Review: Park Hyatt Beijing

I recently wrapped up a report about my trip to Beijing earlier in the month, thanks to American’s amazing $450 business class fares.

I had booked a few of these, so upon returning to Washington I turned right around and flew back to Beijing again. While my stay in Beijing on this trip was originally supposed to be two nights, it only ended up being one night thanks to a huge delay and the subsequent rebooking through London.

So for this stay I ended up booking the Park Hyatt Beijing. During my last visit I stayed at the new W Beijing Chang’an, and on my previous visit to Beijing I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Beijing.

The Park Hyatt Beijing is a Category 5 Gold Passport property, making a free night redemption 20,000 Gold Passport points per night. There was also Points + Cash availability, which cost 10,000 points plus $125 for the night.

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Since paid rates were $300+ (including taxes/service charge), I decided to book Points + Cash for this stay, given that I’d still earn stay credit.

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It was only marginally worth it over the paid rate given that I value Hyatt points at ~1.5 cents each. Though I would also earn 20% of those points back, thanks to the promotion for 20% off redemptions.

Anyway, we landed in Beijing at around 9AM, and took a taxi from the airport to the Park Hyatt, which took about 40 minutes and cost about 100RMB. The Park Hyatt is part of the Beijing Yintai Centre, which is the tallest skyscraper on Changā€™an Avenue. The hotel markets itself as being the “highest” hotel in Beijing, though I’ll explain below why that’s a bit of a stretch.

Anyway, since the Park Hyatt only takes up some of the floors of the skyscraper, the main lobby is on the 63rd floor. However, there was a bellman on the ground floor who offered to help us with our bags. We only had carry-ons, so he instead escorted us to the elevator to the main lobby.

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Park Hyatt Beijing entrance

The ground floor has three elevators leading up to the lobby of the Park Hyatt, as well as several ground floor shopping outlets.

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Park Hyatt Beijing ground floor lobby

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Park Hyatt Beijing ground floor elevators

The Park Hyatt’s lobby is gorgeous. In general I’m a huge fan of Park Hyatts — I associate the brand with impressive, residential-feeling lobbies, great showers/bathtubs, and awesome infinity swimming pools. The lobby at the Park Hyatt Beijing didn’t disappoint, and reminded me of the lobbies at the Park Hyatt Seoul, Park Hyatt Shanghai, Park Hyatt Tokyo, etc.

Pardon the quality of the lobby pictures, but there was just so much natural light and so many light tones that it was sort of tough to photograph.

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Park Hyatt Beijing lobby on 63rd floor

The lobby was possibly even more gorgeous at night.

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Park Hyatt Beijing lobby on 63rd floor

Once outside the elevator, the reception desk was to the right.

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Park Hyatt Beijing reception on 63rd floor

Then to the right of the reception desk was the hotel’s lobby lounge.

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Park Hyatt Beijing lobby on 63rd floor

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Park Hyatt Beijing lobby lounge on 63rd floor

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Park Hyatt Beijing lobby lounge on 63rd floor

Once at reception the service was flawless. I was greeted by the guest relations manager, and she explained that the room wasn’t quite ready yet, but invited us to sit down in the lobby lounge and enjoy a drink on the house while we waited for our room to be ready. I ordered a cappuccino. As luck would have it, our room was ready within 15 minutes.

From there we took the elevator down to the 39th floor. We were escorted there, and on the way the Diamond benefits were explained to us — 1,000 bonus Gold Passport points, free breakfast, late check-out (which we didn’t need), etc.

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Park Hyatt Beijing hallway

As I explained above, the hotel markets itself as being the highest hotel in Beijing. It’s possible that they have the highest lobby of any hotel, given that it’s on the 63rd floor. However, all the guest rooms are on (substantially) lower floors. The Park Hyatt Beijing’s 246 guest rooms are on floors 37 to 49.

