China has experienced a hotel-building boom in recent years. And the new additions continue to get more luxurious. For a Zen-like urban retreat, cocktails overlooking the Forbidden City or a bed with a million-dollar view of Hong Kong, book a stay at one of these brand-new hotels.
Shanghai has hotels (Forbes Travel Guide Four-Stars Grand Hyatt Shanghai and Park Hyatt Shanghai) in two of the city’s tallest skyscrapers, but InterContinental is bucking the trend with its 200th venture, more than half of which is underground.
More than a decade in the making, the 336-room property finally debuted in November 2018, built into the side of a former quarry. Nearly the entire 18-story hotel is subterranean with guest rooms overlooking the lake at the bottom of the mine and rock walls topped by greenery.
In an unusual flip, executive rooms are not at the top but at the bottom — underwater, in fact. These, and all other accommodations, have the requisite flat-screen TV, but with thousands of fish swimming by outside your window, you’re unlikely to find a television show that’s any better. Lunch and dinner can be taken under the sea at Mr. Fisher, an elegant seafood restaurant set in an aquarium, complete with rays, small sharks and fish gliding right past to your table.
Of course, you won’t find a massive former quarry in central Shanghai. This hotel is tucked away in Songjiang, a 45-minute drive from the city, making for a quiet getaway from the bustle of the Bund.
Just before Chinese New Year, this sleek new property debuted in Beijing. The sister stay to Shanghai’s Four-Star The PuLi Hotel and Spa, The PuXuan is an urban resort sitting within China’s enormous capital city that offers 116 minimalist guest rooms, some with views of the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park.
This Zen hotel is more than just another stylish property. It boasts a peaceful inner courtyard, mirroring those of the historic hutong neighborhoods surrounding it, and a bevy of great cultural programs, including tours of off-the-beaten-path areas like the leafy former Legation Quarter.
Still, the best part is its location. Within walking distance of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and three subway lines (crucial for moving around the city), the hotel’s urban address is ideal for beating Beijing’s infamous traffic.
Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing
This March-opened oasis sits on busy Wangfujing Street, so you can only imagine how striking the views are from the sizable rooftop overlooking the Forbidden City. The hotel’s two restaurants and bar all open onto this spacious terrace, providing one of the only places in the capital where you can dine alfresco with the UNESCO World Heritage Site as your backdrop.
This is Mandarin Oriental’s first hotel in Beijing — the brand already boasts outposts in Sanya, Guangzhou and Shanghai — and, at 73 rooms, it’s intimate. These accommodations (some of which also have vistas of the Forbidden City) are as luxe as you’d expect — think cashmere throws from cult Scottish weavers Begg & Co, Bose speakers, Dyson hairdryers and Diptyque bath products.
It seems fitting that Hangzhou, the city that gave birth to tech giant Alibaba, now has this gleaming new business hotel: two 50-story glass towers fronted by upscale shopping center Raffles City.
The 324-room Conrad, which was unveiled in March, has the conveniences you’d expect in a brand-new property, like USB plugs and Bluetooth speakers, but it doesn’t forget homey touches, like blackout curtains and a gratis pillow menu.
You’ll eat well at this sleek skyscraper, too. One of Hangzhou’s highest restaurants, Li’An, can be found on the 50th floor serving Cantonese and Hangzhounese fare.
Standing tall on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour is Rosewood’s first Hong Kong hotel.
Opened in March, the 413-room property is part of Tsim Sha Tsui’s larger Victoria Dockside arts and design district, an ambitious cultural project expected to fully open in late 2019 — look out for mall-museum-hybrid K11 MUSEA, with 50,000 square feet of living walls, an amphitheater and a scattering of public artwork.
But the highlight of a stay at this new gem is the view — 80 percent of the accommodations features harbor vistas. Even if your room doesn’t overlook the water, though, you can still expect the equally appealing sight of Hong Kong’s many skyscrapers backed by Lion Rock mountain’s undulating form.