on May 12, 2006
In the heart of Beijing, within comfortable walking distance of Tiananmen Square is a bastion of consumerism. The Peninsula Palace Hotel is as opulent and luxurious as any capitalist could want. And yet, it's rather affordable by US standards. A good room can be booked for around $250, not cheap, but certainly less than its sister property in Chicago. A room on the Magnificent Mile at the Peninsula Chicago can easily run $500 or more. I felt the service and amenities were just as nice in Beijing, perhaps on a less grandiose scale. The lobby is surrounded by an upscale set of boutiques including Hermes, Tiffany, Ferragamo, etc. Actually, I saw no one shopping in them. But they do set the tone. The concierge desk was a mini-travel agency, booking daily tours, helping with in-country flights. The pool and fitness areas were gorgeous, a nice way to start the day. The room itself was decorated and designed with a feng shui expertise that enhanced our entire experience. If you are planning a trip to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, I would try to get a reservation now, it could easily be sold out a year in advance.
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