The degree to which my daughter loved our family vacation to Beijing still continues to surprise me. While the Great Wall was certainly a highlight, it was trumped by our stay at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing.
This luxury hotel has all that one would expect at a Four Seasons, with a few uncommon features that truly make it an unforgettable place to stay. It has the feel of a relatively new hotel (it is) with no detail overlooked and tastefully lavish yet comfortable decor. There’s so much to admire that even my daughter got into the habit of taking pictures of the art, light fixtures and so much more.
Sure, China’s capital city is massive. There’s traffic, construction, and air quality can be an issue. But, it’s home to 6 UNESCO sites including the Great Wall, over 100 museums, insane shopping and some of the most amazing food you’ll ever eat. And, there are plenty of things to do in Beijing with kids. Staying at a nice hotel provides respite from the buzz of city life and I want you to stay here when in Beijing.
Four Seasons Hotel Beijing spoils young jetsetters, has amenities that appeal to savvy leisure travelers and caters elegantly to those visiting on business. It was my daughter’s birthday and boy did they roll out the red carpet for her.
Four Seasons Hotel Beijing Location
This Beijing luxury hotel is located in the Liangma area of the Central Business District in northeastern Chaoyang. It’s where many of the embassies are and about a 10 minute or so drive to the Chaoyang acrobat show as well as the 798 Art District. The east gate of Chaoyang Park is an under 10 minute walk and there are a number of other things to do within walking distance of Four Seasons Hotel Beijing (click for my article on Four Seasons Magazine).
Book Transportation Through the Hotel
I arranged for a hotel car to pick us up at Beijing Nan (South) train station as we took a high speed train in from Hangzhou. The driver was waiting with signage at the train platform exit. I knew the station was large but I underestimated the value of the greeting service. My daughter’s Mandarin is limited and mine is worse so we may have gotten ourselves lost. The drive should have taken about 30 minutes or so, but due to traffic, we arrived in an hour. You just can’t be in a hurry while in Beijing but there is WiFi in the hotel cars. I am not a fan of sitting in traffic while in a Beijing taxi (been there, done that).
On the flip side, our flight from Beijing Capital airport departed on a weekend morning and the drive took an easy 20 minutes. Curbside, another representative greeted us and made sure we were checked in and headed to the correct security gate. This white glove-style treatment may seem extreme, but I am happy to pay for the courtesy especially in a country where I don’t speak or read the language.
Enjoy Luxurious Rooms
Our Ambassador Suite’s separate bedroom and living area provided a perfect set-up for traveling with kids. My daughter’s eyes lit up when she saw her welcome amenity—decorate-your-own cupcakes. And, the amenities kept flowing daily with a blueberry theme since blue is my daughter’s favorite color (the hotel asked this detail in advance).
Plenty of natural light flooded the rooms for cheery ambiance throughout this corner suite. Touring Beijing is draining—there is so much to see and never enough time—and it was a delight to crash into a comfy sofa at the end of the day with tea poured from the in-room bar.
In addition to a powder room, the master bathroom was massive with speakers overhead and a nice soaking tub. Once can rejuvenate after a long day of touring by ordering a special bath from the spa menu that will be drawn for you by reques. We can vouch for the rose petal bath, a birthday present from the spa to my daughter.
Executive Club Level Has a Library
One of those unexpected, special amenities for us included the Executive Club library full of interesting books ranging from how to select jade to photographic essays of the Great Wall.
My daughter asked to come here multiple times, which was more than fine, because we could chill on the sofa during sunset (with wine for me) while learning about the country we were in.
Guests may pop into the Executive Club throughout most of the day. A quite impressive breakfast buffet with fresh Beijing noodles, dim sum and Western favorites is included in the Executive Club room rate. Canapes and wine are up for grabs in the evening. I’m a huge fan of Club levels when traveling with kids because you never know when they’re going to need a snack—right now.
Go to the Spa
The multifaceted spa operates under the auspices of one of Beijing’s leading authorities on traditional Chinese medicine combined with skin care lines from a French brand, Biologique Recherché and others from Italian brand, Comfort Zone. So, you get the best of both worlds.
