Review: W Hotel Beijing Chang’an

Introduction
American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago O’Hare Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-200 Chicago To Beijing
W Hotel Beijing Chang’an
Cathay Pacific & Dragonair Lounge Beijing Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-200 Beijing To Chicago


The W Beijing Chang’an is Starwood’s newest hotel in Beijing, as it just opened in late 2014. For my first of three trips to Beijing this month, I figured I’d check it out.

The W Beijing is a Category 5 SPG property, making a free night redemption 16,000 Starpoints or 6,000 Starpoints plus $110USD through Cash & Points (keep in mind Cash & Points is capacity controlled). That being said, the paid rate was ~$220USD, so in this case it seemed like the better value. That’s because I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so I wouldn’t come out ahead through either of those points redemptions.

W-Beijing

The ride from Beijing Capital Airport to the W Hotel took about 45 minutes and cost 100CNY, which wasn’t half bad.

The hotel has a striking exterior, at least in comparison to the rest of the buildings in the immediate area.

W-Hotel-Beijing-01
W Hotel Beijing exterior

W-Hotel-Beijing-02
W Hotel Beijing exterior

The lobby is even more gorgeous, and looks like a cross between something you’d expect in Las Vegas, Dubai, and the movie “Frozen” (#TeamOlaf).

Immediately to the right of the entrance is the W’s lobby bar.

W-Hotel-Beijing-03
W Hotel Beijing lobby

To the left of that is the walk-up reception desk.

W-Hotel-Beijing-04
W Hotel Beijing lobby

W-Hotel-Beijing-05
W Hotel Beijing lobby

And then to the left of that is the gift shop.

W-Hotel-Beijing-06
W Hotel Beijing lobby

The most striking thing in the lobby has to be the lighting fixture in the center, which changes colors every few seconds.

W-Hotel-Beijing-07
W Hotel Beijing lobby lighting

Upon arriving late in the evening they had a “W IT GIRL” event, which seemed to basically be ladies’ night.

W-Hotel-Beijing-08
W Hotel Beijing lobby

Despite the extremely loud music in the lobby, check-in was quite efficient. I asked about the possibility of an upgrade, and was offered a Fabulous Suite upgrade, though it was a smoking room. That sounded good to me. While I generally shy away from smoking rooms, I figured the scent wouldn’t be too bad, given that it’s still a new hotel.

The associate explained that as a Platinum member I’d receive complimentary breakfast at The Kitchen Table (in addition to the 500 Starpoint welcome amenity). On top of that I received a voucher for a Starwood Platinum nightly happy hour, valid in the lobby bar from 5PM until 7PM. On top of that I received an RMB50 voucher for The Kitchen Table, which could be redeemed towards lunch. The voucher was reusable, though I never did use it, given that the restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, and breakfast was always huge.

W-Hotel-Beijing-09
W Hotel Beijing Platinum vouchers

Once I had my keys I took the elevator up to the 22nd floor, where my room was located. Not only is key access required to get into the elevator, but your key only gives you access to the floor you’re staying on. That becomes slightly problematic when you’re traveling with a friend and staying on different floors.

W-Hotel-Beijing-10
W Hotel Beijing elevator lights

Once on the 22nd floor I turned right to follow the signage towards my room, 2220.

W-Hotel-Beijing-11
W Hotel Beijing elevators

W-Hotel-Beijing-12
W Hotel Beijing hallway

My room was located at the far end of the hallway on the right. While the entire floor was a smoking floor, it didn’t have a scent at all.

W-Hotel-Beijing-13
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite entrance

W-Hotel-Beijing-14
W Hotel Beijing floorplan

The Fabulous Suite was advertised as being 840 square feet, though it was more like a junior suite than a traditional suite, given that it was just one room (there was no separate living room).

W-Hotel-Beijing-15
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite entrance

There was an entryway, and then immediately to the right was a closet with plenty of mirrors.

W-Hotel-Beijing-16
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite closet

Stylistically I thought the room was gorgeous. On the right side it featured a king size bed, a circular chair, and a huge “spotlight” style lamp. I thought that was a really cool touch.

