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Beijing on a Big Budget

First class comfort and service isn’t just limited to the flight. Explore the exclusive resorts and secret escapes that reveal Chinese luxury in the city with the most billionaires in the country. Prepare yourself for an imperial experience that would make any emperor jealous

Gourmet

Deep-fried Beans with Chilli and Sichuan Peppercorns Deep-fried Beans with Chilli and Sichuan Peppercorns at Chuan Ban

The luxury and prices of these restaurants can no longer be called food; the tantalizing tastes and refreshments can only described as gourmet. The stunning interior design of eateries like Maison Boulud, Beijing Bistro or Duck de Chine (recommended by CNN) is an appetizer in itself. The exotic ingredients and spices, never before seen by Western eyes, breathe life into any Beijing experience but they do come with a price tag. The cheapest of these dinners for two costs over 500 Chinese yuan, that’s nearly $100 dollars per couple.

  • Beijing Bistro: 26A Xiao Yun Road, Chaoyang District
  • Maison Boulud: Ch'ien Men 23, 23 Qianmen Dong Da Jie, near Guangchang Dong Ce Lu; +86 (10) 6559 9200
  • Duck de Chine: 1949 The Hidden City, Courtyard 4, Gongti Bei Lu, near Nansanlitun Lu;+86 (10) 6501 8881

On top of these restaurants, there have been a few new additions to the luxury scene in Beijing.

Maison Boulud's chef has opened a new location by the Temple Hotel — Temple Restaurant serves contemporary European cuisine from a hitherto forgotten 700-year old temple, and boasts an impressive wine cellar. The cellar specialises in exclusive Champagne, Burgundy, and Bordeaux.

Then there is King's Joy, a Chinese vegetarian fine-dining institution run by a former Buddhist disciple, Jianjun. This luxurious restaurant is beautifully located opposite the famous Beijing Lama Temple, in hip and ever-evolving Wudaoying Hutong. The restaurant prides itself upon transforming local and handpicked organic vegetarian ingredients into dishes that make you forget meat ever existed.

mapo tofu

Sichuan Mapo Tofu at Chuan Ban

For a different kind of luxurious, try the Sichuan Provincial Restaurant, set in a typical Chinese restaurant setting with ponds, wooden circular windows and bamboo, this restaurant is such a culinary treat, and not outrageously expensive. This restaurant is the official government representative restaurant of Sichuan province - make sure everyone is fine with spicy before going here, and call to book in advance if possible!

  • Temple Restaurant:Songzhusi Temple, 23 Shatan Beijie, Dongcheng District; +86 (10) 8400 2232
  • King's Joy:2 Wudaoying Hutong, Yonghegong Da Jie, Dongcheng District; +86 (10) 5217 1900
  • Sichuan Provincial Government Restaurant (Chuan Ban) 5 Gongyuan 1st Alley, Dongcheng District; +86 (10) 6512 2277

The Resorts

Escape the tourists’ rat race. Stop chasing China’s history through the enormity of the city, for just a moment, and enjoy the R&R of your true vacation. Blind masseuses will pour their fingertips into visitor’s pains and cleanse them. Saunas and hot spring baths in unique bamboo settings place visitors’ minds at ease. Chinese mud and grass paste skin cleansing, acupuncture and cupping treatments all set visitors on cloud nine.

  • Skyline Resort: Xiao Yuan Shang Cun 150, Qinglonghu Town, Fangshan, Beijing
  • Purple Jade Country Club and Resort: 1 Purple Jade Road East, Beijing
  • Loong Palace Hotel & Resort: Huilongguan, Changping District, Beijing

The Nightlife

With the explosion of the Chinese economy so does the pre-cultural revolution culture of hierarchy and financial elite locales. Invite only film premieres, concerts and special events are perfect examples.

Tickets to the National Center for the Performing Arts already costs a pretty penny but front row seats to the Broadway-style, Chinese cultural performances can easily go beyond a thousand of RMB. Tianqiao Acrobatics Theatre similarly offers visitor a spectacle of uniquely Chinese performance art but at a price.

  • 2 West Chang'an Avenue, Xicheng District, Tel: (010) 6655 0000 Website: www.chncpa.org

Cost of entry in clubs like Vics or Mix Club in Beijing already makes them a financially exclusive club for the affluent in and around Beijing. Yet within its hallowed walls VIP areas, with Champaign, exotically furnish and designed interiors, international DJ and famous guests like Jay Z, often house Chinese celebrities, and bigwigs. Rub shoulders and clink glasses with the movers and shakers in the country.

