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Review: the Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel

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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 (PR room photo above) 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.

My article on how the ‘no visa if staying less than 72 hours in Beijing’ process is here.

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 building

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):

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

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:

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

Location aside, the key benefits, for me, were the large amount of public space and the Chinese decorative touches in the rooms.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

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.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

This is Peacock Alley which serves as the bar, afternoon tea and ‘light meal’ space:

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

My kids were also very positive about the pool, although it has no natural light as it is in the basement:

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

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.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review


Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review


Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

…. and in the bathroom:

Waldorf Astoria Beijing bathroom

…. and

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review


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.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

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.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review


If you want an alternative review of the hotel, my 9-year old left this:

Waldorf Astoria Beijing hotel review

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

The main Waldorf Astoria Beijing website for bookings or more details is here.

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Comments (14)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Tony says:

    Slightly OT – wasn’t Anika going to do a similar review of one of the Tokyo IC hotels? Might have misremembered but thought she was there around same time you were.

    • Rob says:

      Next week. The only reason I was forced to finish this review for today is that her Tokyo stuff starts tomorrow!

  • Kai says:

    Executive lounge access is not a diamond benefit at WA either.

  • Alan says:

    I’m not surprised at the lack of upgrades. In 2 1/2 years as diamond, I haven’t received a single upgrade. This includes WAs, Conrads as well as regular Hiltons and doubletrees.

    Last time, i booked and paid for a suite, and they had the cheek to tell me that they had “upgraded me to a jr suite”… When I told them that I had actually paid for it, the guy at the desk dropped his smug smile and looked quite dumbstruck.

    • Peter K says:

      You must be quite unlucky. I’m only a gold but have been upgraded from standard to exec room before.
      Having said that I have booked an exec room before and been told I’d been “upgraded” at reception. Maybe they’d moved me to a room with a nicer view but it was still the same level of room I’d paid for.

    • John says:

      This diamond, who always books the cheapest room, gets upgraded about 75% of the time. 50% of upgrades are real ones to a much nicer room than standard and the other 50% are to an “exec” room which probably isn’t that different.

      I never ask for an upgrade if none is offered, since it really doesn’t matter to me.

      Reading FT, it does seem like some diamonds are very unlucky or just always happen to stay at properties that avoid upgrades

      • Rashad says:

        I have stayed with Conrad in a few countries and only London offered me an upgrade, Dubai and Istanbul offered me an upgrade for a fee, whereas all Hilton and DTs always offer upgrades without asking

      • Leo says:

        In my Diamond experience it’s directly related to length of stay – probably unsurprisingly. I usually get upgraded if it’s 1-2 nights. Anything over that no. I’m a bit like you on the upgrade front – if it doesn’t happen I’m not that bothered; particularly if I’m on my own and/or there is an exec lounge. I’ve been upgraded more often that not in the UK.

    • Genghis says:

      3 Hilton brand stays on my recent trip and two suite upgrades. I’m always polite and a bit chatty at check in. Don’t know if that makes a difference?

  • Rob says:

    I suppose this is half-and-half because there are a lot of historic nods in the design whilst, say, Conrad Tokyo was out-and-out modern.

    My test, generally, is whether you would still know a hotel was a member of a particular brand if you took down the sign. You would, I think, guess this as a W-A or a St Regis.

  • Pierre says:

    WA Versailles is a hybrid one, but accommodation in the original building is top notch, Pavillon building feels more like a very good Hilton

  • JP says:

    I can highly recommend the Renaissance Wangfujing that is close to the WA and walking distinace to the main shops and sites. Looks as nice as the WA and had and even bigger basement pool / spa. It was only 15000 Marriott points a night. Also the Marriotts in Beijing have two double beds enough to get two adults and two children in. Very few hotels in Beijing will take 2 adults and 2 children, officially you can’t book it like that.

    I am Marriott Gold (from SPG Gold), this got me to the executive floor with lounge access for all of us. Giving great breakfast, afternoon tea and a huge spread of food in the evening with wine, beer and spirits.

    I also got early checking at around 9am (made it for breakfast) and late checkout at 4pm (got afternoon tea)!

    I emailed ahead to ask check that I would be upgraded to lounge level for all of us and too request early checkin, and they were fine with it. Amazing use of 5000 SPG/15000 Marriott – the same as they charge for the Marriott in Huntingdon! Although they upped it to 20000 Marriott now.

  • What's the Point says:

    We stayed at the Hilton round the corner from the WA in Beijing. Got upgraded to a massive corner suite on the top floor. You could literally run at full speed the length of the room it was that long!

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