Far from the main city sights, surrounded by a busy road and adjacent to Beihang University, there is a hotel that possesses everything but accomplishes nothing.
The first impression is one of awkward luxury: the lobby welcomes you with a beautiful Moebius strip sculpture, and a strange huge wavy wooden panel behind the reception desk to perhaps evoke an ocean of wood, accents that show that someone spent time thinking about design of the hotel and probably read a few books on the matter, and while they often miss the point, you will appreciate the effort. The rooms welcome you with nice hidden lighting effects and but also with strident direct spot lights at places; the fitness room welcomes you with a large sitting area with sofas and a dark, unused bar, with exercise machines waiting in the back for anyone that manages to avoid the temptation to sit and rest; the swimming pool welcomes you with interesting ceiling lights and attractive lounging chairs and tables, but then the water temperature tells you that this is no recreational area, that the pool means business that the cool water will shift your swimming into overdrive. The hotel is very functional and really misses nothing physical: bathrobe and slippers, sauna closet in the locker room, a reasonable quality restaurant on the premises, even a bathroom scale, a nice touch, whose dead batteries they ignored to change after I pointed it out to them.
The most disappointing part is the human experience which, at least for a foreigner who cares, gives you an uneasy feeling. Most of the staff have a very rudimentary English and appear distant to any other form of communication, which renders many of the hotel services, beyond sleeping and being fed, cold and pointless. This specially the case in the Spa which, judging from the furnishings and the skills of my masseuse, could otherwise be great. You will find yourself begging that the hotel staff says something to you, whatever the language.
If your business or pleasures take you to that part of Beijing, and you are not new to China, you can probably not do better than this hotel, which you may likely forget as soon as you take the plane to return home.
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