It is easy to spot the Opposite House from afar, thanks to its box-shaped emerald exterior. Accompanied by rows of green bamboo branches, which are typical of the Kengo Kuma style, it exudes a sense of coolness on a scorching hot summer day at Beijing.

The Opposite House is Hong Kong property developer Swire Group’s first investment on a hotel project. The scale of the investment and the choice of eminent Japanese architect Kengo Kuma in particular, show the group’s ambition. Situated to the south of The Village at Sunlitun, the complex, which consists of buildings of diverse colors and forms, offers various functions including office, hotel, shopping and entertainment. With the presence of many popular brands, it claims to be a pioneer in the renovation of Sunlitun.

There is no sign on the entrance. The reception is not that catchy either. Kengo Kuma adopts a brand new approach to interpreting the pattern of a traditional hotel. Staying at the Opposite House, you need to learn a new language of hotel living.

This house has life. The skilled use of changing lights and shadows by Kengo Kuma, a nature lover, has ushered in energy to the house. New buildings tend to lack vitality. The architect fixes that problem smartly by using a large amount of natural materials. For example, the floor is made of recycled oak, which shows off beautiful tree rings if you take a closer look at it. A black pond sits at the heart of the lobby. Many guests mistake it as a marble stool and some even almost sit on it. The pool is made of steel iron dogged with stains, not because of lack of cleaning, but to show the flight of time.

The Opposite House has 99 rooms in five types, with the area ranging from 45sqm to 190sqm. More than half of the rooms are bigger than 70sqm. Floors are made of recycled oak in its natural form. Wood floors are even used in bathrooms, adding a familiar touch.

Designers break away with the traditional space arrangement of hotels. The abundant use of glass and nearly-penetrating fabrics to separate space evokes the feeling of nebulous and spacious living. Open bathrooms are integrated with bedrooms, a creative twist favored by hotel designers. Lovers will find it extremely romantic. But for a couple who is yet to bath together, it may be a little bit embarrassing for them after sharing a hot bathtub. Nevertheless, the oak wood tub, a very Japanese style, is indeed a highlight of the room, but in perfect harmony with the ambience.

The most prominent feature lies in invisible details. Furniture, though limited in number, appears to be simple and clean. To create a simplistic and comfortable look, almost all room facilities are hidden behind. Thanks to well-trained staff, guests can easily learn where to find them. For those who are not patient enough, it may not be that fun to play a treasure seeking game.

Though not big in size, the hotel offers a selection of restaurants, bars and cafes where you will find six fun choices. The team of chefs, led by David Laris, is confident that it is capable of shocking the industry in Beijing. Most restaurants are designed by Guo Xien and Hu Rushan of Design Republic.


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