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Not only did we ogle Rosewood London last week (hopefully just phase one in Europe for the group), we also picked up some additional news: a first few snapshots of the rooms at Rosewood Beijing (coming next year) and the exciting update that another hotel is being planned for Bangkok.
Both hotels sound like they will be rather unique; the building in Beijing “will recall a mountain profile with contrasting volumes and shapes” and Bangkok promises 650-square foot Pool Sky Villas, with large terraces and private plunge pools (!!).
Where will Mandarin Oriental open next?
The company made the announcement last summer that a Mandarin Oriental Beijing was in the works again (with the same design on the same site and everything) but after talking with several Mandarin Oriental execs yesterday, we were relieved to hear the project was very much alive with a tentative opening date of "sometime next year."
But Beijing might be small potatoes at this point. Mandarin has quite a few more properties to open before then. Fresh off opening in Shanghai and Guangzhou, Mandarin Oriental will continue their expansion with Mandarin Oriental Taipei , Mandarin Oriental Bodrum and Mandarin Oriental Milan, which we're already anxious about. (Word is this is the next Mandarin Oriental to open but we're working on getting some more intel.)
Beyond those big openings, Mandarin Oriental plans on expanding even further with hotels in the pipeline for Chengdu, Maldives, Moscow, Costa Rica, several places in the Caribbean, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Istanbul, Marbella and Marrakech. Expect all the new hotels to have the signature Mandarin Oriental spa, a fine dining experience and a cake shop. Definitely cannot go wrong with that!
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As we learned from our extensive coverage of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover” show, a stopover in a city can be as fun as you make it. And if you’re a savvy traveler (which we know most of you are), many of you will plan your flight arrangements to include a break in a city that you love or want to cross off your bucket list. Certain routes seem conducive to extended layovers—Beijing being one of them.
But instead of holing up in an airport lounge of one-of-the world’s most historic and exciting cities, the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing has come up with a better idea--the “Experience the Best of Beijing in 72 Hours” package.
For the first time ever, tourists can spend up to 72 hours in Beijing sans visa. So, now a hotel staff member will arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport, tuck you into a FS car (either limo or BMW 5, hand you a steaming cup of traditional tea, then whisk you away to the hotel to get freshened up.
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It’s not a view of Tiananmen Square or a section of the Great Wall outside Beijing, but the window of this Superior Club room at the Kerry Hotel Beijing perfectly frames Rem Koolhaas’s now-iconic shard-like CCTV building.
Just about a month after the reveal of its new flagship in hometown Toronto, Four Seasons added yet another new destination to its roster yesterday with the opening of Four Seasons Beijing. This marks a total of five hotels in China, complementing Shanghai, Shanghai (Pudong), Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong.
A total of 313 rooms and 66 suites can be found in this mixed-use complex that also combines two private apartment towers. Restaurant Cai Yi Xuan serves regional Chinese cuisine, with Mio being the Italian option that seems a near-staple for Four Seasons Hotels these days. Opus lounge & bar offers all-day dining and drinks, including daily afternoon tea.
It's hard to believe it, but one of the hotels we named in our "Favorite Hotel Beds Ever" list only had one location...up until this week. That's rightthe EAST Hotel in Hong Kong now has a sister property in Beijing, China.
The 369 guest rooms (including 23 suites with executive lounge access) of the EAST Beijingdebut with a special opening rate starting from 798 RMB ($126) per night, through December 31. This includes a location as the only hotel within the massive Indigo development in the Chaoyang area (a 15-min drive to the Central Business District), an iPod Touch and iHome in each room, Elemis amenities and free and fast WiFi throughout the entire hotel.
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If you happen to have dined at any of these—or 98 other—top-tier hotel restaurants around the world, you may want to take a look at The Daily Meal's "101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around The World," which was published late last week. Consulting the Michelin Guide, and using the well-traveled knowledge of TDM editors, the list was compiled using only two criteria: the hotels had to have at least 15 rooms (which immediately eliminated small B&Bs and private dining clubs), and the restaurants had to actually be housed within the hotels themselves.
