We stayed in the RC Beijing for 6 nights in January 2013. There are many traits of a 5-star hotel here, but I would not say it lives up to the usual Ritz-Carlton standards.
I do not agree with the numerous comments on the location of the hotel: It is not at all located in the centre of Beijing. It has a metro 5 minutes away from it but to be quite honest: There is nothing worse than taking the metro in Beijing: It is ridiculously overcrowded no matter what time it is (nothing like what you could imagine). The alternative, taking a taxi, is a pain, too: Either you don’t get a taxi at all or they turn the meter off or something similar. The shopping mall next to the hotel that others mentioned already – I found it rather useless, except for the restaurants, maybe. If you seriously came to Beijing to do shopping at Gucci’s and Prada’s at higher or similar prices than in Western countries, that might although be your place to be. And unfortunately, there was a construction site next to the hotel which made it hard to sleep during the night.
I’d probably prefer a more centrally located hotel next time, even though distances in Beijing are huge and you’ll have to take means of public transport anyways.
The lobby is fantastic with fresh flowers and a warm welcome including a cup of Chinese tea. But at the first contact with the hotel staff you notice what I’d say is the biggest problem of the hotel (I experienced the same thing in the Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai by the way): Pretty much all of the employees lack sufficient English skills. Of course I do not expect to chat with the chambermaid or the waiter, but a minimum of communication (which then again includes gestures of courtesy you might expect in such a hotel) would be very important. Even with the concierges, I struggled to find easy English words in order to make myself understood. It appeared that they preferred to offer me organized tours rather than giving me useful tips. However, the staff generally seemed very keen to help with anything – just the communication was a problem.
The rooms are spacious with excellent beds and a large bathroom – everything you need is there. The breakfast is very good, too: A variety of Western and Chinese food. The spa area is very good.
The Ritz-Carlton in Beijing is a good hotel – but I’d say it’s a hotel for the Chinese. As everywhere in China, English is a problem. And this takes already a lot of the pleasure away staying in a 5-star hotel. Also, you might find the Chinese customers (which definitely make up the vast majority) rather disturbing to some extent: They smoke all the time, they’re noisy and pushy at the buffet – I even had to deal with a Chinese shouting at his phone right in the middle of the spa. Besides, everything else is pretty neat (lobby, rooms, spa, breakfast) – nothing to complain about. The location is not the best.
Depending on the price, I’d come back. But if you pay 200$ or more, you might be disappointed. Do not expect the same Ritz-Carlton standards you might encounter in the US/Europe or simply outside China.