The Peninsula Beijing is a 5-star sanctuary in the heart of Beijing. We could not have been happier to see the hotel’s sleek dark green 7 series BMW at the airport after coming off a midnight flight. Our journey to the hotel was blissfully quick and an entourage of staff whisked us quickly to our suite. As an all-suite hotel, every guest at the Peninsula hotel in Beijing receives in-room cheek in, an extremely quick, efficient and personal process that is completed in record time via a hand held tablet.
Our family of three, two adults and a teen, stayed in a deluxe suite which was extremely large at 65 sqm with a king size bed and separate living room which could be completely closed off with a sliding door. This room doubled as our son’s bedroom and had separate controls for everything from the air-conditioning to the lighting so he could sleep without being disturbed. We loved the bathroom which had a separate shower and a TV at the end of the deep tub as well as my favourite feature, the beautiful Oscar de la Renta toiletries. Overall, this hotel room was one of the most spacious ‘standard rooms’ we have stayed in.
It is worth noting our room was not a top suite, but one of the hotel’s more standard accommodation options, although it was anything but ‘standard’. The hotel’s original 525 rooms have been reconfigured to 230 suites, creating Beijing’s only all-suite hotel and some of the city’s most spacious rooms. Our accommodation also had a walk-in closet, with a dressing and make-up area, and a discreet in-room valet box that was used to facilitate hotel services such as complimentary shoe shine and laundry pick up. The suite was furnished with a work desk, sofa and small table which had some personalised arrival treats of chocolate and fruit. Even with a foldout bed for our 14-year-old in the living area, there was room to spare.
One standout feature of the Peninsula Beijing is the in-room tech which includes tablet computers on each bedside table and the work desk. These tablets are available in 11 languages and control the lighting, room temperature, TV and more. They have also been configured to request popular services, such as ordering more water, with the touch of a button. You can also plug in smartphone devices using the bedside charging station, and use the complimentary VOIP calls to connect with friends and family internationally.
Weather information is also displayed which is handy. When you are cocooned in such luxurious surrounds, it is all too easy to forget the world outside may not be set to a perfect 23 degrees. The Peninsula Beijing is within walking distance of major sights such as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City and surrounded by shops and affordable western and non-western dining options. It takes around an hour to reach the Great Wall of China from this hotel.
The only thing we weren’t keen on at the Peninsula Beijing was the lobby which did not have a dedicated reception desk, concierge station or any general seating. While there were staff stationed around this area to assist guests, we sometimes found ourselves looking around, feeling somewhat uncomfortable as we scanned the lobby trying to spot someone who could help us. The flip side of this was when we were standing waiting for our tour guide, we were approached multiple times by different staff asking if we needed assistance. Being able to sit down and wait without attracting constant attention would have been far more comfortable.
Other features at the hotel included an indoor pool, fitness centre and spa drawing on Chinese, Ayurvedic and European healing philosophies. We loved the pool which was heated to a perfect temperature during our winter visit and much appreciated after a long day of travelling. Impressive artworks are on display throughout the hotel and in a dedicated gallery located on level three, adjacent to the spa and pool area. Getting to the pool took much longer than expected as we spent ages looking through the gallery before we went swimming. We loved this ‘secret gallery’ and returned to look at the art again later that afternoon.
Dining at the Peninsula Beijing is available at four different restaurants, most of which can be found in the luxury shopping arcade on the hotel’s lower level. If you enjoy brand name shopping, you will be in heaven at this hotel. The Lobby café is located in the lobby and serves the famous Peninsula Afternoon Tea. Jing Restaurant has an international flavour and is the hotel’s main breakfast venue with some of the best croissants you will find outside Paris.
The most formal dining option, Huang Ting, is open for lunch and dinner and serves Cantonese cuisine in a setting that recreates a Beijing nobleman’s courtyard home. A new Tea Lounge decorated with Ming Dynasty-era tables and parasols sits just outside this restaurant and serves traditional Beijing snacks accompanied by more than 50 types of premium Chinese tea. Whether you are a regular visitor or coming to Beijing for the first time, the Peninsula Beijing delivers a luxurious accommodation experience that will leave you wanting to return.
Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of the Peninsula Beijing.