Our Park Deluxe King was out the elevator and to the right on the 39th floor. The hallways of the hotel felt very “Park Hyatt” in terms of the finishes and lighting.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King room door

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Park Hyatt Beijing floorplan

The room featured a good size entryway, which had a sliding door with the bathroom at the end of it. Then the rest of the room was to the left.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King room entrance

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King room entrance

By the entrance of the room was the bathtub and shower, which flowed into the rest of the room.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King room entryway

The room featured the typical Park Hyatt decor which I love. It was minimalist and featured light tones. The room had a king size bed in the back left corner. It was possibly the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, which I would never have expected in China (I find beds in China are usually on the hard side).

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King room

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King room

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King room

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King bed

Then in the back right corner of the room was a flat screen Samsung TV.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King TV

In front of that was a desk with two chairs. I appreciated that the desk had two chairs, since it could also double as a dining table, if needed.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King desk

Then closer to the entrance was a couch of sorts with three decorative pillows.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King couch

As you’d expect from a Park Hyatt, the shower “complex” was exceptional. It featured a square soaking tub, as well as a glass enclosed shower with both a rainforest shower head as well as a handheld one. The water pressure and temperature control were excellent. For what it’s worth, there was a “shield” you could pull to separate the bathroom from the rest of the room.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King bathroom

The room featured Aromatherapy Associates toiletries. They’re not my favorite hotel toiletries, but weren’t bad either.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King toiletries

Then across from the shower was a fairly large closet.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King closet

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King closet

Back near the entrance was the partitioned off toilet, which featured a sink and Japanese toilet.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King toilet

The main sink area was in the main part of the room, right next to the bed. It featured artwork on one side, and then the sink and mirror on the other side.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King bathroom

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King sink area

I wasn’t sure what exactly to make of that. On one hand having the “main” sink be in the actual bedroom reminded me a bit of a Hyatt Place. On the other hand, I did sort of appreciate that the shower/tub, toilet, and sink area were all separate, as it more easily allows two people to get ready at once.

Right across from the tub was the minibar area, which also housed a Nespresso coffee machine.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King minibar

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King minibar

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King Nespresso machine

The view from the room was gorgeous. I’ve spent three days so far this year in Beijing, and all of them have had perfect weather. That’s not something you often see. This area of Beijing is also especially futuristic, which contrasts many other parts of the city.

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King view

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Park Hyatt Beijing Park Deluxe King view

The one odd thing I should note is that we were shown to the room by an associate, and as soon as I walked in the room I noticed it reeked of smoke. I asked if it was a smoking room, and she explained that was the hotel’s “signature scent.” Oddly that “scent” wasn’t present in any other part of the hotel. I didn’t push it much since it didn’t bother me too much (I don’t smoke, but have grown up around smokers, so I can handle the smell), but I did find that a bit odd.

Anyway, we just had one day in Beijing, so didn’t spend all that much time in the hotel. It’s worth noting that the hotel apparently has an awesome gym and pool, though they’re both under renovation, and should reopen later this month. There was a temporary gym on the 61st floor, which did the trick. It was well staffed, though apparently isn’t open 24 hours. I even visited twice during my one night stay (go me!). šŸ˜‰

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Park Hyatt Beijing gym

Then the hotel’s signature restaurant, China Grill, is located on the 66th floor. This requires two elevator rides from guest rooms. First you have to take an elevator to the 63rd floor, and then you have to take a separate elevator to the 66th floor.

Once off the elevator, the main area of the restaurant is located to the left, while the breakfast area is directly ahead.

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill

It’s a beautiful “greenhouse” style space, and was surprisingly full, given that we were there five minutes after it opened (the China Grill serves breakfast from 6:30AM until 10:30AM).

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill

Unfortunately the physical space is the extent of what impressed me about the breakfast. The spread itself was mediocre. It wasn’t especially extensive or grand, and the quality wasn’t great. I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves.

