China’s bustling capital city is home to several stellar urban retreats.
Many come to Beijing for the iconic cultural sites, like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. But in recent years, the capital has become just as famous for cutting-edge spots like the 798 Art District, an area with a dense concentration of contemporary galleries. The diversity of Beijing’s options extend to its hotel scene, too, where large brands and smaller, boutique options can be found in neighborhoods across the city.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.
The Peninsula Hotel Group has a strong presence in Asia, and their Beijing property, which is close to Tiananmen Square, earned top marks from our readers. Fresh off a recent renovation, the hotel reduced its room number to about half of what it was (from 525 to 230), ensuring that the Peninsula’s accommodations are some of the largest in Beijing, at about 650 square feet. “The rooms were spacious and beautifully decorated,” said reader Angelo Lamantia.
Representing the boutique end of the spectrum is the runner-up, the Opposite House. A sister property to the Temple House in Chengdu (the No. 1 City Hotel in Asia overall), the hotel has just 99 rooms in the city’s Sanlitun neighborhood and was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The sleek, clean-lined rooms come with deep oak soaking tubs.
“The best hotel in Beijing,” is how one reader put it when describing the No. 1 hotel on the list, the Waldorf Astoria. Located in Wangfujing, near the Forbidden City, the 176-room is a relative newcomer (it opened in 2014) but has fast gained a reputation as the place to stay for its sleek modern design with touches of Chinese character, like walls covered in silk, glossy lacquered wood, and artwork from artist Ling Jian. The result feels like the best combination of contemporary and traditional Beijing.