Green T. House Living 紫云轩餐厅
Whatever Green T. House Living does, it does with flair. From the stunning decor of the main house with its imperial proportions, to its artfully-plated dishes, a lot of attention has gone into the details. There are classes for every member of the family, occasions to sit and enjoy a night of music or dance, or bazaars for unique gifts to send back home with proceeds going to charity. Downstairs is a boutique carrying the house brand of lifestyle goods. For the summer, Mac Time Art Center will hold an array of workshops to keep the little ones happy and busily creating. A detailed calendar of activities can be found on their website. Dining is by reservation only; you will be sent an SMS with bilingual directions. This is a fairly upscale dining venue, best saved for special occasions. The bathhouse, spa and accommodations must be booked in advance.
Daily 11am-11pm. Shunbai Lu, Hegezhuang (136-0113-7132) www.green-t-house.com 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村318号
Car: Take the Airport Expressway to Exit 4 and keep right as you exit. Turn left at the first traffic light, then right at the gas station. At the end of this street, turn left and then right at the next intersection. Enter through No. 318 gate.
Splash Recreation Club 浪花俱乐部
Housed in the CITIC Airport Hotel (formerly the Sino-Swiss Hotel), Splash Recreation Center’s main feature is primarily an indoor pool connected to the outdoor pool. You do not have to be a guest at the hotel to use the swimming pools, or any of the other facilities: gym, billiards, hot tub and sauna, tennis and squash courts, ping pong tables (extra charges apply). The hotel has several restaurants to choose from: Chinese, Japanese, Swiss or Continental food can all be had. And if the kids are still begging for more action, the outdoor playground and its well-kept lawn are a nice place to run around on a blue-sky day. Free shuttle buses to the hotel depart from Dongzhimen, Sanlitun, and Beijing Capital International Airport. Parking is free.
RMB 80, RMB 40 (kids from 1m to 1.4m), free for kids under 1m. Daily 10am-midnight. CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport, 9 Xiao Tianzhu Nanlu, Shunyi District (6456 5588 ext 1217 pool) www.citichotelbeijing.com 顺义区小天竺南路9号国都大饭店
Car: Take the the Airport Expressway (机场高速) to the Xiao Tianzhu (小天竺) exit, then drive southwest to reach Shoudu Jichang Fulu (首都机场辅路)
Crab Island 蟹岛绿色生态度假村
If you can’t quite decide what sort of activity you feel like engaging in for the day, then perhaps a visit to Crab Island is in order. This amusement haven has something for everyone: paddle boats, fishing ponds, go-karting, grass carting, a mini-zoo, and an “organic” farm. The zoo is fairly clean and houses ostriches, camels, llamas, bunnies, exotic birds and deer. Beat the heat with the wave pool, water slides or the lazy river at City Seaview. Floating on an inner tube or lay on the warm sand for the most authentic beach experience without leaving the city. Stay active on the volleyball court or at the two amusement parks: one with a carousel and bumper cars, the other with a big playground, bumper boats, and a swinging pirate boat. Food is available at concession stands which sell chuan’r and assorted drinks (including beer), from any one of the restaurants within the park or from the mini-mart across from the entrance to City Seaview. The mini-mart also sells towels and bathing suits. Parking is free.
RMB 60, RMB 40 (kids under 1.4m), free for kids under 1m. Daily 9am-6pm (May-Jun), Mon-Fri 9am-8pm (Jul-Aug), Sat-Sun 9am-10pm (Jul-Aug). 1 Xiedao Lu, Chaoyang District (8433 9689/9191, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.cityseaview.net 朝阳区蟹岛路1号
Bus: Take bus 588 to Xiedao Dongmen (蟹岛东门) or buses 418 or 909 to Xiedao (蟹岛). Once there, walk north 600m to reach Crab Island.
Car: Take the Weigou (苇沟) exit off the Capital Airport Expressway (首都机场高速) and follow the signs to Xiedao.