W-Hotel-Beijing-17
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite

W-Hotel-Beijing-18
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite seating

W-Hotel-Beijing-19
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite lighting

The spotlight lamp actually had the “W” logo reflected on the ceiling.

W-Hotel-Beijing-35
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite lighting

Beyond that, you could adjust the color of the mood lighting in the room.

W-Hotel-Beijing-36
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite lighting controls

On the other end of the room was a flat screen TV, which was located above the minibar snacks.

W-Hotel-Beijing-20
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite

Then to the left of the TV was a circular table with two round seats as well as a bench.

W-Hotel-Beijing-21
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite

W-Hotel-Beijing-22
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite seating

While I definitely liked this W more than others, there’s one thing I didn’t like about the room. The suite itself was a good size, though there was a ton of wasted space. Which is ultimately fine. Except the room didn’t have a desk. And I don’t directly mind the lack of a desk, but I do mind that there wasn’t a single seat with back support. Trying to work on your laptop for hours on end without back support seems kind of weak. Especially when there’s so much space where a desk could potentially be added.

Anyway, on the other side of the room was a minibar and the bathroom.

W-Hotel-Beijing-23
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite bathroom entrance

The minibar was in a circular display, and featured an impressive selection.

W-Hotel-Beijing-24
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite coffee machine

W-Hotel-Beijing-26
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite minibar

There was also a Nespresso machine.

W-Hotel-Beijing-25
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite coffee machine

To the right of that was a vanity with a mirror.

W-Hotel-Beijing-27
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite vanity

Across from the vanity was the bathroom, which featured a single sink with a large, back-lit mirror.

W-Hotel-Beijing-28
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite bathroom

To the left of it was the partitioned off toilet.

W-Hotel-Beijing-30
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite toilet

And then to the right of it was the shower “complex,” which featured both a large circular tub as well as a walk-in shower.

W-Hotel-Beijing-31
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite tub

The shower had both a rainforest shower head as well as a handheld one.

W-Hotel-Beijing-32
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite shower

Toiletries were Bliss branded, though they were just the smaller versions of them (I’ve often found in suites they give you full sized bottles, which I love).

W-Hotel-Beijing-33
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite toiletries

They also had a large selection of “essential” items.

W-Hotel-Beijing-34
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite toiletries

The view from the room was quite nice. Ultimately Chang’an isn’t the most exciting part of Beijing, in my opinion, though it’s actually relatively peaceful in the immediate area.

W-Hotel-Beijing-37
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite view

W-Hotel-Beijing-38
W Hotel Beijing Fantastic Suite view

Meanwhile my friend Tiffany was assigned a Cool Corner Room, so I also checked it out to compare. Stylistically this room was even more “W” than mine, given that it had a circular bathtub in the room, with a completely “open” bathroom concept.

W-Hotel-Beijing-39
W Hotel Beijing Cool Corner Room

W-Hotel-Beijing-40
W Hotel Beijing Cool Corner Room bathroom

I actually thought the Cool Corner Room was more logically furnished than the Fantastic Suite. By the window it featured two seats, and then across from the bed it featured a circular table with a chair that had back support. That’s much more practical for working from than the seating in my room.

W-Hotel-Beijing-41
W Hotel Beijing Cool Corner Room bed

W-Hotel-Beijing-42
W Hotel Beijing Cool Corner Room desk

While the concept of the bathtub was cool, it certainly wasn’t all that practical.

W-Hotel-Beijing-43
W Hotel Beijing Cool Corner Room bathtub

And the shower itself was considerably smaller than in the Fantastic Suite.

W-Hotel-Beijing-45
W Hotel Beijing Cool Corner Room shower

W-Hotel-Beijing-46
W Hotel Beijing Cool Corner Room shower

Overall I thought the rooms were great. They were designed better than a vast majority of W properties I’ve stayed at, though there were just a few obvious things that kind of annoyed me, since clearly the rooms aren’t designed for people who want to get any work done from the rooms.

I should also note that the wifi was excellent by Beijing standards. It’s usually a mess, but I had minimal problems with the wifi at this hotel.

