• luxury guide to Beijing

A Luxury Guide to Beijing

Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.

A Luxury Guide to Beijing

Tell us a little about Beijing and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel there.

Beijing, the bustling capital of China, is the center of Chinese culture and politics. From hiking the Great Wall, to shopping in Sanlitun, there’s so much to do and see in this sprawling city. With delicacies like Peking duck, to cheap street food dumplings, you’ll be sure to leave with a full stomach and a smile on your face.

I studied abroad in Beijing a few years ago, and moved back after graduation to teach English. Beijing is one of my favorite cities in China, and is a must-see for any traveler.

What makes Beijing a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?

Beijing is much less expensive than other cosmopolitan cities around the world, meaning you can have a luxury vacation on a budget. Snap a photo of yourself conquering the Great Wall, get pampered with a cheap massage or purchase a custom-made suit. The opportunities are endless!

What boutique hotel would you recommend to your friends that are stopping through?

I would definitely recommend The Orchid. A self-described “hostel for grown-ups”, The Orchid regularly holds free wine tastings for gests to get to know one another. Located in one of Beijing’s hutong neighborhoods, there are only ten guest rooms, all furnished in Qing dynasty style surrounding a quaint courtyard. Rooms start at 680 yuan per night (just over $100 USD). Click here for rates and availability. 

luxury guide to beijing

What about 5 Star, of them all, which is the best in your town?

If you’re looking for luxury, be sure to check out the Shangrila’s World Summit Wing Hotel. Located on the top floors of the tallest building in Beijing, this luxurious hotel hosts Bill Gates on his trips to China. There is even an infinity pool on the 78th floor, as well as a rooftop bar on floor 80. With spacious rooms, giant bathtubs and feather-down pillows, Shangrila is the definition of 5 Star. Click here for rates and availability. 

Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler?

Looking for an adventure? Hike the Jinlingshan section of the Great Wall. With almost no other tourists, a steep hike will lead to breathtaking views. Just be sure to bring good hiking shoes!

great wall of china luxury guide to beijingAre you an adventurous eater? Wander through Beijing’s Wanfujing night market where you can find fried scorpions, sheep testicles and snake kabobs among other things.

luxury guide to beijing

Where are the best hang outs during the day?

If you’re an early riser, be sure to head down to Beijing’s Temple of Heaven. In addition to the beautiful architecture, you’ll find locals practicing Tai chi, singing songs and toting around small toddler grandchildren. This park is by far the best place for people watching in all of Beijing.

temple of heaven luxury guide to beijing

If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Beijing and what are their best dishes?

While in Beijing, be sure to head to Hai Di Lao, a famous hotpot chain. A large pot of boiling broth is placed in the center of the table, surrounded by raw vegetables, meat, noodles and more. Patrons can place items in the simmering broth and remove them when they’re cooked. Hai Di Lao offers both spicy and non-spicy versions, so everyone can enjoy.

Be aware that on a weekend night you may have to wait over an hour for a table. While the wait can be long, Hai Di Lao offers complimentary snacks, tea and even shoeshines and manicures! Best of all? Taking your significant other to Hai Di Lao won’t break the bank. I usually spend about $15 per person and leave completely stuffed.

Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?

While in Beijing, be sure to explore the small Korean-style bakeries that dot the city. Relax with a coffee and a small cake or pastry in the afternoon.

luxury guide to beijing

Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers?

Beijing is the place to go for fake designer goods and custom-made clothing. The city is covered in bargaining markets, which tend to look more like bargaining malls. Here you can buy souvenir trinkets, jade jewelry, silk, fake designer bags, and much more. Looking for a new suit or a custom made coat or dress? The tailors here are skilled and much less expensive than those in America or Europe.

My favorite bargaining market is the one at the Jianguomen metro stop. They have an amazing selection and are less aggressive than the Sanlitun market, which is more common with tourists. Just be sure to bargain hard. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Chinese, all of the shops will bargain with a calculator!

What are a couple of the best salons and spas in Beijing?

The best place for pampering in Beijing is Green T House. Part spa, part upscale restaurant, Green T House is chic and modern with unique spa packages. The signature Bamboo special combines four hours of spa treatments, including a green tea bath, meditation, steam scrub, a facial and their signature ten-handed massage.

Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?

One of the best and most unique sunset views in Beijing is in Jingshan Park. Jingshan Park contains a large hill that overlooks the Forbidden City. Hike up a bit before sunset to get a snapshot of the sprawling Forbidden City, then watch the sun set behind old imperial Beijing.

luxury guide to beijing

Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.

When the sun goes down, head out to Sanlitun and enjoy a nice cocktail. If you love beer, be sure to check out Beer Mania, which serves a vast array of specialty beers with a generous happy hour.

