Thomas O’Malley

Correspondent

  • Beijing, China, Asia

Thomas O’Malley is a Beijing-based correspondent who covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Hailing from the “Garden of England,” O’Malley left the hedgerows and hydrangeas of his native Kent in time to catch the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and has lived and worked in the Chinese capital ever since. A food and travel specialist, he has munched his way through the city’s best kaoyadian in search of the perfect Peking duck, journeyed along the former Silk Road to the distant sands of Kashgar, grappled a baby panda in Sichuan and generally counted himself lucky for being witness to an era-defining period of Chinese history. He has written for The Guardian, CNN, Fodor’s, Travel & Leisure, Time Out and the South China Morning Post.

  • On July 2, 2014
  • On April 8, 2014
    Emil Stancu is now following Thomas O’Malley
  • On January 15, 2014
    Hayley Bosch is now following Thomas O’Malley
  • On December 12, 2013
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    What is the dress code at Cai Yi Xuan?

    Officially, the dress code at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing’s Cai Yi Xuan is smart casual, but in practice, provided you’re not sporting the hotel bathrobe, you’ll be at home in whatever you wear. Like Mio, the other signature restaurant of the hotel, the design scheme here is showy and glam — in the evening, expect to see sharp-suited Chinese officials and businessmen ducking in and out of the private rooms for a smoke, most likely feasting on some of the Beijing restaurant’s prime seafood, such as imported Japanese abalone or sea cucumber, along with roasted meats like Cantonese duck and goose, and even Peking’s own wood-fired signature quacker, served with pancakes, julienned vegetables and plum sauce.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    When is Cai Yi Xuan open?

    Four Seasons Hotel Beijing’s Cai Yi Xuan is open every day for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. There is no lunch menu as such, but being a restaurant that specializes in Cantonese dim sum, it’s customary during the day to order a variety of dim sum snacks, such as changfen filled with barbecued pork or shrimp, fried turnip cake (luobogao) with XO sauce, a steamer of delicately pleated soup dumplings with crab (a Shanghai specialty, in fact), baked custard tarts (danta) and also some of the more idiosyncratic Beijing dim sum items, like plump boiled dumplings with pork and cabbage and jianbing, a spicy egg crêpe. At dinner, expect local diners to focus their culinary affections toward the live seafood and Cantonese roasted meats sections of the menu at the Beijing restaurant.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    Where is Cai Yi Xuan located?

    Cai Yi Xuan is located on the second floor of Four Seasons Hotel Beijing, the newest of the cluster of luxury hotels around the northeast third ring road. The restaurant and hotel are a short cab ride from Sanlitun, one the city’s premier destinations for shopping, dining and nightlife. The surrounding modern neighborhood, Yansha, is in the business district, with the U.S., Japanese and German embassies close by. The subway is nearby and the city’s central sights, like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven are about 15 to 20 minutes away by taxi, outside of busy times. The regional Chinese restaurant is around 25 minutes from Beijing Capital International Airport.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    How do I get a reservation at Mio?

    To get a reservation at Mio, the easiest option is to call Four Seasons Beijing directly at +86 (10) 5695 8522. The hotel also permits booking online at OpenTable.com but since this site isn’t yet widely used in Beijing or other Chinese cities, calling is your best bet. In fact, at lunchtimes and weekday evenings (Monday through Thursday), you can be fairly sure of bagging a table for two even if you’ve just checked into the hotel without time to pre-book. If you wish to hold a birthday, business dinner or other event in the private dining room, be sure to book at least a few days in advance.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    Where is Mio located?

    Mio is located on the third floor of Four Seasons Beijing, the newest of the cluster of international and celebrated hotels around the northeast 3rd Ring Road. The hotel is a short cab hop from Sanlitun, the city’s best hub for shopping, dining and nightlife. It is also conveniently close to the airport expressway, which helps when you’re trying to beat the traffic and catch an early flight. The surrounding neighborhood is a newish diplomatic district, somewhat lacking in local color, but subway links are good and the city’s central sights, for example Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven, are about 15 to 20 minutes away by taxi, outside of rush hours.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    What is the scene like at Mio?

    The scene at Mio, the Four Seasons Beijing’s signature restaurant, attracts a lively mix of young Chinese executives, creatives and media types, Embassy staff from the local area (the Japanese, German and US embassies are very close by) and a glut of Four Seasons brand loyalists. The atmosphere in the restaurant is hip and unstuffy, helped by the hustle and bustle of the chefs performing in the two open kitchens, and the startling mix of decorative pomp and back to basics rusticity — think colored crystal light sculptures beside traditional wood-fired pizza ovens. If you’re dining at Mio, consider yourself one of the cool kids.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    What is the style of The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing?

    The style of The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing is a classic mix of Chinese and tropical Southeast Asian aesthetics, centered on its own restaurant, Tea Garden, which is styled like a Chengdu teahouse with sloping eaves and traditional Chinese tableware. Soaring 23 floors above, a bespoke commissioned piece by Australian artist Jayne Dyer consists of 144 cast iron butterfly sculptures scattered along the atrium wall all the way upward, paying homage to Butterfly Lovers, a Chinese tragedy akin to Romeo and Juliet. The treatment suites are cocoons of neutral tranquility, employing cream and tan shades to soothe and relax. His and hers tropical-style wet wellness areas featuring sauna, steam room and ice fountain, and both sexes can soak in the lovely sun-dappled whirlpool.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    What is the best way to get an appointment at The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing?

    The best way to get an appointment at The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing is to call the spa at +86 (10) 5695 8888. They recommend arriving at least 15 minutes before the scheduled treatment, but better to allow even more time to enjoy the wet wellness areas featuring sauna, steam room, whirlpool and ice fountain. In addition, be sure to experience a gongfucha tea ceremony in the adjoining Tea Garden restaurant after your treatment, which is paired with a selection of dainty Chinese snacks. A four-hour notice is required if you need to cancel a reservation, otherwise, payment is required in full (group bookings require 48 hours notice). Treatments can be scheduled any time between the hours of 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., though an advance reservation is required for any services after 9 p.m. and is subject to availability.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Thomas O’Malley answered the question: Thomas O’Malley

    What are the guest rooms like at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing?

    Undoubtedly, the single standout feature of each of Four Seasons Hotel Beijing’s 313 guest rooms and suites is the generously sized bathtub with a view. There’s something wonderful about soaking while, at the same time, gazing out at the city. The vista is far from the room’s only luxury, though. Even the most basic room type — in this case, the 495-square-foot deluxe — exudes a certain polish and comes with the aforementioned tub and separate shower room, espresso machine, ceiling-mounted Bose speaker system and welcome amenity of fruit. If you care to splurge, the 635-square-foot Four Seasons rooms include a sofa seating area and walk-in closet. The Chairman suites (1,227 square feet) are a good choice for families because they come with the option of connecting quarters as well as feature a small kitchen with its own separate door for discreet room service.
  • On December 5, 2013
    Tom Flournoy is now following Thomas O’Malley
  • On December 5, 2013
    Beth Sadowski is now following Thomas O’Malley