Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Westin Hotel - Beijing - Financial District

Our accommodation for three nights was at the Westin in Beijing's financial district. This is truly a 5 star hotel with luxurious accommodations and rooms filled with amenities including things like slippers and robes.

The hotel has several restaurants but the only one we ate in was Senses. And it was fantastic. While items are available a la carte, the restaurant is really set up for a buffet. We had three breakfasts there and one dinner.

The selection was enormous, including both Asian and Western type foods. For dinner, besides some typical items like salads and cheeses, there was a soup/noodle station, a carving station and a sushi station. In addition to that, there was an area where the diner could get cuts of meat or chicken cooked to order. There were piles of prawns and spring rolls. In the hot food section were woks filled with meats, fish, vegetables and soups. Of course there were gorgeous looking deserts and loads of (EXCELLENT!) fruit.

Service was top notch with teacups being kept full, dirty dishes being whisked away and our napkins being refolded when we stepped away from the table.

Front desk service was also excellent and I converted some U.S. dollars to yuans. As our guide said, the exchange rate at the hotel was very fair and I didn’t have to go in search of an ATM machine, although there was one way in a first floor back corner of the hotel.

My only complaint about the hotel itself was the temperature control in the room. It was warmer than I would have preferred and couldn’t get it reset lower. I mentioned this at the front desk and, when we returned from a day out, I noticed that the thermostat was now set lower. It must be something controlled by housekeeping and the adjustment was made.

My other comment (not really a complaint) had to do with the location of the hotel. Since it was in the financial district, it was surrounded by other business buildings and the area was not conducive to an evening (or early morning) stroll. It’s not that we would have felt unsafe. But when I stroll in a foreign city I want it to feel foreign….not like I’m walking about the financial district of any major U.S. city.

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