In June, I travelled to Beijing in order to position for a cheap Premium Economy fare to New York. I had the good fortune of staying at The Opposite House, a member of Swire Hotel’s “House Collective” brand through a one-night free offer by booking through Visa Luxury Hotels and Citibank. We booked in a Studio 70 room, which is an upgraded room which normally retails for around CNY 3,000 a night. All in all, we paid around CNY 1,500 each night for our stay.
We arrived at the hotel at around 10PM after arriving in Beijing on a heavily-delayed Cathay Dragon flight. We had taken a cab to Sanlitun, which was a 20-minute drive from the airport. This area of Beijing is most-known for its nightlife, which is especially popular with expats. The hotel is specifically located as part of Taikoo Li – a large shopping complex where you’ll find many major regional and international designer brands.
The hotel’s exterior is decked out in blue and green glass tiles, which I personally thought looked really cool and simple. I’ll note here that most of the pictures of the hotel interior were taken the night that I arrived when I was really tired and groggy, so I apologise in advance for the crappy quality.
The Opposite House Beijing Exterior
The hotel’s entrance doors are designed in the traditional Northern Chinese style, which was one of many local design touches sprinkled throughout the hotel. We were welcomed by two bellmen who were dressed in grey wool waistcoats, jeans and black t-shirts. They were dressed so casually that at times that we thought they were just random people on the street.
This theme persisted throughout the stay, with most staff wearing clothes that had a generally casual look and feel. While I get that the hotel was trying to emphasise its young and casual vibe, the casual clothes made it a little difficult for me to tell hotel staff from guests at some points during the stay. It didn’t bother me personally, but it’s something worthy of note.
The Opposite House Beijing Entrance
Immediately after entering the lobby, there was a large wall which appeared to me as a modern interpretation of a traditional Chinese medicine cabinet. Each of the little storage “boxes” were decked out in different types of wood.
The Opposite House Beijing Lobby Wall
Immediately behind that wall was the reception area, which featured some white couches.
The Opposite House Beijing Lobby Seating
The Opposite House Beijing Lobby Seating
Instead of a traditional reception setup, the hotel opted for three wooden “stands”, which had laptops perched on top. The stands essentially served as a combined concierge and front desk. This was where we were welcomed by the friendly associate and assistant general manager. Our check-in was efficient and simple, and we were sent to our room in no time.
The Opposite House Beijing Lobby Reception Stands
The hotel is essentially a modernised version of a traditional Chinese siheyuan courtyard house, with a large central atrium and a glass roof surrounded by rooms on four sides. Curved metal sheets hanging from the ceiling (?) fill the large open space in the atrium. The lobby and atrium area is stunning and is easily the nicest public space I’ve ever seen inside a hotel.
The Opposite House Beijing Atrium
The Opposite House Beijing Atrium At Night
In the middle of the atrium on the ground floor, you’ll find large sculpture-like art installations which added to the cool and trendy vibe of the hotel.
The Opposite House Beijing Lobby Artwork
After we finished the check-in process, we headed straight up to our room on the fourth floor.
The Opposite House Beijing Lift Lobby
The hallways were decorated with some wooden panelling.
The Opposite House Beijing Hallway
The Opposite House Beijing Hallway at Night
Our room was located on the fourth floor, a short walk away from the lift lobby. Under the room number were an alarm bell and a do-not-disturb sign which could be activated from inside the room. The room was operated by a sensor which thankfully didn’t seem to malfunction as frequently as other similar types of hotel room keys.
The Opposite House Beijing Room Entrance
The Opposite House Beijing
Check-in: Friday, June 8th, 2018
Room Type: Studio 70 Room
Room Number: 417
Stay duration: 2 nights
Check-out: Sunday, June 10th, 2018
My first impressions of the room were that it looked really modern but quite sparse. While I liked the clean and simple design, it felt a little bit too minimalistic and “cheap” when it comes to the overall design. We had booked ourselves into a king room but also requested for an extra bed. Both of the beds were generally quite uncomfortable without much in the way of extra padding, which is to be expected in mainland China – even in major international name-brand hotels.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room
On one end of the room, there was a closet which had storage shelves, two bathrobes, an umbrella, an intuitive safe, a fold-away luggage rack and a hotel-branded yoga mat, which I found to be an interesting but not especially useful amenity – especially considering the fact that a hotel has a fitness centre in the basement.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Closet
The desk was quite large which was great. I also appreciated that the hotel placed two chairs next to the desk which meant that two people could use the desk at the same time. Unfortunately, the chairs were really uncomfortable and flimsy, which wasn’t ideal for productivity. There was also a cool z-shaped lamp, a telephone (which was slightly past it’s prime) and an iPad which contained basic hotel information, as well as the obligatory notepad and pencil. Waiting on the desk for us was a handwritten note from the general manager and a steamer of Chinese sweets.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Desk
Just next to the desk was a charging station with several types of universal plugs, an ethernet cable (didn’t know that these still existed), as well as several ports which could be used to play content on the television.
