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When you're done with the Forbidden City & Tianamen Square, Great Wall, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Houhai Lake, Lamma Temple, what is there to do, to eat and spend? Beijing is home to a universe of shops,restos and entertainment which can suit any taste, price and style... this is just a few of where we wined,dined and had retail therapy (we will probably mention one or two chinese restaurant)
a spanky new property from Canadian Service Residence chain, Oakwood Beijing has beautifully furnished rooms, great kitchen, fab english staff and nice danish-coffee to go for those early early morning jaunts to the Summer Palace. Its near the Ladies Market as well as across the 3rd Ring where a host of artsy fartsy shops & quaint restos abound in the residential area.Its a bit of a distance to the sites but closer to the airport. Thanks to Karen J. for making our stay very memorable!
Its a huge area for calligraphy, semi-precious stones, tibetan and mao-mishmash. Heaven for those searching for a small souvenir thats great for the house. Open all week but most merchants come in sunday morning. Of course, the early bird catches the "tibetan door knob". who knows what treasures you can pick up from the families letting go of their heirlooms and stuff.
If you want to see Mao disillusionment, this is the place to be or maybe communist guided high consumption-consumerism! This temple of retail for the upcoming Frappucino Chinese! But since its raining messtige (prestige branded stuff for the masses... no knock offs here) stores you can skip it but it has a nice Zara store... Its Hongkong aspirations in the center of the Chinese Universe
A 5-story glass building in happening Sanlitun who has a nice mix of Chinese designers (yes, they exist by the way) and really really nice over-runs from Paul Smith, Martin Margiela, Dolce & Gabbana and other patron saints of messtige. (A nice Paul Smith Automobile-print bag would cost around 40 USD here as compared to 450 USD in the actual boutique and its practically the same thing!).. HAve you read Dana Thomas' Deluxe.. How luxury lost its luster... This mall is a silent witness!
Eating in this glass enclosed brazilian hole twice...it seemed we were removed from Beijing. Tasty 2 course meat menus (reasonably priced), nice wines and yummy desserts.. plus one of Beijing's most english fluent staff! Expats flooding the place since it has consistently been a critics darling resto in the center of Chinese Universe.
Mao is so chic! A luxurious hutong Mao-mishmashed hotel with great (a bit pricey) food, smiley staff. If youre not too claustrophobic, maybe you can try a drink at their bomb shelter (since I dont drink, we just took pictures). Maybe when youre tipsy, you can hear the plots of the ghosts of the Red Army among the huge velvetty armchairs
From the family of Red Capital Residence comes its out of town cousin, literally out of town. Around 1.5-2 hours from Beijing, via shuttle from the Residence, you skirt a valley area where the Great Wall silently snakes the surrounding mountains.In fact, the GWC (that Great Wall of China) for you and me darling, meanders into the riverbead of this charming hotel. Enough of the Great Wall, the tibetan inspired ranch is Crouching Tiger,Meets Seven Years in Tibet, Meets Ralph Lauren. Food is hefty and yummy along with a great setting (im sure its better during sunset). Theres a small spa and the rooms are darling but dont expect plasma tvs and such (its an eco lodge)
When youre still trapped in the Beijing mist, maybe these two can help. Both former Imperial reservoirs now home to big parks and nice restaurants, it can be a breather form the chaos of the center of the chinese universe
Ascending an elevator to a candle lit corridor to emerge at Beijings newest entertainment space. With its tastyMediterrean & Japanese restos powered by Beijing favorites Hatsune... the Lightlounge is a great place for a dressed up friday night with a fiery bartop to dance on.drinks are reasonably priced.
another elevator-requiring drinking destination (plus a flight of stairs) for Beijings fave rooftop bars, great view, reasonable drinks.... just dont get turned off by the building.
Its probably the most posh designed Szechuan resto in the world. Its over the top, maybe over rated at times and probably over priced but nice to check out for afternoon tea. If you know your Starck, you know what i mean
They actually have a store somewhere in Dongsititan (of course, the experts would know where it is exactly), in the of the moment t-shirt, plastered "barber shop" tees made by an american expat is a great reminder of how quirky China can be... remember if you happen to go to a chinese barber shop and they ask you if you want some extra service then...(btw, why are all the barbers girls?) your guess is as good as mine!
Even in the art world, China is getting lots of attention (not so much of product returns).. this temple to the river flowing creativity (as well as stratospherically priced Art movement) just makes you think, no wonder there are so many so-called artists flocking wangfujie selling stuff... Theyve been saying that this former arms factory will be torn down but thats been the drama for the past 8 years and now with the olympics, i dont think its going to be any sooner.
Fab & chic with a food bill to make you cry, the Grand Hyatt's Made in China is an attraction in itself. (very much like that ascetic artsy Green T-House) but with more friendly and familiar fare.
The area near Workers Stadium has been turned into something like the meat-packing district... Vic's still hosts Beijing's pretty young things (Suzy Wongs younger brother.. haha) but with the amount of quirky floating around... dont be surprised to find 30 orange wigged chinese 20-year olds getting your attention.
Like an empress dowager (plus with a Hongkong based name, i dont think it leaves much to the imagination) Suzy Wong in Chaoyang still manages to hold its own (though its been getting lots of competition) to attract chinese gossip girl and cashmere mafia types.. lots of air kissing,checking out, skin flashing but, with a low ceiling, dont expect table dancing....