FELL IN LOVE WITH HOTELS & SPAS

Rosewood Beijing Hotel: Where five-star luxury is an understatement

May 11, 2015
Lobby of the Rosewood Beijing (Credit: Rosewood)

A stay at the Rosewood Beijing Hotel convinces us of the inadequacy of the five-star hotel rating system.

Occasionally, you find a hotel so luxurious and comfortable that you feel as if you don’t ever want to leave. That’s what happened from the moment we checked into the five-star, 238-room Rosewood Beijing Hotel, which opened last October (2014).

When Rosewood took over the management of this new property (its first in China), they totally gutted the interior of an old hotel that formerly occupied the same footprint, and resurfaced its exterior with dramatic slate-colored stone. In doing so, they created a building that looks new but feels anchored in this corner of Beijing’s central business district (CBD).

When we first set foot in the door, we were warmly welcomed by the hotel staff and our charming English-speaking butler, Jasmine, who led us to the Manor Club on the seventh floor for an expeditious and discreet check-in. This very private executive lounge, with concierges on duty 24/7, is ordinarily available only to guests staying in the hotel’s suites but we were invited to experience this special amenity.

Buffet Table at the Manor Club

Buffet Table at the Manor Club

Throughout the day, various foods are displayed on a buffet table that seems to go on forever. The seating space nearby is separated into different sun-filled areas, perfect for conducting business or relaxing over a drink or cup of tea.

Our room

Because we had arrived at the Rosewood Beijing towards the end of our stay in the city, we had already hit most of the major tourist attractions. Once we saw our Premier Room (Room 1104) on the eleventh floor, we questioned whether it was foolhardy to ever leave it for the bustling streets of the city.

In terms of both its spaciousness and tasteful décor (blending contemporary and Asian design elements), our room felt like a swanky apartment on Sutton Place rather than a cookie-cutter hotel room. Tasteful one-of-a-kind art adorned the walls and carefully curated stacks of books and objets d’art on shelves and counters made us feel as if we could cocoon here for weeks without getting bored.

Walls, carpeting and fabrics were in soothing neutral colors. The room was separated into three discrete areas: The sleeping alcove had the most comfortable bed imaginable, with a chaise lounge strategically placed on the opposite window wall that optimized the expansive city views (with four contiguous windows) for the lucky inhabitant of that perch.

Our room

Sleeping alcove in our room

The living area had a sofa, round table with swivel chair, and fully stocked minibar with a coffeemaker and teapot. When we arrived, a small bowl of fragrant mandarin oranges had been placed atop the table; the fresh fruits were replaced daily.

Living and working area

Living and working area

Fragrant mandarin oranges

Fragrant mandarin oranges

The working area was perfect for a writer (or anyone else who needs a convenient space from which to work). Four large windows lined the exterior wall of the room affording distracting views of the iconic CCTV Tower (called “The Pants” by locals because of its unusual shape).

Incredible view of "The Pants" from our bed

Incredible view of “The Pants” from our bed

Everything in the state-of-the-art high-tech room was electronic. You could operate the dimmer lights and shades from a keypad beside the bed. The LCD smart TV automatically displayed the weather and air quality index as soon as you turned it on. The free, high-speed wireless connection worked flawlessly in our room and throughout the hotel. Dual voltage outlets made it effortless to use appliances you brought from home.

50" LCD Smart TV

50″ LCD Smart TV

Bedside electronic controls

Convenient bedside electronic controls

The walk-in closet offered ample drawer space and a dressing table where you could conveniently sit down to blow dry your hair and put on makeup. Generally, one of my big pet peeves in hotels is the difficulty in finding electrical outlets near mirrors for blow-drying.

The bath

The spacious, well-appointed bathroom had a separate water closet, shower with big rainforest showerhead and oversized bathtub, both with handhelds. Both were enclosed in a floor-to-ceiling area that functioned much like a sauna. Another television was embedded in the bathroom mirror. The walls of the bathroom were covered with a beautiful taupe-colored marble.

Bath linens were ultra-plush with bath sheets so large you could wrap them around you several times.

Our bathroom

Our bathroom

Glass-enclosed shower/tub

Glass-enclosed shower and tub

Public spaces 

At the time of our visit, not all of the six restaurants and lounges were fully operational. We did get to experience Country Kitchen and Bistro B. Both are casual settings with huge open kitchens where the chefs are continually preparing and plating tempting dishes before your eyes.

While Country Kitchen’s dining room is contemporary, the menu specializes in northern Chinese “comfort fare” including some “lost recipes” enjoyed by wealthy Beijingers in the 1950s, which have since faded in popularity.

