Where is it? The Grand Hyatt is located on Changan Avenue, Beijing's main thoroughfare, at the entrance to Wangfujing, the city's premier shopping street - and you can't get much closer to the heart of the Chinese capital than that. Part of the Oriental Plaza, which is among Li Ka-shing's stable of properties, the five-star hotel is an easy walk from the Palace Museum and Tiananmen Square. Two metro lines converge under the hotel, making ventures farther afield that much easier.
What about the rooms? More than a quarter of the hotel's 825 guest rooms and suites have recently been upgraded, with a new lighting system and chic furniture and bedding ramping up the glamour in each. South-facing rooms look over to Changan Avenue while those facing north enjoy a view of traditional glazed-tile roofs. On those rare days when the sky is clear of smog, guests on high floors may glimpse the yellow-roofed Forbidden City.
What about the food? While the hotel offers a wide selection of cuisines, from Italian to Cantonese, the Grand Hyatt Beijing is known for its local fare. At the Made in China restaurant, Beijing specialities are prepared in open-style kitchens (above right). The breakfast menu features delicacies such as pot stickers and pan-fried dumplings with minced prawn, pork and mushroom; steamed dumplings from the steam kitchen; and fried springs rolls with shredded duck meat from the wok kitchen. Lunch and dinner menus include favourites such as Peking duck (right), crispy pigeon and home-made noodles with meat in soya bean sauce. For dessert: sweet osmanthus-flavoured crème brûlée and an assortment of ice creams. The hotel's signature ice cream comes with chocolate chips and Wuliangye, a strong sorghum liquor.
Made in China claims it "offers a new level of entertainment and dining". Would you agree? The food is good but I wouldn't say it is the best Beijing's Peking duck restaurants have to offer. Nevertheless, I'd still agree with the statement; unlike other Peking duck restaurants, which feature one huge dining area, MiC is designed in the style of a cosy tea-house. If that isn't enough of a "new level" for you, then let me say, the service is exemplary.
And what can you tell us about this "urban resort" the hotel says it has? It is swimming pools, basically. The Grand Hyatt has a 1,500-square-metre indoor pool (top) in what it calls a "tropical resort setting" - think lush palm trees and vegetation, and changing scenes overhead that simulate various weather conditions. What is more, music is played at you while you swim underwater. There are also two massage pools inside grottos and a smaller pool for children.
What's the bottom line? A Grand Premium room starts from 1,510 yuan (HK$1,870), plus 15 per cent, if you book at least seven days in advance.
For more details, go to www.beijing.grand.hyatt.com