The Peninsula Beijing
After completing a US$123 million (S$167 million) transformation this May, The Peninsula Beijing is an entirely new hotel within the same shell. Its number of guestrooms has been slashed from 525 to just 230.
Private pieds-a-terre atop the sprawling city, the new rooms are a minimum of 60sqm, most of them much larger. Each has a separate living area and bedroom and a sanctuary of a dressing room with a valet box and nail dryer.
Chinese art plays a prominent role in the lobby, where a new three-storey white-marble staircase is flanked by abstract ink paintings by Qin Feng and a pair of bronze sculptures by Zhang Du. The tourist-friendly location is one thing that hasn’t changed at the property, and it remains a primary reason why the Peninsula is our base of choice in Beijing.
Hotel de Crillon
Reopened in July, this Rosewood Hotel is testament to the power of careful curation. A four-year renovation has seen the historic property jettison its dated furnishings and haughty froideur in favour of a sleek, yet unabashedly luxurious ode to the Parisian way of life, thanks to a dream team that included Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director Aline d’Amman and architect Richard Martinet. The 124 rooms and suites are spacious and decorated in the manner of chic Parisian apartments, adorned with much of the hotel’s almost 1,000-strong collection of contemporary art. Unexpected delights await guests in every corner – from the bespoke Les Ambassadeurs cocktail in each room’s bar to the boutique toiletries from Parisian brand Buly.
Eminent French interior designers such as Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian and Cyril Vergniol each took charge of specific sections of the hotel.
Minassian, for example, oversaw the historic Les Ambassadeurs cocktail bar, an opulent fantasy of crushed velvet, soaring marble walls and ornate restored chandeliers which the designer draped with fine steel chains for an edgy, modern vibe. Lagerfeld designed the Grands Appartements, a set of two suites and a room overlooking Place de la Concorde: highlights include Baccarat chandeliers, Lagerfeld’s favourite books and the (perpetually booked) Choupette room, with its quirky wallpaper and carpeting that mimics cat scratches.
Choupette merchandise is also on offer in the Crillon’s gift shop, which features a bespoke selection of luxury products from niche brands such as Noor Fares. Every aspect of the French Neoclassical property – which dates back to its commissioning in 1754 by King Louis XV – is infused with the spirit of its illustrious past. We recommend experiencing this via the pearl-grey and pink clad Marie Antoinette suite and salon, where the hotel’s most famous fan took piano lessons and looks out onto the very square where she met her ignominious fate.