For a short overnight stay in Beijing, I booked a room at the Westin Financial Street on spg.com. The nightly rate in early December was reasonable - 977CNY (about $140 USD) - for a standard non-smoking king. I applied a Starwood Suite Night Award immediately after booking and was notified via email five days before my arrival that I had been upgraded to an Executive Renewal Suite.
Getting to the hotel
For transportation from Beijing airport, I had pre-arranged a private car to and from the Westin through the hotel concierge. The cost was 750CNY (about $110) each way for an Audi A6 (up to 3 passengers), or 1000CNY (about $145) for a Buick GL8 (with 6 seats).
I wasn't aware beforehand, but this private car booking also included an airport representative who was waiting at the arrival gate when I deplaned. She escorted me through immigration and to the covered parking lot where she handed me off to the driver. This was a nice touch and could be helpful for first time visitors to Beijing.
The car was very comfortable and clean, though had a strong cigarette odor. There were two bottles of water waiting in the back seat.
It was a smooth ride to the hotel that took about 30 minutes.
The air quality was particularly poor that evening, with smog visible even inside the airport terminal and a strong smell of burnt plastic throughout the city.
I arrived at the hotel after midnight and was greeted by two enthusiastic bellman.
The check-in process was easy and the agent informed me that my room had been upgraded. She thanked me for being a Starwood Platinum Member and mentioned that full buffet breakfast was included and available in both the executive lounge and the restaurant downstairs. She also mentioned the location of the gym after noting that I liked to run (I have running maps listed as an interest on my SPG account). I chose 500 Starpoints as my Platinum guest amenity.
I was assigned to room 1607.
As I entered the suite, I noticed a dummy keycard was already in the master light switch just inside the door, so the lights were all on. There was a very strong smell of cigarette smoke throughout the room. If I were actually sleeping at the hotel, or staying any longer than a few hours, I would have immediately requested a different room. However, given that it was the middle of the night and I was only there for 5 hours, I decided to deal with it.
The suite was quite spacious - 753 sq ft according to their website. The entryway opened up to a large living room with a couch, two arm chairs, and a coffee table.
There was some whole fruit on the table. Opposite the seating area, an LG flat screen with Bose 2.1 speakers sat on a low console table.
In the far corner of the room was a desk with an ergonomic Herman Miller chair. There were 3 power sockets at desk level, as well as an ethernet connection.
A freestanding suit rack stood next to the desk - something I hadn’t seen in a hotel room before.
A standard minibar across from the desk had a selection of treats and drinks. Above it, a kettle with tea and coffee options. Also, I counted 7 complimentary bottles of water spread throughout the suite.
Connected to the living room was a simple guest bathroom.
A sliding door separated the living space from the bedroom area. Through this door on the right was a windowed dressing room with large closet and luggage rack. I found it interesting that this room was designed to take up valuable exterior wall space, since I imagine the (electronic) shades stay closed most of the time. Also, the luggage rack was so large that it was awkward to walk in and out of the dressing room.
Across the hallway was the master bathroom. The sink area was unremarkable and the vanity mirror light was non-functional. The bathroom was an area that was starting to show it's age.
Behind a glass door, the bathtub and shower shared a spacious triangular marble room with a floor-to-ceiling glass window overlooking the bedroom. Luckily, if you prefer to shower in private, there were electronic privacy shades controlled from within the bathroom.
The shower head was rainfall style and water pressure was excellent. There was also a handheld shower head.
The bathroom was stocked with multiple sets of Westin’s signature white tea toiletries. I personally love the fragrance in these products. It’s light and not overpowering. There were also dental, grooming, shaving, and sewing kits on the counter.
The bedroom was set at an angle, with a king sized bed, television, nightstands, arm chair and a small closet in the bedroom.
The chair was positioned in such a way that it was a tight squeeze to get to one side of the bed. Also, the closet doors opened up facing the nightstand, so it wasn’t easy to access this closet.
The bed was comfortable, though I didn’t get a chance to give it a full night’s sleep.
On each side of the bed were lighting controls for the room, though no easily accessible or available power outlets.
The wifi connection itself was solid, however the Great Firewall of China was as stringent as ever in filtering Google services. The hotel even had a connection page that warned guests about this. I couldn’t even connect to my trusty VPN - that too seemed to have been blocked.
I decided to get ‘lunch’ around 3am, as I was still on Eastern time. The late night room service menu read as follows:
I chose scrambled eggs, seasonal vegetables, and an apple crumble. The person who took my order was extremely diligent and kind. She even called back to ask if milk in the eggs would be okay. That's great service for 3am!
About 25-30 minutes later, the food arrived.The eggs and vegetables were decent. The apple crumble was sadly disappointing; it tasted artificial.
To work off my meal, I went down to the fitness center. It featured large windows overlooking the surrounding buildings and the street below. Unsurprisingly, I was the only one there around 4am. I love when hotel fitness centers are open 24 hours!
Before I knew it, it was almost time to head back to the airport. After a second refreshing shower, I decided to quickly visit the Executive Club Lounge on my way out. The lounge space itself is quite lovely, with several distinct seating areas. There are dining tables, comfortable armchair and sofa seating, and business workstations.
Breakfast had just been set up when I arrived at 6am and it was spectacular. This was one of the best complimentary club lounge breakfast spreads I’d seen. The food options, presentation, and quality were really top-notch. There were cereals, pastries, meats, cheeses, hot dishes, fruit, made-to-order options, and more.
In addition to the concierge who checked me in, there was a staff member who proactively offered to make me a drink. I said I was happy to make some tea myself, but he insisted and kindly brought it to my table.
The club level concierge checked me out and I was quickly on my way back to the airport in an Audi A6.
The Westin Beijing Financial Street is a solid hotel in this area of Beijing. While not the newest or grandest, it offers plenty of reasons to stay.
My suite was quite spacious and well-appointed, though the room layout and furniture placement were a bit perplexing and not user-friendly. The strong odor of cigarettes was disappointing for a non-smoking room; hopefully it was a one-time fluke.
The shower and well-equipped work station were the highlights of the suite. The Executive Lounge was stellar and perhaps reason enough to choose this hotel. Also, all of the staff members I interacted with were helpful, kind, and proactive.
I would happily return to the Westing Beijing Financial Street in the future, so long as I could get a room without cigarette odor.