Have a look at the kind of celebration they can host for special occasions in the couples suites. My daughter will never, ever forget her surprise spa birthday at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing. To this day she talks about it (though was frustratingly at a loss for words on the day—I think she was overwhelmed).
Kids ages five and older have their own spa menu. My daughter enjoyed her very first full body massage and manicure/pedicure while I had my skin totally reset after a week of travel with a blissful facial.
Experience a Tea Ceremony
Next to the spa below the majestic butterfly wall awaits the hotel’s tea garden. Guest may stop by to choose premium teas to be poured and presented during a formal tea ceremony. My daughter does drink green tea in small amounts so was thrilled to watch the ceremony and sip it with me in the tranquil garden.
Stunning Fine Art Everywhere
A fine art collection best described “contemporary Tang tradition” is sprinkled throughout the entire hotel. Each piece reflects Chinese tradition using modern materials. Particularly impressive is Butterfly Effect in Beijing 2012, a specially commissioned piece based on the Chinese Peacock Butterfly that adorns a multi-floor wall above the tea garden and spa entrance.
My other favorite piece was the gigantic wall hanging in the Opus Lounge.
The Executive Club is full of smaller pieces that at the time of our visit were for sale with proceeds going toward a charitable cause, if memory serves me correctly.
Splash Around in the Pool
This indoor pool was not the least bit chilly. In fact, it felt like a mildly warm bath that you could just spend hours in. Fruit kabobs were passed to all guests each time we went. It’s located near the fitness center and spa with very nice changing facility to use. You can even attend poolside yoga or chill in the jacuzzi with a view.
Eat in Every Restaurant
It will come as no surprise that we patronized every restaurant. As lovers of Chinese food, our first stop was Cai Xi Yan, the swanky signature restaurant which serves a wide range of favorites from barbecue to Cantonese dim sum. Stuffed already with birthday cake from the spa, we managed to scarf down quite a few dumplings. My daughter order of cat’s ear noodles proved to be an incredibly kid-friendly option. Speaking of kid-friendly, the extensive marker selection and coloring sheets were much appreciated. They sent her a little birthday cake and an osmanthus dessert for me.
I eat Hainanese chicken rice everywhere I can, including twice during our stay at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing in the Opus Lounge. You can’t find it on menus here in California and though it’s not too difficult to boil a chicken, I can never seem to get it the condiments and rice right.
On our final night, we choose wood-fired arugula, buffalo mozzarella and parma ham pizza paired with a salad at Mio, the Italian restaurant with open kitchen concept. But it’s not your average pizza joint. Like the rest of the hotel, it’s beautiful with impressive crystal lighting and classy contemporary decor. My mouth waters just thinking about the artisan cheese selections, imported from Italy.
You pretty much had to roll us on to the plane after all of this eating.
Utilize the Concierge Desk in Advance
I worked with the Concierge via email to arrange a private guide and driver to the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City which was worth every penny because we were able to dictate our own schedule—imperative with kids in tow. There are many, many other tours available from art to shopping to history so find out from them what appeals to you and have them arrange it. If you don’t speak Mandarin, a bilingual guide is valuable in a number of circumstances.
Four Seasons Concierges can also arrange special experiences. We saw the Chinese acrobats at the nearby Chaoyang Theatre and were able to enjoy an exclusive meet-and-greet including a group photo, just because we were guests of the hotel.
Flowers by Beijing’s Best Florist
Of course, each flower arrangement was contemporary and elegant but the huge display of greenery in the entry took the cake (pictured at the top). One of the staff members told me that the florist is regarded as the best in town.
Did anything go wrong? No. I’m not sure what else to say here. I don’t have any criticism, which is rare.
Will we stay here again? Definitely.
(Four Seasons Hotel Beijing is one of the luxury hotels I can book for you with agent-exclusive amenities that will enhance and add value to your stay. Please send me your dates and I’ll tell you what’s on offer.)
Four Seasons Hotel Beijing
48 Liang Ma Qiao Road
100125 Chaoyang District
+86 (10) 5695-8888
*I was hosted by Four Seasons Hotel Beijing for purposes of the Four Seasons family blog with no obligation to share my story here—but I wanted to because it was so awesome.