Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beijing - Grand Hyatt

Beijing was sunny and cheery this week.  Despite the haze, the sun could still be seen and the crisp, cool air reminded us that spring is still in the air, one of the better seasons to visit Beijing.  Although my days were filled with meetings, I looked forward to catching up with old friends, after hours.  

Mr. Bob Dylan and Band at Workers' Stadium
One of the great things a friend did was to get me a ticket to see Mr. Bob Dylan, his first concert in China.  We heard that there was much work behind this first show ever in China, but glad that it all came through, and from the screams and cheers from the near capacity crowd at the Workers' Stadium, they were really glad too.  Although I'm not a fan, the concert was highly enjoyable.  Mr. Dylan has immense stamina for his age.  With no breaks in between, he went from keyboards, to guitar, to harmonica and did vocals all night.  Amazing.  Hats off and full respect.  And the band, well it was nothing short of awesome.

This time, I stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which I hadn't in a while, in favor of the newer Park Hyatt.  But I had spent a big part of 2005 and 2006 at the Grand Hyatt, then subsequently getting a serviced apartment managed by them.  So it was very much like coming home.  It was THE place  and the huge mall with everything right in the basement is a plus.  And of course, the F&B at the Grand Hyatt is easily one of the best that Beijing has to offer.

It is most famous for Peking Duck at its Chinese Restaurant Made In China first reviewed here, then here.  I eat there almost every visit and the duck never disappoints, as with the Beijing traditional eats.  Seasonal things, are hit or miss though.

And the Cafe is great for international favorites.

Burger with Fried Egg, Bacon and Cheese
The burger is easily one of Beijing's best, with a thick juicy patty that chockfull of beefy goodness, and appropriately lean to be meaty but not dry.  And of course, it is topped with the works - although I didn't care as much for them as the burger itself.  Served with a choice of fries or salad, why would anyone go for the salad?  The fries are a thin crisp coating around creamy potato and worth the calories.  And you can dunk them in the ketchup from the cute little Heinz ketchup bottles.  A real woman's lunch.

In the evenings, the Red Moon bar is also a loungy place to kick back, enjoy a glass of something stronger, and listen to the live singer.  Not quite the calibre of Mr. Dylan, but she can hold a tune without interfering with conversation.  The wine list is pretty impressive and if you get hungry, the sushi rolls are quite good too.

So if you're looking for a place to crash in Beijing, the Grand Hyatt ain't too bad a choice at all, despite its age.  Service and F&B is certainly still very much up there with the best.

1 East Chang An Avenue
People's Republic of China 100738 
Tel: +86 10 8518 1234

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