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The Great Wall Exit No. 53 at Shuiguan, G6 Jingzang Highway (Great Wall at Shuiguan)
(86) 010-8118-1888 | www.communebythegreatwall.com
FOODCourtyard Restaurant - Chinese; The Terrace Lounge - Western and Chinese; Cafe Village - light snacks and drinks; 24-hour room service
DRINKPink Bar and Lounge
ROOMSModern, luxe interiors by top designers like Starck and Mouille; no two rooms or suites the same across the 42 villas
PRICE (STANDARD DOUBLE)RMB 1,890
# OF ROOMS236 (across 42 villas)
CONNECTIVITYYes - Wi-Fi available
GYMYes - including rooftop yoga and outdoor pool; free for guests
This boutique-hotel-cum-architectural-museum is a cluster of bespoke villas carefully arranged around the Great Wall at Shuiguan. Designed by a star-studded team of Asian architects, the original 12 villas were awarded a special prize at the Biennale di Venezia and continue to rake in architectural accolades today, while 30 newer villas have expanded the room offerings (but still remain true to the original design concepts of their creators). While every room and suite is one of a kind, all offer sweeping views of either the Wall or the surrounding mountains; are furnished by big-name designers in a chic, minimalist style; and feature amenities like 24-hour butler service, a complimentary minibar, and spacious lounge areas. Other perks onsite include a clubhouse, a theater, an art gallery, private hiking trails to the Great Wall, and an opulent spa.
GO HERE WITH
Family – for enjoying the outdoor activities and Kids’ Club; significant other – for a romantic getaway; a group – to share a villa
WHY WE LIKE IT
This is an excellent get-away-from-it-all spot: the spacious, luxe villas and gorgeous views make for a relaxing retreat from the stresses of Beijing.
AMENITY WE LOVE
Nothing beats their access to the Great Wall–an early morning walk along this private section of the wall is a truly unique China experience. If you choose this option, wear hiking shoes or sneakers (we wore flip flops and really regretted it)–the walk up to and along the Wall is challenging but well worth it.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The distance from central Beijing–almost two hours’ drive is too far to make sightseeing in the city an easy day trip (they can, however, arrange your transport). Service was also a little rough around the edges at times.
GOOD TO KNOW
Be aware that rooms are located at varying distances from the lobby building, which also includes most of the dining options and is next to the spa. While you can always call for transport, being close to the lobby can be a plus (as long as you don’t have to sacrifice on view–check on this when you check in). If you’re here for the architecture, ask the concierge for a tour: they offer walking tours of the Commune which give background on the architects and designers involved in the project. Also, while the Commune by the Great Wall is close to two hours from central Beijing, it’s only a 15-minute hop from the private Badaling Airport (which takes helicopters and small planes)–the team is happy to help with arrangements if you’d like to arrive by air. If you’re traveling with children, there’s a dedicated Kids’ Club offering activities throughout the day and babysitting services in the evenings. The Commune also has meeting and conference facilities for events large and small, should you need them.
Read more about Commune by the Great Wall in The Diary
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