The Mandarin Oriental Group taps HBA and Adam D. Tihany for its boutique outpost in Beijing

The Mandarin Oriental Group taps HBA and Adam D. Tihany for its boutique outpost in Beijing

It’s been a busy year for the Mandarin Oriental Group. Following the relaunch of its London Hyde Park hotel after a top-to-toe overhaul, and then openings in Dubai and Doha, comes the first of two new properties in Beijing.

Occupying the upper two floors of WF Central, a low-lying six-floor luxury lifestyle destination designed by global firm KPF, the bijou 73-room hotel is the work of global firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) who took its cues from the property’s location - right next to the Forbidden City - while keeping to the Mandarin Oriental Group’s signature approach to contemporary luxe.

The compact residential-like lobby, dominated by a Frank Gehry Fish Lamp and the signature Mandarin Oriental fan, designed by Oscar-winning art director, Tim Yip, leads straight to the guestroom floors. Here, tactile materials, like the buttery-soft leather door and wall coverings, textured wallpapers, walnut wood, and brass details, form a rich base for furnishings like the four-poster bed - inspired by those favoured by the Qing Dynasty princes - and curated, homey objects and local art work including books on Chinese history and pieces by the photographer and digital artist Yao Lu. Meanwhile, floor-to-ceiling windows, which frame sprawling views of the Forbidden City, shed a natural light over this property’s signature blue-green hues, which are revealed through the carpet’s pattern, inspired by the Chinese ceramics and the spring water wells of Wangfujing. 

This being a boutique property, the public spaces are pleasingly concise. On the 5th floor, past the soaring double-height library, which is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a pre-prandial cocktail on the MO Bar terrace, accompanied by magnificent sunset views over the Forbidden City, sets the mood for dinner either at the casual-dining Asia-inspired Café Zi or the Mandarin Grill + Bar. The former, sends out imaginative Cantonese favourites, like the pretty dim sum selection from Michelin-starred consultant chef, Wong Wing Keung, while the latter, overseen by Executive Chef Mikael Robin, serves up crowd-pleasing classic grill dishes, from seafood platters to steaks. The masculine steakhouse setting comes courtesy of designer Adam D. Tihany, who paired chevron-patterned wood flooring with burgundy semi-circular banquettes and black and white photography by Chinese photographer Jin Shisheng and French artist Louis-Philippe Messelier.

After a day spent visiting nearby sites such as Tiananmen Square, the National Museum or the bustling 798 art district, wind down at the hotel’s spa, either with a swim in the light-filled 25-metre indoor lap pool, or with a treatment like the Emperor’s Longevity, which takes place on a bed of warm quartz sand and uses Xiuyan jade together with ancient Gua Sha meridian techniques.§

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