Every visit to Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center seems to be a special occasion for the gal. Last time they laid on an Oktoberfest finale, with every German and Austrian for miles around donning dirndls or lederhosen and joining a visiting oompah band and hundreds of beer-loving locals at Paulaner. This time it happened to be Halloe’en. Now as it happens Chinese love dressing up and chefs love creating. The luxury hotel’s one-evening buffet featured such ghoulish shapes as the head here, made completely of Parma ham. And as for the visiting kids’ outfits, well, see a video below.
Brice Pean is a very creative Parisian who is doing great things at this busy 540-room hotel, which he has been running for a year now. The complete re-do, by the Singapore office of HBA, is finally finished and I love the soft colours and the thoughtfulness of the rooms. This is still the only hotel that has cleverly put its bathrooms’ magnifying mirrors on vertical shafts so basketball players or miniature ladies can raise, or lower, the said mirror to the required height. Now Mr Pean is continuing with other innovations: since smoking is strictly forbidden anywhere inside, he will convert the lobby’s one-time smoking area into another, much-needed, bar.
The hotel has been upping its food offerings throughout. I was really impressed by Honzen, the Japanese restaurant, and loved the mixed sashimi followed by pork belly Japanese style, with tempura vegetables. A glass of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2018 went down rather well, too. It is probably the Italian restaurant, La Roma, that has however seen the most change. The food has become more rustic and basic, and Little Italy Sunday brunch buffets certainly draw in the weekend crowds. Apparently the make-your-own-pizza offering is a great success. After our own dinner we went to see La Roma’s chef.
What a jolly figure! Andrea Giannini offers an all-you-can eat lunch, and entertainment in the form of watching him making pasta. I have not laughed so much in years as he put the appropriate cutter on his Bottene machine. Out rushed, at lightning speed, little short-cuts of macaroni, all over everywhere. It was hilarious. People buy fresh pasta to cook at home, as well as eating his finished dishes here. Previously, this restaurant used to serve about 30 customers a day. Now it is a minimum of 100, plus those Sunday brunches. There is nothing I like more than seeing a luxury hotel doing even better.