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First look: InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun

Time Out takes an exclusive peak at the city's most hotly anticipated hotel opening

'First looks' are initial sneak peeks at a new venue. Unlike reviews, which are strictly anonymous and paid for by Time Out, 'first looks' may be based on press trips or other non-anonymous visits.

What is it? You know that huge construction site that's been in the middle of Sanlitun the last five years? Yeah, it's that. Only now it's the InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun, one of the most anticipated hotel openings of the last few years.

And not only because of it's awesome location, either. The guys at the InterCon have gone all out, and the restaurants, bars and more should soon become part of the area's fabric. It opens to guests on Monday 1 August, with the grand opening on Friday 5, so we'll know for sure soon enough.

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The InterCon's pool has a fantastic view over Sanlitun.

Right now they are still frantically adding the final touches. Time Out was invited to step over the wet paint, duck under the ladders and come in for an exclusive look at the new space.

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The view of Taikoo Li from the InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun.

What's there? So let's get the stats out the way first. You're looking at 300 rooms over 22 floors, with 15 stories of private apartments on top of that. There's a dope pool, gym and spa, seven food and drink outlets, an 800sqm grand ballroom and a fancy AF club lounge on the top floor of the hotel.

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The InterContinental Deluxe Room.

Rooms start from 2,500RMB a night (InterContinental Deluxe Room), which is a kitted-out 45sqm number with a standalone bath. And yes, before you ask, there are Nespresso machines in every room. (Because otherwise what's the point?)

So a prime spot for a staycay, then.

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The whole place is incredibly light and airy, with floor-to-ceiling windows at every turn. Decor-wise it's understated luxe, with bright marble, nice but not overbearing Chinese touches and some stunning light fixtures.

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The hotel's lobby.

At opening on Friday 5 August, a few of the restaurants will be open for business. There's Top Tapas, which serves, well, you know, and Ying, the InterCon's Chinese/Japanese restaurant. Both cuisine types share a space at Ying, but are separated with different decor and, of course, different menus.

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Ying restaurant serves both Chinese and Japanese food.

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Opening over the next month or so are Top Bar, a 'beer and whisky' lounge; Char, a high-end steakhouse; and Deli-cious, a second-floor Deli with takeaway pastries that we can see becoming an important part of our morning commute very soon. Top Bar and Char both have awesome terraces, so you can look down on the Sanlitun hoi polloi as you live it up.

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Coming soon to a wedding invitation near you.

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There are also eight function rooms, with some set up for business (above) and others for straight-up chillin'.

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Verdict The InterCon looks set to be a real landmark in the city's most cosmopolitan area. Keep checking timeoutbeijing.com for reviews of the hotel's restaurants and other services.

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