At NUO Hotel Beijing, chief concierge Oscar Li has been with the hotel for almost two years. Together with his team, they provide top-notch assistance to guests from limousine transfers and newspaper services, to sharing the city’s best experience, sights and sounds. Here he offers expert guidance for business travellers.
What should business travellers have on hand when visiting your city?
Beijing has four distinct seasons and the temperature change can be very drastic between morning and night. Before visiting the city, be sure to check the weather so that you’d be appropriately and comfortably dressed for the climate. And like with many densely populated metropolis, traffic conditions can be severe especially during peak hours. Consider taking the subway or plan your journey in advance to avoid being caught in a traffic jam.
What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
A must-have in Beijing is Peking duck, and this dish is highly acclaimed at Duck de Chine (Courtyard 4, 1949 The Hidden City, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District; Ph: +86 10 6501 8881). A hidden gem, located away from street view, this restaurant is part of the 1949 – The Hidden City dining nightlife complex. The Chinese menu offers an impressive variety of duck and non-duck dishes, and the restaurant’s décor creates a relaxed, classy ambiance ─ a perfect venue for either lunch or dinner.
I also recommend dining at Temple Restaurant Beijing (No. 23 SongZhuSi, Shatan Beijing, Dongcheng District Beijing 100009; Ph: +86 10 8400 2232), known for serving contemporary European cuisine that’s not only mouth-watering but it’s also one-of-a kind. The restaurant site itself is truly unique with over 600 years of history. Huge efforts were put in preserving the original structures, giving guests an exquisite dining experience.
What’s something that surprises guests about your city or hotel?
At NUO Hotel Beijing (No. 2A Jiangtai Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100016; Ph: +86 10 5926 8888) we’re one of the newest and most luxurious hotels in China’s capital. The design, décor and architectural elements reflect inspirations from the Ming Dynasty. Our hotel’s bold series of heritage footprints delight our guests with a cultural discovery, starting from the lobby to guestrooms, from restaurants to the spa. Combining old-world touches with modern luxury, we surround our guests with top-notch service and technology. We want every guest to take home the unique experience from our hotel. NUO, the Chinese word for promise, is proud to pioneer the future of Chinese luxury hospitality.
If business travellers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see?
Two iconic places to visit are The Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square, both located in the city center. The Forbidden City (No. 4 Jingshanqian Street, Beijing 100009, Ph: +86 10 8500 7422), also known as Palace Museum or Gu Gong in Chinese, was the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 1987, and is considered to be the world’s largest palace complex covering 74 hectares. The southern section, or the Outer Court, was where the emperor exercised his leadership. The northern section, or the Inner Court, was the royal family quarters. If you’re planning a visit, be there early to avoid large crowds. Foreigners are required to show their passports when purchasing tickets.
Tian’anmen Square (West Changan Street, Beijing 100006; Ph: +86 10 7874 5798) comprises of the Tian’anmen Tower, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People and Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. Soak up stories from the ancient past at these historical landmarks. Locals also enjoy visiting the square to socialize, exercise and even outdoor karaoke. During the holidays, there’d be elaborate flower decorations on display. Entrance to the main square is free, and a small admission fee is charged for ascending the Tian’anmen Tower.
What’s the best option for outdoor exercise?
Beihai Park (No. 1 Wenjin Street, Beijing 100034, Ph: +86 10 6403 3225) used to be the imperial garden, is now a public park. It occupies an area of 69 hectares including a 39 hectare lake. You can find beautifully crafted pavilions and towers throughout the garden. During the summer months, temperatures can soar to extremely high levels and we don’t recommend long hours of outdoor activities. Instead, visit our hotel’s NUO Fitness housed in an open-plan, sunlit chamber with adjoining wellness garden, giving you the impression of being outdoors yet in the comfort of luxury.
Chief concierge Oscar Li‘s top tips for getting business right in Beijing:
Tip 1: Check the weather and traffic conditions, and plan ahead of schedule to avoid any delay to your business meeting.
Tip 2: Take a licensed taxi, use small notes when paying the fare and always ask for a receipt, or fapiao, to avoid disputes.
Tip 3: Before leaving for your destination, print the map and address in Mandarin so you can show to the taxi driver. Also, keep our hotel’s business card in case you need help with directions.