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Whoever said, “Expectation is the mother of disappointment,” hasn’t stayed at the Peninsula Beijing. It’s been 5 years since I stayed in one of the nicest hotel rooms in Asia, The Peninsula Suite at the Peninsula Bangkok. I consider that stay as one of my most profound, it was not just the physical opulence, but the hotel recalibrated my understanding of luxury and customer service.
The Peninsula Bangkok set a standard, one that I’ve held other esteemed properties to around the world, and needless to say, my expectations were significantly higher entering my second Peninsula stay in Beijing. As a group, Peninsula prides itself on not only knowing your needs, but creating experiences that you’ll be talking about for years to come.
The Peninsula Beijing not only executed these principles with understated precision, warmth, and professionalism, but surpassed any expectation I had going into the stay. It was nothing short of one of the best stays I’ve had, bar none.
Details of our Trip:
- When: December 2017
- Where: Beijing, China
- Booking: Virtuoso
- Room: Duplex Suite —-> upgraded —–> Grand Premier Suite
The Peninsula Beijing recently underwent a $100M+ renovation.
The Peninsula Beijing not only spent a fortune renovating the hotel, but they cut their total room count from 525 rooms to just 230. It nows holds the title of largest entry level “room,” in Beijing, which is now a whopping 65 sq meter suite. Absolutely fantastic. Earlier in the year I had visited the hotel for Afternoon Tea with my parents on my Mom’s Surprise Trip Around the World and was impressed with what I saw.
Now that we were looking to visit Beijing for just 2 nights, I wanted to make every single part of the trip memorable. Enter Virtuoso.
Booking with Virtuoso.
For special stays, typically those not involving the redemption of points, I use Virtuoso. I have a good relationship with Josh King, and highly recommend his services. I let him know that my girlfriend and I would be traveling to Beijing for the weekend and wanted to check rates.
Given the list of prices below, we were most interested in a duplex suite.
I also inquired about airport transport. One of my bucket list experiences was taking the Peninsula Rolls Royce airport transfer.
With those rates you also get the following benefits:
- You also are met with the senior most staff member upon arrival.
Airport Transport and Arrival
The Rolls Royce transport was a complete surprise to my girlfriend. In actuality, staying at the Peninsula was a surprise, too. We had discussed options, but the ultimate decision had been a bit of a mystery 😉 I’m a huge sucker for surprises, and love to pull one off whenever possible.
One of the cool aspects about arrival in Beijing is the opportunity to arrange an escort to meet you at your arrival gate, and walk you to your airport pickup. Yes, this is available at other airports as well, but it’s very affordable and quite a cool experience that I wanted to share. Some hotels include this service as part of the pickup, the Peninsula does not. It cost roughly $45.
American Airlines flights arrive into Terminal 2. If you’ve arranged pickup, you’ll exit the airport, walk across the street where your car will be waiting for you. Personally, I prefer the VIP transfer in Terminal 3, but it’s still a cool experience. Our Rolls was waiting for us. I’D HIGHLY recommend paying the premium once in your life.
Check in and Room: Premier Grand Suite.
As part of the renovation, the Peninsula Beijing did away with a traditional front desk and instead has a more remote style check in off to the right. However, we were greeted by Anna Porisch, Director of Guest Relations when we arrived. This is a perk of using Virtuoso, but Anna was on another level. She warmly greeted us both, and escorted us to our room, an upgraded Grand Premier Suite for in-room check in.
The suite measures roughly 1000 – 1100 sq ft and is drop dead gorgeous. She informed us that we had been double upgraded from a Duplex suite to a Grand Premier suite. The neutral, cream tones of the room feel fresh, luxurious, and paired perfectly with the alabaster marble of the bathroom.
Everything in the room can be operated via iPads that control the shades, tv, lights, temperature, etc. Not only is the room luxurious, but the technology, while extremely advanced, is understated and subdued. I loved that the design of the room was to make everything accessible without knowing it was even there.
I also loved the integration of the TVs subtly tucked behind sliding doors.
The closet of the suite has a perk I’ve only seen at Peninsula. There is a caddy that you can leave your dull shoes in for a shine. The door opens to the hallway, eliminating any interaction with staff. Simply put your shoes, laundry, pressed items in the caddy, close it, press a button, and voila – your items are returned looking next to new.
The hotel had arranged special little treats for us too. Knowing that both my girlfriend and I work in the entertainment industry, a Valrhona chocolate cake was made in the shape of a movie camera. We met the pastry Chef, Frederic Moreau, that night at dinner. A true master. It will be something we remember for the rest of our lives.
They also made special arrangements to have our initials embroidered onto the pillow cases.
We couldn’t believe the extra steps they took to make our stay special. I’m not sure what Josh told them, but it worked 🙂 Anna, informed us that we could take the pillowcases home as well. Incredible.
The side tables, instead of keeping drawers that guests never use, employed a different approach. Integrating charging cables and plugs that all guests will use. Add in the iPad controls and touch screen lighting switch – I felt like I was in a very luxurious future I never wanted to leave.
Anna gave us a full suite tour as well. One of my favorite parts is the bathroom. Dual vanities, luxurious products, and when you run a bath you can select an option that dims the lights, turns on your “do not disturb” sign, and plays relaxing music. Mouth drop.
As a perk of Virtuoso, each room receives buffet breakfast for 2 in Jing. It’s a beautiful restaurant with regional items as well as western options. There are made to order omelettes and sweets like pancakes as well.
We also visited Huang Ting, the Peninsula’s Cantonese restaurant. It was outstanding as well.
Location of the Hotel:
Our main purpose for the trip was to be within walking distance to Forbidden City. It’s roughly 20 minutes on foot to Tiananmen square and the entrance to Forbidden City. If you’re looking for a “high street” to do a little retail therapy, you’ll only have to walk about 5-10 minutes to hit Wangfujing, a long corridor of mixed western and eastern stores.
We were so busy that we didn’t get a chance to use the spa, gym, or pool. I peeked my head in before check out, but didn’t use the facilities. Here are a couple of pics from the hotel website.
Other Service notes:
Anywhere we went in the hotel we were addressed by name. We were never made to wait, tended to immediately when we grabbed a drink, snack, or just wanted to see various parts of the hotel, and always made to feel very welcome. Miles was in love and found a new Pen Pal 🙂
A continued quest to fulfill my Peninsula Bucket List.
After we spent 2 phenomenal nights at the Peninsula Beijing, bid adieu personally by Anna Porisch, I couldn’t help but feel renewed in my quest to stay at every Peninsula hotel in the world. These are truly special experiences. At just 10 hotels currently open, it’s not an impossible quest, and one I think worth the investment in time and money. I couldn’t recommend the Peninsula Beijing more, and if you’re looking to make your base of operations as special as the sights you’ll see in Beijing, I’d urge you to stay at the Peninsula Beijing.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.