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The Emperor Beijing

Address: 33 Qihelou Lu

Neighborhood: Dongcheng

City: Beijing

Phone: 011-8610-6526-5566


Expert Review

The Emperor's pedigree is impeccable. Designed by in-demand architecture firm Graft, who create swanky abodes for global celebs, it's a member of the Design Hotels portfolio. The location is magnificent, too, occupying Tsinghua University's former dormitory adjacent to the Forbidden City. And though the interiors are sharply dressed and the rooftop Yin bar cuts a fine view of the elaborate temple roofline - something doesn't seem quite right. For while The Emperor is perfectly luxe in style and sophistication, service is great, and there's free Wi-Fi and a complimentary in-room mini bar, it feels a little over-conceptualized. Despite its proximity to the Forbidden City, the references are contemporary and the lines are smooth and rounded, not square and crenelated. Each of the 55 rooms is named after a Chinese emperor - whose visages are stenciled onto the doors. Inside, the roofline of the Forbidden City is traced along the bedroom walls, and in the frosted shower glass. The in-room color palette (lime green, burnt orange, and suede blue) is a little sharp on the eye. Modular white furnishings hug the room's outline to visually link the functions - from bathroom to bedroom. Unfortunately, the proportions are wrong, with outsized black bathrooms and narrow channels through to the bed. It's a thin line between designer cool and impracticality. The design, lest we forget, was meant to be daring - and opening a boutique hotel that so closely treads the "love it-hate it" line is a large risk. Perhaps that is the point.

Tags: moderate

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