Sunrise Kempinski Hotel is located alongside the picturesque Yanqi Lake with magnificent views of Yanshan Mountain. When you see it for the first time, the building is so impressive that you are not even sure it is real! My first thought was that I was in Men in Black 4 and the alien ship had just landed.
The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel joins the Yanqi Hotel and 12 boutique hotels on a private Yanqi Island to form a compound on the 14 square kilometre grounds. The whole complex has 14 restaurants and bars, 2 spas, a private marina, conference halls, fitness facilities and a kids club. Some of the hotel’s recent guests include Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Design of the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel
This glass architectural wonder was designed by Shanghai Huadu Architect Design Co. and is located about 60 km from Beijing. Even though it looks very modern, there are a number of classic Chinese elements at play. It was designed to embody the shape of the rising sun which is symbolic of China’s fast-growing economy. From a side angle view, the hotel looks like a scallop which represents fortune in Chinese culture.
The entrance to the Sunrise Kempinski is shaped like the mouth of a fish, symbolising prosperity. The exterior glass surface is covered by more than 10,000 glass panels which are angled so that the top part of the building reflects the colour of the sky, the middle reflects nearby Yanshan Mountain, and the bottom part reflects the lake. At night the hotel is lit up by hydroelectric powered LED lights and looks mesmerising.
Inside the luxury hotel
The luxury hotel is 97 meters high. It has 21 floors and 306 guest rooms with magnificent views of the lake and mountains. The interior was designed by the US-based company DiLeonardo which also worked on Ritz-Carlton in Doha and JW Marriott in Chicago. Their designers were largely inspired by the idea of framing the extraordinary views of Yanqi Lake. The design creates elements of intrigue within the overall space of the hotel by experimenting with the juxtaposition of solids and voids. It also infuses reoccurring geometric forms into unexpected spaces, design elements or features.
Room with a view
I was lucky to stay at one of 43 Panorama Lake View Suites of the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel. The living room was spacious, contained a comfortable sofa and a coffee table with drinks, cookies, fruits and a welcome note.
The room benefited from the panoramic views of the lake and the mountains which I could observe through the floor to ceiling windows. The bedroom was also very big and classy – plus a working desk was a bonus for a writer like myself. The bathroom was all marble and featured a bathtub, as well as a shower as big as a lift in the Shard.
Breakfast Chinese style
Sunrise Kempinski Hotel’s culinary team has 14 restaurants to spoil its guests with Chinese hospitality and gastronomic excellence. Breakfast is served at the Elements restaurant which boasts an open kitchen with live cooking stations. They serve up foods to suit every taste and craving, including freshly baked pastries, Dim Sum, eggs, Full English Breakfast and pancakes. I enjoyed a number of traditional Chinese dishes that were served for breakfast there, as well as freshly squeezed watermelon juice. Some of my favourites were Congee (rice porridge), deep-fried dough sticks and steamed buns with bean paste.
Time for Spa
Kempinski The Spa is a journey inspired by the European cycle of the season. Drawing on the elemental wisdom of nature, the treatments both invoke and restore the body’s natural equilibrium. I would recommend the Summer Bliss experience, a classic deep tissue massage that is both energising and nourishing. It is specifically designed to focus on painful joints or stiffness in the body – or neck and shoulders in my case. This therapeutic body treatment also includes a warming foot pack. There is a fitness centre and pool plus a number of different saunas, steam rooms and a relaxation area. It is perfect for unwinding from the daily grind, something many residents of Beijing seek, hence they come here.
Dinner in the clouds
One of my favourite experiences at the hotel was the dinner at the Views Restaurant and Bar. It is located on the top floor of the hotel and overlooks the magnificent views of Yanqi Lake. Upon my arrival, I was taken away by the stunning crystal chandeliers in the shape of the clouds. After a glass of champagne, I was ushered to the restaurant itself.
The food menu is based on a lifestyle concept with authentic Huairou (local area) delicacies. The dinner started with recommended Huairou Salad, and pan-fried egg with Chinese onion (‘Chinese omelette’). Next on the menu was braised chicken with chestnut and grilled Huairou trout with cumin seeds – unusual but delicious! My favourite dish was braised organic eggplant with Chinese pancake – I love the way Chinese cook aubergine. This delicious dinner definitely managed to fulfil its purpose to connect travellers with local culture through food and experiences.
To sum up, Sunrise Kempinski Hotel is worth the trip to China alone! It boasts beautiful nature, luxurious rooms, attentive customer service and food to remember.
To find out more about Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, please check their website.