Luxury Really Is Personal: A Review of the Park Hyatt Beijing
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To The Point
The Park Hyatt Beijing is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Pros: comfortable and livable rooms, excellent views and modern gym. Cons: lobby closed for renovations, and disappointing breakfast buffet.
In early November, we learned that people with the Platinum Card® from American Express and the Business Platinum Card® from American Express can earn 5x points on Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings when reserving through AmexTravel.com. In order to test whether these bookings would also earn hotel loyalty points — spoiler alert: They do — I booked my first FHR stay at the Park Hyatt Beijing. Here’s my take on China’s first Park Hyatt property, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in October.
I booked my stay at the Park Hyatt through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program for $275 per night before taxes and fees.
The total for two nights came out to $634. I made sure to add my Hyatt elite number to the booking.
And, since I booked through Amex FHR, I received various useful benefits including daily breakfast, guaranteed 4pm late checkout, complimentary Wi-Fi and a $100 food-and-beverage credit.
I could have also redeemed 20,000 points per night, which TPG’s latest valuations value at $340 per night. But, considering the significant value obtained from Amex FHR benefits, it was much better for me to book through Amex FHR and pay cash for this stay.
The Park Hyatt Beijing was on floors 37 to 49 and 59 to 66 of the Beijing Yintai Centre. Along with the Park Hyatt, the complex contained offices, shopping and restaurants. It was in the Central Business District across from the China World Trade Center and near the embassy district. But it was also well connected to most tourist sites.
Traffic can be horrible in Beijing, so I prefer to travel by subway — and lines 1 and 10 both stopped at the nearby Guomao station. I paid just 28 yuan (about $4) to get from the airport to the Park Hyatt with one simple connection.
I followed signs from Exit C of Guomao station to Beijing Yintai Centre. Once in the building, I followed the signs to the Park Hyatt, which led me to an elevator to the 62nd floor and then to another elevator to the temporary reception area on the 61st floor.
The check-in agent explained my Amex FHR benefits, although I wish I’d also received a printout, as the details were too much to remember. I ended up visiting the front desk the next morning to clarify some of the benefits and found FHR information from the hotel waiting in my room later in the day.
The agent confirmed my Hyatt loyalty number at check-in and then informed me that she was proactively providing 1,000 Hyatt points, which TPG values at $18, to offset the inconvenience caused by ongoing renovations on floors 62 and 63. These renovations were scheduled to finish by the end of December, but during my stay they displaced the lobby and The Lounge restaurant. But, besides me missing out on what was supposed to be a beautiful lobby and requiring an extra elevator transfer, the renovations didn’t affect my stay.
By booking through FHR, I was eligible for a room upgrade upon if space were available. The check-in agent didn’t mention an upgrade, but I likely received a one-category upgrade from a basic park-view room to a tower-view room. The size and layout of both room types were the same, but tower-view rooms had a view of the CCTV Tower — which I could see from my window.
I stayed in Room 4115, a tower-view king room on the 41st floor. The open-room concept was evident as soon as I opened the door.
The bedroom and living room were straight ahead, the king bed was to the right, a two-person table was on the left, and a large couch was also straight ahead.
The bed, which was comfortable without being too soft, had just one comforter instead of a flat sheet and blanket. I prefer this style, but if you run warm, this means you’ll need to sleep with no covers until the room cools down.
There was a bedside table with a large drawer on each side of the bed. Also on each side of the bed was a lamp, light controls and a universal power outlet. The right-hand side of the bed also had two USB outlets.
The couch was firm but comfortable. I enjoyed lounging on the couch while looking out the window at the traffic below. Two throw pillows provided extra comfort.
A large table with two chairs provided enough working space for two guests. The chairs weren’t traditional desk chairs, but they were comfortable for working.
Next to the desk was a drawer with office supplies like paperclips and a stapler.
The minibar and Nespresso machine were also next to the desk.
The room-temperature minibar items were in a drawer below the coffee machine.
Beneath this drawer was a cabinet containing a refrigerator with cold minibar items.
A price list of minibar items was next to the coffee machine.
Between the couch and desk was a flat-screen TV measuring 54.5 inches along its diagonal. There were 76 TV channels, including many English-language channels.
There were large sliding doors that could be closed to separate the bedroom from the bathroom.
To the immediate left of the entrance was the toilet room with a Toto Japanese-style toilet and small sink area.
The shower had a handheld shower head as well as a rainfall shower.
Next to the shower was a bathtub.
Body wash, shampoo and conditioner from Aromatherapy Associates was provided in the shower, while a bar of soap and bath crystals were by the tub.
Across from the shower and tub was an island. On the side facing the tub, was a counter with a bowl of apples and a teapot. A kettle, ice bucket and extra bath towels were under the counter.
On the other side of the island was the main sink and vanity. On the counter was a makeup mirror, bar soap, lotion and washcloths.
