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For those who want a slice of Old World elegance along with a heavy dose of history, this grande dame of Beijing hotels has it all. Formerly the Grand Hotel de Pekin, the building has had a long and storied history. Built nearly a century ago, it witnessed the upheavals of modern China, from the glittering '20s and '30s to the Communist Party's rise in the '50s and '60s, when the property was known as the Beijing Hotel. The Beaux Arts-style building was taken over and renovated by the Raffles chain in 2006. The hotel has been restored to much of its former glory, with a marble lobby lit by sparkling chandeliers, and interiors of stately elegance. The 171 rooms and suites range from over-the-top splendor to sedate and modern. The south-facing rooms in the original landmark section of the hotel overlook Chang An Avenue and are prime real estate. A newer building, built in the 1980s, stands at the back of the hotel. Afternoon tea in the Writers Bar, with its antique wooden dance floor (where Mao Zedong once danced), is still observed. Check out the black-and-white photos of the hotel's most famous guests on the bar's walls. An intimate, 30-seat restaurant, Jaan, offers French cuisine, while East 33 provides a choice of western and Asian food. All that plus a location down the street from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City are hard to beat.