No expense has been spared on this flagship property of a new Chinese luxury hotel brand hoping to compete with the likes of Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental. NUO makes up for an iffy location with exquisite design, lots of clever extras, and the best buffet dining in the city.
A little far from the centre of town, NUO is in the leafy northeast neighbourhood known as Lido, popular with well-heeled locals and business-minded expats. Handy for the 798 Art District, but it’s a good half hour by taxi to the Forbidden City. The situation should improve markedly when the Gaojiayuan subway stop (line 14) opens beside the hotel.
Address:2 Jiangtai Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.
Style & character
Designed in a contemporary oriental style which the hotel calls ‘Modern Ming’, NUO dials back the glitz and crystal in favour of curated art pieces and elegant Chinese flourishes, such as circular ‘moon gate’ space dividers and oversized Ming vases. There are still acres of marble, naturally, and much of the art is by Zeng Fanzhi, one of China’s most famous (and valuable) contemporary artists, including a four-ton bronze sculpture of a mountain greeting new arrivals in the lobby.
Service & facilities
Service is friendly and sincere but lacks the polish and verve of brands like Four Seasons with their years of experience. Excellent facilities include an indoor swimming pool, fancy gym and spa. The hotel deserves credit for its green credentials, too, which includes electric vehicle charging stations (and a pair of electric cars for city drop-offs), as well as a pollution filtration system throughout the building.
Very generous in space, in elegantly muted blues and greys. White marble bathrooms separated by sliding screen doors and all boast twin vanities, free-standing tubs and custom-made pu’er tea-infused amenities. Even the lowest tier rooms come with walk-in wardrobes, Chinese tea sets (the hotel has its own plantations throughout China), hi-tech entertainment and a clever closet where you can exchange laundry and dining without staff needing to bother you. Female guests get an embroidered silk vanity kit akin to the offering on a first class airline.
Food & drink
Practically every global cuisine is on show at N’Joy, a cavernous buffet restaurant with delectable cooking stations (the Indian and Middle Eastern food is especially good). Weekend champagne brunches are exceptional value, with four types of all-you-can-drink bubbly, Boston lobster, freshly-shucked oysters and a whole tuna on the sushi station. Elsewhere there’s a Cantonese restaurant, a Chinese-styled tea house, and O’Bar, yet to really catch on, despite a humongous rooftop terrace.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Large elevators throughout; several guest rooms modified for disability access.
Kids menus in the restaurant and lifeguards and floats in the pool. Extra beds available in all rooms.
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