When selecting a hotel in the Chinese capital, why not just pick one, of the nation’s first luxury hospitality brand, with heritage stretching back to 1866? Featuring a heavenly spa, four award-winning restaurants and bars, with the perfect location for leisure and for business, the only hotel in Beijing to own customized Rolls-Royce Phantoms, all these factors make a fine introduction to The Peninsula Beijing. The Peninsula Academy programs are just another among the many reasons to check in.
Our Peninsula experience began with the pick up at Beijing railway station. Waiting for us was a courteous staff member and our ride, the BMW 7 series in the Peninsula green (BMW has a specialization program and this bottle green color is unique to the chain). After a 30-minute drive we arrived at the hotel, which has a heart-of-the-Capital address. Situated in Wangfujing, a popular shopping district, it is close to the popular attractions – Tienanmen square and Forbidden City.
Opened way back in 1989, the hotel welcomes you with a traditional themed gate and late 80’s architecture. Like The Peninsula Shanghai this property also houses the Peninsula arcade, which is home to brands like Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Piaget and more. Passing through the revolving the doors, we couldn’t help but notice how the lobby was busy with tourists and shoppers alike, and we were escorted to our Duplex suite set over two floors.
Of its 525 guest rooms and 57 suites, ours, like most duplexes, had the living area below and was connected by stairs to the bedroom above. Minimally designed, it made good use of wood (something very popular in the early 90’s). But while luxurious, its decor is slightly dated and falling a tad behind, say, the soaring standards set by The Peninsula Shanghai. The marble bathroom, however, houses a large soaking tub, is stocked with Oscar de la Renta toiletries and certainly impressive. Speaking of, we were offered fresh fruits and sweets on turn down service.
Food and drink
Breakfast was at Jing, their “Modern Meets Asian” restaurant; and we opted for a set cereal menu, although there is a huge buffet spread serving international and local favorites. Attribute it to their three open kitchens if you will but we also returned to lunch at Jing. And to our surprise there was an Indian chef there and it was lovely to have traditional Indian food in Beijing (the mixed vegetables with gravy were cooked to perfection, an experience only bettered with buttermilk). For dinner we hit popular Cantonese cooking hot spot, Huang Ting.
We love the ambiance at Huang Ting, depicting a traditional Chinese street and would highly recommend the Tofu stir-fried with chili and peanuts, for vegetarians. Even though all the three components have contrasting tastes and flavors, the preparation was delicious and left a tingling taste after. Something to note would be that Beijingers have their dinner early and are usually done by 9.30, so restaurants’ last orders are at 10.00 – 30. If it’s a drink you’re after, Yun Bar and Lounge is a trendy option. We found Beijing to be a lot like New Delhi, with not many high rises, so a 15th floor bar offers a beautiful view of the city.
There’s The Lobby Lounge, serving the legendary Peninsula Afternoon Tea, an everyday celebration of the Victorian ritual that, in this case, combines champagne with scones, savories and of course, the finest Darjeeling tea. The Hotel also has an executive lounge, which serves round the clock complimentary beverages, rotating snacks and cocktails during happy hours. It is typical of any lounge with comfortable sitting areas, concierge desk and is stocked with coffee table books and international magazines/ newspapers.
First off, the Hotel has an impressive fleet of cars – Two Rolls Royce Phantoms and 10 customized BMW 7 series. For some local sight seeing, what more can one need! We were offered a chauffeur driven BMW and you can imagine a premium car like the 7 series, further customized by Peninsula for added luxury. Small details like inclusion of a tissue holder, disposal box, cooling box that keeps mineral water at the right temperature, all show the level of service and comfort one can expect from Peninsula. (Our chauffeur spoke fluent English and offered some interesting insight into the Summer Palace, which we had sought out to explore.)
Next up, spa! The Peninsula Spa kitted with Thermal Suites and Crystal Steam Rooms, Ice Fountains and Lifestyle Showers, is a class apart. And, for those who aren’t hotel guests, given the central location of Peninsula Beijing, is the perfect rest stop between shopping sprees. The chic and modern Fitness Centre is perfect pre-spa trip (or by itself), housing the latest equipment by Life Fitness and a heated indoor swimming pool ideal for even the coldest months of the Capital.
We enjoyed our stay at the property immensely; if not the rooms, the service definitely meets Peninsula’s high standards. The staff was extremely courteous, helpful and went out of their way to make our stay comfortable and in this business, that’s saying something.
Note – The Peninsula Beijing was entirely renovated in 2016 to unveil new rooms and facilities.
Where: The Peninsula Beijing
8 Jinyu Hutong, DongDan, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100005
Phone: +86 10 6521 1815