Agrilandia offers an agri-tourism Italian farm concept for city slickers. In good weather, come an hour before mealtime to enjoy a stroll through the pear orchards or a visit to the mini petting zoo. Service can be a little slow, but the homemade pasta, pizza and steaks are worth the wait. Not in a rush? Linger in the study, pick up some deli items or fine wine, or play a game of frisbee or tag on the front lawn. For your next staycation, the farm offers sunny double or family rooms with rustic farmhouse decor. The hotel has 22 rooms, and breakfast is included. Pets are welcome on the grounds and at the hotel but not inside the main restaurant. There are tables out on the terrace if you wish to keep your pet with you at all times.
Daily 9am-10pm. Baige Zhuang, Mapo Zhen, Shunyi District (6940 7650) www.agrilandia.cn 顺义区马坡镇白各庄
Car: Drive down Jingmi Lu till you get past Sixth Ring Road. At the Baigezhuang crossing, make a U-turn and the entrance to the farm will be to your right.
Roma Lake 罗马湖
If dining is the main activity on your itinerary, Roma Lake is a good area to explore. Of the dozen or so restaurants that all sit along a huge artificial lake, there are three that see the most brisk business. First is Malacca Legend, which serves authentic Malaysian food in generous servings. There is also Elaine’s Vegetarian Restaurant with its inventive vege-meat dishes. Finally, there’s an unnamed place (identified by the bonfire decorated with empty beer bottles in the courtyard) that turns into a drinking place at night. However, it is a great place to get thin-crust pizzas and mozzarella sticks cheese for lunch. Roma Lake itself is popular among local retirees who spend half the day in any kind of weather in the hopes of catching a fish or two.
Malacca Legend 马六甲传奇
Daily 11am-10pm. On the banks of Roma Lake, Houshayu, Shunyi District (8049 8902) 顺义区后沙峪镇罗马湖畔
Elaine’s Vegetarian Restaurant and Bar 健康素食
Daily 10am-9.30pm. Walk 800m along the banks of Luoma Lake (100m north of Luoma Roundabout), Houshayu, Shunyi District (8048 5088) 顺义区后沙峪镇罗马环岛向北100米左转沿罗马湖畔800米
Car: Drive down the Airport Expressway towards the airport. Turn left at TianBei Lu and drive 2.5km until you reach the Luo Ma Roundabout. Take the second exit, and you will spot the lake on the left side fifty meters ahead with a narrow road leading to the restaurant strip.
Houshayu Restaurant Row
This one is not for the faint of heart (or stomach) but it makes for a great Beijing experience. The local restaurants on this strip all vie for your attention with the most interesting array of food to be barbecued. As soon as the temperatures soar, the plastic picnic tables and chairs come out on the sidewalk and the distinct smell of chuan’r spices fills the air. Grab the first available table you see, order some cold beer or juice while waiting for your barbecue to be served. There are no menus here. If you are unsure of what they have available, ask to peek inside their cooler. Expect to see lamb, pork, seafood, tofu skins, garlic sprouts, eggplant, and mantou. Pair this with a platter of cold boiled peanuts, soybeans or local snails as an appetizer. Chuan’r start going around 7pm, and it gets livelier as the sun goes down.
Yu’an Lu, Houshayu Area, Shunyi District 顺义区后沙峪裕安路
Car: Drive down the Airport Expressway towards the airport. Turn left at Tianbei Lu and drive 2.5km until you reach the Luoma Roundabout. Take the first exit onto Huosha Lu. Turn right 50m ahead at the second traffic light. The restaurants on Yu’an Lu will be on your right. Parking is on the left side of the road.
