Waldorf Astoria Beijing

China is a great example of capitalism at its shiniest and blingiest, ie: if you can spare the cash, anything is possible. Anything.

The Waldorf Astoria Beijing is proof of this. We were in town for a flying visit, on business to host a few people so we took the opportunity to check out this gleaming palace of luxury. And we definitely weren’t disappointed.

We hired a car service to transfer us to the hotel which meant our check-in started the minute we left the aircraft. With a frantic Chinese girl apologizing profusely for her tardiness - no one had informed the poor thing that our flight landed early. She ushers you through the airport until you’re safely within the luxurious confines of your car. From aircraft to hotel, you would not have had any interaction with the hoi polloi, except at immigration.

This situation repeated itself when we checked out.

And that’s possibly the wonderful thing about the service - it is near flawless and completely unobtrusive. Yes, there will be staff who won’t speak English (people, you need to get over this... OR go to English-speaking countries exclusively) but they are still helpful and there is always someone very nearby who does. So any little question or request is dealt with rather swiftly. And the people are friendly. There are smiles and a general feeling that they really really want to do a good job.

The property itself was lovely. Like we said, it was a flying visit so the efficiency of the staff were much appreciated. Rooms were cosy, spacious and well-appointed with all the expected conveniences of luxury living. It is, of course, very stylishly done up with a modern Asian-inspired decor scheme. My personal favourite were the lacquered pink walls - very chic.

Location-wise, there is some serious shopping to be had. From luxury timepieces to the wildest set of wheels that money can buy. When you’re done melting your cards, head on over to the Forbidden City and Tianemen Square - it’s an easy 10-15 min walk from the hotel. Once you’re bored of the glitz and glamour, hire a car to take you down to Sanlitun - great for buzzy little bars and fun labels. Hint: That’s where Dover Street Market Beijing lives.

Time to luxe it up - China-style.

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