Luxury Hotels: Ritz-Carlton (Beijing, China)

Ritz-Carlton is a leading name in luxury travel and you have to be a dumb dumb to not enjoy a stay at one of their properties. While this one wasn’t the best, it still was a pleasant stay made all the better by a Marriott Pointsaver deal - a rarity for Ritz - that only set me back 80,000 points for five nights.

In this high-end brand in the Marriott portfolio, hotels are either super classy or super modern/sleek. This falls into the former. Everything is nice and ornate, if a bit dated. The facilities are top notch, especially the breakfast, which has a huge selection of Chinese and global cuisine that really makes your day start off right.

The real downside to this trip was a conference that had taken over the hotel and forced military-style security precautions. While going through a metal detector on every entry to the hotel can get annoying, the tiny lobby felt a bit oppressive with all the security guards and hotel staff. And with the constant redirection (“go this way, sir”) and holding of elevators for others, it really didn’t feel like this Platinum member mattered much.

More disturbingly, we arrived to our room 15 minutes before our 4pm late checkout to find three staffers inside moving items around and getting ready to pull our stuff out. It’s not cool to plan on ejecting guests like this and jumping the gun on the agreed upon 4pm checkout time. Fortunately, we were mostly packed and we walked in before they could rifle through things.

That mishap at the end and the eerie security-state atmosphere were obnoxious but not worth raising a ruckus over. More importantly, the hotel just seemed to be living off its name, which is more than evident when you check out the St. Regis closer into the Forbidden City. That hotel is far cheaper, far nicer and better in virtually every way…that review is up next.

Verdict: Acceptable but overpriced (6.5 / 10)

Brad Chase

Media Guy, Crisis Communications Advisor, Postmodern Drifter