Roughly halfway between the Drum and Bell Towers and the shops and bars of Nanluogu Xiang, The Orchid is in a quiet spot set back from a bustling, noisy hutong. The area abounds with tasty local restaurants, as well as several of Beijing’s cutest alleyway bars. It’s less convenient for the subway – Line 2 is a 10-15 minute walk north.
10 in total, at various price points. The cheapest - ‘Courtyard rooms’ - occupy the older Qing-style structures, characterised by gorgeous wooden beams and soaring ceilings. The three ‘Garden rooms’ have private outdoor space. ‘The Lookout’ has great views of the Drum and Bell Tower, but suffers from being a little close to the restaurant. ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ are the most spacious digs – the former with its own private roof terrace offering panoramic views. All rooms come with custom-designed wood furniture, goose-down bedding and under-floor heating for the winter months.
With its open air terraces at contrasting heights, wooden decking and canopy sunshades flapping like sails in the breeze, the hotel puts me in mind of the deck of an old ship. Date trees, purple bamboo and flower boxes create an idyllic outdoor space that all guests benefit from – a rarity in the city. The uppermost terraces have marvellous views of the surrounding rooftops and the Drum and Bell Towers.
Eating and drinking
The hotel has a small Chinese restaurant - Wuyi Mountain – above the lobby, dishing up fare from the tea-farming regions of southwest Fujian province. Generally not too spicy and characterised by market fresh veggies, it makes a nice change from the oil-heavy Beijing grub. The lobby bar has a small but smart selection of imported wine, boutique whiskeys and artisanal beer brewed at the nearby Great Leap Brewing.
Plans are apparently in place to host regular tea tastings and local market tours, as well as yoga and tai chi courses. Both the owners are genuine foodies, and will be happy to point you to all their favourite local restaurants. A media server connects to all rooms, pre-loaded with movies and music free for guests.
Personal and down-to-earth. The owners and staff clearly love their city and strive to share the best of it with guests.
Who stays there
At time of writing (it’s just open) - European and North American travellers.
Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi, movies and music via the media server. Complimentary fruit basket replenished daily.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
- Great views / scenery
- People watching
- Chilling out
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Boutique design at a reasonable price
- Heaps of personality
- Great location
- Some rooms and bathrooms rather small
- Subway is 15-minute’s walk away