In the morning breakfast was served at The Kitchen Table from 6AM until 10:30AM. The Kitchen Table is located on B1, so is a level below the lobby. The entryway to the restaurant is pretty awesome.

W-Hotel-Beijing-47
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table entrance

In the front of the restaurant is a coffee shop, in the event you don’t want to have a full breakfast, but rather just want a coffee and pastry.

W-Hotel-Beijing-48
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table coffee shop

W-Hotel-Beijing-49
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table coffee shop

The restaurant is stylish, with plenty of seating and cool varying designs.

W-Hotel-Beijing-50
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table seating

W-Hotel-Beijing-51
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table seating

W-Hotel-Beijing-52
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table seating

There’s even a nice outdoor patio, should you desire to eat outside.

W-Hotel-Beijing-53
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table outdoor seating

W-Hotel-Beijing-54
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table outdoor seating

The buffet itself was over the top. I’m used to Asian breakfast buffets, but this had to be one of the sweetest ones I’ve ever seen.

W-Hotel-Beijing-55
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

There was a cupcake station.

W-Hotel-Beijing-56
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-57
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

An ice cream station with a dozen kinds of ice cream.

W-Hotel-Beijing-63
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

A donut tree.

W-Hotel-Beijing-64
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

And even a chocolate fountain. Sorta insane, no?

W-Hotel-Beijing-68
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

Other than that the buffet was a pretty good mix between western and Asian options.

W-Hotel-Beijing-58
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-59
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-60
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-61
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-62
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-65
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-66
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-67
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-69
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-70
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-71
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-72
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-73
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-74
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

W-Hotel-Beijing-75
W Hotel Beijing The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet

While the buffet was decadent, there was something about it which wasn’t cohesive. It’s tough to explain, but for most over-the-top buffets it’s fairly easy to create a plate from one “section” of the buffet, while this buffet just confused me.

Since we arrived at the W Hotel late the first night, we were only able to do the Platinum happy hour for the second night of our stay. While the bar was deserted, it had a really cool vibe. The music was awesome, the service was great, and I loved the design.

W-Hotel-Beijing-81
W Beijing Lounge

W-Hotel-Beijing-82
W Beijing Lounge

W-Hotel-Beijing-83
W Beijing Lounge

Platinum members can select from the happy hour menu, with a choice between seven drinks.

W-Hotel-Beijing-84
W Beijing Platinum happy hour drink menu

I had a gin fizz, which was tasty.

W-Hotel-Beijing-85
W Beijing Platinum happy hour drink — gin fizz

Tiffany had a mojito.

W-Hotel-Beijing-86
W Beijing Platinum happy hour drink — mojito

And then later on I had an espresso martini. Yum.

W-Hotel-Beijing-87
W Beijing Platinum happy hour drink — espresso martini

The hotel also had a beautiful pool and gym on the third floor. The pool was really awesome looking.

W-Hotel-Beijing-77
W Hotel Beijing pool

W-Hotel-Beijing-78
W Hotel Beijing hot tub

W-Hotel-Beijing-79
W Hotel Beijing pool

W-Hotel-Beijing-80
W Hotel Beijing lounging

On our second morning we took a taxi back to the airport for our flight to Chicago.

W Beijing bottom line

Overall I was impressed by this hotel. I think the W Guangzhou and W Taipei are still my favorite W properties, though this one isn’t far behind. The hotel is generous with Platinum benefits, and as of now has fairly reasonable prices, at least compared to the other “nice” options out there.

I’d certainly consider returning.

Have you visited the W Beijing yet? What’s your favorite hotel in Beijing?

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Hey Ben, great detailed review of W Hotel Beijing Chang’an.

    Maybe it’s just me but is it very common during hotel breakfast to offer juices in such bottles? It reminds me of good old days when we had milk bottles like that 🙂

    I came across such bottles a few weeks ago when staying at IC Park Lane and the Cookbook Café had juice offerings using such bottles..

  2. Smoking room in China??? No tks!!!!!! I am not a big fan of W hotels. It feels too much for me. Too much of lights, colors, patterns, designs, etc… Sometimes, less is better.

