Wood-lined walls, a minimal diner and comprehensive book lounge all feature in Beijing’s new Muji Hotel, which opened to the public on June 30.
Located 450 metres from Tiananmen Square in Beijing’s historic Qianmen area, the hotel is the brand’s second outpost following the opening of Muji Hotel Shenzhen in January. A third branch in Ginza, Tokyo is slated for completion next year.
It’s not the first time the Japanese retailer has ventured beyond the design of clothing and homeware products, with previous forays including a series of prefabricated housing prototypes. However, Muji Hotel marks the brand’s first hospitality initiative, which sets out to answer the question of whether the Japanese lifestyle juggernaut can successfully transfer its ethos of accessible, minimalist design to the design and operation of a commercial hotel.
Established in 1979, Muji has built a brand on being 'brandless', its simple aesthetic garnering devotees all over the world, including here in China, where the Japanese retailer currently has over 230 stores. Beyond the sale of everyday household items, most significantly, Muji sells a lifestyle, one that advocates against 'unnecessary functionality, an excess of decoration, and needless packaging.'
Furnished with Muji’s own eclectic product range, the hotel aims to reflect the company's pared-back hospitality and lifestyle philosophy.
'Travel has become part of our daily lives. It has evolved from the extraordinary to the ordinary, from something in which we participate to something we create,' says the brand.
'At Muji Hotel, there are neither exorbitantly priced and superfluous services nor dreary guest rooms resulting from the extreme reduction of quality.'
Guest room Type B.
The hotel has 42 guest rooms which come in the form of six different room types, starting from 550RMB per night. Muji products, such as aroma diffusers, wall-mounted CD players, electric kettles and more are included for guest use.
Guest Room Type E.
Like its stores, Muji Hotel’s atmosphere is relaxed – almost meditative – with natural materials featuring heavily, particularly bamboo and recycled stone from the surrounding Dashilar area. A book lounge on the first floor offers over 8,000 books, while a 24-hour utility room on the second floor allows guests to do their own laundry (should the mood strike). The hotel also offers free bike rental, encouraging guests to explore Beijing’s backstreets.
On the fourth floor, Muji Diner serves local food inspired by home cooking, all served on Muji dinnerware. A pitched glass roof offers an ode to the roofs of traditional Chinese siheyuans, while a sprawling outdoor terrace provides a visible reminder of the influence of Beijing’s historic courtyard houses, as well as direct views of Tiananmen Square.
The view from Muji Diner.
For fans of Muji's design philosophy, Muji Hotel offers a way to completely immerse yourself in the brand's simple aesthetic, which in recent years has become synonymous with contemporary Japanese design. And when that's all said and done, you can still take a slice of Muji home with you from the hotel's basement store.