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China’s Hotel Boom: Where to Stay Now

Beijing

Noteworthy newcomers include the Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, with its traditional Chippendale furniture, and its sleeker cousin, the Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street; the Raffles Beijing Hotel, which occupies an early-1900’s French-Asian–style building; and the Park Hyatt Beijing, the city’s tallest hotel, crowned by a 66th-floor restaurant within a glass pyramid.

The capital’s boutique hotel scene gets a boost this month with the 99-room Opposite House, in the burgeoning Sanlitun area; it’s the first property from the recently formed Swire Hotels group.

The eagerly anticipated Mandarin Oriental, Beijing, set in a dramatically angled tower within the Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren–designed CCTV complex, was sidelined by a fire in early 2009. Just outside central Beijing, Amanresorts is transforming century-old pavilions adjacent to the Qing dynasty Summer Palace into a modern traveler’s oasis that’s due to open this fall. And on the horizon for late 2009 is a Four Seasons in the Chaoyang district.

Shanghai

This September, the Park Hyatt Shanghai will survey the city from the 79th through 93rd floors of the new Shanghai World Financial Center, which at 101 stories ranks as China’s tallest building.

For a more intimately scaled alternative, check into the 55-room JIA Shanghai (jiashanghai.com; doubles from $378), a contemporary art–driven boutique hotel in a 1920’s building.

Watch for the fall 2009 opening of the Art Deco–inspired Peninsula Shanghai, located in Waitan Yuan, with views of the Bund.

Other Destinations

The mountainous Yunnan region has two new high-profile luxury retreats: the Banyan Tree Lijiang, with its traditional-style suites and villas, and the more rustic, Tibetan-influenced Banyan Tree Ringha. Set along the dramatic limestone peaks of Guilin within a contemporary sculpture park, the recently revamped, 46-room HOMA Libre resembles a grass-covered pyramid.

Meanwhile, on Hainan Island, off China’s southern coast, Sanya is becoming a top-notch beach resort. The Banyan Tree Sanya has 61 villas lining the shore, and this fall Mandarin Oriental, Sanya will bring an additional 297 luxury rooms, all with views of the South China Sea.

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