A Hotel in Beijing Fuses Chinese History With Cosmopolitan Style

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In the lively lakeside neighborhood of Hou Hai in Beijing, there's a new boutique hotel that blends traditional Chinese architecture and design with modern, avant-garde elements.

Home to numerous hutongs (traditional northern Chinese-style buildings with narrow alleys between them) in the 2000s, many of the buildings in Hou Hai were converted into cafes, bars, and restaurants that now cater to a hip crowd of locals, expats, and tourists. 

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Designed by Singapore studio Ministry of Design, Vue Hotel Hou Hai is one such conversion. 

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The 80-room hotel, which was created within a cluster of buildings constructed in the 1950s, weaves together design elements from both East and West. 

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Chinese features include jack roofs with ornate eaves, gilded gargoyles, Ming-style chairs, and latticework inspired by Chinese screens that connect the separate volumes while linking them together with private balconies and terraces. 

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International influences can be detected in the bold geometric forms interspersed throughout the establishment including the walnut, marble, and brass interior details that add a continental touch to the lobby and guest rooms. Plus, wild disco colors show up in the fuchsia shower stalls in the en-suite bathrooms, and gold details are abound in the restaurant-bar. 

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Through a series of landscaped gardens, guests are given access to a bakery-cafe, a restaurant in a former warehouse building that now serves Spanish tapas, and a rooftop bar with a Jacuzzi and views of Hou Hai Lake.  

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Unusual, eye-catching features, including a gilded trussed structure above the restaurant-bar and giant rabbit sculptures made of bright pink wire, imbue the hotel with a whimsical, Alice in Wonderland personality. 

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In contrast to the colorful and somewhat surreal public areas, the guest rooms follow a gray, monochromatic scheme with elegant, contemporary furnishings, two-toned carpets, and black wood-grained vinyl laminate walls with brass hairline metal accents.

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By capturing the historic character of Beijing and the zeitgeist of an increasingly globalized China, Vue Hotel Hou Hai promises the mystic of Chinese culture with an edgy cosmopolitan allure.

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Project Credits:

- Architecture, Interior Design, and Landscape Design: Ministry of Design

- Project Management: Fang Wen, He Ting

- Builder: Changzhou Jintan Construction company Co. Ltd