I am based in Hong Kong and my job requires that I travel every week. As a result, every week, I end up in a hotel somewhere in Asia. For the most part, these hotels claim to be "5 star."
I spend a fair amount of time in Beijing, but this was the first time I had stayed at this particular Ritz Carlton. For the past 9 years, my BJ hotels of choice have varied between the Grand Hyatt (great location, but getting very tired), the St. Regis (nice, but scarily quiet since last year's renovations), the Ritz Financial Street (also 5 Star but isolated location), the Intercontinental (4 Star at best) and the China World (good, but over rated).
I was a bit hesitant to stay at the Ritz Huamao Center, as my colleagues had told me that service was sporadic and the staff were snooty. However, my company gets a terrific corporate rate there, so I thought I'd give it a try. I am so glad that I did.
Physically, this hotel really reminded me of the Ritz in Hong Kong, which was torn down last year. The rooms are done in a traditional, European style - unlike most hotels in BJ, which seem to be done in a more modern style. No need for me to comment on which is better, given that's really an issue of personal taste. However, I can say that the one bedroom suite I stayed in was absolutely gorgeous - excellent layout, bright, and in very good condition. All the requisite goodies were present - boase sound system, huge flat screen tvs (plus a bonus tv above the bath tub) , Bulgari amenities, ipod dock.....I peeked into a "regular" room and, in truth, I would have been happy with that too. Larger and more spacious than rooms at many of the other hotels in the same range. The carpet in the halls still smelled new!
I found the staff and the service to be consistently excellent. No snootiness at all. From the moment I checked in until I left two days later, I did not meet one unfriendly staff member. Special mention to the Club Floor team - in my mind, the team at the Club Lounge is one of the best ever. Again, the key was consistency - everyone was polite, friendly (in a natural, not plastic, way), discrete and enthusiastically helpful. They were also warm and helpful to the non-hotel guests that I brought up to the Lounge for meetings. Very important in a city where locals are sometimes not treated as nicely as visitors by the service industry.
Housekeeping was terrific - Here is one of the extraordinary little touches that impressed me so much.... I am allergic to down feathers, but still like the feeling of resting my head on down pillows. In order to not sneeze, I lay a towel over the pillow before I go to sleep. Although I had never stayed at this Ritz before, each night (even the first one), at turndown, the house keeper laid towels over my pillows without my ever having mentioned my preference for this. I have no idea how he/she knew - I can only surmize that the house keeper was either clairvoyant or someone from another Ritz had put a note in my profile in the chain's database. The thing is, however, that no other Ritz seemed to have bothered to read my profile because no other Ritz - not in Singapore, not in Jakarta, not in Financial Street, not in KL - has ever done this.
Others have already given positive comments on the location - I concur. The hotel is in inside an enclosed area, so it's very modern, safe and quiet. But just steps away is the CBD and, if you are travelling on business, it is very convenient to get around - either by car or by public transport. If you are a tourist, this hotel is not as convenient as some, such as the Grand Hyatt or others in the Wangfujiang area, but its still not bad.
If you don't want to eat at the hotel, there are lots of other options within a few minutes walk - from all the comfortable Western names like Fauchon and Starbucks to local street stalls around SOHO Newtown . However, I would recommend that guests eat at least one meal at Barolo. It is world class - the menu, creative, but not weirdly so . Salt encrusted rack of lamb! Ahi with truffles! Lemon Panna Cotta! The service is a little tentative, but I assume it will get better as the staff gain confidence over time.
I hate sounding like a commercial - and if you look at some of my other reviews, you will see that I am capable of complaint....but I have no complaints about the Ritz Huamao Center. My stay here was a most pleasant surprise - this hotel is the real deal and will be my new address in Beijing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, is centrally situated in one of Beijing's most thriving business area - China Central Place, the hotel is 30 minutes from the Beijing International Airport and offers easy access to the city's historical and cultural landmarks. In the classic timeless and elegant Ritz-Calrton style, the hotel, designed by HBA design consultants, features 305 well-appointed guest rooms and six exquisite award winning restaurants and bars including Barolo, serving authentic Italian Cuisine; Yu, serving fine Cantonese Cuisine; Aroma, serving international cuisine throughout the day; The Ritz-Carlton Bar; The Lobby Lounge and The Davidoff Lounge. Other exclusive facilities include The Ritz-Carlton Spa, fitness centre, indoor pool with balcony, 1,100 sq.m. meeting and conference space, 648 sq.m. ballroom and the only wedding chapel inside a hotel in Beijing.Behold the Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, architecture and decor classically inspired. Whether from the full-bodied taste of Ritz-Carlton traditional afternoon tea or a refreshing spa treatment, your senses are entranced by experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Beijing Huamao Beijing
- Ritz Carlton Hotel Beijing
- Ritz Beijing
- Ritz-Carlton Beijing
- Beijing Ritz-Carlton