Beijing hotels: 9 fantastic new places to crash
Leading up to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing went on a hotel building frenzy. Unlike in other Olympic cities, however, long after the medal winners moved on the tourists kept coming.
The newest hotels to hit China's capital are seen as ambassadors of the new Beijing.
The nine properties listed below have each launched in the last 18 months.
Rates are based on a stay in August -- the fifth anniversary of the Olympics' opening ceremony -- and are the lowest offered by the each hotel, based on double occupancy.
iReport assignment: What are your favorite spots in Beijing?
1. Hotel Éclat Beijing
Like Hotel Éclat's Taipei property, this new 100-room Beijing hotel (opened March 2013) is big on art and design.
Masterpieces on display are created by Western artists famous enough to be known only by their last names -- Dali, Warhol. There's also work by talked about contemporary Chinese artists, including Gao Xiaowu.
More than half of the rooms feature terraces, including two suites with private jet pools measuring five or 10 meters.
Exclusive to guests, Éclat Lounge offers all-day refreshments on the house.
Other standard amenities include mini-bar and Internet access, and 3D flat screen TVs that can be enjoyed from in-room massage chairs.
The hotel is located in Beijing's Parkview Green complex, which also houses an upscale shopping center.
Hotel Éclat Beijing, No. 9, DongDaQiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing; +86 (10) 8561 2888; from RMB1,742 ($283) per night
More on CNN: Beijing's best shopping areas
2. East, Beijing
First came The Opposite House, then came East, Swire Hotels' much anticipated second Beijing property.
Located within the Indigo mixed-use complex between the Fourth and Fifth Ring Roads, this business hotel (more executive yuppie than uncles in ill-fitting suits) benefits from a mall just next door, plus the cool 798 Art Zone down the road.
The 369 guest rooms range from 30 to 70 square meters. Guests in executive suites, on the 24th to 25th floors, enjoy additional privileges, including use of an upstairs lounge.
All-day diner Feast offers two- and three-course business lunch menus on rotation weekly. There's also a "California-inspired Japanese" restaurant, Hagaki, and a cafe.
Xian has live music, a whiskey bar, al fresco park-view deck and a game room with arcade-style games and pool and foosball tables.
East Beijing, No. 22 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing; +86 (10) 8426 0888; from RMB863 ($140) per night
3. Conrad Beijing
The March 2013 opening of Conrad's third property in China brought a striking 29-story building within walking distance of Beijing's CBD and Embassy District.
The interiors of the 289 rooms and suites are furnished in a palette of light neutral tones, with three meter-high ceilings stretching the vertical space. There's a 25-meter pool, fitness center and three restaurants. Come June 2013, a spa (operated by Jing Chen) and rooftop bar, Vivid, will be added.
In the bathrooms, heated marble floors cozy up the cold winter nights, perfect for when you can't pull yourself away from the in-mirror television.
You can also customize your stay prior to arrival via the extensive Conrad Concierge app, including the selection of bath amenities from Shanghai Tang, Aromatherapy Associates or Tara Smith Vegan Hair Care product lines.
Conrad Hotels, 29 North Dongsanhuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing; +86 (10) 6584 6000; from RMB1,920 ($309) per night
More on CNN: Beijing travel: 72 hours in the Chinese capital
4. Kerry Hotel Beijing
Formerly the Shangri-La Kerry Center, Kerry Hotel Beijing was rebranded in November 2011, becoming the Shangri-La brand's second property in China after Shanghai.
The 486 guest rooms include 23 club suites, situated on the 12th to 19th floors, which feature access to The Club Lounge. These also come with additional amenities including an all-in-one printer and marble bathrooms with built-in televisions.
CCTV building-facing views are available, upon request.
Wellness and sports are a key component for Kerry and the 7,000-square-meter Kerry Sports is slated to open at the end of May 2013, with the entire renovation completed by year's end. Among workout stations are a five-lane, 35-meter indoor pool, two indoor tennis courts and 220-meter outdoor jogging track on top of the complex.
When completed, Kerry Sports will also have a kids' retreat, the Adventure Zone, and multi-function courts.
Four food outlets include the Centro jazz bar (good cocktails, beautiful people, price tag to match). As part of the Beijing Kerry Center, shopping and dining options spill into the adjacent mall.
Kerry Hotel Beijing, No. 1 Guanghua Road, Beijing; +86 (10) 6561 8833; from RMB1,900 ($309) per night
5. Four Seasons Hotel Beijing
The newest property to fly the Four Seasons flag in China sits near the Third Diplomatic Precinct in Beijing's Liangmahe area.
Paying tribute to its location, the hotel's facade draws references from the ancient capital's imperial palaces. Inside, calligraphic art embodies a Chinese spirit. A specially commissioned steel butterfly installation, sprawled upward in the atrium, draws its inspiration from a local folktale.
