The Waldorf Astoria Beijing to Open on March 1
The upcoming Waldorf Astoria Beijing actually wasn't on our radar when we released our Master List of Hotel Openings last month (mea culpa!) But with its March 1 opening just a few weeks away, we're honing in on what is expected to be the brand's most contemporary and art-conscious hotel to date.
Located in downtown Beijing, across from the Peninsula Hotel and within walking distance to the Forbidden City, the Waldorf Astoria is a brand-new building with an unusual bronze exterior, giving it a crazy cool effect. And according to general manager, Marlene Poynder, the bronze will cause the exterior's color to change over time. Even cooler.
Poynder also filled us in on some of the amenities expected inside the 176-room hotel such as AppleTV hookups (not available for sale in China), Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries and Samsung tablets that controls nearly everything inside the room.
The hotel's interiors were done by design firm Yabu Pushelberg but they still incorporate elements of Chinese design such as traditional dressers, intricate rugs and silk-paneled walls. The hotel is also filled with contemporary Chinese art including the Waldorf Astoria Clock (found in each Waldorf Astoria hotel) which "appears weightless while resting in its glass cabinet, creating the illusion that it is floating, or of 'time being suspended.'"
Rounding out the services and amenities are the spa and fitness center with a heated indoor swimming pool. The hotel will also have a Western restaurant, Brassiere 1893, as well as a Chinese restaurant and a Peacock Alley bar (another Waldorf standard.)
But our favorite service is the in-room boutique which will sell small items, typically gifts to present at business meetings, special events or dinners. Here's a hand-made parasol that will be for sale, with the Waldorf Astoria Beijing written in both English and Chinese.
Poynder says the Waldorf is also working on a personalized concierge service which will have hotel employees--not just the concierge--share with guests their favorite places and things to do in the city.
Rates for the hotel start at around $362US for a King Deluxe room on opening night. The specialty suites behind the main tower and designed in the fashion of the old hutongs will open in about six months.
[Photos: Waldorf Astoria Beijing and HotelChatter]