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