If Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore were the rehearsal halls where the big hotel chains put in the long years perfecting their craft, Shanghai, Beijing and the rest of mainland China are where the performance is finally taking place. There’s a sense of exuberance on display in hotels like the Sofitel Beijing Central, and it’s contagious — a place like this can’t help but get you a bit excited about the great Chinese economic experiment.
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Here the hotel’s vibrant colors make their way from the bedrooms to the building’s exterior, as the entire façade becomes a pixelated video screen, capable of displaying the W logo in a wide variety of colorways. This doesn’t mean the interiors have gone all sober, though. The rooms come equipped with the usual extravagances, both visual and tactile, from high-gloss Hollywood-style lighting to the W signature bed and the standard Bliss bath products.
It’s aimed perhaps more at the culture industry than anyone else, thanks to a location that’s close to the Beijing Concert Hall, the National Centre for Performing Arts, and any number of galleries and museums. But business travelers won’t feel left out — there are veritable acres of meeting space, as well as a gym, spa and heated indoor pool. You know the drill: it’s a proper luxury hotel, but one for an audience that’s slightly younger — or younger at heart — than Beijing’s typical high-end traveler.