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Beijing China Grill breakfast buffet

Beyond that, the service was underwhelming. The check was brought before the first round of coffee was served (despite ordering it as soon as we were seated), and getting plates cleared was a feat in and of itself.

And to be honest service across the board wasn’t that great at this hotel. The check-in experience and guest relations manager were awesome, though beyond that the service didn’t impress me.

For example, the internet in the hotel was really slow, to the point that my VPN kept disconnecting. I’m of course well aware of the great Chinese firewall, and I’ve had greatly varying experiences in China. The wifi at theĀ W Chang’an was great, while the wifi at theĀ Grand Hyatt was terrible. So the issue wasn’t with Google-based stuff, but rather with the actual speed.

Surely I’m not the first person to have had this issue, though when I brought it to their attention they acted like I was from a different planet. I asked if there was a coffeeshop or somewhere nearby with faster wifi, if the business center had faster wifi, or if there was something they could do to boost the speed in the room. All of those requests were met with blank stares.

Then again, I find service in hotels in China to generally not be that great, so this is likely more a function of the location than of the hotel as such.

Park Hyatt Beijing bottom line

Physically the Park Hyatt Beijing is in line with what you’d expect from a Park Hyatt — it feels intimate, has a beautiful lobby, great rooms, a nice shower/tub combo, and comfortable beds.

In terms of the breakfast spread and the service itself, I wasn’t as impressed as I’ve been at other Park Hyatts. That being said, it is also priced considerably lower than many other Park Hyatts, so I wouldn’t hesitate to return under similar circumstances.

If you’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt Beijing, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. I love how hotels are moving toward hardwood or solid surface floors. It feels so much more hygienic to me.

  2. I guess to each his own. I’ve been to quite a few Hyatt properties as a Diamond and this hotel impressed me more than a majority of them. The service was outstanding from beginning to end, the hotel was beautiful, the room (suite) was awesome, and the food was some of the best I’ve had at a Hyatt (maybe things have changed now, but I doubt it.) Everyone has their own tastes, but this is, by far, one of the best Hyatt hotels I’ve been to. Contrastingly, my stay at the Park Hyatt Shanghai was quite the opposite. While I was put into a gigantic room (in excess of 2,000 sq ft.) I thought the breakfast in the morning was horrible. The spread was huge, but the quality wasn’t up to par.

  3. @Lucky, breakfast spread is perfect. There is nothing to compliant. You are not staying at Ritz so accept that fact.
    In general, Marriott properties in China are best.
    Ritz >>> Park Hyatt

  4. Do you know what the welcome amenity would have been if you hadn’t taken the points? I’ll be there on Friday and trying to decide if the amenity or points are better.

  5. @ Japs — Why can’t it be compared to Ritz? I’d argue Park Hyatt is a comparable brand to Ritz. Neither is Aman or Oberoi, but I think they are in the same league.

  6. @ Rob — Leaning towards no, given that I’d probably be yelled at if I do, since I have so many other reports to catch up on.

  7. I agree to each his own. I absolutely love PH Beijing and the breakfast was outstanding. Also the heated floors in the rooms are spectacular, though maybe that was missing now that it’s practically summer…

  8. Daniel M: I remember arriving earlier in the morning and the hotel staff was gracious enough (knowing that I had just come off a very long flight) to put me in a “temporary” suite until my reserved suite was available. The staff was simply amazing and I can’t wait to stay here again.

  9. Generally speaking personally I like park hyatt less due to it’s lack of the lounge club.
    By the way grand hyatt jinmao tower in shanghai offers the best wifi among shanghai 5 star hotels so far.

  10. Ben,

    Though I’m a Hilton Diamond and Marriott Gold, I’ve really wanted to stay at a variety of Park Hyatt hotels, especially in SW Asia, and possibly even a Ritz via transferring Ultimate Rewards-I have no status with each program. But I really value things like free breakfast and executive lounge access, something I get with status. I assume that while I can use my UR points to ‘get into’ these others brands for free stays, I’d have to redeem more points to get a room offering these additional amenities…assuming it’s not in a country that already provides a complementary breakfast to everyone.