A resident noodle master chef produced fresh hand-cut, pulled, knife-cut and rolled noodles from scratch. We especially enjoyed the Qing Dynasty roasted pork belly served with braised cabbage, and the Beijing roast duck that was moist, cooked to perfection with a sugar coating, and sliced tableside. The side of stir-fried string beans was a perfect complement.

Sliced Beijing Roast Duck at Country Kitchen

Sliced Beijing Roast Duck at Country Kitchen

Stir-fried string beans

Stir-fried string beans

Chef Jarrod Verbiak, a protégé of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, oversees the kitchen at Bistro B, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast, we had a choice of Chinese, French and other continental favorites. I had fallen in love with congee on this trip but the one served at Bistro B made my other tastings pale in comparison.

Pork congee at Bistro B

Pork congee at Bistro B

Mango tart at the Dessert Bar at Bistro B

Mango tart at the Dessert Bar at Bistro B

We also got to tour the incredible wellness area, which includes a spa; gym/fitness area; yoga studio; heated, indoor pool with a retractable, domed-glass roof; and five spa suites for overnight stays.

The rooftop swimming pool at Rosewood Beijing

The rooftop swimming pool at Rosewood Beijing (Credit: Rosewood)

Bottom Line

Not surprisingly, Rosewood Beijing is rated #1 on TripAdvisor of more than 5000 hotels listed in the city. But an exceptional hotel is distinguished by its service and this is where the Rosewood Beijing always exceeded our expectations. Of the 600 employees on board, every one we met was well-trained, helpful and gracious. All were English-speaking and many were multi-lingual.

When I told Jasmine (our butler) that I might be going to the Silk Market alone, she offered to accompany me in the taxi and help me shop. She was not only pleasant company but an artful negotiator.

My new BFF, Jasmine

My new BFF, Jasmine

When we were shuttled back to the airport (another courtesy of the hotel), a Rosewood employee stationed at the airport met us at the car to help us maneuver our bodies and luggage through check-in. Then he walked us to the gate and wished us well on our journey.

With Marshall at the airport

With Marshall at the airport

Our one regret was that RED BOWL, a contemporary take on the traditional hot pot restaurant, wasn’t yet open. Hopefully, that will be the compelling excuse we need to return.

Rosewood Beijing is the first of the company’s ultra-luxury properties to open in Asia. Seven additional ones in the pipeline are expected to open within the next three years.


IF YOU GO

Rosewood Beijing

  • Jing Guang Centre, Hujialou, Chaoyang District
  • Rooms start at $300 per night

*Through August 15, 2015, the hotel is offering several grand opening packages. 

Disclosure: Our stay at the Rosewood Beijing Hotel was hosted by the property but any opinions expressed in this post are our own.                     

  • Reply
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    May 11, 2015 at 7:27 am

    It’s the mark of an amazing hotel experience that the Wow! Factor lives on well after you depart. I’ve got a feeling the Rosewood Beijing Hotel hit the mark and then some! Looks absolutely fabulous! (Isn’t it easy to get used to 5-star+ living??)

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 11, 2015 at 7:38 am

      And traveling so often, I found that I’ve become a pretty critical hotel reviewer:-)

  • Reply
    Susan Moore
    May 11, 2015 at 8:24 am

    I could get used to a place like Rosewood Beijing Hotel – looks marvelous! I want to travel with a butler too 🙂

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

      How does the butler thing work, Irene? BTW, your hair looks fabulous!!!

      • Irene S. Levine
        Reply
        Irene S. Levine
        May 11, 2015 at 11:48 am

        A personal butler is assigned to certain categories of suites and above to help with anything the guest needs. It could be packing and unpacking, etc. Jasmine told me she took children to the circus when they’re parents wanted a special night to themselves.

        • Reply
          Laura
          May 11, 2015 at 9:25 pm

          What’s the etiquette regarding tipping the butler?

          • Irene S. Levine
            Irene S. Levine
            May 11, 2015 at 9:37 pm

            We did. I always appreciate personal service and try to acknowledge the workers who provide it.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Susan,

      Thought you might enjoy this picture of Jasmine in her “shopping attire.” It was taken outside the hotel.
      https://www.moretimetotravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Jasmine.jpg

      Best, Irene

  • Reply
    jenny@atasteoftravel
    May 11, 2015 at 9:32 am

    What an amazing hotel….definitely six star! Hotels in Beijing have changed so much since our visit in the eighties! Time to go back and enjoy some luxury!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 11, 2015 at 11:49 am

      My husband also remembers traveling to China in the 80s when there were few cars, mostly bikes, and everyone was dressed in blue uniforms. That was a far cry from the skyscrapers dominating the city today!

