My wife, two daughters (ages 7 & 10) and I stayed at the Fairmont Beijing for 3 nights in August.
Hotel first impression
We arrived at the hotel around 12:00PM on a Saturday after enduring Beijing’s stop and go traffic from the airport. The hotel building is really interesting and unique, during the day it has a rose color that I have never seen before. We had never stayed at a Fairmont before and we were excited for this new experience. The hotel is surrounded by office buildings with small shops/restaurants, and as it was Saturday, the area was pretty quiet which was fine with us. The bellhop opened the taxi door and welcomed us and promptly took our bags out of the taxi and loaded them up on his luggage cart.
Check-in process / front desk service
This was an area that Fairmont is different than other hotels. Fei Fei helped check us in and she was warm, friendly and knowledgeable. She confirmed we booked a room with two beds (more on this shortly), and she then proceeded to introduce the hotel to us starting in the lobby, all the way up to our room. I’ve never been shown up to my room by the front desk, and this was definitely a nice experience.
What surprised me was that after the fantastic service by Fei Fei, for the remainder of our stay we were never greeted or acknowledged by anyone in the lobby area although there were plenty of hotel employees around at any given time. Pretty strange because in all the other hotels we stayed at, people kept greeting us when we were coming or going.
The lobby is nicely done, compared to other hotels was somewhat smaller, but not in a negative way. A lot of hotels have gigantic lobbies with wasted space, this felt more intimate and upscale. If you look up, you’ll see a dragon chandelier hung from the ceiling. There is a bar right next to the main lobby which looked real nice and comfortable.
We were initially given a room on the 20th floor which I guess is an upgraded room, but since we didn’t pay additional for Gold, we would not have any Gold privileges. OK, that’s fine, and since I joined the frequent stay program, we had free Wi-Fi in the room which was an added bonus. Fei Fei took us in the room and we immediately noticed the beds were a lot smaller than expected. Up to this point we had stayed in three previous hotels in China (2 Hilton, 1 Westin), all of which we booked two bed rooms, all of which were essentially doubles. On my booking with Fairmont the confirmation I must have had a brain fart, but I could have sworn it said 2 double beds. Well, these were not 2 double beds, they were 2 twin beds. There was a small sofa in the corner and we thought it may be a pullout, but after taking all the cushions off, we thought wrong. Fei Fei had left the room and we discussed what to do next – we thought about staying, but ultimately decided to switch to a king bed room because we could at least fit three of us in there, and the smallest could sleep on the couch. The front desk was accommodating and helpful, and we moved from the 20th floor to a “regular” room on the 16th floor. The room had a different color scheme, but other than that, it was pretty much the same room.
The room is a standard Chinese hotel room layout with the bed, desk, sofa, TV in the main room, and the bathroom had three separate areas (toilet, shower, sink/tub). The kids were super excited as there was a toilet seat bidet. Bidets are not common in the US, so we had never enjoyed the use of a bidet, and this was indeed a bonus for us all. We also liked the view, the Bose sound system, and the Nespresso coffee machine.
Housekeeping did an incredible job of making up the room every day before Noon, and once they did it when we left the hotel for 25-30 minutes. Not sure if it was just timing or if they were watching us leave, but that was great.
It was mandatory to have a swimming pool for our kids, and this was definitely an interesting experience. If you look from the outside, the Fairmont is one half of one building (standing in front to the right), there is another building across the street to the left (has a private club, restaurants, museum, etc.) and then you look up and it looks like there is a bridge of sorts that is fully enclosed. The pool is located in that part of the structure on the 21st floor. I have to say that is a very interesting architectural design. What was somewhat disappointing is that there were only very small windows in the pool area to look out. It would be awesome if there were huge windows along that side right by the pool, but this is still pretty cool.
The pool itself is an interesting design; a reverse L shape where most people swam laps in the long section, and the kids could swim and play in the short section. The pool was well maintained, but the room was pretty cold. The kids kept saying the water was cold, but I think it had more to do with the room. There is also a hot tub which has four seats (two to lay down in, two to sit up in) which I had not seen before, but it worked out fine. The water was fairly hot which was nice.
The great part about this pool is that it was never busy. We had the pool to ourselves most of the time, and other times there were maybe one or two other people swimming laps. I definitely got the impression that not too many kids stayed at this hotel as every other place we stayed at was packed with kids.
We loved the area as there are many different options available to eat outside the hotel. We first discovered a little bakery just across the street where we ate sandwiches for lunch on our first day. There is a dumpling/noodle place right across the street from the main lobby (by the ATM) which was awesome and affordable. We also ate at Capri, and Italian restaurant just down the road, not the best, but not bad either. You can also take a little walk over toward the silk market and there were a lot more restaurants (both Chinese & Western) to choose from, along with a Starbucks. Also close is a 7-11 which comes in handy for snacks, drinks, hand wipes, etc.
Another huge plus on this location is the subway within walking distance. The hotel is a few subway stops away from Tiananmen Square / Forbidden City and Wangfujing Shopping Street. We rode the subway on the weekend and the trains were full, not overly so, but I would avoid at peak periods on a work day as it can get very crowded.
Concierge / tours
We attempted to book a car to the Great Wall through the hotel, and they came back with RMB1200 at which time I nearly choked. I understand the Fairmont is upscale and they tried to sell us that they only work with the best agencies with the best cars, but we didn’t need that. In Xian we booked a VW Passat to the Terracotta Soldiers for RMB600, we knew the cost should be around this price, so we said no thank you, and proceeded to book through an offsite travel agent for RMB600 to go to the Mutianyu section of the wall. Instead of a VW Passat the hotel would have booked, we instead took a Hyundai minivan which was perfectly fine with us.
The Fairmont Beijing met our expectations, but didn’t really wow us. It’s a nice hotel, but when compared to the Westins or Hiltons, it falls a little short particularly when considering the price. It does have a great location, but when it came to service, outside of Fei Fei, the staff just didn’t seem as friendly and welcoming as the other hotels we stayed in during our trip. I’d recommend staying here if the price was right.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.