by Alex Pasternack
In the wake of the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese capital doesn't hold too many surprises. But Opposite House—a glass-box boutique hotel in Sanlitun, a historically chaotic nightlife district—makes a welcome addition to the recent influx of upscale restaurants and luxury vehicles bombarding the neighborhood.
Designed by the Japanese master of transparent buildings Kengo Kuma, a facade of pixelated emerald glass encases the hotel, with an angular exterior awning protruding out over the driveway like a bat wing.
Guests wait on large ottomans next to a 6,000-drawer apothecary cabinet while the multilingual staff checks them in via tablet computers. Contemporary Chinese sculptures sprinkled throughout the lobby and a large mesh curtain (also designed by Kuma) swoops down six floors through the central atrium complete the dramatic setting.
The rooms, decorated in a minimalist style with brushed oak floors and standalone baths, almost seem like Muji designed them. The aesthetic looks so immaculate it seems wrong to disturb the duvet off the bed. Floor-to-ceiling windows subtly show off traditional lattice patterns embedded in glass, giving the facade a green glow.
The hotel's basement, packed with quality food and drink organized by the restauranteur David Laris and designed by Shanghai firm Neri and Hu, has already become a crucial new destination for hip locals. Sureño, a Mediterranean restaurant, is dark and sultry, while Bei serves both sushi and duck in a smart, modernist interior that pays homage to nature. At night, the basement becomes an epicenter for a stylish younger crowd thanks to the dance-friendly bar, Punk, which flows seamlessly to the basement landing offering a glimpse of the luminous 22-meter stainless-steel swimming pool.
Rack rates for the 99 rooms go from $235â640 including breakfast. (Penthouse rates are available upon request.) Visit The Opposite House website for booking and be sure to view more images after the jump.