Best Newcomer: With the glut of hotels that opened in time for the Olympics, there are plenty of places to choose from, but the definite winner in this category is the Opposite House, a stylish Japanese-designed boutique hotel on Sanlitun Bar Street. With modern minimalist rooms, great restaurants and bars, and impressive service, it would be difficult to go wrong here -- except that it comes with a hefty price.
Best City Getaway: Tired of the noise and pollution of central Beijing? Head north to the Aman Beijing, a new Southeast Asian managed property that sits on the edge of the Summer Palace, with a private entry to the imperial quarters, gorgeous rooms in traditional courtyard structures, and a top-notch steakhouse.
Best Whiff of Old Beijing: Han's Royal Garden Hotel offers luxurious courtyard-style accommodations with a distinct historical touch just off a bustling alley in central Beijing. The five sets of buildings situated around Chinese courtyards, painstakingly restored, provide a glimpse of how wealthy Chinese lived a century ago.
Best Hotel Garden: The Bamboo Garden Hotel's three courtyards are filled with rockeries, stands of bamboo, and other green leafiness. A traditional Chinese garden stretches away behind the otherwise modern Shangri-La Beijing Hotel to its tennis courts at the rear.
Best Business Hotel: Despite being a relatively "old" hotel, having been around for a decade, the Grand Hyatt is still the most popular hotel for business travelers, with professional service, a great location, and excellent dining venues, including Made in China.
Best Design: Opposite House, our pick for best newcomer, also gets this award for stylish details from the stainless-steel-bottomed pool to the Chinese modern art installations in the sedate atrium lobby. Not far behind is Hotel G, which blends a 1960s Hollywood feel with a modern Chinese aesthetic.
Best Health & Fitness Facilities: The Park Hyatt has not one, but two, gorgeous pools and fitness facilities, one located on an upper level exclusively for hotel guests and a second one on a lower level with aerobics classes and state-of-the-art Technogym equipment.
Best Pool: If you're looking for a novelty pool, head to the Grand Hyatt, which looks like a lagoon buried among mock-tropical decor beneath a ceiling of electric stars. The Regent has a much more understated pool that is perfect for lap swimming and a great Jacuzzi for a post-workout plunge.
Best for Children: The Westin Beijing, Financial Street pays special attention to young kids, with cribs available in rooms and highchairs (rare in China) in the restaurants; a kids' center offers babysitting. The Kerry Centre Hotel also has a supervised play area for children, a wide range of sports facilities, and a pool for the older ones.
The Best Splurge Hotels
Aman Beijing (Gongmenqian Lu 15; tel. 010/5987-9999): If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to live like a Chinese emperor or empress, head straight to the Aman Beijing, a luxurious resort in a private corner of the Summer Palace. Housed in a historic imperial series of courtyards, the resort features luxurious rooms with grand bathrooms, a world-class spa, and a top-notch steakhouse with a Bible-sized wine list.
Park Hyatt (Jianguomenwai Dajie 2; tel. 010/8567-1234): This new 66-story hotel impresses with expansive views of the city, top-notch gym and spa facilities, and stylish, unconventional room layouts.
Opposite House (Sanlitun Lu 11; tel. 010/6417-6688): The best of a bunch of boutique hotels that have opened in Beijing, the Opposite House features minimalist white and blond wood rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows in the center of Sanlitun, one of Beijing's liveliest bar and shopping districts. The food and drink outlets are all stunning, featuring fresh sushi, Mediterranean fare, and creative cocktails.
The Best Moderately Priced Hotels
Gu Xiang 20 (Nanluoguxiang 20; tel. 010/6400-5566): This lovely three-star hotel is smack in the middle of one of old Beijing's gentrifying neighborhoods. The stylish rooms are decorated with Chinese antiques and flatscreen TVs, and third-floor rooms have picturesque views of the hutong.
Shi Jia House (Shijia Hutong 42; tel. 010/5219-0288): A boutique hotel down a narrow alley in a central Beijing neighborhood, Shi Jia House has chic rooms with dark wood floors and antique Chinese furniture -- and a spacious courtyard perfect for relaxing, complete with a koi pond and a miniwaterfall.
Hotel G (Gongti Xi Lu A7; tel. 010/6552-3600): Stylish rooms done up in a 1960s Hollywood glamour theme come with whimsical touches like toy motorcycles on the nightstand and rubber duckies in the bathroom, plus all the modern technology you'll need, including an iPod dock and flatscreen television.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.