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.
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.
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.
To the left of that is the walk-up reception desk.
And then to the left of that is the gift shop.
The most striking thing in the lobby has to be the lighting fixture in the center, which changes colors every few seconds.
Upon arriving late in the evening they had a “W IT GIRL” event, which seemed to basically be ladies’ night.
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.
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.
Once on the 22nd floor I turned right to follow the signage towards my room, 2220.
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.
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).
There was an entryway, and then immediately to the right was a closet with plenty of mirrors.
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.
The spotlight lamp actually had the “W” logo reflected on the ceiling.
Beyond that, you could adjust the color of the mood lighting in the room.
On the other end of the room was a flat screen TV, which was located above the minibar snacks.
Then to the left of the TV was a circular table with two round seats as well as a bench.
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.
The minibar was in a circular display, and featured an impressive selection.
There was also a Nespresso machine.
To the right of that was a vanity with a mirror.
Across from the vanity was the bathroom, which featured a single sink with a large, back-lit mirror.
To the left of it was the partitioned off 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.
The shower had both a rainforest shower head as well as a handheld one.
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).
They also had a large selection of “essential” items.
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.
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.
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.
While the concept of the bathtub was cool, it certainly wasn’t all that practical.
And the shower itself was considerably smaller than in the Fantastic Suite.
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.
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.
The restaurant is stylish, with plenty of seating and cool varying designs.
There’s even a nice outdoor patio, should you desire to eat outside.
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.
There was a cupcake station.
An ice cream station with a dozen kinds of ice cream.
A donut tree.
And even a chocolate fountain. Sorta insane, no?
Other than that the buffet was a pretty good mix between western and Asian options.
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.
Platinum members can select from the happy hour menu, with a choice between seven drinks.
I had a gin fizz, which was tasty.
Tiffany had a mojito.
And then later on I had an espresso martini. Yum.
The hotel also had a beautiful pool and gym on the third floor. The pool was really awesome looking.
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?