ROSEWOOD - A SENSE of PLACE


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HIDDEN BEIJING

OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK GEMS TO WRITE HOME ABOUT

Seek and uncover sights, flavors and sounds to enchant even the most seasoned corporate jaunter or dedicated sinophile. A collision of history and urban innovation, this is a city of surprising, and often stimulating, contradictions. 

THE GRASS FRONTIER

Caochangdi — which means “grasslands” — is a fertile breeding ground for modern artists. Compared with the more commercialized 798 Art Zone, the neighborhood is an epicenter of creativity, having attracted key galleries and studios with its low rents and "purer" artistic atmosphere. It is essentially an unassuming village, inhabited by illustrious artists and rural migrants, the latter more concerned with making ends meet than deconstructing Dadaism. Its dichotomous setting is what lends the district its edge and distinct character.
Much of Chinese contemporary art is an amalgamation of age-old techniques with modern-day themes. Artist Chen Shaoxiong, who held a solo show at Caochangdi’s Pekin Fine Arts gallery, created traditional Chinese ink paintings out of anti-war photographs that he found online, in a bid to humanize and elicit empathy for peace movements.
The Three Shadows Photography Art Centre is the first contemporary art space dedicated to photography and video art in China.
The Red Brick Galleries’ industrial brick-and-concrete structures provide the perfect neutral backdrop for their star attractions — avant-garde works of modern art.
Future superstars of modern art are given a platform at Pekin Fine Arts, a breeding ground for up-and-coming Asia artists.

NIGHT WANDERER

There are two sides to the Chinese capital’s kaleidoscopic nightlife: Clubs with bottle service and plenty of model types, or a motley smorgasbord of hangouts scattered throughout hutongs or alleyways. Getting lost among these historical mazes are opportunities to experience the real Beijing and uncover epic watering holes along the way.

MODERNISTA, A COZY EUROPEAN BAR, BRINGS SWINGING EXCITEMENT TO THE HUTONG AREA.

Here, vintage décor meets modern nightlife. With a classic dark wood bar and a black-and-white tiled floor, Modernista combines art deco spirits with local culture. Offering swing jazz, Mahjong nights and an impressive selection of alcohol, visitors will wonder why they didn’t discover this modern classic earlier.

THE ACT OF SAVORING A COCKTAIL TAKES ON A CULTURAL SPIN WITHIN THE ANCIENT CONFINES OF CONTEMPIO.

The notion of imbibing alcoholic concoctions — no matter how expertly crafted — in a temple may seem a tad sacrilegious. But the environs of Contempio, a bar housed in a 600-year-old temple courtyard, is too lovely for one to resist a taboo tipple. The establishment’s hidden locale also adds to its idyllic charm, heightened by artfully selected antique furnishings.

ONLY BY NOT FORGETTING THE PAST CAN WE BE THE MASTERS OF THE FUTURE.


BA JIN, CHINESE WRITER

UNPRETENTIOUS, UNDER-THE-RADAR AND JUST PLAIN ENTERTAINING, VA BAR IS THE ULTIMATE DESTINATION FOR SERIOUS MUSIC LOVERS.

Its status as one of Beijing’s best-kept secrets is more than a clichéd epithet for VA Bar, the city’s leading venue for live music. Decked out with a sound system to wow even the snootiest of aural aficionados, the intimate space has become known as a showcase for some of the city’s fiercest jazz musicians.

TASTE OF HOME

Trodding off the beaten path in search of a restaurant is guaranteed to build up an appetite. And that’s just one of many reasons why cozy private kitchens and culinary schools have been flourishing. Besides offering home-style dining, they are also hubs for inventive chefs.
Discover
  • NOT ANOTHER TAKE-OUT

    Few things bring people together like food. Taking shared epicurean journeys to the next level is Black Sesame Kitchen. Nestled within a residential courtyard, the private kitchen and cooking school specializes in home-style Beijing and Sichuan cuisine, and aims to replicate owner Jen Lin-Liu’s legendary dinner parties.

    Visit Black Sesame Kitchen

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  • RESTAURANT REMEDIAL

    Mastering an age-old Peking Duck recipe is not beyond the grasp of home chefs, especially when the lesson takes place in a Qing Dynasty courtyard. Inspiration abounds within the historic architecture of the Hutong Cuisine Cooking School, as students encase chunks of barbecued pork in dough to create char siu buns, or learn to prepare a glaze for succulent roast duck.
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  • KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

    Whether it is a cooking competition, cooking class or special dinner to wow the most demanding gastronome, The Hutong Kitchen hosts private events and serves up authentic spreads in its kitchen, tea room, courtyard and even on its roof-terrace. Those harboring secret Masterchef ambitions can also learn to julienne a potato with a cleaver or sculpt organic tofu.

    Visit Hutong Kitchen

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  • HUTONG, NONNA-STYLE

    This is cultural fusion at its best: Authentic trattoria fare, sequestered within a labyrinth of hutongs. Located off the uber-gentrified Nanluoguxiang stretch, Mercante has quickly stood out for its intimate setting (there are just eight tables), quality ingredients (Cervian sea salt seasons a beef fillet) and home-made dishes (fresh parpadelle topped with a duck or rabbit ragu).

