I fell in love with Paris... I fell in love with my wife... I fell in love with spring, but never have I fallen in love with a hotel! Before our trip, I had read numerous reviews about this particular Marriott... some good, some bad, some lukewarm. Even Marriott classifies it as a lowly "3" for rewards purposes. To be honest I was a little spooked!
We arrived around midnight in one of their Audi "limos". I had read cab drivers were having a hard time finding the hotel so we decided not to risk a taxi, though it would have been much cheaper. What I didn't know at the time was taxi drivers had a hard time finding most any place because street designations are so confusing.
Important: As we entered I was startled to find an amazingly beautiful, contemporary lobby.
More important: My first epiphany of many dealt with the concierge staff. I had e-mailed them several times concerning restaurant reservations and tours and was always amazed at their speedy response... the most responsive I have ever encountered. Now I know why... as we checked-in Ellen, one of the concierge staff, came over, greeted us and gave me an envelope with a printout for each restaurant reservation requested. Remember this is around one in the morning!!!
At the time, I didn't really realize how important these would be. Whether we walked, took a cab or the subway, they were life savers. On each printout there were two rather insignificant paragraphs, one in English and one in Chinese. These described the restaurant location by proximity to landmarks and well known buildings. This was only way our cab driver found our first restaurant. After that we used the subway because the streets were so congested at dinner time.
From then it just got better and better. For the first year ever, we are Gold Elite members so we had access to the Concierge/Executive Lounge. We have been able to enjoy this "perk" at four different Marriott's this year, but none equaled what we experienced here.
Every morning my wife was re-amazed with the made to order omelets and, realize, when you reach Gold Elite things are free of charge. Every night we would come back exhausted, but had enough energy for a final visit to the lounge for a Baileys, no ice. Note: I am and will do everything I can to maintain this status. We are not rich, only retired, but this status is certainly worth it weight in "gold". We have reached the gold airline level, have gold and platinum credit cards, gold this, gold that, but this is truly the one worth having.
The rooms were spacious and immaculate, the hotel beautiful and the "onion" domed roof top recognizable and stylish, but in retrospect I must correct my header. **I didn't fall in love with the hotel... I fell in love with the staff.** If I knew a word that describes graciousness to the upteempth level I would use it here!!
I only have one complaint... no one told us how good two of their restaurants, the Pearl and the Hawka, would be. We were scheduled to go a "noodle bar" one night, but were so tired of the the traffic and the crowded subways so we decided to eat in the hotel. This is unprecedented, by the way. We generally find hotel food unremarkable and do whatever we can to avoid it.
We had walked by the Pearl one morning, the menu looked good and, amazingly, the prices looked reasonable. So we planned to go there the night in question, but changed our mind. As we approached the Pearl down the corridor, just in front of the Hawka a chef/cook was making noodles by hand. The exact reason I wanted to eat at the aforementioned abandoned "noodle bar." Needless to say, we ate noodles that night and what noodles they were!!. When we got back home and I looked at my credit card billings, I was a little embarrassed to find how little we paid for such a splendid meal. As usual we left a 20% tip, but 20% of close to nothing is, at the saying goes, closer to nothing. Had I known I would have left a larger tip. An aside: I have never enjoyed tipping for "good service" more than in Beijing. After all the word "tip" is an acronym for the phrase "to improve performance" or so our guide in Cairo told us.
I could go on and on, but I'm certain have already passed the information overload level, but I want you to know we went to the Pearl the next night. It was also superb.
Thank you for staying with me.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This stunning landmark Beijing hotel is adjacent to the remaining ancient Ming Dynasty City Wall, a five-minute drive to Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Silk Market, and a 5-minute walk to Jianguomen Subway Station. Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall is home to 357 elegantly decorated rooms and suites featuring Marriott's trademark "Revive" bedding and connectivity to plug and play iPods and other personal devices. The meeting space comprises of 2,300 square meters, including a pillar-less ballroom that is interchangeable to suit your needs. Wireless high-speed Internet is accessible in all public areas and meeting rooms. Aside from the preferable accommodation and meeting facilities, we offer a distinctive selection of restaurants and bars. Our various facilities and services include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a half-Olympic-size indoor heated swimming pool, 24-hour room service, Gold Key Concierge service and a stay to remember. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott Beijing