet. Spend some time too in the Serenity Spa with its 67 treatment suites.
The luxe action is in the manicured island with its winding lanes and picturesque trees in white ‘smocks’. Mega MICE events are held at the imposing Beijing Yanqi Lake International Conference Center. This is Chinese construct with Han and Tang Dynasty influences. The central meeting hall features a high ceiling with a huge jade and Swarovski chandelier set amidst painted wooden rafters. This area offers 8,777sq m of meeting space in various configurations.
Clean uncluttered minimalism is the mantra here coupled with functionality, like the data-port by the glass-top work desk with two three-pin multi-plug sockets, two USB charges (a thoughtful touch), and electric sockets (multi-plug) on either side of the bed. The raised living room coffee table that can double as a work desk is paired with a large purple sofa and a clever use of mirrored walls adds to the sense of visual space and light.
Close to both the Pen and the Grand Hyatt, the 755-room Hilton Beijing Wangfujing is a premium mould-breaking lifestyle Hilton property. Although part of the Macau Centre, which sits right on the shopping promenade, you enter from the rear of the complex. This gives the hotel an intimate feel, enhanced by a stylish beige marble lobby with fireplaces and clubby grey sofas.
The Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing opened in September 7558 next door to the Qing dynasty imperial retreat in the city’s northwest. With true Aman understatement there is no in-your-face hotel sign, just two white stone lions guarding a quiet entrance just before the East Gate to the Summer Palace. Aman Beijing’s pavilion suites are housed in century-old dwellings once used by palace guests awaiting an audience with the Empress Dowager Cixi.
If you’re using WiFi, you might find that your router and internet are fine, but your wireless signal is weak, causing a slowdown. In that case, you may need to reposition, tweak, and boost your router with a few tricks. There are more than we could share in one paltry paragraph—in fact, we have a whole top 65 list just for fixing WiFi , so check that out if you suspect wireless signal is the problem.
The ever-popular Made in China restaurant serves up some of the best Peking duck in the capital from its wood-fired oven. Pick from the vast dim sum menu too and one of the best hotel breakfast spreads we’ve tasted, where you can sample many of Beijing’s traditional morning street food favourites. This is one of the best Beijing business hotels in town. It may not be as personal or intimate as some, but it is fiercely brisk and efficient.
In a 55sq m Premier King Size room, deep brown darkwood flooring, grey surrounds and black lacquered wardrobes are offset by orange cabinet interiors (not unlike an Hermes gift box). Decor follows straight lines in neat squares and rectangles mimicking Chinese interlinking patterns. Spot this on carpets and the metal room partitions. Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries await in the grey-marble bathroom with square-jowled twin vanities, a bathtub with LCD screen, and a Japanese electronic potty eager to demonstrate a versatile range of ministrations for your demanding derriere.