Story and photos by Susan McKee

Peninsula Beijing Exterior

The Peninsula Beijing
8 Goldfish Lane, Wangfujing, Beijing 100006
People's Republic of China
+86 10 8516 2888
http://beijing.peninsula.com/en/default

Beijing is a busy place. China’s capital city has a resident population of at  least 20 million...  a total that’s augmented each day by hundreds of  thousands of commuters plus tourists from around the world.

That’s why a sanctuary like the Peninsula Hotel is such a welcome sight.  Although it’s in the bustling neighborhood called Wangfujing, it’s set  back from the main drag with the serene address of 8 Goldfish Lane.

Arriving by taxi, guests are whisked into the quiet lobby while their luggage is retrieved by the bellman.

Peninsula Beijing Lobby Flowers

After you’ve checked in, take a quick look around the lobby because you’ll  want to return. The obligatory massive floral display is breathtaking.  When I was there, the colors were shades of pink, green and white with  hydrangeas and roses predominating.

Then there’s the art exhibit...  but more about that in a bit.

I was somewhat early and my room wasn’t ready, so I headed to the  Executive Lounge. I could have made a meal from the snacks on offer:  masses of fruit, cookies, candies, cakes, tea sandwiches and such.

The fresh fruit waiting in my duplex suite was equally delightful, with a  half-dozen choices including apples, kiwi and a banana. Next to the  fruit bowl was a plate with both sweet and savory bites.

Because I had a two-level suite, there were two arrangements of fresh flowers... potted white orchids in the living room on the bottom floor and a  fanciful square vase filled with green orchids and pink roses on the  desk in the bedroom up the spiral staircase. Two floors of windows  provided a view over the rooftops of Beijing. 

Peninsula Beijing Suite Bedroom

I didn’t host any meetings in my hotel room this trip, so the living room (which had its own powder room) didn’t get much use. Upstairs, the desk faced the windows, so it was a constant struggle to maintain focus on  my laptop screen instead of daydreaming about the view. Dual voltage  (110V /220V) and multiple format electrical adapter power sockets made  it easy to work in my room, where the WiFi was free and fast.

The king-size bed was comfy and the bathroom spacious enough for both a shower and a tub.

Without leaving the hotel, one can browse through the three-level Peninsula  Shopping Arcade with its time-tested luxury brands. A few steps away is a pedestrian street with still more shops (including that modern  essential: the mobile service shop where you can buy a Chinese SIM card  for the unlocked cellphone you brought with you).

If you’ll be staying at the Peninsula for a few days, consider arranging  for one of their “ultimate academy” offerings. A staple since 1997, the  programs give guests bespoke tours...  a guided tour to the nearest access point for the Great Wall of China, perhaps, or a kite-making class at Tiananmen Square or a rickshaw tour of a nearby hutong (traditional  neighborhood).

Peninsula Beijing Bei Shui artwork Come and Go No 3

Now, about that lobby: the hotel sponsors an ongoing project called the Peninsula Art Journey to give Chinese contemporary artist a showcase for their artwork. When I was there, the artist was Bei Shui, born in Jilin, China. His exhibit, called “Paradox” included not only paintings  and serigraphs, but his written musings on subjects such as the  interplay between light and darkness.

A permanent but anonymous art installation of thousands of orange/red  glass bulbs screens the lobby from Jing. This is the “main” restaurant, a massive, eclectic 'Modern Meets Asian' buffet open from 5:30 a.m. to  11:30 p.m.

My favorite in-hotel meal was a lunch at Huang Ting, a quiet spot  specializing in Cantonese cuisine and, yes, they had dim sum: crystal shrimp dumpling with bamboo shoot, steamed dumpling filled with wild  mushroom and black truffle, spring roll filled with shredded pork and  taro. Endless cups of green tea.

Sigh! It was like being a guest in a  nobleman”s house.

 

 

 

© April 2015 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.

 

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