W Hotels disembarked in Beijing at the end of 2014 with a new construction property located in Chang’an Avenue, a centric area of the city relatively close (by Beijing standards) to mayor city sights and some government buildings.
In a 25-floor building, W Beijing – Chang’an offers 349 guest rooms and suites, 2 restaurants, a lobby bar, a lounge bar on the 25th floor, and event space. Recently I had an overnight long layover in Beijing and it was a great opportunity to check this property out. W Beijing – Chang’an is a Category 4 property on Starwood Preferred Guest. With prices for our dates of about USD 250, it seemed reasonable to book for 10,000 Starpoints.
You can access W Beijing Chang’an website here.
I kind of love to hate W hotels, mostly because you never know what to expect when you stay at one of their properties for the first time in terms of how much of a scene (and how loud) will it be. The Beijing property falls into the fun and happening and not too pretentious category.
Lobby and Front Desk
The first thing that caught my attention when I entered the hotel was this massive rainfall-looking lamp on top of the lobby. It was impossible not to look at. The lobby was a high-ceiling space where you could access the front desk, Whatever/Whenever, and the lobby bar, W/Lounge. Full of references to Chinese traditional decoration and crafts, but at the same time very chic-contemporary looking.
The check-in process was correct and uneventful. After recognizing SPG Platinum status, we were informed that our room had been upgraded to a Spectacular room (our award booking was on a Wonderful room – Have I mentioned how much I dislike this fantasy nomenclature?). One very pleasant surprise: the front desk agent told us that at this property, platinum members are offered both points AND breakfast as their welcome amenity. He also informed us about happy hour at the lounge on the 25th floor.
The lobby lamp
W Hotels tend to have cool elevators and this property was no exception. The soundtrack was chill electronic music, combined with dim lighting creating a nice atmosphere. I liked the elevator panel, a sort of white light keyboard.
Elevators hall on the 21st floor
Guest rooms hallway
I hate to recognize that the room lived up to its name! When you open the door, the outer wall curtains open automatically to reveal amazing views over central Beijing (we were on the 21st floor with unobstructed views). Right next to the entrance, a round bathtub surrounded by birdcages, and on the back side of this set, the vanity/sink hiding on plain sight.
The room was spatious, with a king size bed, 48″ flat screen TV, seating area featuring a rotating chair with a remote control and an old school spotlight projecting W Hotels logo onto the ceiling.
The minibar was a rotating shelve next to the closet. The room also featured a Nespresso coffee maker.
I liked the vanity/sink area right behind the bathtub. Bliss toiletries. Rain shower and separate toilet area were located right next to the vanity.
The Happy Hour
It was happy hour at the lounge right after we checked in. The lounge is located on the 25th floor, next to the hotel’s main lounge/cocktail bar. The decor once again was this chic contemporary look that characterizes the brand. Food oferings of the day consisted of a salad bar, maki rolls, fruit and pastries, and a selection of drinks.
We decided to have dinner at the hotel (too tired to adventure it out) so we went to the restaurant located on the basement floor. Very interesting drinks list. The food was correct (we ordered some curry and spicy beef) but not memorable, and the price, while expensive for China standards, was not outrageous).
The Fitness Room
The fitness room was a large space with state-of-the-art equipment, free weights and stretching zone. A mini-fridge with Tibet mineral water was available for guests consumption.
This was one of the best breakfast spreads I have seen in a long time. The offerings were endless. There was an egg and a noodle station with their respective cooks, dim sum, a salad bar, congee, fresh-baked bread, cheese and cold cuts, fresh fruit and freshly squeezed juices, pastries, pizza, yogurt, ice cream. And everything was so good it was luscious.
This property was a nice surprise. The room was fun, the bar was fun, the breakfast was fun, and this is what W Hotels are supposed to be about. It was also the right amount of scene, not the excessive party hotels some properties of this brand are (I’m looking at you, W Hollywood).