Why Is This Place so Great?
As China’s capital, Beijing is an amazing city steeped in the contrasts of history and modernity. It is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, as well as seven UNESCO Heritage Sites, most of which have the backdrop to some of China’s most stunning new-age skyscrapers. Be prepared to eat some good food! Beijing is renowned for its infamous Peking Duck. dumplings, and hotpot.
Where Should I Stay?
For Luxury Choose: Aman Summer Palace Beijing
The Aman Summer Palace provides guests with the opportunity to immerse themselves with ancient Imperial Chinese culture. Just steps away from the UNESCO Heritage’s Summer Palace, the resort reflects the landmark’s exterior to a tee. Despite its traditional history, the hotel is equipped with modern, state of the art amenities that include an 82-foot pool, a private cinema, and two squash courts. As if there wasn’t already enough to do in Beijing, Aman has also prepared activities that guests are welcome to take part in, including Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting, and kite making.
Address: 1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace, Beijing, PRC 100091
For Lifestyle Choose: Hotel Éclat Beijing
Photo of the Hotel’s Deluxe Terrace Room. Courtesy of Hotel Éclat
Hotel Éclat is one of the few hotels around the world that perfectly satisfies all three of our categories: Luxury, Lifestyle, and Boutique; however, its amazing environmentally friendly initiatives are what made us decide to showcase this hotel in the Lifestyle category.
Why is this hotel so fantastically Lifestyle? First of all, the mixed-use building that houses Hotel Éclat was designed with a triple glazed glass exterior, which allows the hotel to use 50% less energy in comparison to buildings of comparable size. To further reduce energy consumption, the hotel uses LED lights throughout the hotel. The building was also sustainably designed with a “grey water” reserve from water used in baths and showers to flush toilets. Furthermore, the products used to clean the rooms are also non-toxic as well as eco-friendly – even the bed sheets are off-white so bleach does not need to be used! On a wellness note, in addition to the 24-hour gym located on hotel premises, guests staying here will have free access to one of Beijing’s most progressive fitness clubs, Philosophy, located within the same complex. Here, hotel guests will be able to participate in group training classes in aerial, barre, TRX, pilates, amongst others.
Also in the Chaoyang District (similar to EAST shown below), Hotel Éclat embraces its artistic surroundings. With over 100 pieces of art meticulously placed throughout guest rooms and private spaces, the hotel is also home to original sculptures and paintings from some of the greats, including works from Andy Warhol and China’s largest privately owned Salvador Dali collection.
This hotel is also “Luxury” for its impeccable service. Not only do guests receive personalized service, but every guest staying in the hotel also has access to Hotel Éclat’s 24-hour lounge that serves breakfast (a la carte with some buffet options), all day light refreshments and canapés, and a late night menu all complimentary during your stay. If you’re looking for something with more substance during the day, In-Room Dining is served fine dining style too.
For Boutique Choose: EAST Hotel Beijing
Photo of the Hotel’s Urban View Room. Courtesy of EAST Beijing
EAST is a very trendy hotel located in Chaoyang, one of the more populated areas of Beijing. Just a 12 minute walk away from the infamous 798 Art District, EAST also boasts a large collection of specially curated local art featured around the hotel. All 369 rooms have been designed for relaxation (one feature of which is its floor to ceiling windows showcasing gorgeous views of Beijing), but also have in-room amenities to facilitate with any unexpected work that you may need to do whilst on holiday. With its close proximity to the INDIGO shopping mall, you will be spoiled for dining options with some of Beijing’s best gourmet restaurants in walking distance.
What Should I Do?
Luxury: Learn to Cook Chinese Cuisine
(With Chefs from Famous Restaurants!)
For cooking classes, we definitely suggest you try Beijinger Kitchen. They invite top chefs from famous restaurants or five-star hotels to teach you how to cook popular Chinese dishes hands on. Not only will you get the chance to taste the meal you’ve personally cooked, but the chefs will also cook other dishes, including those from the Szechuan and Canton province, so you can taste the different culinary styles.
