With playful animal statues and stylish interiors, a top-notch Spanish restaurant and verdant lakeside location in Beijing’s hutong district, this new hotel offers a fresh style of digs for visitors to the Chinese capital.
The first in a planned collection of designdriven five-star hotels from the Orange Hotels Group, Vue Hotel Hou Hai Beijing has been pulled together by Singapore-based Ministry of Design. The company has taken a compound of 1950s buildings on the shores of Hou Hai Lake and unified the various architectural ornamentations — decorative roof eaves, gargoyles, sculptured balconies — by painting the lot slate grey, highlighting details in burnished gold and linking the structures with landscaped gardens.
The 80 guestrooms and suites, in various sizes and configurations, are sleek and uncluttered, with whimsical embellishments including pink or yellow chairs and ornate pagoda-style bathroom mirrors. All guestrooms are fitted with king beds dressed in finest linens and goose-down doonas, Bluetooth, clever lighting and coffee machine; most ensuites have a tub and some accommodation styles have balconies or terraces with lake or park views.
This very cool fit-out has landed the hotel a gig as the first Design Hotels member in Beijing and a strong selling point will be its locale in a district where historic hutong houses remain in use and the river’s banks are lined with bars and cafes.
DON’T MISS: A drink in the rooftop Moon Bar for lovely lake views; the venue also serves high tea and weekend brunch.
DINING IN: Overseeing in-house dining is Barcelona native and third-generation baker Ignasi Prats, who honed his skills at the threeMichelin-star El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. He has charge of a streetfront cafe and bakery, and the signature Pink Rabbit Spanish restaurant occupying an old warehouse at the lakeside edge of the compound. Here you’ll find an open kitchen, exposed metal and timber trusses and lounge-style seating.
DINING OUT: In the neighbourhood, check out Quanjude or Duck de Chine for Beijing duck; Rui He Ju or Man Fu Lou for hot pot. There’s good Yunnan cuisine at Dali Courtyard and Vietnamese at Nuage.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Join locals in the park for morning qigong or tai chi, or a game of footie badminton (where a shuttlecock is kicked from player to player). Or take a jog around the lake before cooling down in the park where a retired musician comes every morning to play his saxophone for an hour or two.
CHECKING IN: Opening room rates from RMB1538 ($294); suites from RMB 2158, including service charge and VAT. More: vuehotels.com.cn.
ALSO TRY: Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria; Macalister Mansion, Penang, Malaysia; Ion City Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland.
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