  11. Beautiful room, but weird layout, by US standards at least. The toilet and sink were in an enclosed room, but the bathtub and shower were out in the open, and you had to walk through the bathtub and shower area to get to the main part of the room? Ben, did you have any problem with hearing the clicking of heels on the wood floors of the room above you? I love wood floors in a hotel room, but the hotel has to be very solid and soundproof otherwise it can be quite miserable.

  12. You used to value Hyatt points at 1.8 cents but now you say you value them at 1.5. Why the change?

  13. Is the shower actually private – if someone else was in the room would they be able to see you? If the partition is closed then can you still leave the room or does it split the room in two?

  14. @ Rami — They did slightly devalue their redemption rates on the high end over the past several years, which is the only reason the valuation dropped a bit.

  15. @ tara — Agree it’s an odd layout. On the plus side, didn’t have any noise issues.

  16. @ matthewsf — Hyatt used to have a great Diamond Challenge, though unfortunately they don’t offer that anymore. Park Hyatts for the most part don’t have club lounges, or else you could redeem points for a club room. So you might be stuck paying for that if redeeming points… sorry!

  17. I’m heading to Beijing in June to try out the new AA 787 service and have been researching the hotel situation. I’ll be doing the 72 hour transit visa thing. 5 star hotels are anywhere from $130 to $200. Pretty awesome. I think the Peninsula $128 night.

    Now I have to find a Great Wall day trip.

  18. Willy, I believe that you can’t leave the airport if you are doing the 72 hour transit visa. If you are planning on spending the night you would need a tourist visa.

  19. SingleFlyer: You are incorrect. You can definitely leave the airport on the 72 hour transit visa.

    Willy: I’m sure you’ve already researched this, but for others’ benefit, in order to utilize the 72h transit you need to be transiting to a third country with something like DFW-PEK/72h/PEK-NRT.

    Ben: I agree 100%. I found the PH Beijing to be very lacking. I’ve stayed at the PH (2-3x), GH (2-3x), and now the DoubleTree (1x). The DoubleTree just became my go-to Beijing hotel. It’s close to the PH in every way and only a fraction of the price (an absolute steal at 10k HH). I even received a suite upgrade as a HH Gold!

  20. @HansGolden: Thanks for this clarification. That makes a lot more sense. I (perhaps incorrectly) assumed that Willy meant that he was only going to spend less than 72 hours in Beijing before heading right back to DFW.

    I am doing a 48 hour visit to Beijing (with no onward travel), so I DO need a Tourist Visa.

  21. Just on a note about Park Hyatts…the Toronto PH will be a huge letdown to anyone visiting on the PH reputation. The rooms and restaurant are old and tired. The gym is small and poorly equipped. There are three redeeming qualities. Location (that’s subjective), the spa is well regarded, and the rooftop bar, though small, is wonderful (when you can sit outside).

    Thanks for another great review, Ben.

  22. Yes, I know about the onward travel requirement. I went to Shanghai last June and used the 72 hour visa there. It took about 15 extra minutes of processing immigration. For my onward travel I redeem Avios for a short haul business class ticket on Cathay to Hong Kong. Great bargain.

    Hans, how long is it from the airport to the Doubletree?

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a good reasonable guide for a day trip to the Great Wall?

  23. Since this is a recent article of your I wanted your opinion.

    The question I have is whether to stay at the Ritz in the Financial District or the Ritz Carlton described above. Is there a difference in the night life, tourist places, walking distance etc, quality of the hotel?? Are there certain parts of Beijing better and why?

    In NY when you stay in the financial district you really are out of the way for a NY hubbub experience outside of the normal business hours.
    Help!!!!

  24. Why not give the Aman Beijing Summer Palace a try next time you visit Beijing? I heard it’s quite a property.

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