  • Reply
    santafetraveler
    May 11, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Wow! It makes sense as a Chinese company bought Rosewood a few years ago. I’ve never seen a bathtub like that. I’d love to be pampered there.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      “Pampered” is a great adjective to describe the service!

  • Reply
    noel
    May 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Wow, everyone gets a butler and that type of service for that price, quite exceptional for sure!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      As stated above, a personal butler is assigned to certain categories of suites — not to every category of room!

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    May 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Rosewood Beijing Hotel certainly looks and sounds like more than 5 stars. I love the working area. Definitely great for a writer or blogger.

  • Reply
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    May 12, 2015 at 12:19 am

    WOW -I’d never want to leave this marvelous place – except maybe to try some of the tempting dishes! And who knew there was such a job as a noodle master chef?

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    May 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    This Rosewood looks like a bit of a bargain at a starting price of $300 night. But then you can always get more luxury for your money in Asia than in Europe or North America. Aren’t there some hotels in Dubai that advertise as being “six star”? The travel industry certainly ranks certain cruise lines as “six star” (e.g., Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal).

  • Reply
    Laura
    May 12, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I had heard that tipping was considered offensive in part of China. Do you tip the butler every time a service is performed or once for the stay, like on a cruise?

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 12, 2015 at 11:24 am

      We tipped at the end of our stay.

      • Reply
        Laura
        May 12, 2015 at 12:24 pm

        This is awesome information and if I ever become jet set, I will be referring back!

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    May 12, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Wow! The Rosewood Beijing sounds like THE hotel. I’m just back from Beijing, too, and stayed at the Marriott Beijing City Wall. It is also a 5-star, but yours does sound more like a 6-star.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I was amazed at all the high-end hotels and shops in Beijing!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Stavert
    May 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Yes Please! What a fabulous experience! Thank you for the fantastic detailed review! This is my kind of place! I need to pack my bags for Beijing! What a great idea to have Jasmine accompany you shopping, I bet she loved it too!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I wanted to take her home and make her my daughter:-) She was charming!

  • Reply
    Josie
    May 12, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Hi Irene,

    I can feel your appreciation for the employees, or should I say “new BFFs!”, at this lovely establishment. What a grand experience!

    Josie

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    May 12, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Wow, luxury hotel personified! But rooms start at $300? I don’t know if I can convince my husband to stay a single night there! I am envious!!!

  • Reply
    Mickey
    May 12, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I want the Mango Tart…It looks too pretty to eat, but that wouldn’t stop me!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    May 13, 2015 at 12:35 am

    We stayed at 3-star hotels in China and were consistently impressed with their high quality. Anywhere else they’d be 4 stars. Spotlessly clean and well-designed. However, we never once found a truly comfortable bed–they were all much too hard–or an employee who spoke any English! I would have loved this hotel just for the bed!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 13, 2015 at 8:54 am

      We stayed in another five-star hotel in China that catered to international travelers where not enough English was spoken, even in the restaurant.

  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    May 13, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    The Rosewood looks like perfection. I have to admit that I love the indulgence of a club level at a hotel but often find it waste on us as we eat most often off the property. We stayed at The Peninsula in Beijing and it was absolutely lovely but I have to admit I’d love to stay at the Rosewood for our next visit. Great review Irene.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      We like to eat local as well but actually the Rosewood is a destination for locals! 🙂
      Club floors are especially convenient for breakfast so you don’t waste time starting your day—and also for cocktails before dinner. I think they are also convenient when you are traveling with voracious teenagers.

  • Reply
    Anita
    May 14, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Your description of the Rosewood makes me want to pack my bags for a return to China, just for a stay in this hotel. Everything looks wonderful, but I’m tempted by the food alone!Roast duck, mango tart, good congee–where to begin?!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 14, 2015 at 10:28 am

      My recommendation would be to start with the congee (for breakfast) and work your way down to the mango tart dessert:-)

      • Reply
        Laura
        May 14, 2015 at 12:55 pm

        You sure know your food, Irene! My kinda gal;)

  • Reply
    Laura
    May 14, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I just noticed your in the pic with the sleep alcove! Kinda a pic in a pic, cool!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 14, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      And proof that it wasn’t stock photography:-)

      • Reply
        Laura
        May 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm

        It would make a good stock pic because it’s interesting! You also look very relaxed.

  • Reply
    Patti Morrow
    May 17, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Not just a hotel, but a whole experience within its walls!

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