Beijing JJStyle 01: Livin’ Large at Hilton

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Hilton Hotels and Resorts gave my friends and I the amazing opportunity to witness creative and stylish Beijing via the Stay Hilton. Experience Asia Contest. I couldn’t wait to see Beijing, as it is now, post Olympics. The last time I went was a year before the 2008 Olympics, and already back then I knew that the city was going to be one of the my top favorite cities in the World, and surely #1 in China for me, mostly as a center of Political Power, and China’s historical and cultural center.

The good news is, the Stay Hilton. Experience Asia. trip made me realize, that Beijing today is way better than it was when I last visit all those years ago. It is still my #1 favorite city.

As soon as we landed at the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), we were greeted to a surprising welcome at the gate. There was a lady with a sign. We felt like a celebrity, it was very cool. I felt at home right away.

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The BCIA opened right before the 2008 Olympics, and its impressive design is based on the Dragon. It’s designed by Sir Norman Foster for Foster + Partners from the UK. The firm claims its the largest airport building in the world!

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After a warm welcome at the airport, me and my pals, Denise and Jason were picked up in a nice Mercedes Benz where it was a relaxed and smooth ride all the way to the hotel. I was surprised how quickly it got to Hilton Beijing Wangfujing, especially because it’s centrally located within the first ring road, so I expected it to be far.

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On the way we were in awe of Beijing’s urban landscape. As an architect, I really appreciate the right sensitive mix of new and old structures. I really feel that a city must make bold urban statements with design, but at the same time, be mindful of its past while preserving historic architecture. This is exactly why I was happy to visit Beijing all over again.

Steven Holl’s Hybrid Project on the way to the hotel.

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We got there in style, and were greeted by signature Hilton hospitality at the front door of the hotel at Wangfujing District, Beijing’s main commercial and historical central business district (CBD).

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Hilton Beijing Wangfujing turned out to have less of a business feel and while the hotel catered to that, the scale and design was completely like a boutique hotel and destination oriented, as Beijing is one of China’s top global tourist destinations.

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After a smooth check in at front desk, we were led to our Premier Suite. It was breathtaking and pretty freakin’ cool.

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The Premier Suite suite has one bedroom, two bathrooms, a dining room and kitchen to entertain, a living room, an office area, a fully stocked bar, two flat screen TVs, and a Nintendo Wii.

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I wish I had a walk-in closet like this in Hong Kong, a city of tiny spaces and apartments. Everything in Beijing felt even more “Grand” with a room like this one.

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We were greeted with cute little things… like this Teddy.

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This plate of Macaroons which took a few days to eat.

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And this amazing dessert plate.

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Downstairs we had a welcome buffet lunch at Vasco’s.

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The design of Vasco’s was quite chic and classic at the same time. There was plenty of sunlight into the space. But most of all the food selection was great. There was a mix of Eastern, Western, and Regional Chinese Dishes. For breakfast we all had press coffee. It was divine.

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As if the dessert plate in the room wasn’t enough… we had to get more at Vasco’s.

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Later after lunch we all checked out the amazing rooftop pool. I could spend hours here. Great for quiet reflection especially at sunset.

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Anyway, i’ve checked out the bar in the room which came with an espresso machine.

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And with the Wi-Fi and a nice corner desk, my blogging was ready to go!

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The other guys were making themselves feel right at home.

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I cant wait to write more of my Beijing experience. But first… I need to make myself coffee at the Executive Lunch. (The best coffee in Beijing haha)

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STAY Beijing Hilton Wangfujing / EAT Vasco’s / ARCHITECTURE Linked Hybrid / ARCHITECTURE Beijing Capital International Airport

This post was originally published on November 13, 2012 for CNN.com and Hilton Hotels and Resorts for the CNNGO Experience Asia Contest.

JJ.