However, that still left a lot, a lot, a lot of restaurants to choose from. In fact, the final list tallied properties in over 80 cities in 40 countries across six continents. Find out which of your favorites made the cut!
While there's soon to be a handful of luxury hotels in Beijing for the rich and famous to stay at, actor Keanu Reeves chose more humble lodgings when he was in town filming the "Man of Tai Chi", his directorial debut.
"The Matrix" star opted for serviced apartment brand, Oakwood Residence Beijing in the city's Chaoyang District (that's Keanu with the hotel's general manager Arthur Krieger.) The hotel has a whopping 406 fully-equipped modern luxury apartments ranging from studios to four-bedroom penthouse and terrace apartments. On-site there's also a fitness center, a health and beauty spa, a business center, a kids play area and even some private landscaped gardens.
Rates at the Oakwood Beijing start at about $129USD a night
and typically require a 30-night minimum stay. and as Oakwood pointed out in the comments below, there is no minimum stay requirement. Excellent!
Have you stayed at an Oakwood before? How does it compare to other extended stay or serviced apartment brands out there? Sound off in comments below!
[Photo: Oakwood Residence Beijing]
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We spotted Four Seasons Shanghai, Pudong earlier this year from the heights of the Park Hyatt next door. The start date for reservations has actually moved up a few days from September 1 at the time to August 28 now.
You'll find 187 rooms in the 55-story tower, alongside 73 luxury residences. Art-deco inspired design will bring a pared-down aesthetic to the rooms and public spaces, with splashes of red in a neutral color palette in the rooms. We liked some of the first images we saw here, so we're interested to see the end result.
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As we mentioned earlier today, there's a hotel boom happening in Asia right now. There's so many to list, we're giving you a sort of Magic Mike-type news brief. A little tease, and a little unveiling. It's just a little show for now, but keep coming back and we'll keep giving you a little more...detail.
Rosewood Beijing, slated to open in summer 2013 in the business-centric Chaoyang District will be the brand’s first China property. The 279-room hotel, though in an urban location, will be filled with terraces, gardens and balconies throughout to go along with its intended residential feel. Guestrooms will be designed to look like luxury apartments, with big bathrooms, walk-in closets and even window-seats, and at 538 sq.ft., they’re said to be amongst the largest in Beijing. The hotel will have seven restaurants and lounges, an indoor swimming pool, yoga studio, and the Rosewood Sense spa with five suites designed for overnight stays.
A couple of weeks ago we showed you the view we had of the W Chang'An Beijing right from our room across the street. So what did our room with a vieW look like? Read more about it below.
First of all, the hotel we stayed at was the Marriott Beijing City Wall, which opened in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics and takes its name from being adjacent to the remaining ancient Ming Dynasty City Wall. Yet with 649 rooms and suites, the hotel is a massive structure, and feels like it; it's an imposing building, there are two entrances along the main driveway, and separate elevator banks per tower.
While you may not come here for a small boutique hotel experience, what you will find is reliability, and, as we found, surprisingly personal service for a hotel of this size. The concierge team and doormen look after guests very well; every time you leave the hotel you'll receive a folded card with the hotel details, and inside a number of key points of interest in the city in English and Chinese.
If you need to go somewhere else, they'll arrange everything with a taxi driver to make sure you get to where you want to go. It might sound very straightforward, but trust us when we say that in a city like Beijing navigational support is very welcome.
Arriving in Beijing on Friday morning, we were all set to battle the city's (at times epic) traffic to play tourist and scope out a few hotels in the process.
Walking into our room, as always the first thing we did was head to the windows and check out our view. Imagine our surprise when staring us in the face was a construction site and a giant "W" advertisement. We never thought that checking the first hotel off our list would be that easy.
As you can tell from the first picture, it'll be a while before Beijing welcomes the W - Chang'An; opening is scheduled for January 1, 2014. Expect 340 rooms, three restaurants, and a spa with indoor pool, alongside the brand's "Whatever, Whenever" service. You'll have to look past the poor quality of the close-up pictures, these were taken from a taxi driving just slow enough (that traffic again) for a few quick snaps.