Ritz-Carlton, Financial Street, Beijing
One of the Ritz-Carlton's new-look hotels, this funky, modern Financial Street outpost bears no traces of the chain's signature country-estate grandeur. Instead, an airy, clean-lined aesthetic prevails, lending the 253 guest rooms and suites an almost W-esque feel, with muted color schemes of cream and dove gray, angular light fixtures, bold black-and-white wall photographs, and gleaming marble-and-chrome baths. Clever design touches abound: the Chinese character for "comfort" is embroidered on the crisp white duvets; remote-controls for the flat-screen TV's are housed inside miniature cheongsam-style dresses; and each room's entryway is decorated with glass animal sculptures bats, horses, ducks, and the mythical bixies to ensure good feng shui. The hotel's common areas are equally cool; in the lobby lounge, walls are adorned with 60,000 sculpted resin bamboo leaves, as well as specially commissioned paintings by famous local artist Bo Yun. And the enormous indoor pool (part of a 15,000-square-foot spa complex) has a giant movie screen at one end where classic black-and-white movies are shown.
Insider Tip: Take afternoon tea in the lobby lounge, where 88 different brews are offered. (Our pick: green Longjing tea from the lake city of Hangzhou, long favored by Chinese leaders and visiting heads of state.)
Room to Book: Eastern-facing corner suites have views over the Forbidden City rooftops.