Not interested in taking a class? That’s fine too! Beijinger Kitchen offers a unique private dining experience where they invite top chefs to create a ten-course meal that covers eight famous Chinese cooking styles so you can try them all in one sitting. With the chefs cooking privately for your party, you have the opportunity to pick their brains and ask them questions about Chinese culinary techniques.
If you have any allergies, let them know in advance and they will try to accommodate your needs as best as possible.
Address: No. 13 Fangjia Hutong, YongHeGong St. Dongcheng District, Beijing
Lifestyle: Climb the Great Wall of China
(With a Cable Car and/or Toboggan ride!)
One of the Seven Wonders of the World and a featured UNESCO Heritage Site, the Great Wall of China is not to be missed whilst in Beijing. Its history can be dated back to the 7th Century and was used to protect the Chinese empire from enemy forces entering its vicinity.
Winding over 5,000 miles long, the Great Wall of China would take approximately 18 months to walk its entire length. While it is completely possible to accomplish this challenge, we don’t suggest it since large sections of the wall have become dilapidated due to its age.
Consequently, we recommend travelers to take a day trip to Mutianyu, approximately 45 miles away from Beijing. This route is much quieter in comparison to the main section (Ba Da Ling) that most tourists visit, which has become quite overcrowded due to its close proximity to Beijing.
We love this option because people have the choice to make this trip to the Great Wall as challenging or fun as they like. Mutianyu is a small town below the mountains which house this section of the Great Wall. Consequently, visitors can choose to either walk up the mountain for approximately 30 to 40 minutes until they reach the Wall or take a cable car up. The entire span of this section of the Wall is 1.5 miles long and contains 23 watch towers in between. Once finished seeing the wall, you then have the option to take a Toboggan (a long slide) back down to the village.
Check out this video to see what you should expect during this activity.
Boutique: Visit the Local Markets
If you want to see local customs and culture in action, visiting the markets is the way to go. For souvenirs, we recommend Panjiayuan Antiques Market. At this market, you will find vendors selling everything from Chinese calligraphy brushes, to ceramics, and even Ming or Qing era furniture. However, if you are specifically looking to purchase tea or tea sets, check out Maliandao Tea Street instead.
This is an indoor market where close to 900 vendors trade their products. On this street, you should be able to find products at a cheaper rate for the same quality of goods. For our more adventurous travelers, we recommend visiting Donghuamen Night Market near Wangfujing. Here, you can find cooked scorpions, grubs, and seahorses, amongst other exotic foods to tickle your fancy… be warned this is not for the faint of heart (or stomach!).
Where Should I Eat?
Luxury: Cai Yi Xuan at the Four Seasons
Photo of the restaurant’s Soy-Braised Pork Belly dish with Abalone and Black Truffle Sauce. Courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing
Winner of multiple awards for its excellent wine and food, Cai Yi Xuan is a must try whilst visiting Beijing. The Head Chef has had over 20 years of experience cooking in multiple different Chinese techniques, which is reflected in the food you will taste here in this restaurant. Enjoy some dim sum during lunch hours, or dine a la carte during dinner (definitely order the Peking Duck). You can’t go wrong!
Address: 48 Liangmaqiao Rd, SanYuan Qiao, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100096
Lifestyle: King’s Joy
Photo of the Restaurant. Courtesy of King’s Joy
King’s Joy is a fully organic and vegetarian restaurant that chooses its ingredients from local farms. Their Head Chef is a true believer of the Slow Food Movement and is finding innovative methods towards providing patrons with clean and healthy food by doing his best to showcase the key ingredients used in each dish. This means the food served is low-sugar, low-fat, low-calorie, and without preservatives.
With harpists regularly visiting the establishment to entertain the patrons, this restaurant is most definitely a NoFilter luxury-lifestyle mixed restaurant, and you can expect the price to be reflected.
Address: 2 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100027
Boutique: Pingwa Sanbao
The owner of this restaurant initially opened this restaurant because he found people getting sick from the street food they were eating and wanted to create an establishment that was trustworthy to serve Beijing snack foods at the same affordable price. All the food in this restaurant is Beijing-ified Northern cuisine. If you stick to the menu, you can’t go wrong.
Address: Baijiazhuang Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100001