Friday, 2 November 2007

Beijing de Luxe: Cool Visits, Sees & Tastes

Visiting Beijing? Looking for something special, something 'de luxe'? Check my special list compiled for the relaxed visitor:

3 Beijing VISITS for body and soul:

Working and sightseeing in Beijing can be exhausting. One of the best pit-stops to pamper yourself is this little massage hideaway in tropical style. You can choose from a simple 80 min. foot massage to body treatments and facials in private rooms. Sheela’s Nails next to the reception is highly recommended for efficient manicure and pedicure. Although white is beautiful in Asia, a tanning studio is in the same building upstairs.
17 Gongti Bei Lu
Chaoyang District, Beijing
11:00am – 00:30am
Massage booking: 6417 9595 or
Booking manicure & pedicure: 6416 0786
11:00am –1:00pm

Commune by the Great Wall
If you need more than a pit-stop and maybe even want to leave the city behind you, than the Commune by the Great wall with the Anantara Spa is your weekend hideaway. Commune by the Great Wall is a collection of contemporary architecture designed by 12 Asian architects. It was exhibited and awarded at the 2002 Biennale in Venice. You can spend the night in one of the 11 villas (up to 24,883 RMB) or in a standard room (special rates start at 988 RMB). During the day you may discover modern architecture, climb the Great Wall and select from various massage therapies and exotic body treatments. Kids are perfectly occupied at the well equipped kids club.
Commune by the Great Wall (managed by Kempinski)
Shuiguan Mountains
Booking and enquiries: 8118 1888, Anantara Spa ext. 5100

C. de France
This fresh aesthetic looking Hair & Beauty Salon has just opened in tiny Nali Mall. The owner Catherine Colin, ex-hairstylist from Eric Paris, is well appreciated by the expat community. Get a free manicure during your hair cut or highlights. Looking pretty drop into award winning restaurant Alameda for lunch (Lunch Rapido 60 RMB), but make sure you’ve booked a table ahead.
Nali Mall, Sanlitun North Bar Street
C. de France: 6417 3029 or
Alameda: 6417 8084

3 Beijing SEES:

The Great Wall
Have private access to the Great Wall at "Commune by the Great Wall". Follow a hidden path through a forest up hill and enjoy about 1 km of not restored wall. Ask at the reception for directions.

Mei Lanfang’s former Residence
Visiting the famous Beijing Opera star’s former residence is an all in one experience: discover the beauty of a courtyard house (siheyuan), see a collection of traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy, learn about Beijing Opera and stroll the neighbouring hutong alleys to explore local life in old Beijing.
9 Huguosi Lu,
Xicheng District
6618 0351
Tue-Sun, April-November 9am-4pm, 10 RMB entrance fee

Royal Canal Boat Tour to the Summer Palace
Cruise the imperial canal in a traditional canopy boat underneath old stone bridges and along green shores. First stop at the Purple Bamboo Garden to stroll in the park to meet local amateurs of the community singing. Second stop mid-route, to walk along hidden paths to explore one neglected Indian style stone pagoda temple and a delicate Longevity Temple that served as a rest place for emperors.
To book via Chinese Culture Club, RMB 200 (

2 Beijing TASTES:

Made in China
You cannot leave Beijing without having tried a Beijing Duck. The trendiest way to enjoy the Beijing Duck is at this unique restaurant. Book a table by the open kitchen. Have a drink after dinner at the elegant Redmoon bar just opposite the entrance.
1/F Grand Hyatt Hotel
1 Dongchang’ An Jie
Dongcheng District, Beijing
85181234 ext. 3608
Lunch 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Dinner 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Redmoon Bar 5:00pm to 1 am (Sun-Thu), to 2 am (Fri, Sat)

Whampoa Club Beijing
Exported from Shanghai to Beijing, located in one of the last courtyard houses in the Financial District, this new highlight of Beijing’s club scene features a restaurant, a bar, a private dining room and a courtyard for al fresco dining. The internationally acclaimed chef Jereme Leung serves inspiring New Beijing Cuisine in a modern Chinese setting.
23 A Jinrong Dajie (Financial Street)
Xi Cheng District, Beijing, China
8808 8828
11:30am to 10:00pm


Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm definitely coming to Beijing in March!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful tips and information. Today I saw a great book called Chinese Lofts! Will definitely visit some of the neighborhoods where they located. I'm working on a great project with a furniture designer and I'm sure that I'll find just as many interesting things there as I do here in Seoul.

- Susan - said...

Hi Felicia,
Great! You have to let me know when you are here to get together.
There are lots of furniture makers here, when you are up to that.

Lara Dunston said...

What a fabulous list! I didn't know Anantara had taken over Commune. It's probably a good thing - it was deserted when we visited last summer. I just love the Whampoa Club in Shanghai - I'm dying to try this one - next visit! :)

- Susan - said...

Hi Lara,

Kempinski is managing the 'Commune of the Great Wall'. They took over around a year ago. They are really busy on holidays and weekends! I am glad as it is a fantastic project in a fantastic scenery!

They built the spa and this is managed by Anantra. Really nice. A great day trip.

Since we discovered it in October, we have taken all our visitors.

mingsuan said...

Hi can you share how you got the special rate of RMB988 for the standard room??? Their site cites rates of more than double that amount..

- Susan - said...

Ming Suan,
it was a special rate offered for the Golden October week in 2007.
You can call them and ask if they have any special offers coming up (maybe May holiday?). - But maybe they are well known now and have raised the prices.

And referring to Lara's comment again - about Anantara - I think, Anantara is a Thai brand.

mingsuan said...

Just in case anyone else is still looking for something to do during the May holidays, the standard king is going for RMB1788 (+15%) then...not quite the special rate it was last October, but still about RMB300-400 cheaper than normal..

- Susan - said...


I was at the Commune of the Great Wall just yesterday (Sunday)! It was great as usual. We arrived, had lunch, our son prefered to go to the kids club (he climbed the wall two days ago at Mutianyu) and our guest was totally amazed about that part of the wall - he said he preferes it 10 times more to Mutianyu.

Well, it is different. I was not sure what he (or myself) like better. And as we all like the Great Wall of China as the best sight - I went in three days twice to the Great Wall to make up our mind.

Mutianyu now has catched up a bit and offers the Schoolhouse as a nice location for lunch (and a variety of other places). However the Commune at the Great Wall is just the number 1 destination (also faster to reach from Beijing). And you do not have to stay overnight to be entiteled to use the spa, the kids club or climb the wall.

- Susan - said...

ming suan,
sorry, I forgot to thank you for the new rates! It seems not such a great deal anymore. The rooms are quiet small, like standard hotel rooms. But it is a nice thing to spend there a whole day and have dinner, maybe at the Peacock room (book in advance) - and one night is enough! Not much to do around there. Enjoy your stay! You will like it! Great arty atmosphere and good air!


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