Families drawn to the culture and beauty of China can’t go wrong with a vacation in Beijing, but, because of the unfamiliar language, different customs and distance from home, a little advance planning can go a long way toward ensuring a successful experience.
Enter The Opposite House, located in a new, open-plan shopping, dining and entertainment destination called Taikoo Li Sanlitun. The property, developed by Swire Properties, offers 99 guest studios, nine of which are connecting rooms, along with nine suites for larger families and a penthouse duplex with a 787-square-foot roof terrace if you want to go all out.
More than half of all the studios are more than 230 square feet, and all are deliberately understated with natural wooden floors and a subtle Chinese décor vibe.
Alert the staff you’re bringing small fry along, and they’ll be greeted with a tepee as they enter your guestroom, filled with toys, story books and plush cushions to sit on. Other welcome gifts include a VIP T-shirt with a pair of matching sunglasses. Kid-friendly amenities range from mini-bathrobes and slippers, fun bath products and, at turndown, little gifts placed next to the bed with a selection of DVDs. Strollers are provided for parents to borrow throughout their stay, and babysitting services are also available.
Of course, having a welcoming hotel experience is only half the battle, and, this fall, The Opposite House teamed up with Bespoke Beijing, a company that creates and operates bespoke experiences in the city, to offer a Midnight in Peking package, based on Paul French’s bestselling murder mystery of the same name. The story is a factual account of a real-life murder of a young British diplomat’s daughter in 1937 that has, to this day, never been solved.
The package includes a walking tour of the area around Tiananmen Square with Bespoke Beijing retracing the night of the infamous murder. The route includes the creepy and supposedly haunted Fox Tower near where the body was found and the formerly unsavory Badlands neighborhood, which played a role in the mystery. Thanks to two historians fascinated by the story, the route carves a path through little-known areas of old Peking, painting a vivid picture of what Beijing might have looked and felt like in the 1930s.
Bespoke Beijing’s public Midnight in Peking walking tours take place the last Saturday of every month.
Room rates for a two-night stay at The Opposite House start from about $337, including a walking tour for two, daily breakfast at Village Café, free minibar, high-speed wireless internet access and unlimited use of workout and pool facilities.
The Opposite House in Beijing, opened in 2008, was Swire Hotels’ first property, followed by The Upper House, Hong Kong; EAST, Hong Kong; EAST, Beijing; The Temple House, Chengdu; and EAST, Miami. The Middle House in Shanghai, the latest addition, opened in April 2018.