Where to stay in Beijing

A hip contemporary hotel in the 'embassy district' versus a Ming-dynasty-inspired retreat near the city's Kunming Lake.

The Opposite House

This is a hip, contemporary hotel located in Chaoyang. Also known as the Embassy district, this is where East meets West in China's capital. The area has great nightlife, internationally branded shops and there are Western-style restaurants on your doorstep.

How they rate it

The entire feel of this hotel is great, says Lucinda Baring in The Sunday Telegraph. It is light and spacious but "dusky and intimate" in the bars and restaurants. "The attention to detail is exceptional" throughout. The rooms are all a good size and light and airy. The only drawback is that the bathrooms are only separated from the bedrooms by a sheet of glass and a curtain, which "certainly isn't soundproof".

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The menu

There are two restaurants in the hotel. Bei serves Chinese food and Sureno dishes up Mediterranean fare. Dishes at Bei include wagyu tenderloin with cucumber, morels, pickled garlic and watermelon. Or try red bean, date and black sesame mochi with house-made strawberry, pear and sesame ice cream.

The cost

Double rooms cost from £174. For more information visit www.theoppositehouse.com, or call 0086 10 6417 6688.

The Aman at Summer Palace


This hotel was originally built in the 18th century to accommodate guests awaiting an audience with the empress. Situated just outside Beijing city centre near Kunming Lake, where the Imperial royal family used to spend their summers, the Aman offers guests a bit of peace and quiet away from central Beijing. That said, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall of China are all within easy reach.

How they rate it

The Aman is a "tranquil retreat from the bustle of Beijing", says The Observer. The 51 rooms are "beautifully designed" in a cluster of buildings that have been "influenced, in both architecture and design, by the Ming dynasty", says Cond Nast traveller. The magazine included the hotel in its 2010 Gold List. Guests can enjoy the special privilege of accessing the Summer Palace through a private entrance.

The menu

The hotel has four restaurants serving dishes ranging from Peking duck to burgers to French Kaiseki a combination of French technique and Japanese artistry. The latter is served at Naoki, which has won a Time Out food award.

The cost

A double room costs from £370 a night. Find out more at www.amanresorts.com, or call 00 800 2255 2626.

What the travel writers are saying

Paris has an abundance of grand hotels, but "small is beautiful too", says The Independent. It has routed through the new Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France to find the best boutique hotels in the French capital.

The narrow street of Rue Kepler in Paris' chic 16th arrondissement is "an ideal address for a boutique bolthole, within trotting distance of the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elyses and all the sights of the Right Bank." Hotel Keppler is wonderfully fashionable, but "luxuriously tranquil". Book a superior suite for views of the Eiffel Tower. Rooms cost from €220 (Keppler.fr).

For something truly out of the ordinary, try Hotel Particulier Montmarte in the 19th arrondissement. This hidden gem is a "surprising, visually arresting space, in which pop-art giant lips and aristocratic antiques cohabit with kitsch, life-size statues of angels". Each of the hotel's suites features works by different artists.

Book the 'Trees With Ears' suite for lashings of velvet, antiques and a rubber earpiece and brass button that connects to a speaker behind a sofa "it's for relaying sexy messages to your lover at the other end of the suite". The hotel doesn't have a restaurant, but a chef can be hired to serve up a private dinner either in the beautiful garden or indoors. A suite costs from €290 (Hotel-particulier-montmartre.com).