Lay your weary head in a hotel room filled with character, craziness or even communism in some of the most off-beat accommodation that the city has to offer.
For kooky luxury: Hotel Éclat
Art and design are at the heart of everything that happens underneath the Parkview Green roof, and that’s especially true of its ultra-sleek Hotel Éclat. Corridors and public spaces are lined with the works of Warhol, Dali and more, and all rooms are unique in some way, particularly its suites. There are nods throughout to the artistic and the wacky (lamps that you 'shoot' on and off with a gun-shaped remote control, for example) and to the downright luxurious – suite with a private pool, anyone? Our favourite, however, is the Harry Potter deluxe lagoon suite, filled with memorabilia and Hogwarts-esque brickwork. A magical spot for superfans to slither into.
From 1,800RMB a night; suites from 5,600RMB.
For history: Red Capital Residence
Boutique courtyard hotels are all over the hutongs, but few retain that aura of yore quite as well as the Red Capital Residence. You’ll feel like a spoilt concubine as you lay back on your ornately carved four-poster, surrounded by embroidered drapes and antique ornaments. For the post-imperialist, there are chambers decked out in ’50s propaganda and even a Chairman Mao suite, so choose your poison. Its cellar bar, formerly a bomb shelter, is a unique little spot to knock back a few shots of baijiu, too. There’s not much contemporary luxury here, but that’s part of the appeal; enjoy this for what it is – a date with history.
From 300RMB a night.
For sleeping under the stars: Galaxy Bubble House
You might feel like you live in a bubble in Beijing sometimes, but now you can quite literally, for one night at least, just a few hours out of town by the Jiankou Great Wall
. Capacity of each plastic pod is a cosy two, and if the smog lords are feeling generous, you and your bubble buddy will be treated to a starry ceiling to gaze upon, also safe in the knowledge that your environs are completely bulletproof – they were apparently first developed as ammo stores for the PLA back in the day. Unfortunately, the lack of air-con means the basic spaces aren’t entirely summer heat-proof, but they do cool after sundown. Definitely worth the trip for the novelty camping experience.
From 420RMB a night.
For bonking: Myriadlove Hotel
We won’t beat around the bush on this one: this is a hotel for sex. Sexy sex. With the one you love, the one you just met or, whatever, just love yourself and stay solo if you really fancy it. Myriadlove specialises in themed suites de l’amour, aphrodisiacally kitted out with mood lighting, candles, hot tubs, specially shaped beds and a signature sprinkling of roses. Hell, you can hear ‘Let’s Get it On’ or Barry White or whatever it is you like to bonk to blaring from the walls just looking at the pics. With outlets in both Shuangjing and Shaoyaoju, rest easy knowing there’s a velvety place, or even an arctic-themed ice cave, for you to do the deed in next time you’re feeling uncontrollably randy near the Third Ring Road. Unfortunately its locations are currently unable to accept foreign guests, but we’re told they’re working on it. Until then, stay horny, waiguoren.
From 279RMB a night.
For childhood fantasies: Yunfeng Treehouse
Sad that you never got that treehouse you dreamed of as a kid? Even better: stay in one as a proper adult. And it’s got a hot-tub. Nestling on a mountainside out near the Miyun Reservoir, the Yunfeng resort is home to a range of charming wooden cabins of all shapes and sizes (starting at 2,338RMB per night), though for all-out extravagance, it has to be the centrepiece micro-schloss. The two-bedroom private villa offers killer views over the surrounding hills, and is kitted out with all those fairytale cabin-in-the-woods essentials, such as a cute fireplace, Wi-Fi, luxury bedding and the aforementioned hot tub. It ain’t coming cheap, but it’s a pretty special little hideaway.
Villa from 5,588RMB a night.
For ostentation: Pangu 7-Star
In a world where hotels are rated up to five stars, you might wonder what you have to do to go two better and earn seven of them. The answer is this: award them to yourself. Yes, it’s Beijing’s self-proclaimed one and only seven-star hotel, the Pangu – a specialist in over-the-top luxury and fittings you didn’t even know you needed. But while almost entirely marble bathrooms, classical Chinese artworks, mighty chandeliers and gold-coated thermostats are fancy touches, it’s more about what you’re looking out on from the hotel’s easterly facing suites that stands out – the Olympic Park, with its Bird’s Nest and Water Cube illuminating for your visual pleasure. One of the coolest views you’ll get from a Beijing hotel room.
Suites from 3,043RMB a night.