If you’re a real luxury-hotel freak, then simply the name Waldorf Astoria Beijing probably conveys just about all you need to know. While a cursory glance at the building’s exterior reveals that this, at least in terms of visual design, is not your grandfather’s Waldorf Astoria, the experience that’s on offer would likely be familiar to your dear old hypothetical granddad — design that’s elegant and eminently palatable, comforts that are beyond first-class, and service to rival any luxury hotel anywhere.
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The building, by the Chicago/Beijing-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, feels perfectly judged — equal parts modern international luxury hotel and ancient Chinese courtyard palace, a public monument and a private hideaway in equal measure. And the interiors, by the master luxury-hotel designers Yabu Pushelberg, combine ascendant-China grandeur (black lacquer and overtones in red and gold) with timeless Western luxury-brand restraint.
As for service, the place is practically crawling with concierges; the staff-to-guest ratio is nearly one to one, but can be counted on to feel like ten to one. A near-embarrassment of high-end facilities and amenities may be taken as a matter of course: three restaurants, full-service spa, massive heated pool, and plentiful meeting and events space. Still to come is a second phase of development, wherein the main tower’s rooms and suites will be joined by a series of detached, low-lying hutong villas, a reference to China’s traditional low-rise courtyard construction.