Creative mod cons and a relaxed style are the major draws at Hotel Jen Beijing.
Situated across from Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheerenâ€™s iconic CCTV Tower, the China World complex has some of the coolest views in the capital. Right at the heart of it? Hotel Jen Beijing: the latest addition to Shangri-Laâ€™s hip, millennial-centric brand.
And boy does it tick all those boxes. From the moment you enter, itâ€™s clear that this is no cookie-cutter five-star hotel. A geometric black-and-white marble floor spans the width of a lobby punctuated by modern sculptures, while an enormous screen digitally broadcasts the brandâ€™s philosophy of â€śwork, play, shareâ€ť in vivid colors behind check-in staff. The focus is squarely on pleasing independent travelers and so-called â€śroad warriorsâ€ťâ€”those 30-somethings traveling for business who donâ€™t just want somewhere to eat and sleep, but a place to be energized and inspired too.
To that end, Jenâ€™s Prototype co-working space is a perfect fit. Guests get free access to the third-floor venue, an inviting pad of artfully arranged sofas, nooks, and tables (with speedy WiFi throughout of course) where patrons can enjoy unlimited tea, coffee, and snacks. What makes it work, however, is the fact that Prototype is also open to in-the-know locals, who effortlessly add a creative buzz to the space. Thatâ€™s just one way the hotel taps in-to Beijingâ€™s entrepreneurial, big-city vibe; on the ground floor youâ€™ll find Beersmith, a glossy gastropub that brews its own seasonal beers inside copper vats laser-cut with Chinese zodiac signs.
And while the 450 rooms are as comfortable as youâ€™d expect from the Shangri-La group, the piĂ¨ce de rĂ©sistance is undoubtedly the hotelâ€™s graffiti-sprayed gym, Trainyard. Two entire floors of the propertyâ€”a whopping 3,500 square metersâ€”have been devoted to the art of working out, with no expense spared on bringing in the latest equipment. From a Jacobs Ladder to a high-spec Pilates studio, MMA area, and boxing ringâ€”if youâ€™re a fitness junkie, it doesnâ€™t get any better than this.
1 Jianguomenwai Ave., Beijing; 86-10/6505-2277; doubles from US$133.
This article originally appeared in theÂ August/September 2017Â print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śCapital Assetâ€ť).