For afternoon tea, the Golden Dragon Tea served at the hotel's Opus Lounge comes with truffle- and caviar-laced delicacies, champagne, imported tea and a two-hour massage in one of the spa's 11 treatment pavilions.
The 313 guest rooms, 66 of which are suites, include the Imperial Suite -- a three-bedroom stunner taking up the entire 27th floor. It comes complete with a piano in the living room and 275 square meters of outdoor terrace with a plunge pool, bar and fire pit.
Business travelers staying in club rooms on the 22nd to 26th floors get breakfast, afternoon tea, a light evening buffet and cocktails in the Executive Club Lounge. They also have freshly brewed coffee and tea delivered to their room 24 hours a day, laundry and pressing services, plus a shuttle service to get them to the CBD on time.
Four Seasons Beijing, 48 LiangMaQiao Road, 100125 Chaoyang District, Beijing; +86 (10) 5695 8888; from RMB1,572 ($255) per night
More on CNN: Insider guide: Best of Beijing
6. Grace Beijing
Formerly the Yi House Hotel, this boutique property was transformed into Asia's first Grace in late 2011, retaining its location at the 798 artistic enclave.
As with all Grace properties, the hotel's concierge service, "Bespoke by Grace," lets you call the shots before you check-in -- choosing what's stocked in your mini-bar, booking a mobile phone pre-loaded with city information or selecting a traditional Chinese pillow stuffed with buckwheat husks.
The hotel doesn't have a pool or spa, but the surrounding industrial factory complex of 798 is dotted with boutiques, craft shops, art galleries, bookshops and enough things hip to keep you distracted, including free admission to the UCCA art center in the art district for Grace guests.
Grace Beijing, Jiuxianqiao Lu, 2 Hao Yuan, 798 Yishu Qu, 706 Hou Jie 1 Hao; +86 (10) 6436 1818; from RMB595 ($96) per night
7. Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng Hotel
At the Sheraton group's second property in Beijing all the hospitality staples are accounted for -- comfy sleep courtesy of the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds, flat screen televisions, turn-down service, separate shower and deep bathtubs, a variety of on-site restaurants, fitness center and pool.
A swim cap is mandatory for a dip in the 25-meter indoor heated pool, while spa-goers have the choice of one of six private rooms at Shine Spa (also equipped with a mud bath and sauna) or can arrange for an in-room treatment.
Olympic Park view rooms on the higher floors have views of the iconic Bird's Nest stadium, illuminated after nightfall.
Sheraton Beijing, 36 North Third Ring Road East, Dongcheng District, Beijing; +86 (10) 5798 8888; from RMB1,600 ($260) per night
More on CNN: Visas waived for Beijing transit travelers
8. Rosewood Beijing
Slated for an autumn opening opposite the CCTV Tower, Rosewood Beijing will be the Texas-based group's first foray into China.
The 284 apartment-styled guest rooms and suites average a spacious 50 square meters.
Facilities will include seven food outlets, indoor pool, gym and yoga studio. An on-site spa will feature six private treatment rooms, while spa addicts can opt to stay in one of the five spa suites.
The Beijing hotel will feature artworks sourced by curators Arts Influential China.
Rosewood Beijing, Hujialou, Chaoyang District, Beijing; +86 (10) 6597 3888; rates not yet released
9. The Temple Hotel
Down a narrow alleyway, a 400-year-old Tibetan Buddhist temple was lost to the sands of time -- until it was rediscovered in 2007.
Zhizhusi, the former "Temple of Wisdom" and one of three Tibetan Buddhist temples dating to the Qing dynasty, is now the Temple Hotel's Main Hall, and a government-protected heritage property.
More than 200 truckloads of rubble were removed from the site and the hotel team enlisted specialists to help rebuild, replace, renovate and restore the property, including the unearthing of wooden panels still bearing their original Sanskrit paintings.
On May 31, 2013, The Temple Hotel will officially receive the 2012 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation for its restoration and preservation efforts. A soft opening is expected in early June, and the hotel should be fully operational by the end of 2013.
Eight rooms and suites will be decked out in custom-made furniture, with vintage pieces, artwork and light fixtures unique to each room. A ninth room will be added next year.
Facilities include the Temple Restaurant Beijing (open since 2011), meeting spaces and a gallery -- the hotel displays its own art collection in addition to hosting theater performances, literary chats, documentary screenings and other cultural and art exhibitions.
Temple Hotel, 23 Shatan North St., Dongcheng District, Beijing; +86 (10) 8402 1350; rack rates will start from RMB2,500 ($406) per night
None of these Beijing hotels suits your needs? Check out our list of Beijing's 20 all-time hotel greats.