The short holidays make it slightly more complicated to plan far away trips and just before heading home for the major holidays such as summer and winter, the best option is for the family to have a mental check out while still in the city. We have seven places as options that we compiled that you and your family should try out.
Gubei Water Town
This area was specially designed to restore at the Gubei Water Town near the Simatai Great Wall to have an ancient water town feel to it with canals and quartzite paths and narrow streets. The area has two five star hotels, six boutique hotels and cultural areas. The area has tailor made tours such as a hike up the Great Wall at night that are exhilarating and a novelty. The entire areas is slowly being rolled out and only some sections are accessible to the public.
Good for: small to medium groups
Prices: varies on the type of accommodation
Local attraction: night walks up the Great Wall, hiking trails, boat rides, and smaller castle like bed.
The Brickyard Inn and Retreat Center
Located at the foothills of the Mutianyu Great Wall, The Brickyard Retreat Inn has been an expat favorite for their organic food and various activities such as Jazz performances and yoga. The retreat was established in 2005 by an expat couple, which they acquired that was run down and now has a restaurant and it’s own art glass studio. The Brickyard features 25 guest rooms at the main building and 9 luxury homes. The inn can organize activities like cycling around the Bohai Township, on a rented Trek bike along one of the 12 routes designed by a previous intern of the retreat.
Good for: families and groups
Prices: Starting at RMB 1,080 per night (does not include breakfast)
Local attraction: walking through the orchards, hiking the Great Wall, cycling around the Bohai Township, and taking a tour of the villages.
Looking for a relaxing way to spend an extended weekend within the heart of Beijing, then the Mountainyoga is one of the place that you can get that feeling. There are various activities available such as yoga practice, meditation, drumming circle, tea ceremony, and more. All the meals are vegetarian. Camping is allowed on the rooftop terrace during the warm weather. The retreat has three courtyards, one of which is dedicated to conducting yoga lessons. There’s a dining hall and a small gift shop.
Good for: groups and families with teens
Prices: RMB 150 for half day retreats/RMB 300 full day retreat
Local attraction: Sleeping Buddha temple, the Botanical Garden, and Fragrant Hills
Located in the heart of the hutongs near the Wangfujing area, this chic boutique hotel is family owned that’s minimalist white decor. The place is ideal for couples looking to get some alone time and not wishing to spend a lot of money doing so. Each room, four in total, are all ensuite and one even has a rain shower, a day bed, and more. The location makes it ideal for those who don’t want to travel all the way out of town or the couples that live in Changing and Pinggu districts and want to have a feel for hutong life.
Good for: couples
Prices: from RMB 1,180 per night per two people
Locations: The St.Joseph’s Wangfujing Cathedral Church, Wangfujing Snack Street at night for those exotic treats such as spiders, Prince Gong Mansion, Former residence of Song Qingling.
Shan Li Retreats
Situated 90km from Beijing, Shan Li Retreats are breath taking renovated traditional houses offering serene countryside. There are five properties in total: Poshang, Banpo, Qianjia, Shanjiaoxi, and Stone House all located close by each other in the Huangyankou Village. The houses have a living room, fireplace, gardens access, kitchen, and range from one to three bedrooms. The integration of the buildings in the
Good for: Multi-family groups
Prices: RMB 4,500 per night (Poshang); RMB 1,500 per night (Banpo); RMB 3,500 per night (Qianjia); RMB 2,800 per night (Shanjiaoxi); RMB 900 per night per room (Stone House)
Local attractions: Hiking around is the main thing to do with trails marked by the owners.
Commune by the Great Wall
Commune by the Great Wall was designed by Asian architects and won numerous architecture accolades, this boutique hotel initially had 12 villas that has now expanded to over 40 villas with replicas of the original 12. There are standard rooms, superior rooms, deluxe room, deluxe suite, Great Wall view, and presidential suites. Three to six guest rooms are located in one villa and people share a common living room.
Good for: multi-group
Price: Only know made available by email
Local attraction: the location has private access to an non-restored section of the Great Wall. To cool off, there’s a pool that has a poolside cafe near. There’s a kid’s club in that’s two floors and has a child-sized kitchen used for the cooking classes, complete with tiny aprons and chef’s hats, Poplar Kids’ Republic Library and bookstore that holds regular storytelling in English and Chinese, recreation room with a closed, padded play area for babies, a dress-up corner with national costumes (including a flouncy “Russian” dress, American cowboy outfit, and a diminutive Scottish kilt), and separate TV rooms. Child-care is also offered.
Looking for a bit of history rich places then this is the place for you. The 400-year-old village has over 700 preserved courtyards from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties. It’s a two and a half hour drive to the site with a hike to the gate of the village at the foot of the mountain where the cars are left.
Good for: small groups
Prices: Varies on the guesthouses, courtyards, inns, and people’s homes agreed upon price
Local attraction: There’s a scenic area that requires a RMB 35 admission fee. A walk around the courtyards, temple, and hike are some of the activities to take part in. Only local cuisines are available and the restaurants use traditional cooking styles which can be a good chance to take photos and see how your meal is prepared.
Photo: China Daily