Three thousand years young
An eternal city reinvents itself: A venerable three thousand years old, dynamic Beijing was booming long before the Olympic Games came along. We bring you some ideas on where to stay and what to see and do in a metropolis where yesterday, today and tomorrow are one.
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From small boutique hotels to decorated five-star hotels
The St. Regis Beijing:
Elegant luxury, classic interior decoration in different shades of bronze, modern art: The St. Regis is one of Beijing’s top hotels. It was recently renovated and now offers a private butler service for each room. The St. Regis Spa is ideal for guests seeking refuge from the bustle of the city.
21 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District, Tel. +86-10/64 60 66 88, www.stregis.com
Côté Cour Hotel:
“East meets West” is the motto of this small boutique hotel, which combines modern design with traditional Chinese architecture. With only 14 rooms and tucked away in one of the lanes in the old town, this hotel oozes genuine Old Peking charm and heavenly peace. Tip: Use the courtesy car service from the airport.
70 Yanyue Hutong, Dongcheng District, Tel. +86-10/65 23 79 81, www.hotelcotecourbj.com
Beijing Grand Hyatt
Luxurious rooms, prizewinning restaurants and a spa facility decorated with tropical vegetation: This 5-star hotel is one of the most exquisite that Beijing has to offer and is only a few minutes’ walk from the Imperial City. It is part of the Oriental Plaza, China’s largest office and shopping complex.
1 East Chang An Avenue, Dongcheng District, Tel. +86-10/85 18 12 34, http://beijing.grand.hyatt.com
Spicy cookery courses and spectacular views
The Opposite House:
An ultramodern boutique hotel with 99 rooms, one of which is a penthouse suite complete with roof garden, right in the middle of Sanlitun, the city’s diplomatic quarter. Minimalist design by Kengo Kuma sets it apart from the stereotypical 5-star hotel. According to the New York Times, the steel pool is really “too beautiful to be used.”
The Village, Building 1, 11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Tel. +86-10/64 17 66 88, www.theoppositehouse.com
Black Sesame Kitchen
A choice ranging from handmade noodles to spicy Chungking chicken: Jen Lin-Liu, an American citizen, has cooked her way right through China, written a bestseller about it and now lets expats and tourists in on the secrets of Chinese cuisine. New menu every month, plus individual cooking courses and set dinners.
3 Black Sesame Hutong, Dongcheng District, Tel. +86-1369/147 44 08, www.blacksesamekitchen.com
Beijing’s most elevated bar and lounge – on the 65th floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel – offers guests a selection of 440 different wines, delicious cocktails, whiskies or champagne, plus a spectacular panoramic view of the Chinese capital. Elegant decoration, courteous service, live jazz. What more can one ask?
Park Hyatt Beijing, Level 65, 2 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang District, Tel. +86-10/85 67 12 34, www.beijing.park.hyatt.com
Of luxury labels and “plastered T-shirts”
China’s first luxury label has acquired a lot of international fans and has several stores in Beijing. The elegant garments and accessories made of the finest materials are a subtle combination of traditional Chinese features and modern design. Powerful pink and green shades for ladies, more restrained colors for men.
Beijing Grand Hyatt Hotel, Shop 03&05, UG Level, 1 East Chang An Avenue, Dongcheng District, Tel. +86-10/85 18 72 28
Park Life, Shop 311-313, 3/F Park Life, 2 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang District, Tel. +86-10/85 17 12 68
Beijing Ritz-Carlton Hotel, China Central Place, Shop 01&02, Lobby Level, 83A Jian Guo Road, Chaoyang District, Tel. +86-10/59 08 80 48
This isn’t just another cool T-shirt shop on Nanluoguxiang, the city’s main shopping street, it’s a Beijing institution. Designer Dominic Johnson-Hill started up some 17 years back planning to print T-shirts with memorable Beijing motifs from the 1970s and 1980s. Plastered T Shirts has now become one of the city’s best-known streetwear labels. .
61 Nanluogu Xiang (beim Glockenturm), Dongcheng District, Tel. +86-134/88 84 88 55, www.plasteredtshirts.com
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA):
Opened in 2007, this museum quickly became a meeting-place for the art scene and has done much to enhance the image of the city’s Art District 798. In this old factory building, Belgian art collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens have made their dream come true – a museum of their very own. Regularly changing exhibitions of young Chinese artists, lectures and other events.
798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Tel. +86-10/84 59 92 69, www.ucca.org.cn
pictures: Corbis; PR (9)