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The Waldorf Astoria Beijing, opened as recently as March 2014, is that extravagantly showy hotel that just gets what you want from a stay in Beijing. For a start, its location, just a skip and a hop away from the west gate of the Forbidden City, can’t be beaten, but the real star here is what design duo Yabu Pushelburg did with the interiors. Yes, the hotel, with its intimate courtyard reminiscent of those from the days of the Ming Dynasty, is built on history, but the rooms and common spaces manage the feat of nodding at Beijing’s hutong culture while also being thoroughly contemporary. Think mammoth-sized rooms with walls of Suzhou silk, and corridors lined with gold-flecked marble and artworks that gaze placidly at guests making their way to the hotel’s bars and lounges. The absolute pièce de résistance is the impeccably glam Peacock Alley bar on the ground floor. This Art Deco space is the place to see and be seen in Beijing, and afternoon tea with the hotel’s signature red velvet cake and other treats on a tiered tray is as good as it gets this side of the world.