Hmm, Rosewood. You mean that American hotel group, right? Wrong. In 2011, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts was bought by New World Hospitality, an offshoot of Hong Kong's New World Development, so it's one of our own. The deal included such famously upscale American hotels as Mansion on Turtle Creek, in Dallas, and The Carlyle, in New York, as well as de Crillon, in Paris, France.
Which means we're talking iconic hostelries? Yes. And now Rosewood has opened its first mainland hotel, in Beijing's central business district, right in front of that other iconic building, CCTV's headquarters, aka The Underpants.
So how does it, er, measure up? Fabulously. This writer was so impressed by the size and opulence of her room, she thought she'd been upgraded to a suite. She hadn't; the average size of the 283 rooms is 50 square metres. Even in the luxurious suites, however, we're not talking retina-burning bling. This is tasteful territory.
More details please. Exactly, it's all in the detail. Each room, for instance, contains a selection of books, including one of China's four great novels, which you can read while lying on your chaise longue. If that's not enough literature, there are mini-libraries with art and history books in each corridor. The room lighting is excellent and clearly labelled. A digital clock is set into a wall in the bathroom (above); there's plenty of space for toiletries; and a dressing table has been built into every walk-in wardrobe. It's unusually female-friendly and free of weird gimmickry.
I get the picture. You will. Art is everywhere. Rosewood's core concept is "A Sense of Place", so well-known Chinese artists have contributed to the warm, cultural wrap-around in the public areas. You definitely know which country you're in and that geographic logic continues into the restaurants where, like the literature, the emphasis is on the classics. Old imperial dishes have been updated in The House of Dynasties, Country Kitchen (above) has rediscovered "lost" traditional Beijing recipes and March will see the opening of a restaurant called Red Bowl, which will be entirely devoted to hot pot. If you fancy something French, try Bistrot B (below) which is already getting rave reviews from foodies in the capital.
Anything else? Yes, the most priceless commodity of all is the staff. They're cheerful, near-psychic in their ministrations and terrific. Could whoever's doing Rosewood's in-house training please take on the mainland's other service industries?
What's the bottom line? Obviously ultra-luxurious, game-changing hotels don't come cheap. Standard rooms (top) begin at 2,420 yuan (HK$3,045) plus 15 per cent service charge, which includes breakfast. Suites start at 4,000 yuan plus 15 per cent service charge, which includes access to the Manor Club, the most spacious executive lounge in the city (it has a pool room). You'll save on transport though. Wise guests, avoiding Beijing's horrendous traffic, take the adjacent subway. Fifteen minutes, and 4 yuan later, you're in Tiananmen Square.
For reservations and more information, visit www.rosewoodhotels.com