VUE Hotel Houhai Beijing

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This 80-room boutique resort – set within a private compound on the willow-lined shore of Houhai Lake – has a youthful, VIP vibe, presenting guests with both a luxurious escape from Beijing and direct access to its historic heart, via the alleyways, mansions and walled gardens just beyond its imposing gate.

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Location

VUE sits beside Houhai, the largest of Beijing’s trio of central lakes that characterise the Shichahai area, popular for strolling by day and drinking in its neon-clad Tsingtao bars by night. Vue is fortunately far enough from the action to feel peaceful and private.

Closer to home are some of Beijing’s most authentically warren-like hutong winding south from the lake, which see their fair share of tourist rickshaws, though it’s a cinch to escape the crowds in the smaller alleys. VUE is well placed for the sights (if you’re feeling fit the Forbidden City is technically walkable), but taxi access is an issue due its relative inaccessibility, compared to, say, a hotel along the Third Ring Road.

Address: 9 Yangfang Hutong, Xicheng District, Beijing, China.

Style & character

Singapore studio Ministry of Design have employed a monochrome palate and shard motif to transform a sprawling compound of 1950s government buildings into a seductively severe boutique hotel, at least on the outside, though it’s alleviated by the playfulness of pink wireframe bunnies peeking from rooftops on to landscaped gardens.

VUE Hotel Houhai Beijing via Wallpaper

There’s more than a hint of W Hotels in the grey-pink scheme and trendy lakeside bar with rooftop pool and DJ booth – an indication that VUE is most definitely a place to party.

Service & facilities

What sets VUE apart from most other hotels in the capital is the amount of private outdoor space (though much is given over to parking) which, together with the lovely lakeside location and the fact that it is sealed off from the outside world, makes it feel resort-like and exclusive.

A small gym is currently under construction, and you won’t get many lengths done in the pool at Moon Bar, which is more designed for conspicuous cocktail consumption.

  • Bar
  • Fitness centre
  • Laundry
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Wi-Fi

Rooms

Given the range of architecture within the compound, there are a fair few room types to choose from, the fanciest suites coming with lake-view terraces with huge sun loungers and the optional add-on of fully-hosted private parties complete with wine, canapés and DJ.

Several of the rooms are designed with voyeuristic viewing windows looking onto a neighbouring square where Beijing locals congregate – a clever reminder, within your modishly international surrounds, of just where you are. Room design is playfully contemporary, with all the trendy flourishes of the moment, from Nespresso machines to bedside hot tubs to those awkwardly open-plan bathrooms.

VUE Hotel Houhai Beijing via Design Hotels

Food & drink

Barcelona-born chef Ignasi Prats rules the roost at The Pink Rabbit, Vue’s gorgeously industrial warehouse of a restaurant bookended by a live music stage and a well-stocked bar. Sharing platters of Spanish suckling pig, grilled shrimp and squid-ink paella pair well with the general bonhomie encouraged here, as does the excellent wine list, while things are a little more relaxed at the bounteous breakfast.

A real highlight is Fab, a café facing on to the hutong alley that acts like a portal between the high-rolling guests and hoi polloi, where everyone can come and enjoy possibly the finest French pastries in the city. Moon Bar boasts lovely lake views from its sizeable second floor terrace, a half-size posing pool (for want of a better description) and top notch DJ performances – VUE takes their music seriously.

Access for guests with disabilities?

Many of the guest rooms offer step-free access.

Family-friendly?

VUE is more geared towards grown-ups in its offerings, but families wouldn’t feel unwelcome – Fab Cafe packs out with children during the day.  

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