Beijing Tongying Center InterContinental Hotel

Michael Webb • Photography by Zhi Xia • February 22, 2017

Photos: Beijing Tongying Center InterContinental Hotel

Thirty years ago, hotels in Beijing were state-owned, often drab and unappealing. Now, there’s fierce competition among major international brands to stand out in the bustling metropolis. Take, for example, the Tongying Center InterContinental Hotel, which joins two of its 5-Star siblings in the capital. This new entry is located in the Sanlitun district, a glittering hub of commerce for expats and business travelers, and Hong Kong’s Cheng Chung Design (CCD), who worked closely with Yenchin Wang of local firm GD-Lighting Design, hoped to incorporate that sparkle into the hotel’s luxe interiors.

It starts outside, where a glass façade wraps the exterior, while an entry canopy—framed by a hexagonal grid that mimics a honeycomb shape—is lit to create a layered effect of white and Tiffany blue. Once indoors, the lobby’s vastness and high ceilings welcome guests. Sky-high bookshelves (displaying crystal and other artworks) and screens divide the space to create intimate zones. Overall, “we designed the spaces in an architectural way of thinking,” explains CCD’s chairman and founder Cheng Chung. In addition, Wang’s background in design helped him enrich the hotel’s aesthetic with concealed LED lighting placed on every surface and built-in.

That’s evident in the seven restaurants, which range from the elegant Ying’s Chinese cuisine to the snug beer bar. Each has its own distinctive character, which is heightened by the varied custom made furniture and lighting that is tailored to each room, dimming down as the night approaches.

CCD designed the 300 guestrooms and suites as an exercise in Zen minimalism, embracing soft, warm tones in the cabinetry, carpets, and furnishings. Many of the rooms are rounded, adding to their sensual appeal, while patterns in the headboards and floor coverings are muted.

In contrast, the executive lounge acts as a refuge from the frenetic bustle of the city. Its bright, brisk atmosphere—blue and yellow pop against the neutral backdrop—juxtaposes with tall bookshelves and light-outlined screens that create a mellow experience conducive to after-work socializing. “We divided and reorganized the spaces transparently but without any separation to form a fluent sequence of rhythms and create different atmospheres,” Cheng adds.