The English Tearoom 英国茶房
The English Tearoom provides a refreshing family-friendly alternative to the Shunyi restaurant scene. Located beside the Capital Community Center and Beidong Flower Market, this lovely and sunny tearoom has a group of regulars who flock to its generous all-day breakfast. Owned and run by teachers and parents, The English Tearoom aims to provide a welcoming space for toddlers to socialize while parents or caregivers
exchange childcare tips. Baking, ballet classes and storytelling sessions are on offer for preschoolers, with plans to include more activities in the summer. The restaurant also has birthday packages featuring a nutritious English menu. Kids (or kids at heart) will enjoy the roomy party area, as well as the outdoor space with picnic tables. Pets are welcome on the terrace. All toys and craft supplies are sourced from the UK or via the Roundabout store, ensuring that they are made of non-toxic materials. Changing tables and nursing corners are available, as are child-sized toilets and sinks.
Daily 8.30am-6.30pm. Inside Chuangyi Yuan, 1A Shunhuang Lu (near the Scitech Outlets), Sunhe Township, Shunyi District (8459 4407, 158 1099 8410) 顺义区孙河乡顺黄路甲1号创意园内(近赛特奥特莱斯) www.englishtearoombeijing.com
Car: Drive down the Airport Expressway towards the city, turn right at Beidong Flower Market, and keep an eye out for the entrance to Capital Community Center, which is around 50m past the market. Turn into the compound, make a left and you will see the red phone booth right outside the tearoom.
Aofan Sailing Club 北京奥帆帆船俱乐部
Aofan Sailing Club is popular with kids and adults alike. Camps take place during school holidays and on Saturdays in warm weather. The coaches are friendly and encouraging, but expect children to listen carefully and heed safety instructions. Students will learn the entire sailing process, including rigging the sails, handling the boat on the water, safety drills, and de-rigging the sails. Regattas are held each season, and paddle boards and kayaks are available during the summer. Make a day of it by packing a picnic and strolling around the grounds of the Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Park. The park itself charges an entrance fee and prohibits vehicles from entering, but simply notify the guard that you are heading to the sailing club.
Daily 10am-4pm (Call for specific class hours). Inside Beijing Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Park, 19 Baima Lu, Shunyi District (5949 4599, 139 1046 5950) www.aofansail.com 顺义区白马路19号奥林匹克水上公园内
Car: Take the Airport Expressway and exit off Baima Road. Head 15km east until you see the Olympic Rowing Park on your left along Baima Lu. After the park, turn left at the traffic lights onto Zuodi Lu. Head 20m and take an immediate left through the east gate of the park. Follow the park road to the right and cross the bridge.
Subway: Take Subway line 15 to Fengbo station.
Merry Water World 摩锐水世界
It’s not an area that most expat families would stumble upon, but don’t let that keep you from exploring this side of the Capital Airport Expressway. At the far-end of what seems like a deserted conference center is the biggest indoor water park in Beijing. It is clean, well-maintained and spacious. The main attraction is the wave pool, but other features include a skateboard ramp, hot spring pools, cold-water pools, several kiddie paddling pools, and a large heated stone surface modeled after the coal-heated kangs of northern China. Locals espouse the healing benefits of both the hot springs and the hot stones. The second floor has a sauna and sporting arcades. If you prefer not to take a dip, there is bowling, badminton, rock climbing and archery, to name a few.
Mon-Fri: RMB 138, RMB 60 (kids under 1.4m), free for kids under 1.2m. Sat-Sun: RMB 168, RMB 60 (kids under 1.4m), free for kids under 1.2m. A buffet meal is included in the price, except for kids under 1.2m (an additional RMB 15 charge applies). The water slides are only open during specific hours (marked clearly on signs). Mon-Fri 1pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 9.30am-11pm.
Tulip Hot Spring Garden Resort, Dongwei Lu, Jinzhan Xiang, Chaoyang District (8433 7403) www.bjyujinxiang.com 朝阳区金盏乡东苇路郁金香温泉花园度假村
Car: Take the Airport Expressway (机场高速). At the Weigou exit (苇沟), turn left at the first stop light, right at the second, and then go straight to reach Merry Water World.
Bus: Take Bus 688, 672, 641, 640 to Yujinxiang Huayuan (郁金香花园).
Photo by Mishka Family Photography
This article originally appeared on p60-61 of the beijingkids June 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com