On a shelf to the right of the counter were glasses, two water bottles and a miniature clock.
Under the counter were amenities including dental kits and shaving kits, a blowdryer, scale, hand towels and trash can. Opposite the sink was a full-length mirror.
To the left of the sink and vanity was a walk-in closet with 12 hangers, an iron and ironing board and two soft, warm bathrobes.
The walk-in closet had a safe, luggage bench, slippers and instructions for using the complimentary shoeshine service.
All of the rooms were outward-facing. My room was faced east, so I overlooked skyscrapers and a mesmerizing intersection of two highways.
Food and Beverage
Since I’d booked my stay through FHR, my stay included breakfast for two each morning and a 600-yuan dining credit that could be used for the hotel’s restaurants, bar, room service and minibar. The front desk said on two separate occasions that 600 yuan was $100, but it was really more like $85. Regardless, I ate and drank as much as I wanted during my two-night stay at the hotel and still didn’t reach 600 yuan.
FHR reservations came with breakfast for two at the China Grill on the 66th floor. The views from China Grill were sprawling.
Breakfast was served daily from 6:30am to 10:30am as a buffet with a made-to-order juice station and a cooked-to-order food station. The buffet had Western and Chinese options, but the quality varied greatly. For example, the fruits were fresh and the hash browns crisp, but the waffles were tough and barely warm.
Overall, it was worth showing up if you had breakfast included. but I wouldn’t pay extra for the buffet breakfast. China Grill also served lunch and dinner in an upscale environment, but I didn’t visit, since I was staying on a US time schedule during this stay.
I visited the China Bar on the 65th floor shortly after midnight on Friday night. The bar was busy, but I was immediately shown to a window seat. Menus were available on a tablet.
I ordered two glasses of Chinese sparkling wine and Parmesan truffle fries for 277 yuan total (about $40) and was also provided a bowl of spicy rice-cracker mix. The sparkling wine, views and service were excellent, but the fries were lukewarm and I felt the music was too loud. The bar opened daily at 5:30pm and closed at 1am during the week and at 2am on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Lounge restaurant, which was relocated to the 61st floor, was a homey cafe offering a limited selection of Western and Asian comfort foods from 7am to midnight. I didn’t try it, but it seemed peaceful in the morning and more active in the afternoon and evening.
I ordered a club sandwich through room service at 5am my first night. The meal, which cost 155 yuan (about $20), arrived about a half hour after I ordered.
The sandwich was warm and freshly made and had a tasty combination of ingredients: Canadian bacon, chicken tenderloin, fried egg, tomato and lettuce. I wouldn’t hesitate to order this sandwich again. When I called for my meal’s removal, someone came to remove the cart within three minutes.
The pool, gym and spa were all on the 59th floor, accessible by elevator from all guest floors. The pool and gym were open 24 hours every day.
The gym was large and well-equipped. There were treadmills, elliptical machines, exercise bikes, rowing machines, free weights, weight machines and a general-use exercise studio. Everything was new and top-of-the-line — the treadmills had excellent interfaces that allowed streaming from the internet or your own device. There was bottled water, fruit and towels.
There were men’s and women’s locker rooms, each with their own lockers, showers, toilets, steam room and sauna. Sandals and towels were provided. And there was a swimsuit-drying machine that was great for guests who were departing soon.
The spa desk was next to the locker rooms on the way to the pool. A menu in my room showed the available services.
The pool was quiet and relaxing. There were two large Jacuzzis and a lap pool. There weren’t many chairs around the pool, but I was the only person in the pool when I visited.
In my room, there was a pillow menu offering various types of pillows: foam pillow, cervical-support pillow, buckwheat pillow, green-tea pillow and soft feather pillow. There was also a card listing complimentary items that the hotel could provide. Some items were for you to keep, while other items were for you to borrow (or purchase, if you preferred).
Wi-Fi was provided in guest rooms and public areas. The hotel used a Beijing-based ISP, so there were the expected issues resulting from China’s Great Firewall.
But the internet speed wasn’t particularly fast either, measuring 5.81 Mbps download and 5.84 Mbps upload. Once I connected to a US location via a VPN, the speed dropped to 4.38 Mbps download and 2.27 Mbps upload.
It’s hard to find significant fault with my two-night stay at the Park Hyatt Beijing. My room was well-maintained and exceptionally clean, and it contained everything I needed for working and relaxing. My room-service order in the middle of the night was surprisingly delicious and arrived quickly. And the vast majority of the staff members I encountered were friendly and efficient, with the breakfast staff in the China Grill being the only exception.
Sure, I could lament the FHR $100 food-and-beverage credit not actually being $100, the relatively slow Wi-Fi and not getting the full Park Hyatt experience with the main lobby undergoing renovations. But, overall, it was a great stay and a good introduction for me to the Amex FHR program.
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