Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Langham Place Beijing Airport

28 Sep 2011 by BusinessTraveller

BACKGROUND Since opening the first Langham hotel in 1865 in London, the group has opened seven others, as well as three under its Eaton brand and two under Langham Place. The new-build five-star Langham Place Beijing Capital Airport was unveiled in September last year. A third Langham Place is set to open imminently in Beijing’s central business district of Chaoyang.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The property defines itself as “the world’s first lifestyle airport hotel”. It has comfortable bedrooms you’d be happy to spend time in, a good selection of on-site restaurants, a ground-floor gallery with changing exhibitions of avant-garde Chinese art, and DJs in the lobby playing chill-out music. The contemporary interiors have obviously had money spent on them, with plenty of marble, slick technology and quality furnishings.

WHERE IS IT? Two minutes’ drive from the Lord Foster-designed Terminal 3 (a free Langham shuttle bus operates 24 hours), and about 30 minutes by taxi to the city centre (100 yuan/£9.50), traffic permitting. The New China International Exhibition Centre is close by.

ROOM FACILITIES Standard category rooms are spacious, at 45 sqm, and have all the facilities you’d hope for from an airport hotel. Windows are soundproofed but open to let in fresh air, the huge beds are comfy, there are LCD TVs, DVD/CD players, minibars, iPod dock/alarm clocks, wired and wifi internet (100 yuan/£9.50 for 24 hours, free for guests in Club rooms and above), marble bathrooms with rainshowers and freestanding tubs, a decent workdesk, black-out blinds, air conditioning and 24-hour room service. Everything looks new and polished, and you may even see the odd plane taking off.

The hotel’s website describes its suites as “Vogue worthy”, which probably isn’t too far from the truth. My Sweet Place suite had two rooms separated by a heavy sliding door. The large living area had a sofa, coffee table, TV and fridge full of drinks and snacks, while the bedroom was a pleasant place to work or relax in after a long flight. The only problems I had were finding the right combination of light switches to make the room completely dark, and setting the air conditioning so the room was cool but not freezing. Bedrooms feature subtle cream and gold patterned carpeting, dark wood, grey upholstery and black detailing, the final result being mannish, if a little austere.

The 24-hour split-level Club L lounge offers private check-in/check-out, a free bar, complimentary breakfast, snacks, afternoon tea and canapés, use of a boardroom, internet pods and a pool table.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Breakfast is served in the Place, on the ground floor, and comprises a generous buffet of Asian, European and American favourites. The Place also dishes up lunch and dinner from its open kitchens. Adjacent is the 24-hour Portal Work and Play, effectively the lobby bar. It has old-school arcade games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, retro chairs, free wifi, and a sit-up bar for cocktails. Also on the ground level is Fuel (open 11am until late), which has seating for 148 diners, an outdoor terrace, two party rooms and a Western menu of pizza, burgers and steaks. I ate here one Sunday night and found it empty except for a loud covers band playing, which was a little surreal.

The 146-capacity Ming Court (11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm), the hotel’s fine-dining option, is on the second floor and specialises in Cantonese and Shandong cuisine. It has runway views and seven private dining rooms – I had a business lunch in one and was impressed by the presentation of the 11 courses I was given, which included grouper balls with XO sauce, and durian puffs with double-boiled snow clams. The service was top class and I was only sorry I couldn’t eat it all.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is more than 2,700 sqm of event space divided between 15 function rooms, some of which can be combined to create larger venues. The Capital ballroom is the biggest, with floor-to-ceiling windows, 8.5-metre-high ceilings and a capacity of 540 people for a banquet.

LEISURE FACILITIES Outside is a basketball court, while inside is a 24-hour cardio studio with Technogym machines and free weights. A spa opens next year.

VERDICT An outstanding airport hotel that is well positioned for business travellers who don’t need to be based in the city centre. The interiors are luxurious, and the service welcoming.

FACT FILE

HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 372 in total – 249 Essential Place and 56 Club Place rooms, plus 50 Sweet Place, 12 Loft, four Townhouse and one Penthouse suite.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The amount of space, comfy bed, walk-in shower and luxurious décor.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in November started from 1,448 yuan (£143) for an Essential Place room.

CONTACT Langham Place Beijing Capital Airport, No 1 Er Jing Road Terminal 3; tel +86 106 4575 555; langhamplacehotels.com

Jenny Southan

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