Grace is not particularly close to any of the traditional sights of Beijing, but it’s a great choice for those who've already seen the main attractions. This boutique hotel is located near the funky 798 Art Zone. The graffiti-festooned, Bauhaus-influenced factory zone became an artist enclave for the likes of Ai Weiwei and other modern Chinese artists. Most of the serious artists have left, but a handful of galleries are still pushing the creative frontiers of the Chinese art scene. Grace Beijing is a renovated former crystal factory, with the metal fire escape and stark red bricks dominating the front. The interior, however, is eclectic and modern, filled with abstract artwork and stunning design.
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Some may say that the 798 Art Zone is too commercialized. But good galleries are still here; they are just a bit harder to find. Grace Hotel concierge is a wonderful resource for those wanting to appreciate modern Chinese art but just don't know where to start.
Need to Know
Rooms: 23 rooms, 3 suites, 4 artist studios. From $183. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Yi Bistro is a classy hotel restaurant specializing in Mediterranean food. Great restaurants also exist within 798. And Timezone Sushi, a collaboration between Hatsune (a locally popular California-style sushi chain) and Timezone 8 (one of the first Western-style restaurants in the area) is recommended. Spa and gym details: There is a rather cramped gym in the hotel.
Who's it for: Design junkies and modern art fans. This is the China that influences youth culture and is the very definition of urban chic with Chinese characteristics. Our favorite rooms: The artist studios, decorated with abstract works, will put guests in a creative mindset. Dine outdoors: Have champagne brunch out on the terrace—it's a private area with urban art on the cement barrier.