Checking In: An Exquisite Stay at Hotel Eclat Beijing
Have you ever wondered what the love child of a hotel and contemporary art museum would look like? It's Hotel Éclat in Beijing, China. Far from the normal hotel experience, Éclat's unique design surprised me at every turn and made for an unforgettable hospitality experience.
My mother and I checked in late one evening after a long day of traveling and minor issues with Chinese immigration, both of us a bit drained and cranky from the day's events. Those negative feelings evaporated upon check-in when we were met with hands down the most one-of-a-kind hotel experience. We checked into our lovely room, the Grand Deluxe Room with Terrace on the 16th floor, decked out in traditional Chinese decor with a modern spin and complete with toy guns that turned on/off the lights, a relaxing massage chair, a fruit platter and selection of drinks, and a lovely indoor terrace where I happily spent most of my time. My mom and I were speechless, but without words we were silently in agreement that this was the nicest hotel we'd ever stayed at thus far in our lives.
Shortly after we regained our speech, we set out for George's Bar and Restaurant downstairs at the lobby level for an obligatory happy hour drink. Don't expect your classic, run-of-the-mill drinks here, instead you will be surprised with eclectic, artisan creations full of unique flavor combinations. My mom opted for a red velvet cocktail while I told the bartender to surprise me. He brought out a special creation of his that wasn't on the menu, a mint-lime number that delighted my taste buds. Waitresses also brought us out small plate after small plate of appetizers - a bread + fish spread that was the perfect combination with our yummy cocktails. The service here was impeccable, almost as if the waitresses and bartender read our minds - instinctually knowing when we needed more appetizers or what drink we should order next.
After happy hour we decided to take a tour of the hotel grounds with a helpful staff member. He explained that unlike normal hotels, you won't find any empty hallways here at Hotel Éclat. Instead, every room, wall corridor, and even the elevators are filled with impressive design elements. We saw massive, original Andy Warhol pieces, original Salvador Dali sketches (36 of them in one room, to be exact), an army of Terracotta Warriors, antique bicycle collections, Lady Gaga's signature on a wall, and way more. Every discovery after the next was but more impressive than the last, and no two rooms or hallways looked alike in the slightest, which is in my opinion, the downfall of many mainstream hotels. Hotel Éclat even has themed rooms from Terminator, Barbie, and Harry Potter where the entire suite is decked out with themed furniture and decorations. As Harry Potter aficionados, we were especially fascinated with the themed suite that featured authentic robes that they wore at Hogwarts, a signed movie poster from the cast, a stunning private pool on the terrace, and other creative touches that made you feel like you were inside the film. Hotel Éclat's strong suit lies here - making the guest feel like they've entered a different world with each separate floor, room, and hallway.
Breakfast the next morning lived up to the high quality experience we had at Éclat thus far. In the Éclat Lounge there was an elaborate buffet setup with every selection of food that you could imagine - there were classic, Western style breakfast staples like pastries, eggs in all forms, fruit, etc., but also Chinese classics like Dim Sum. If buffets aren't your style (which I don't see why they wouldn't be :P), you could opt for the ordering menu, in which my mom got a rich Egg's Benedict and I got Dim Sum, wanting a more traditional Chinese experience. Both were equally as delicious and lived up to the high expectations that the hotel set for us. Though we didn't have time to try Hotel Éclat's signature in-house restaurants, Sun Ming Yuen and Opera BOMBANA, we heard from other guests that they were exquisite in taste and authentic in experience.
Unfortunately, our time in Beijing was short and we had to leave the hotel right after breakfast. The very best part about Hotel Éclat was just the fact that around every corner was a new surprise. Was it an original piece of artwork from an internationally renowned artist? An eclectic statue or painting that made you stop in your tracks and take a second look? You never knew what delight the next hallway or room would bring, which was the best part to me. It was like a fancy contemporary art exhibit and a hotel all wrapped into one. There truly isn't any other hotel like Éclat!
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All opinions are my own.