East, Beast, Feast in Beijing

by  James Sturz | Nov 5, 2012
Beijing, China
Beijing, China / rabbit75_ist/iStock

For many travelers, having plentiful amenities within arms reach makes for a great trip. Those who travel abroad would rather not squander downtime – or cash - trying to hunt down a bite to eat or a place to relax. For lovers of art, hearty meals, and fat wallets, guests at Beijing’s EAST hotel may find their business trip to be, dare we say, fun.

With the admittedly strange slogan of "a business hotel with a life," Swire Hotels' EAST, Beijing opened on September 24 in the Jiangtai area of the Chinese capital's Chaoyang District. Rooms range from 323 to 753 square feet, with walk-in rain showers and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Through December 31, rooms are $128, plus a 15-percent service charge.

As though the affordable prices weren’t enough, EAST boasts a number of comforts to ease travelers’ woes. Rhyming amenities include a fully equipped gym with indoor/outdoor pools called Beast (i.e., Body by East) and three restaurants and a live-music whiskey bar collectively known as Feast (i.e., Food by East). As of this writing, it's unclear if the lavatories or lounge will be known as Least, though it’s safe to assume yoga in the gym will probably not be called Yeast.

Another advantage EAST holds is its location. Beijing is the world's second-largest art market after New York, making its 798 Art Zone and nearby Caochangdi artist village destinations in their own rights. Which means you might not want a hotel by the Forbidden City if your main goal is to see – and perhaps buy – some of the contemporary art. EAST’s prime spot puts that art in easy grasp (although you still don't want to touch the canvas) at remarkably affordable introductory prices. The hotel follows in the footsteps of EAST, Hong Kong, which opened in 2010, and is Swire's second Beijing property after the luxe Opposite House, which opened in 2008.

Of course, once you're done with art, the Chaoyang District is equally known for its nightlife and Silk Street Market, so there will be plenty of places to spend your hard-saved yuan.


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