Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street, Beijing
A glass-and-chrome tower whose ultra-sleek interiors seem spot-on for the city during its 2008 Olympic Games buildup.
Location: Beijing's newest commercial district, on the less developed western side of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
Pedigree: This is a radical departure for Ritz-Carlton, which rolled out a new look for the company in 2006.
Style Design: Slightly minimalist, but with bold splashes of classical China, such as the entrance's massive yin-and-yang marble sculpture, paintings by Chinese artist Bo Yun, and decorative screens.
Service Amenities: Standard rooms are a generous 538 square feet and feature 37-inch flat-screen TV's. The 16,000 square-foot spa has, bizarrely, a full-length movie screen dominating one end of the 22-yard swimming pool. (Slot in a DVD of Mark Spitz for inspiration and your lap times just might improve.)
Rooms to Book: Only the upper floors of this new Ritz Carlton are blessed with panoramic views of Beijing. Ask for room No.1707, 1708, 1709, or 1710 on the club floor; all four feature fabulous easterly views that include the Tibetan-style White Pagoda Temple.
1 Jin Cheng Fang St. E., Financial St.; 800/241-3333 or 86-10/6601-6666; www.ritzcarlton.com; doubles from $538.