Mandarin Oriental Beijing “Toast”?

Today I walked by the hotel that I said nearly a month ago had been “destroyed” by illegal CCTV fireworks. Since then I heard some debate about whether the building was actually rendered unusable or whether it was just a matter of scraping off the old skin and replacing it with a shiny new one. Looking up at the building, I wondered where the latter opinion was coming from. The building certainly looks like it’s toast, literally and figuratively, and even if it somehow stood, who would want to move into it? I’m no physicist, but I can’t believe a building can withstand so much heat for so many hours, followed by many hours of water and chemical soaking, and retain its structural integrity.

Anyway, the only reason I’m putting this up is because of some chatter on Twitter from some of the people I respect the very most when it comes to all things China, describing a Caijing story today claiming the building is not salvageable, and that some very top people at CCTV are under investigation for its destruction. Expect to see more on this real soon. Watching the demolition of what was a few weeks ago one of the most anticipated architectural arrivals of the new century will have to be painful.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

“The building certainly looks like it’s toast,…”


March 2, 2009 @ 8:22 pm | Comment

I’m no structural expert, but I agree with you on the safety matter. Would it be worth the risk trying to use it after all? I don’t see how.

March 2, 2009 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

Considering the enormous oversupply of 5-star-hotel rooms in Beijing, the new hotel would have lost money in any case. It’s rather hard to cover your operating costs with 20-30 % occupancy rates…

March 2, 2009 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

Considering that Beijing has an extreme oversupply of 5-star-hotel rooms, I suppose one additional luxury hotel won’t be missed. Would anyway have lost money, what with occupancy rates for similar establishments hovering in the 20-30 % range right now…

March 3, 2009 @ 1:27 am | Comment

THis may be a little off topic, but I must mention it here.

A few days ago, the Chinese lunar probe Chang’E 1 ended its 16 months mission with a controlled impact on a chosen surface of the moon, to send back data of the moon surface composision at the last moment of the impact. Ending a probe or satellite mission by crashing it, in a controlled way, into a moon/crater is a common and popular way to collect deeper scientific data. The US, Russia, Europe does it regularly. In other words, the Chang’E mission ended according to plan.

Here’s the BBC headline about this news:

Chinese probe crashes into moon

Here’s their sub-title:

A Chinese lunar probe has crashed into the moon in what Beijing has called a controlled collision.

Now, if there was a NASA mission, or a EU mission, or a Japanese mission, the “normal” headline would’ve been something like “Lunar Probe Mission Ends Today” or “In a controlled impact, lunar probe ends its mission” , etc.

But this is a Chinese mission, so it crashed, but “Beijing calls it a Controlled mission (wink, wink)”

And if you think I am overracting, this is how an American reader described this BBC article when linking it in another forum:

“Chinese lunar satellite has crashed into the moon. Beijing called it a controlled collision.”

And that post attracted 60+ comments, all believing that something is seriously suspicious about this “crash”, and many claiming it was faked.


If you think this is an isolated incident, then I can provide you with many many many other headlines/articles on China-related pieces from the BBC,CNN, etc that have these very peculiar, backhanded, insinuating languages and headlines.

In fact, go to CNN or BBC, and type in the word “China” and look at the top 20 headlines and read through each passage, and you’d have to be truly blunt not to notice a trend in their language/tone.

China to BBC/CNN is like Democratic Party to Fox News. Maybe a more subtle way, but not much more.

March 3, 2009 @ 1:43 am | Comment

Thomas, no doubt they would have lost money in the short-term, and maybe the new hotel would have failed. Still, I’m sure this catastrophe wasn’t what they wanted to see happen. If the hotel failed, they could have sold the building (eventually). Now its worthless.

HX, from the very first CNN story on Google News at this moment:

China’s first lunar probe landed on the moon in a controlled collision Sunday, marking the first phase of the nation’s three-stage moon mission, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The second stage involves sending a second probe to practice soft landings, the Xinhua news agency said.

The mission will culminate with the launch and landing of a rover on the moon to collect mineral samples in 2012.

The probe — Chang’e-1, named after a legendary moon goddess — launched into space 16 months ago on October 24, 2007.

China became only the third nation, after the United States and Russia, to send a manned spacecraft into orbit. It did so in October 2003

Oh, that terrible media bias toward China!

March 3, 2009 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

Seems like many of the grand Olympic year projects are already looking worn, if not toast. Apart from the water cube, they are already looking like toast.

March 3, 2009 @ 5:22 pm | Comment

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