Since its opening in 2008, The Opposite House has established itself as Beijing’s leading luxury design hotel, within a complex developed by its owners, Hong Kong based Swire Hotels, which includes the Village, its North part offering the finest luxury shopping destination of the Chinese Capital, with probably the most impressive stores of some of the top international luxury brands (Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, Balmain, Dsquared etc) – all with street level stores, including the stand alone flagship stores (each on 3 floors) of Montblanc, Miu Miu and Emporio Armani. The retail offering is well balanced, with Village South, which features highstreet brands such as Nike, Uniqlo, Apple or the upcoming Abercrombie & Fitch, not to mention the most diverse cafes, including a Godiva chocolaterie.
As part of the company’s commitment to support Chinese talent, the lower level of the Village North features a large concept store with the creations of local fashion designers. The permanent as well as the seasonal art installations in the hotel are also uniquely featuring Chinese artists.
The cutting edge minimalist design, with an impressive glass ceiling atrium which hosts the impressive art installations by famous local contemporary artists, the informal, yet very atentive and intuitive service and an excellent food & beverage offering – have all coalesced in turning The Opposite House into a trendsetter, in an almost natural way, without the arrogance that some other design hotels might have. Breakfast at the hotel’s Market Restaurant was great! – with choice of many organic produce. My favourite restaurant is Sureno, on the lower groundfloor (still with plenty of natural daylight) with a very nice mix of Mediterranean cuisine – make sure you try the Tapas and the fish.
The House as most of the staff and guess like to call it, has been constantly attracting visitors and locals alike, many of which have turned into loyal fans, uniquely bringing together Western and Chinese culture, in a subtle dialogue through design, arts, fine dining and entertainment. I was pleased to encounter many locals (both Chinese and expats) who live in Beijing and who regularly check into the hotel over the weekends, or who come almost daily to dine at the hotel, considering it their second home, hence the appropriate appelative of a house.
In many ways, The Opposite House is an expanded Andaz Hotels concept (Hyatt Corp), not only from the point of view of design but also with the lack of a physical reception or concierge desk and a similar casual and friendly service, with guest assistants who perform multiple roles. Besides the already almost ”standard” check-in using an Ipad, The Opposite House provides an Ipad for each room, each connected to a centralized service centre, allowing for extensive direct interaction.
Once in your room, you can customize the Ipad already has your personal data and you can customize your preferences and place instant orders for a wide range of services, from housekeeping to ordering room service, make a restaurant reservation or simply message with the Guest Centre on any issues or requirements you might have. Within seconds, each service is confirmed and the staff follow up. The Ipads also feature extensive local area information but also a wealth of media, such as a collection of the hotel’s very own CD music collections. The air-conditioning in my room has an issue with not maintaining the set automatic temperature, so instead of picking up the phone, I used the Ipad to message about the issue – I received a confirmation of receipt and a personal message in less than 5 minutes.
The hotel also has an App which is available to download from Itunes, featuring all information regarding the various dining, entertainment and shopping highlights of the area as well as detailed infomation about the hotel. This can be an ideal tool for those who prepare their visit to Beijing but also for those House fans who wish to stay in touch after they leave the hotel.
Rooms and suites are very spacious and bright, with floor to ceiling windows. Despite the minimalist interior design approach, rooms feel warm and cozy, due to the choice of light beige and cream colours as well as the wood which adorns most of the room: walls, floors and the entire bathroom. With the exception of the TV which is slightly dated (2008), the room has all the nowadays luxury ”basics”: automatic controls of lights, DND, blinds and request cleaning. As for the open bathroom (separate bathtub and shower), divided from the room by a glass with soft cotton curtains with a Balinese feel, I was in for yet another surprise – a complete set of organic amenities (so rare to find these days even in the most luxurious hotels), including bath-salts by Ba Yan Ka La, a Chinese brand which uses ingredients such as Tibetan Roseroot. The quality and the scent are impeccable!
A comprehensive photo set is available in a dedicated gallery on our Facebook page.
Oliver Petcu in Beijing
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