Our first full day in Beijing was a ‘free day’; that is we didn’t have a tour planned. We arrived to the Grand Hyatt Beijing late last night after a long flight, so we slept in a bit in the morning. After showering we headed down one floor via the circular staircase for breakfast in the 17th floor Concierge Lounge.
The Grand Hyatt Beijing is simply gorgeous and spacious, and is located in a modern area of Beijing, conveniently connected to an upscale shopping mall. We slept very well, and as it was a long 12 1/2 hour flight coupled with the 12 hour time change, we adjusted to the new time fairly quickly. Basically if it’s 9am in Beijing, it’s 9pm (yesterday) at home.
Here are some photos of the front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The hotel has a symmetrical gentle curve to it, with a majestic fountain in front of it.
The lobby area has a spacious two level ceiling with a grand staircase leading to the second floor restaurants.
After our late breakfast, we walked around the attached mall, which is modern and massive, going for several blocks. The mall was mostly upscale stores, and the not souvenir types, but it was a nice activity window-shopping and watching fellow shoppers going by.
They had a large food court we walked thru, but as we had just had a late breakfast it was a bit too early to have lunch. There was definitely a huge variety of ethnic food choices to chose from though.
We then walked around outside our new neighborhood in search of Tiananmen’s Square, which was supposedly close to the hotel (at least on the map!), but to no avail. As we would find out the next day with our tour guide, that was good we didn’t try to tour it on our own as it was so massive with multiple entrances, security line checks etc, plus we wouldn’t know what we were looking at. If you do tour Tiananmen’s Square on your own, remember to take your passport, as the Concierge told us before heading out.
Below are a few photos within walking distance of our hotel, in the bustling and modern (and very clean) city of Beijing.
For lunch, we had our first meal at my favorite international restaurant, McDonald’s (LOL!). Seriously, every country I go to I try to have one lunch at a local McDonald’s, although Steve DOS isn’t a big fan, but goes along with my request for a snack and the free wifi. They had an international picture menu to help ordering, but we used the self service kiosk with the English option, so I could get my ‘no pickle/no onion’ order Big Mac combo. And yes, it tasted the same and as yummy as the Big Mac does at home!
Later, back at the Grand Hyatt Hotel we toured their Oasis Spa, which true to its name was like an indoor Caribbean island. We didn’t swim or use the two huge whirlpools, but were in awe of this indoor hotel ‘Oasis’ and the adjacent fitness center. The Oasis Spa was something you would expect at a Caribbean or Hawaii resort, but not in the middle of a Beijing Hotel!
After showering and napping, it was time for the evening reception in the Concierge Lounge. The Lounge is on the 17th floor (where we had breakfast and checked in), and offers complimentary food and drinks from 5 – 8pm; a nice and generous perk we received for being Hyatt Globalist members.
For dinner we went to the Grand Buffett on the second floor, which offered a wide variety of international dishes. As it was a Sunday night, it was quite slow at 8pm, so the food wasn’t replenished as often as it would be if it were busy, but it was good, although the service was so-so. By contrast, the service in the Concierge Lounge was outstanding.