  3. Amazing hotel! Gotta convince my parents to cash out them $220/n for my stay in October.

    This brought me thinking: why didn’t you take your father/mother with you given the ridiculously cheap fare? Might as well make more people happy, you know? 😉

  4. Hi Lucky,

    Thanks for the great/thorough review as always!

    On an unrelated note, any chance you can do a review of Las Vegas hotels in the future or a review on your more recent stay in Vegas? Would love to get a sense of their Hyatt status recognition for guests through the MLife partnership and also to get a good idea of what the Delano are like for Vegas goers!

    Thanks so much!

  5. Yes, that buffet certainly looks decadent. I wonder how much of that food they have to throw out each day? I seems like a lot of food would get wasted. I certainly enjoyed my share of breakfast buffets while traveling, though.

  6. Well, I actually think W Beijing is better than W Taipei, because people are more friendly there.
    Taiwan hotel industry need more competition. Literally, there are only two decent chain hotels in Taiwan, one being W another is Hyatt. No expectation for new Marriott

  7. I was there for 1 night a few weeks ago. The platinum menu is actually more than 7 drinks, you have to swipe the ipad to see the rest of the menu. I had a Spectacular room. The circular sofa could actually turn left or right using it’s remote.

  8. “since clearly the rooms aren’t designed for people who want to get any work done from the rooms.”

    It’s a W hotel, it isn’t made for people who work.

  9. Hi Lucky;

    Great report. Did the hotel say the ice was safe to consume? I didn’t think the water was safe to drink in China.

    When I was there 10 years ago, the Westin Shanghai had a gorgeous pool, along with complimentary antibiotic eye drops that they recommended you use after each swim. I decided against swimming because of that. (Also, I kept my mouth closed during showers).

  10. Blade Runner is right. It looks very 80’s with all the neon and underlighting. With each successive photo I found myself wondering how many more kinds of neon they could jam into each room. Your hotel room looks like a porn studio with that spotlight and the red neon wall behind the bed. No thanks. I like my room to have natural light, not feel like a poorly lit night club and/or porn shoot.

  11. Lisa, totally agree with you. There also seems to be a massive waste of space. Is the TV like 9 miles from the bed or is that just an illusion from the photo?

    The open bathroom concept baffles me. More bad retro. Who is the target demographic? I don’t like feeling like I’m on display even if I’m the only person in the room. It looks like the toilet and shower are in enclosures, thank god.

  12. Hi Ben. Did you uber to the hotel or hailed a cab? Sending my wife out there next month and I’m a bit uneasy with transportation especially with the language barrier and all

  13. @ John k — I used a taxi to the airport and then an Uber on the way back. On the way out the driver had to call the hotel several times to figure out the location, so just make sure you have the hotel’s phone number.

  14. @ wwk5d — Hah, seems like a limited market they’re going after with the rates they charge.

  15. @ Abdel Rahim Abdallah — Hah, not sure how well my dad would adjust to American first class after ZHE amazing service in ZHA Emirates first class.

  16. @ ffore11 — Not all that common, though I do see it once in a while. Find it to be a nice touch, as it’s quite retro.

  17. Always stay at Kunlun when I happened to be in Beijing. Provided I haven’t gone to Beijing for about four years.

  18. I think this looks over-the-top, and I wouldn’t appreciate having perks handed to me in the form of coupons, probably makes me feel like I’m at a Stop-and-Shop scouring for discount eggs.

    Try staying at The Rosewood or The Aman next time you’re in Beijing.

  19. I stayed at this properly about 4 weeks before your stay, and (Platinum) service was atrocious. No room upgrade, no Platinum amenity discussion at checkin, couldn’t process Amex cards at checkin in, and the breakfast options were pretty poor (chocolate fondue and various ice creams are pretty cool, but no one is interested in that at breakfast time). Additionally, the email address for the W Inside was wrong on their website, and I never heard back from her once I DID get the right address.

    I had a huge bitch about the poor performance of this new property, so it’s good to see that they have taken some proactive steps to improve the experience for guests. It’s just a shame I missed the good experience you had, Lucky, because I sure won’t be back to the W Chang’An after the hell I went through.

    Just a word of warning for those who are considering this property. (I personally found the St Regis Beijing to be miles and miles above the quality of this property.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *