Rest your head in the clouds at Ritz-Carlton Beijing Financial Street
February 17, 2010
In Chinese mythology, the “lucky cloud” is a symbol of blessings and harmony rooted in everyday life. The image is incorporated into Chinese objects both ordinary and divine, from utensils and furniture to sculptures and architecture. At The Ritz Financial Street, in the heart of Beijing’s banking hub, lucky clouds take the form of murals in the lobby, a manifestation of the artful touches and references to traditional Chinese culture throughout the hotel.
While the swank, understatedly elegant surrounds are the usual Ritz do, the property does have a modern, light, up-to-date feel. The unique Chinese accents like Asian room furnishings and silk tapestries in the spa remind guests they’re staying in the capital of the Middle Kingdom. The property does an excellent job of blending into the Beijing context – it’s neither another bland chain location nor hyper-kitsch.
I indeed felt like I was floating on a cloud in the comfort of my room. Put on one of the plush robes; sink into those Ritz-Carlton signature linens and featherbeds; and control the lighting, curtains, and air conditioning at the touch of a button; and you’ll see what I mean. The views from this striking glass and chrome tower (I hear that corner suites on the east side offer panoramas of the Forbidden City) definitely add to the feeling of being above it all.
I was also thrilled to find the deluxe pool area in the ultra-luxurious spa, which occupies an entire floor of the hotel. At times, classic black and white films are screened right above the avant-garde pool (not showing when I was there), which means I theoretically could have watched a Hepburn classic while swimming laps! That’s the kind of aqua therapy I can get behind.
When I took my head out of the clouds long enough to remember I was here on business, The Ritz provided everything I needed. Amenities like in-room Wi-Fi (for a fee), the 24-hour business center (which makes it worth upgrading to club), and the location smack in the middle of business-brisk Financial Street helped me get the job done.
There were just a couple of dark clouds in this cumulus utopia. If you want to get out of the immediate district, the metro is a 15 minute trek. To compensate, The Ritz provides a complimentary shuttle around the local area (7:30am-7:00pm, weekdays), or they’ll arrange a car. If you are willing to wait a few minutes (and are up for the adventure that is Beijing taxi-ing), cabs do come by. Season’s Place, a large, high-end, international shopping mall with some eateries, is located next to the hotel. Still, just getting out for something as mundane as breakfast requires too much of an effort (the breakfast at the hotel is only so-so at best – definitely not up to the usual Ritz standards – and besides Starbucks, and the limited options in the neighborhood). But don’t let these inconveniences spoil your stay. Clouds of the Ritz-Carlton variety always have a silver lining.
RL contributed to this post.
Learn more about The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street on The Purple Passport