Situated in Beijing’s ultramodern CBD area, the Fairmont Beijing in Yong An Dong Li evokes a style that is more in keeping with classical China. Heavy usage of red and imperial symbolisms throughout the property provide a juxtaposition to the uniquely shaped skyscraper that it is situated in and the soaring highrises that define the Jianguomenwai neighborhood. During a transit in Beijing prior to my visit to Mongolia, I stayed at the Fairmont Beijing for a night. It was a very short stay but easily one of my more memorable ones.
The subtle classical style of the hotel makes it versatile enough to be relevant for both business and pleasure, unlike most of the unabashedly business-y vibe of the hotels in the area. The traditional Chinese painting hanging by the wall of the reception for instance creates a sense of calm, especially for those entering the hotel for the first time.
Fairmont Gold Room
For this particular stay, I was booked in a Fairmont Gold Room. At 45 square meters, it is similarly sized to the Deluxe Rooms except that it’s situated at one of the exclusive gold floors of the hotel. The room carried a distinct peach/orange hue which was cleverly accentuated with traditional paintings of oranges!
My room at Fairmont Beijing was large enough to have its own sofa area aside from the standard work desk. It also had modern creature comforts such as a BOSE iPod dock, DVD player and an IP phone by Cisco.
While you do get good coffee during breakfast either at the gold lounge or the all-day dining restaurant, the room also comes equipped with a Nespresso machine. Mine was an Essenza espresso maker – a compact and decent option for in-room caffeine fixes.
The bathroom is dominated by a large glass window that looks out to the bedroom, creating a wonderful sense of space to what is already quite a decently-sized washed area for a base-level room. A large soaking tub is situated by that window, allowing for as much natural light to come in as possible. If you prefer entertainment, a smaller LCD TV is installed on the wall to allow you to catch up on your favorite shows while having a hot bath. I also love how the toilet bowl has one of those seat warmers – perfect during a late winter’s visit such as mine.
As is the standard these days for a luxury hotel, the bathroom at Fairmont Beijing has a separate shower area which conveniently comes equipped with a rain shower. Toiletries come all the way from London and are from Rose 31 by Le Labo.
Fairmont Gold Lounge at Fairmont Beijing
What really drew me to check out the Fairmont Beijing was its award-winning Fairmont Gold Lounge. It has been cited by a few publications as one of the best club lounges in the world. Heck, even CNN agrees. As such, I was really very excited to have a look and experience this much-talked about executive lounge.
In keeping with the name, the Fairmont Gold Lounge is colored in a yellowish hue. When I checked in, I was informed about the lounge benefits which are as follows:
- Concierge service from 6:30 am to 10:30pm
- Continental breakfast from 6:30am to 10:30pm
- Afternoon tea from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
- Evening cocktails from 5pm to 8:30pm
- Refreshments throughout the day
- Complimentary drinks (i.e. coffee, tea, soft drinks or juices) available for delivery to the room for personalized wake-up call
- Complimentary pressing of one suit or two pieces of clothing per stay
- Free local calls and internet
- Free business center usage
- Free shoe shine service round-the-clock
- Free usage of the Executive Boardroom for 2 hours per day (non-accumulative)
At first glance, the list reads longer than your usual lounge benefits and the Fairmont Gold Lounge at Fairmont Beijing does have some nifty extras. I certainly wouldn’t mind getting a personalized wake-up call in my room with a drink in tow! Shoe shine service is also an added plus for busy executives.
By and large, I had a pretty amazing experience in the Fairmont Gold Lounge. In large chain hotels, the service is good but usually becomes too scripted. I love how the service here carried a strong personalized touch. For instance, during the night I arrived I just mentioned in passing that I was flying off to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia the next day. When I visited the lounge again the next morning, the lounge executive (not the same one from the previous night) greeted me and asked me if I needed any assistance for my flight to Mongolia that day. The fact that her colleague even passed my travel plans to her showed an above-and-beyond level of concern that I have only previously seen during my stay at Shinta Mani Club in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I was genuinely impressed.
Granted, you don’t get champagne in this lounge but there is a decent selection of sparkling, red and wine wines plus some hard liquor. Food during evening cocktails is also quite good with a nice selection of not just canapes but actual hot items. They even serve sushi and noodles/rice so technically, it is not a bad idea to have a light dinner here if you are feeling to tired to head out.
Facilities in Fairmont Beijing
The Fairmont Beijing has some pretty nifty facilities including a state-of-the-art gym. The equipment comes from Technogym and while I do see this brand in Singapore as well, the ones they carry are by far the newer models. For those seeking to go for a dip, the property has an indoor heated swimming pool.
Breakfast at Lunar 8
Due to my Fairmont Gold access, I could have breakfast either at the Fairmont Gold Lounge or at Lunar 8, the breakfast venue which also doubles as a Chinese restaurant. I decided to go with the latter.
The breakfast spread at Lunar 8 is not the most extensive breakfast buffet out there but I love how the selection is carefully curated. You get a balanced mix between Western and Chinese dishes. While I do love my hash browns and bacon in the morning, when in China you have to of course try the local selections.
You get a number of steamed buns from the dimsum basket but I have particularly fond memories of the pumpkin buns served in the morning. Let’s just say I had a whole month’s serving of pumpkin that day!
For those who love their breads, the restaurant has an extensive pastries section in the morning to ensure you have carbohydrate intake to keep you going for the rest of the day.
You also get a wide array of chilled juices to choose from. I counted no less than six kinds, including grape juice.
My stay at the Fairmont Beijing was a short one (too short in my view!) but in less than 24 hours, I experienced some of the most personalized service I’ve ever received in a chain property. Granted, I can’t comment much about other aspects such as housekeeping because I only stayed for a night, but the thoughtfulness of the staff at the Gold Lounge is certainly something I would remember for a long time. The subtle imperial Chinese design permeating the property is also something that would delight guests – especially those visiting from overseas. If there is any complaint I have about the property – I just wished my flight to Mongolia was later and I could stay longer in the hotel!
You can read more of my hotel reviews here.