Guests who stay at Beijing’s most exclusive courtyard hotel either love it or hate it. Some rave about the historic atmosphere and five themed rooms around a central courtyard – one named after a famous concubine and fittingly decked out in red – but others complain about the uncomfortable beds and non-English-speaking staff. So don’t go to the Red Residence expecting five-star comforts: it’s a singular experience, but you pay a premium for it, as rates are out of whack with the level of service and facilities. But, then again, where else can you hang out in a former bomb shelter that's now a wine and cigar bar? Breakfast is included in the price, and the restaurant, which serves up Communist Party cadre favourites, is two alleys away – the Residence’s very own pedal-taxi will whisk you there.