Exploring Asia Overview
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge Review: The Cabin at HKG
Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing
Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel
Beijing: Dongcheng District
Beijing: The Great Wall
Beijing: Run-ze Jade Garden
Beijing: The Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu
Beijing: Tiananmen Square
Beijing: The Forbidden City
Beijing: Hutong Tour via Rickshaw, Tea Tasting, Flying to Xi’an
Lodging Review: Hotel Shangri-La Xi’an
Xi’an: Qing Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors
Xi’an: Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
Xi’an Wrap-Up, Flying to Lhasa, Lhasa Home Visit
Lodging Review: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market
Lhasa: Canggu Nunnery and Sera Monastery
Lhasa: Potala Palace
Leaving Lhasa and Flying to Chongqing
Cruising the Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Jingzhou City Walls Tour
Wuhan: Hubei Bells Performance and Provincial Museum
Shanghai: Shanghai Museum
Lodging Review: Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
Shanghai: Old Shanghai and Yuyan Gardens
Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo: City Tour
Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour Returning by Shinkansen
ANA Suites Lounge Review, Tokyo Narita
All Nippon Airways B777-300ER First Class Tokyo Narita to Houston
We took a car service from the airport to the hotel. We used the folks at Tour Beijing and paid extra for an English-speaking guide. We also paid for a vehicle that could seat six and that turned out to be a very good thing because each of the three of us had a very large bag and a carry-on and I also had a backpack. We ended up with a mini-van and the back was full. I had thought we were paying for an extra person to give us a tour as we made our way to the hotel but that was not the case. As a side note, our friends who arrived later that evening were told no English-speaking guides were available after 9 PM.
We arrived at the Regent Beijing in the early afternoon. While I had seen the photos on their website I was still impressed with how elegant the hotel seemed. Lots of marble-like finishes, very understated and classy. The lobby was quite large with a water feature in the center and the reception desks to the left. To the right was an elevator that led up to a Morton’s of Chicago steakhouse.
Straight ahead on the main floor was a long, narrow seating area that doubled as a lounge.
Outside the back door was a garden area with another water feature.
We were greeted promptly and I was thrilled to find out our rooms were ready. In our group of twelve, there were two rooms each with two beds and the other four rooms each had one bed. All of the four one-bed rooms were up on the top floor and I’m told they had nice views of the surrounding area. Our twin rooms were on lower floors where the views weren’t quite as nice but I’m not sure it really mattered because for the first three days we were in Beijing it was overcast and/or rainy so with the low cloud cover there wasn’t much to see anyway.
The front desk staff members were all very young but spoke reasonably good English. After receiving our keys we took the elevator to the seventh floor.
The twin beds were nice and large and pretty comfortable, if firm (which I expected, since this is Asia). I liked the king-sized pillows that came with them. A single nightstand was affixed to the wall between the two beds. There were no outlets bed-side, which was a pain. My friend’s bed was the one near the window and their was an outlet between the bed and the chair though that was likely meant for a floor lamp or for the vacuum. We did notice that in all the hotel rooms in China there were smoke masks. It was a little weird at first but it actually makes pretty good sense in case of emergency!
The desk was a glass counter at a 90-degree angle from the beds and the chair had its back to the large window (which actually had a ventilation panel that opened!). It had a lamp that could be maneuvered as needed.
On the wall across from the beds were a series of cabinets. The one closest to the window had a couple of shelves and two drawers of different sizes. The electrical outlets were located on top, including a power strip as these outlets could also be accessed from the desk.
Next to that was a larger cabinet, on top of which the TV sat. There were probably 3-4 English channels in addition to Chinese channels. In the cabinet was a shelf for the DVD player and behind the cabinet doors were the mini-fridge and the tea set. Bottled water was complimentary and was refreshed daily as we were warned not to drink the tap water (and this was the same message we received throughout China). Between the TV cabinet was a low 2-drawer chest which doubled as a luggage rack.
The wardrobe was fairly standard and was where we found the bathrobes & slippers and iron & ironing board. On one side were more drawers and the safe. A large umbrella was also provided and if you need additional umbrellas, they are available at the concierge desk.
The bathroom was nice and large. It was separated from the bed area via a giant picture window but fortunately it had blinds for privacy.
A large free-standing tub was on the left. I did not try it out but it looked quite deep. The edge of the tub was not really wide enough to be able to sit on if you wanted to do that while shaving your legs, which was annoying.
The vanity had only a single sink but that left a fair amount of counter space on either side. A glass shelf beneath had extra towels and a scale was available on the floor. The hair dryer was tucked into one of the drawers.
Of the two glass doors on the right, the left one led to the toilet.
And the right one led to the shower. I was glad that their was a choice between the rainfall showerhead (not my favorite) and the hand-held version which could be adjusted as needed. The water pressure wasn’t terrific but was adequate. The shower had a built-in shelf for toiletries and it was here that we found mold deep in the corners. Not a huge issue but disappointing, to be sure. There was no bench or nook for me to prop my leg up while shaving.
The toiletries were Damana brand and worked fine.
Housekeeping was fine and turndown service came early, at about 4 PM.
The hotel has conference facilities and a spa, neither of which I checked out. In the gym area there is a large room that could be used for aerobic or yoga classes. Across the hall were the weight and cardio rooms. While neither room had extensive equipment, there was plenty of opportunity to get a good workout and get the blood flowing.
There is also what is supposedly a fairly nice pool but since you have to step through a foot bath to reach it – and I was in street clothes – I did not get to see it myself.
The hotel has three restaurants. The first night, those of us who arrived first dined at the Morton’s of Chicago, mainly because we knew over the coming weeks we’d eat a lot of Asian food and we wanted to have something different while we could. It was as you would expect – quite good, quite pricey.
The second night, once the whole group had arrived, we all went to the Italian restaurant, Dacappo, which was also good though not cheap. Each morning we dined at Jinbao 99, the extensive buffet that had both Asian and Western options. If you couldn’t find anything to eat there you are a truly picky eater.
The Regent Beijing is in the Dongcheng District. Nearby is a fair amount of upscale shopping and it’s only 10-15 minutes away from the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square. We noticed a lot of business people at the hotel so it seems to be a good location.
While this was the hotel included with our tour, six of us paid for a Saturday night stay before the tour officially began and each room ran us about $270 all in. That seems a fairly reasonable for the accommodations. I could not find that Regent hotels have any sort of loyalty program so I just used my Chase Sapphire Reserve card to pay the bill and earned three Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent. I later realized we could have booked via Points Hound or Rocketmiles and earned airline points too but I was also uncertain as to whether or not those reservations were refundable and I did not want to take a chance in case of flight delays.
In spite of their lack of a points program, I had a very enjoyable stay at the Regent Beijing and think this would be a great place to stay again.