  • Vics Club: Workers Stadium North Gate, Gongrentiyuchang Beilu, Chaoyang District, Tel: (010) 5293 0333, Website: www.vics.com.cn
  • Mix Club: Workers Stadium North Gate, Gongrentiyuchang Beilu, Chaoyang District, Tel: (010) 6506 9888
Mala Old Fashioned, Parlor, Beijing

Besides the clubs, there are also an array of exclusive bars throughout the city with a focus on creating good drinks.

For a speakeasy vibe, try Parlor, where cocktails are thoughtfully put together (using, for example, bacon infused whisky for their version of an Old Fashioned) and a range of snacks are available. Parlor is located in luxury shopping center Sparkle and Roll, right by the Bentley dealer and the Bang & Olufsen experience center. The bar also has an exclusive upstairs area that is only available through membership.

For rooftop lounging, try Shang Bar at the Emperor Hotel near Qianmen. This rooftop bar will cost you around 300 yuan per person for three hours, just for entry, ensuring exclusivity. The cocktails are wonderful, and the view of Beijing is like nowhere else; a mix of the old, and no shortage of the new.

  • Parlor:Xindong Lu, Xingfuercun 39-8, Chaoyang District; +86 (10) 8444 4135
  • Shang Bar:Emperor Hotel, 87 Xianyukou Hutong, Dongcheng District; +86 (10) 6701 7790

The Hotels

hotel

The luxury of 5-star hotels has a different definition in China. With a population of nearly one and a half billion the service and human resources are boundless. Examples include The Aman at Summer Palace which resembles a resort-living and The Park Hyatt Beijing where everything from the mattress to the tiles on the bathroom floor are made from the most expensive materials.

Having said that, the pinnacle of luxury in Beijing is the Pangu Hotel. Forget five stars; this one’s got seven. Overlooking the Olympic Village and the breathtaking cityscapes visitors to the Pangu have so much more than the view. With its own five-star restaurants (with an ‘s’), theater, gyms and resorts, it is a destination of foreign diplomats and local celebrities.

  • Pangu 7 Star Hotel Beijing: 27 Central North 4th Ring Road Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, P.R.China Tel: +8610 5906 7777 Reservations: +8610 5906 7000
  • The Aman at Summer Palace: 1 Gongmenqian Lu, Summer Palace, near Tongqing Jie +86 10 5987 9999, room rates: from RMB 4,000
  • The Park Hyatt Beijing: 2 Jianguomenwai Dajie, near Dongsanhuan Zhonglu +86 10 8567 1234, room rates: from RMB 2,100

Newly added to the five star hotel scene very recently are theTemple Hotel and the Waldorf Astoria.

Temple Hotel is located inside an ancient Tibetan temple that was only recently rediscovered. There are only 8 rooms, making it an extremely exclusive hotel. The hotel received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation, for restoration and preservation efforts. The hotel also houses earlier mentioned restaurant, Temple Restaurant.

The Waldorf Astoria is the hotel chain's newest and most modern art-conscious hotel as of yet - and only opened in March 2014. The exterior is made using brass, giving the hotel a contemporary look that will also gradually change with time due to sun and weather exposure.

  • The Temple Hotel:Songzhusi Temple, 23 Shatan Beidajie, Dongcheng District; +86 (10) 8401 5680 extension 8013.
  • Waldorf Astoria:15 Jinyu Hutong, Dongcheng District; +86 (10) 8520 8989

The Tour

Beijing on a Big Budget

China Highlights offers exclusive insight and access for travelers of all financial levels. To design your own itinerary, contact us. It remains the luxury site of the Chinese tourism industry, with a history of entertaining the world's top VIPs, and experience spanning 60 years.

A trip in Beijing’s “first class” can cost visitors hundreds, even thousands depending… but the memories… priceless. For example, to experience the most luxurious aspects of Chinese culture, take a look at our Beijing Roast Duck Dinner and the Beijing Opera Tour.

Further Reading

  • The Beijing luxury experience is not complete without a visit to one of Beijing's many spas for a massage. Many of these also offer traditional Chinese treatments that you won't easily be able to find at home.
  • For more hotel options, check out our suggestions on the best business hotels in the city.
  • If you are looking for a luxurious and romantic trip to Beijing, check out these suggestions.