This is my review of the Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel.
This is the final hotel review from our recent Asia trip – apologies for the slight delay in getting to this one. These are not as comprehensive as our usual hotel reviews because we did not receive a hotel tour, we did not see other rooms apart from our own and, travelling with young children, we did not try the spa or hotel restaurants apart from breakfast.
China – at least Beijing – is no longer a foreign country. My room at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing overlooked the Rolex boutique and walk from the hotel to the Forbidden City took me past Gap, Chanel, Prada, McDonalds etc. English is far more widely spoken than it was when I first went to China 25 years ago.
That said, if you are visiting the Waldorf Astoria Beijing you might want to splurge £100 or so on their airport chauffeur service. You will be met at the airbridge and guided through passport control. Even better, you will be whisked out of the VIP entrance to the airport! If you use the service when leaving you are still driven to the VIP entrance but your guide does not stay with you once you get to check-in.
The official hotel website is here if you want to find out more.
Where is Waldorf Astoria Beijing?
A key reason for staying at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing is location. It is only a few minutes from the Airport Expressway. More importantly, it is a modest stroll down one road to the Forbidden City, its surrounding park and Tiananmen Square which are the key tourist sites.
The Peninsula hotel is directly opposite. If you are on a lower budget, there is a large Novotel next to the Waldorf Astoria which still gets you all the benefits of the location.
The Waldorf Astoria Beijing is a relatively new hotel. Below is a library picture which is better than anything I could take (click to enlarge):
What few guests ever realise is that, behind the hotel, the owners have restored some classic hutong housing into additional accommodation. It was booked out when we were there but if you can get a look inside it is like this:
Location aside, the key benefits, for me, were the large amount of public space and the Chinese decorative touches in the rooms.
Waldorf Astoria properties often have a nod to the 1920’s / 1930’s and this has been tied in to art deco Chinese influences in the rooms and public areas.
This is Peacock Alley which serves as the bar, afternoon tea and ‘light meal’ space:
My kids were also very positive about the pool, although it has no natural light as it is in the basement:
Rooms at Waldorf Astoria Beijing
We had two twin rooms between the four of us. As a Hilton Diamond, one room was upgraded to a slightly larger one, although it was certainly not a suite. The pictures here reflect the larger room – the standard rooms are a little more compact.
and in the bathroom:
The Waldorf Astoria Beijing gives free breakfast to Hilton Diamond members. This is a breach from standard Hilton policy which excludes Waldorf Astoria hotels from the elite ‘free breakfast’ benefit. They may do this as a trade off for not having an excecutive lounge, although Diamond members do not get automatic access to Waldorf Astoria lounges either!
Other non-standard benefits for Diamond members here are:
200 RMB (£22) of free drinks in Peacock Alley
15% discount in the restaurants and spa
Breakfast was fantastic. The live cooking stations are built into the food display areas, so you are literally standing next to the chef whilst he cooks your eggs or whatever. We not charged for additional ordered items.
As usual, there was a full Western menu along with a large selection of local specialities.
If you want an alternative review of the hotel, my 9-year old left this:
Apart from the lack of any major upgrade as a Hilton Diamond, we were very happy with our stay here. The Waldorf Astoria Beijing has a great location with a modern and ‘of its place’ design. The pool and public areas worked well and they do an excellent breakfast.
If you want the benefits of the location but at a slightly lower cost (although Beijing is not terribly expensive compared to Hong Kong or Tokyo) then try the Novotel next door – and perhaps pop into the Waldorf Astoria for a drink
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