Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008

Grand Hyatt

This enormous, curved glass tower just a stone's throw from the shops of Wangfujing has a lot going for it: super-solicitous service; excellent in-house dining and entertainment; and the most outrageously over-the-top indoor "urban resort" in the city — the 4,921-square-foot Club Oasis, where a vast, waterfall-fed swimming pool is surrounded by Vegas-style stone columns, spa treatment rooms, and an overhead "virtual sky" that changes color through the day. The 825 rooms and suites, while not especially exciting (or especially Chinese), are spacious and comfortable, with lots of blond wood, glass and chrome, and cushy fabrics. Most have bathrooms with marble soaking tubs as well as walk-in showers. Of the hotel's seven dining and drinking options, the traditional, northern Chinese Made in China restaurant is notable for its fabulous Peking duck; the Redmoon lounge has inventive cocktails and live music. More Continentally inclined guests can opt for afternoon tea at the genteel Fountain Lounge or sample decadent cakes and pastries at the Patisserie.

Insider Tip: Go for a pre-breakfast stroll around nearby Zhongshan Park, where a colorful cast of tai chi practitioners, swordplay aficionados, and even ballroom dancers gathers starting at dawn.

Room to Book: North-facing rooms on the 16th, 17th, and 18th floors have sweeping views across the city. Deluxe rooms, which are 600 square feet each and have small sitting areas, are basically mini-suites.