The new Penta Beijing builds on the chain’s re-imaged positioning, offering a hub of casual relaxation for guests and local residents alike. The 309-property sits in the increasingly trendy Dong Cheng area – think Chaoyang and Wangfujing precincts, brimming with dining and shopping attractions.

“It is an alternative for travellers who are tired of five-star rigidity and want more value for their money,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of New World Hospitality, Penta’s hotel management company. “It appeals to the young spirited individuals who want to feel connected, yet forego fluff, fuss and five-star prices.”

Originating in Europe, the pentahotels brand consists of 13 properties in Germany, Austria and the UK and now two in Asia – Shanghai which opened last year, followed this week by Beijing and eventually Guiyang with 197 rooms in 2013 and Shenyang with 390 rooms in 2014. According to Cheng, who spearheaded last year a campaign that saw the venerable New World Hospitality emerge with fresh direction, purpose and image (click here) and is also supervising the development of its other brands New World Hotels and the newly acquired Rosewood Hotels and Resorts (click here), explained the eventual goal is to have a portfolio of 80 properties globally by 2020.

Centering the Penta concept is a multi-purpose lounge, “not lobby“, Cheng stressed, “where everything flows and is not divided according to the usual way you see it in most hotels. She added: “It’s really an extension of one’s guestroom – a living room where people can hang out and mingle with other guests.”

The lounge is meant to function as a reception, bar and café, not just for guests but neighbourhood residents as well, Cheng said. With wifi throughout the hotel, in-house guests can bring their laptops or use the complimentary internet corner.

To mark Penta Beijing’s launch, a two-night rate of RMB650 (US$103) a night with daily buffet breakfast and internet access among others is available between March 30 and August 31, while another special promo offers travellers who stay three consecutive nights in any pentahotel in Europe or Asia from March 30 to June 30 a free two-night weekend stay at any pentahotel of their choice, redeemable up to December 31, 2012.

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Margie T Logarta