My visit to Beijing in July this Summer marked my return in 10 years, much more memorable now since I could barely remember much on my prior visit as a child. For the past few years, I've been told countless times about 'how much China has changed'; from the 2008 Beijing olympics to the 2010 Shanghai expo, both events that firmly changed the international recognition of the cities. 'Eeeeeeverything is modernised... and bigger'. The selection of hotels available were daunting, as was expected; remembering that Beijing is the capital of China and, like any other big city, famous for its congestion.
I grew up in Hong Kong and insist myself as a 'city person' (which automatically translates as used to skyscrapers and attractions up high). So I can handle bars that are over 100 floors high up (Ozone in Hong Kong), I'm very good at containing myself when I see skyscrapers, and I'm definitely not a stranger to large crowds.
China is a different level. When trying to let my friend know about the address of the hotel, and the closest subway station, the search doesn't end there... it begins there. Park Hyatt Beijing elevates the whole travelling experience - perched up high on the upper floors of the Beijing Yintai Centre. Located in the heart of Beijing's CBD, exactly above 'Guo Mao' station, there's a lot to do around the area since the hotel is connected to the China World Shopping Mall (complete with every luxury brand you can name). I found that when hotel searching location-wise, Beijing is so large that location doesn't really matter as long as you are in the centre? Everything is well-connected on the subway. It's not a walkable city at all (hence the song 'Nine Million Bicycles' by Katie Melua, 'there are nine million bicycles in Beijing, that's a fact...). So you'll either have to put up with the subway for convenience, try your laugh with cycling or test your patience with the traffic.
The hotel was designed by Remedios Siembieda who has created a portfolio of luxurious hotels such as the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo and Guangzhou. The theme of the interior design is based on Suzhou architecture mixed with some traditional Beijing hutong styles (think water gardens and Hutong brick walls). If you are foreign to the Park Hyatt hotels, first-time visitors may find the fact that lobbys are located above the guest rooms, a weird concept. Though that is how the hotel is designed to offer a more majestic lobby - this particular one perched on the 66th floor and offering panoramic views of the busy ring roads below. The rooms have quite the view themselves - mine overlooked Jianguomen all the way across to the CCTV headquarters. I have this thing with swimming pools, just because they're an attraction themselves (given they're unique enough, no extra cost), and if you enjoy swimming along with skyscrapers, Park Hyatt will not disappoint (see?).
In terms of the clash between Western and Eastern cultures, there will be no difficulty in finding this in luxury hotels; from the modern architecture with traditional roots/statues to the cuisine - China Grill, an informal restaurant rests on the top floor of the hotel (and building). Entering through a hallway of towering library bookshelf wine cabinets, guests can choose from an array of Chinese and Western dishes while gazing at the red and white colours below.
Book your trip here and make sure you aren't afraid of heights.