Right across from the bed was the television stand, which featured several magazines, a speaker and some decorative plants which were one of the few touches of colour in the room.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Television
Next to each of the beds was a nightstand with a phone and a little “station” that could be used to control the lighting. While I appreciated the thought of centralising all of the light, I was really annoyed that it was labelled in a really irritatingly confusing manner that made switching off the lights *way* more complicated than it had to be. There was also an alarm clock on the table.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Nightstand
There was also a sofa/chaise longue-type situation in the far end of the room, which looked really drab and was basically rock hard. This really disappointed me and was just another sign of the hotel prioritising form over function and investing in some really cheap furniture. There was also a red coffee table, which added a nice pop of colour to the room. In the back corner was a small lamp.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Chaise Longue and Coffee Table
The bathroom featured double sinks and an ample amount of storage space, which I really appreciated. I thought it was interesting that the hotel put all amenities (dental kit, shaving kit, shower cap) in an amenity-kit style bag instead of either laying them out or getting a drawer. The wooden sinks were a nice touch and really fit with the simplistic aesthetic of the room.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Sink
The toilet was just off to the side of the sinks and had its own door. For some reason, there was a phone in the room. What the…?
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Toilet
The rest of the bathroom spanned the entire width of the room and featured an “open plan” shower with a handheld shower sprout, along with a large wooden bathtub. There was also a small bench next to the shower, as well as a large stand next to the bathtub which contained a bunch of towels as well as some supplementary amenities (shower cap, bath salt). While the wooden bathtub looked cool, it really wasn’t the most comfortable place to take a bath given its rectangular shape. I will note that the taps were intuitive and easy to use.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room Bathroom
Now, on to my biggest gripe about the room. There was zero separation between the bathroom and the bedroom with the exception of a slightly frosted glass wall. This is perhaps my biggest issue with the room. While there was an odd “floral” pattern right in front of the shower, it did a pretty lousy job of providing actual privacy. It puzzles me that the hotel didn’t bother putting a door, or even some curtains to separate the bathroom and the bedroom. While this is a non-issue for solo travelers, I imagine that it’ll result in a lot of awkwardness should a couple/family be in the room.
The lack of separation between the bathroom and the bedroom really speaks to what I felt about the design of the room as a whole: there was a clear emphasis on form over function. Even though the room looked very cool, I was really disappointed by the uncomfortable and flimsy furniture and poor design, which I wasn’t expecting from one of Beijing’s best hotels.
One of the more “premium” touches that the hotel offered were nightly “surprises” that the housekeeping team would place in guestrooms. For the two nights we stayed at the hotel, we were given a postcard as well as a hydrating face mask which my mom really enjoyed.
The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room
Unfortunately I didn’t get to check out the gym facilities, or the breakfast spread.
Service at the hotel was a mixed bag, but decent enough. Most of the associates were friendly enough but generally amateurish, which I wasn’t expecting from a hotel supposedly of this calibre. While this was something that I didn’t necessarily mind (I’d rather have amateur-ish service over snooty service), it’s something that’s worth noting and it spoke a lot about the calibre of the hotel: it’s not your typical luxury hotel.
Bottom Line: The Opposite House Beijing
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at The Opposite House Beijing. While I didn’t get a chance to use many of the hotel’s facilities or dine at the hotel’s restaurants, it was a really great base for exploring Beijing with its fantastic location. While the hotel has a “wow” factor when it comes to the architecture and design, I can’t help but feel like the hotel emphasised on form over function, especially when it came to some of the smaller details that make up the guest experience. It almost felt like a more amateur experience than some other more well-established hotels.
That’s not to say that the experience wasn’t professional or that it wasn’t enjoyable. In fact, I really loved the cute, homey vibe of the hotel. However, I would warn against booking a stay at this hotel with the wrong expectations. Come in knowing what you’ll get, and I’ll guarantee that your stay at the hotel will be fantastic.
Have you stayed at the Opposite House Beijing before? If so, how was your stay?