Put your feet up in style after a day out in Beijing, whether visiting the Forbidden City, browsing art districts or feasting on Peking duck.
There is a spine-tingling and silent awe of stunned appreciation from visitors.
As the Chinese capital, Beijing is not only the epicentre of an effervescent and emerging country; it is also the heart of the last remaining ancient civilisation on Earth.
As important as it is to explore you also need a place to recuperate. Having undergone a multi-million dollar refurbishment and rebrand, Kerry Hotel, Beijing is the perfect balance of freedom and luxury. “We wanted to create somewhere that felt like home,” says Johnson Wong, general manager. “Hopefully, we’ve shown some great attention to detail.” The overhaul includes new facilities, amenities and services, contemporary Club rooms and suites, a Club lounge, reconfigured lobby, grand ballroom and two new dining outlets.
First among these considerations is a free mini bar in every room upon the night of arrival. For the weary traveller, nothing could be nicer. Wong says: “We hope we can take the common frustrations out of travel and let people completely relax and enjoy their trip.”
Assuming you can drag yourself from the divine rainforest shower, the hotel’s new Club Rooms and Suites come with access to the lounge where a wonderful complimentary breakfast is included. Besides the international offerings available here, guests can also eat in the deli-style Kerry’s Pantry or the restaurant Kerry’s Kitchen.
Both dining locations actually immerse visitors in modern Beijing. The Beijng Kerry Centre is a real hub of the local business district, where the hotel is based. Adjacent is the CCTV main building, an architectural wonder and a real symbol of the city.
No trip to Northern China is complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Thankfully the hotel-that-thinks-of-everything has arrangements with specialist tour guides who, not only take you there, but have a wealth of knowledge.
Putting into words the sheer scale of the Great Wall and the surrounding mountains would be an injustice. There is a spine-tingling and silent awe of stunned appreciation from visitors. The period spent atop this manmade monolith will always be too brief.
At this section, in Mutianyu, however, there is another thing to make the heart beat even harder. A toboggan run will take you from the summit of the Wall back down the entire mountainside as fast as you dare. It’s a cultural joyride no one should miss.
Back in the city itself, tourist offerings are plentiful and it is an incredibly welcoming place. Don’t be surprised by the infectious smiles from the locals. At the top of the list of must-sees should be the Forbidden City. Visitors should take a few hours to experience the audio tour and, similarly, take a trip to the 798 art district. Again, the hotel can arrange a brilliant guide for you.
Beijing at night can be an extremely romantic affair, particularly around Houhai, a beautiful man made lake. Here you’ll find some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. Pop by for the local signature dish of Peking duck or snuggle in a cosy bar to watch the sun set.
Before any nocturnal exploration, visitors should grab a drink in the hotel’s Centro bar. Open 24 hours, it’s one of the best in the city and a leading light in the capital’s blossoming cocktails scene.
Nick Ord is a specialist cocktail consultant who has trained the staff behind some of the world’s finest bars. Brought over to distil his knowledge into the team at Kerry, he says: “Beijing is brilliant for sophisticated and fun drinking. Everyone in the city seems so proud of its culture and that comes across in the creativity of the bartenders.”
It’s the cocktail of culture that gives Beijing something of an edge over its Chinese contemporaries. Steeped in ancient history, the landscape bursts with architecture and modern attitudes.
When you visit a city so gloriously diverse, the last thing you want is to feel tied to your accommodation. With everything you could need to hand, however, Kerry Hotel, Beijing is a welcome outpost of recuperation from the relentless intrigue of Beijing.