In the perhaps overambitious lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a zealous program of hotel development left the city afterwards with too many places to stay, and not enough people to stay in them. Especially as Shanghai was emerging as the new hub of contemporary Chinese finance and business.
Eleven years on, that situation has carefully righted itself – and so the arrival onto the scene of the plush new Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing is being met with the requisite enthusiasm. Named for the shopping street of the Gods on which it is located (in the Dongcheng district), it appropriately offers a luxuriously zen retreat from all the chaos just outside its front door – and at just 73 rooms and suites, something decidedly more intimate than the gilded five-stars it will be competing with.
Those rooms flaunt elegant color schemes – subtle greys, blues and greens – plus patterned carpets, marble-tiled bathrooms, in some cases four-poster beds, and the most coveted, unobstructed views to the breathtaking spectacle that is the Forbidden City. On the average, they’re amongst the most spacious in Beijing.
Downstairs, Cafe Zi has a kind of tearoom-chic about it, with beautifully patterned screens, and an inviting pan-Asian menu – go for the urbane lunchtime dim sum service. In the evenings, the signature Mandarin Grill + Bar will do classy steaks and seafoods…while the MO Bar will be a bit more revved up, with nightly DJs and creative cocktails.
But most characteristic of Mandarin Oriental, wellness is…well tended to, with four spa suites, a high tech fitness center, and 25-meter pool. Which will come particularly in handy on those dodgy air-quality days.