I'll start with why I chose this hotel. I was deciding which hotel to use for this trip when I wondered - what happened to those Marriott points I earned many years ago? To my very pleasant surprise, all 140,000 points were still there! (kudos to Marriott for a 'no expiry' policy) Marriott was 20,000 points night, vs 30,000 for the Ritz (and 35,000 for Marriott Singapore, which is a nice but v old hotel), which seemed like excellent value.
I arrived at the hotel at 9am, via the red eye from Singapore. Another very pleasant surprise - they gave me a room right away! I was half expecting having to tour the Forbidden City for 5 hours till 2pm and could now look forward to having an extra hour or two of sleep (4 hours is about as much sleep as you can get on that 6 hour flight).
The room is comfortably sized and relatively new (the Marriott is 5 years old, vs the two other hotels I've used in the past - Grand Hyatt and China World - both are much older). The beds are very comfortable and the rain shower pressure is excellent (the two most important things for me). There were a good number of power sockets, although the one next to the bed (a great idea) didn't work with a standard international plug and the wireless internet (free for Marriott members) was erratic.
Service was excellent. I used the concierge for a dinner booking, which was very good and had room service once, which arrived in a timely fashion and was delicious. Rooms were cleaned well and housekeeping was very thoughtful (charging cables were tidied with rubber bands, clothes folded and placed intuitively). One thing I really liked were the apples that were replaced daily - they were sweet and fresh and a nice complement to the heavy chinese food.
I really liked the safe as well. Most hotel safes are small boxes which open by the side and with not-always the easiest instructions. This one opened upwards, v easy to operate and was big enough to fit a notebook and ipad (not that it was necessary to lock those up).
One other 'must' for me is a good, functional gym. The Marriot gym is large, with an indoor swimming pool. Small gripes here would be the treadmill (touch screen not responsive) and the car entry system with no receptionist (if you forget your card key when you leave the gym, you can't get back in to retrieve it, neither can you activate the lift to get back to your room). On the other hand, this system allows 24 hour entry, a useful option for those with jet lag.
An improvement I would suggest that would make this hotel perfect, would be to change the toiletries. For a room with such wonderful hardware, the toiletries are a letdown - significantly worse than the competition.
Location-wise, it is in the eastern part of Chao Yang, not quite as well located as the Grand Hyatt or the St Regis. It takes close to half an hour by cab to Tiananmen square although my preference would be the 6 stop train ride. However, there is the excellent Shin Kong plaza right next door with great shopping and a huge array of food choices (also where the train station is located).
Overall, one of the best experiences I've ever had in any 5 star hotel globally and a hotel I would be coming back to often.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.