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REDISCOVER RETAIL

From galactic systems to tattoo designs favored by Russian prisoners, Beijing-based fashion designer Vega Wang seems to have a penchant for outré inspirations. Not that one could tell when trying on her designs, each of which is imbued with a quiet elegance. The Central Saint Martins-trained tastemaker unveiled her eponymous boutique — housed in a grey brick structure adorned with antique sewing machines and spools of thread — in the Jianwai Soho Hutong in 2010. The store belies the label’s focus on hand-craftsmanship and Eastern-inspired aesthetics.

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FASHION IS NOT SOMETHING THAT EXISTS ONLY IN DRESSES. FASHION IS IN THE SKY, ON THE STREET.

– COCO CHANEL

The rise of China’s fashion savants is thanks to the support of homegrown retailers like Dong Liang Studio, which provides a platform for China’s budding couturiers.

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Just as Vega Wang fuses her Western training with Eastern heritage, stores like Triple Major — located in a traditional Chinese medicine dispensary — combine the two influences in their retail spaces.

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WALK THE WILD WALL

As with other attractions, the majesty of the Great Wall of China is often adulterated by bus-loads of tourists, more interested in posing for snapshots than admiring the grandeur of the vast structure. But there is a welcome alternative: the “wild walls” found along the Simatai-Jinshanling section or Xiangshui Lake. The latter boasts stretches of untouched wall, as well as a restored section that allows for jaw-droppingly beautiful views. A few moments immersed in the peaceful tranquility and poetic history of these more remote parts can be a powerful antidote for modern day urban cynicism.
Overgrown with shrubbery, its bricks crumbling into the ground, the “wild walls” reflect the true history of the UNESCO heritage site.
The path less traveled may lead to a picture-perfect tableau, waiting to be etched onto consciousness.
Part of the Mutianyu Great Wall is located near Xiangshui Lake, where travelers can drink from clear springs and take in panoramic views.
The ruins of the Great Wall rise from among jagged mountain ridges, its structures fused with gnarled tree trunks and rampant weeds.

BOUNDLESS TRADITIONS

PRESENTED BY 
ROSEWOOD 
BEIJING

WHERE TO GO

BEIJING

Take the road less traveled with these insider recommendations

Rosewood Beijing

THE GRASS FRONTIER

1. Three Shadows Photography Art Centre

115A Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing (100015). Tel.: +86 10 6432 2663. Email: info@threeshadows.cn.  Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

2. Red Bricks Galleria

Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing (100015).  Tel.:  +86 10 6432 6910.

3. Pekin Fine Arts

241 Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing (100015). Tel.: +86 10 5127 3220. Email:  info@pekinfinearts.com.

CONCIERGE

We’re at your service

Whether it is a simple dining reservation or complete organization of a personalized stay, our Concierge is at your service 24 hours a day.

NIGHT WANDERER

1. Contempio Temple Bar

Doufuchi Hutong, east side of the Hong'enguan Temple (100m east of Cafe Sambal), Xicheng District, Beijing. Tel.: +86 10 6407 6778. Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.

2. Modernista

44 Baochao Hutong, Gulou Dong Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing. Tel.: +86 136 9142 5744. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.

3. School Bar

53 Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing. Tel.:  +86 10 6402 8881. Hours:  Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 a.m.

4. V.A. Bar

13 Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing. Tel.:  +86 10 5844 3638. Hours: Monday to Sunday, 2 p.m. to late.

TASTE OF HOME

1. Black Sesame Kitchen

65 Baochao Hutong, Guloudong road, Dongcheng District, Beijing. Tel.:  +86 136 9147 4408. Email:  reservations@blacksesamekitchen.com

2. Hutong Cuisine

35 DengCao Hutong, DongSi South St, Dongcheng District, Beijing. Tel.:  +86 10 8401 4788. Email:  hutongcuisine@gmail.com

3. The Hutong Kitchen

1 Jiu Dao Wan Zhong Xiang Hutong, Beijing. Tel.: +86 159 0104 6127. Email: info@thehutong.com.

4. Mercante

Fangzhuanchang Hutong, Beijing. Tel.: +86 10 8402 5098. Email: mercante.home.cuisine@gmail.com. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 6 to 10:30 p.m.

REDISCOVER RETAIL

1. Vega Zaishi Wang

63 Yanyue Hutong, South Dongsi Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing. Tel.: +86 10 5900 2279.

2. Dong Liang

102, Block 2 Xin Cheng Guo Ji, Chaowai Dajie 6, Chaoyang District, Beijing. Tel.:  +86 10 8404 7648. Email:  DongLiangDesign@yahoo.cn.

3. Triple Major

81 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing. Tel.: +86 10 8402 0763. Email: triplemajorinfo@gmail.com . Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 1 to 10 p.m.

4. Brand New China

NLG-09a, Sanlitun Village North, Chaoyang District, Beijing. Tel.:  +86 10 6416 9045. Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

WALK THE WILD WALL

1. MUTIANYU GREAT WALL

Bohai Township, Huairou District, Beijing. Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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