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.§