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May 27, 2008

Boutique Hotels Open in Beijing Just in Time

Beijing Olympics 2008
Beijing-ites ready to rumble.
Photo: AP

by Ondine Cohane

My father-in-law was just visiting us from Taipei. (He is an immigration lawyer who works between offices in Taipei and Shanghai.) While in Tuscany, he told me that people in Beijing are moving in with their families for the Olympics just so they can rent their apartments for a premium; the run on beds will apparently be that huge. Hopefully most people traveling there for the Games won't have to depend on that kind of arrangement.

I have heard of a slew of boutique hotels opening there this summer. Among them: the Opposite House, a 99-room property in Sanlitun with restaurants by Australian chef David Laris (he has a fabulous restaurant, Laris, in Shanghai's Three on the Bund with some of the best views in that city), an 82-foot stainless steel pool (not sure if I have ever seen one of those before), and big rooms with iPod docks and tubs for soaking. Then there is Hotel G, the first of a new chain of Asian hotels in Gong Ti Xi Lu, which also promises big loftlike rooms (I am sensing a trend in size here) and a fleet of eateries on-site including Moroccan and Japanese restaurants. I like the sound of its garden terrace with outdoor Jacuzzis. The Emperor, part of the Design Hotels group, opened in late spring near the Forbidden City. With that kind of location, the rooftop bar, glass-enclosed spa, and fusion restaurant are sure to become city hotspots. And just today I got a press release that Aman Resorts is opening a property in September--too late for the Games, I know, but it sounds fantastic. Just outside the Summer Palace (built in 1750), it has only 18 rooms, with king-size four-poster beds and Ming-style furniture. The spa also sounds fabulous, with a Pilates and yoga room, a hair salon (but of course!), two squash courts, a juice bar, and an 80-square-foot indoor lap pool.

Further reading:
* Check out our Hot List Beijing video


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