The Kerry Hotel in Beijing is a classic of its kind. You don’t come here to lay in the lap of luxury – at least, not explicitly. This isn’t Sandy Lane in Barbados or Venice’s Gritti Palace. It’s not a beloved municipal icon like the George V in Paris, or Chicago’s Waldorf Astoria, or the towering Gresham Palace in Budapest.
Truth be told, this square slab of concrete and glass on Guanghua Road isn’t much to look at. But if you’re in Beijing on business – or just along for the ride with someone who is – you can do a lot worse. It’s fabulously located, a stone’s throw from the second ring road and the central business district. If you’re here to visit China’s power-crowd, and assuming you don’t have to schlep all the way over to Finance Street’s big banks, this place gives you great location.
It’s also a great place to schmooze. Food at Centro’s is excellent, covering the full panoply of global cooking, from hearty European fare to Western riffs on classic Asian dishes. The Horizon is rightly famed for its Chinese cuisine, starting and ending with its wood-fired Beijing duck – hung-grilled and roasted into thick, juicy, dreamy strips. Moreover the main bar stays open pretty much all night, and boasts a DJ who stays well into the early hours.
But you come to the Kerry for one main thing: the health centre. This writer hasn’t seen anything quite like it. A vast main stretch of free weights and cardio machines that would easily cater to a full-time sports team, along with separate workout and yoga rooms, a sizeable pool, and one of the best sauna/steam combinations in the city, including a jacuzzi and a super-chilled plunge pool.
And there’s more – much more. A full deck of massage tables, a 35-metre swimming pool and child’s wading pool, full-length basketball and tennis courts, four badminton courts, and a 230-metre jogging and roller-blading track. Bear in mind this is not a hotel in the California wilderness catering to decompressing celebrities or recovering rock stars. It’s just a very well run hotel in the heart of one of the world’s great cities. You don’t come here for the luxury. But you do come for everything else.
Address in Chinese: China, 北京市朝阳区 GuoMao, 光华路1号 邮政编码: 100020