Afterwards, feel free to grab a local Tsingtao beer from one of the many convenience stores and wander down the narrow streets filled with tasty street food.

If you end the night at a fancy club, which one do you head towards?

Sanlitun is also home to the best clubs in Beijing. If you want to experience a crazy Chinese nightclub complete with dance performances and bottle service, check out MIX. Sanlitun is packed with bars and clubs, so feel free to wander around and explore.

My personal favorite club in Beijing is Sensation, located in Wudaokou. A bit out of the way, Sensation is a more American or European style club, with a large dance floor and an active bar. They also offer three free cocktails to ladies on Thursday! Be sure to grab some Mexican food at La Bamba next door before you head home for the night.

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Luxury guide to BeijingRichelle began her life abroad by studying in Beijing and Xi’an her junior year of college. After graduation she moved back to China to teach English to 1,000 crazy high-schoolers. Now she’s attending the University of Nottingham in China, working towards a Master’s in International Communications. Check out her travel blog Adventures Around Asia for more stories, photos and crazy misadventures. (http://www.adventuresaroundasia.com). Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus.



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Rebekah January 4, 2015 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    I’m always happy to see china getting some attention as a travel spot- so many people tell me how they’d never want to come here which I find so sad. Beijing is fun, and I definitely did not do it in luxury style last time… there’s always next time though.

    • Richelle @AdventuresAroundAsia January 4, 2015 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      I completely agree Rebekah! I think China (like India) gets bad press internationally for tourists. China is such an awesome place to travel, and it’s definitely budget friendly, even if you want a bit of luxury.

  2. Sonja Riemenschneider January 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Great luxury guide, Richelle, thanks! That hostel for grown-ups sounds pretty cool. I’ve always gotten the sense that it would be hard to interact with locals in China, but do you think that is true? How hard is it to travel there without knowing the language?

    • Richelle @AdventuresAroundAsia January 5, 2015 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      When my parents eventually visit me I’m going to insist they stay in that “hostel for grownups” so I can crash the wine tasting! Meeting locals can be a bit difficult in China if you don’t speak Chinese, but a lot of Chinese people are curious to get to know foreigners, and will want to take your picture! I actually wrote a whole post on how to get around China without speaking Chinese (http://www.adventuresaroundasia.com/2014/09/27/travel-in-china-without-speaking-chinese/) I’ve found it’s one of the biggest anxieties for travelers in China, but it’s actually much easier than you’d think! I’ve met so many backpackers that come here without speaking a word, and they get around just fine.

  3. Renuka January 4, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Beijing looks like a fabulous city – clean and sophisticated. Very nice architecture! I’m not much into luxury or glamour, but I’m sure indulgence once in a while when it’s affordable isn’t a bad idea! ;-)

  4. Melissa January 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    Loved this post. I’m headed to Beijing in the Spring and this gave me some great ideas of things to do. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Laura January 5, 2015 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    This looks like a perfect guide! I haven’t been to China, but it’s on my list for sure. I’ll be bookmarking this one!

  6. Lim Boon Ching January 9, 2015 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, you are so lucky! How I wish I have an opportunity to travel around the world and taste the best thing in life. Indeed, Beijing is a good place to visit because of its historical background.

  7. Tim | UrbanDuniya January 9, 2015 at 8:23 am - Reply

    I’d love to go to Beijing… and from what I can tell, it’s changing so quickly, there’s always something new to look at. And with all that change, I can imagine the luxury options would be almost endless!

  8. Joella in Beijing January 11, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Nice write up from Richelle! The great thing about Beijing is that it’s so big so there’s something for every taste and budget. I’d pick some of these things but pick some others differently- but that just shows what a great city it is- so much choice! Oh Rachel- I found your email in my junk box aghhh! That will teach me not to check it ha! I’ll get back to you ASAP (but it’s like 2 months later now ha woops…) x

    • Rachel Jones January 12, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Joella, Ughghgh junk box!! how weird! I have never actually checked mine, maybe should do so..

  9. Fabiana January 14, 2015 at 6:43 am - Reply

    You have some really cools tuff in here that i’d lioke to add to my trip. I hope I get enough time.

  10. Trilive January 16, 2015 at 8:36 am - Reply

    I agree, Beijing has a lot of scenic views making it as one of the best destination for a quick getaway luxurious vacation ever. The cityfringe is similar to other asian cities particularly Singapore.

  11. Hercules July 20, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    I found one important topic that you didn’t cover- how’s the security there? I understand I woun’t get assaulted, but I thought there are plenty of thieves? Is it true? I’ve been to Moscow and in Journey all Russia agencies website it said that it is as safe as Beijing, although I had some situations when I was in Moscow. So what’s the chance of getting robbed?

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