Posts tagged Beijing

Temple Hotel in Beijing

The Temple Hotel, BeijingToday the Wall Street Journal published an informative article about a temple-turned-into-hotel. The story has a bit of a fairytale: While cycling through a hutong in Beijing’s Dōngchéng District (东城区) a Belgian business man discovered a run-down temple from the mid-18th century. With the help of two Chinese investors he renovated it, transformed into a boutique hotel, filled it with contemporary art (James Turrell !!), and included a French cuisine fine dining restaurant that even makes the Chinese floating in.


WSJ article

Temple Hotel Website

New h(e)aven for connoisseur drinkers

Yún Bar & Lounge Looking for a sundowner or a night-time cocktail in Beijing? The Peninsula recently opened a rooftop bar there, on its 15th floor.


With cocktails and long drinks the Yun Bar & Lounge is about to become a new bon vivant’s meeting place. One of the signature drinks is called Beijing Emperor: Strawberries and lemon juice are mixed with vodka and filled-up with Peninsula champagne (produced by Deutz). Adventurous connoisseurs might instead go for a cocktail with Chinese herbs or with a juice from the Shān Zhā (山查) fruit (which is said to fix blood pressure problems). Of course there are plenty of classics on the list, too.


“Yún” (云) means cloud. The venue is opened daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.


Yun Bar & Lounge @ The Peninsula Beijing | Homepage 


Climbing stairs for a good cause

The 2013 Vertical World Circuit

Shangri-La’s China World Summit Wing Hotel at Beijing’s World Trade Center is getting ready for its first Vertical Run. On the 3rd of August hundreds of runners from all over the world will participate in a race that will include 2,057 steps from the tower’s ground floor lobby up to the helipad on the rooftop. After all, the athletes will stand upon the capital’s tallest building at a height of 330 meters.


The event was initiated by the hotel, and it will be part of the 2013 Vertical World Circuit (VWC), an international skyscraper racing circuit that is very well known for the Empire State Building Run-Up in New York City. Other venues can be seen on the chart above.


The race is open to both elite and amateur runners. Professionals like Mark Bourne and Suzy Walsham are said to have already paid their participation fees, starting at 60 RMB. The revenues will be donated to the Chinese Rural Kids Care institution. According to a press release, this charity organisation “provides kids from poor families with health insurance and is managed by a famous activist and opinion leader Mr. Dengfe.” Registration is possible until the 29th of July.


We mentally support this idea. However, if we were in Beijing on that day we would probably keep our fingers crossed at the hotel’s Grill 79 restaurant.




China World Summit Wing Hotel’s homepage


UPDATE [August 04th, 2013]: The race was won in nine minutes and 55 seconds by 28-year-old Thomas Dold from Germany. The fastest woman was Australia’s favourite Suzy Walsham (11 minutes and 47 seconds). There is also a short video on Youtube.



„We need to attract more high-end tourists”

JSB talked with Beijing official Cao Pengcheng (曹鹏裎), Vice Chairman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development


Cao Pengcheng, Vice Chairman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism DevelopmentLast month we already informed about the new visa-free 72-hours permit for transfer passengers in Beijing and Shanghai. To promote this new policy, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development (formerly simply called Beijing Tourism Administration) is touring Europe at the moment. After the kick-off show in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and before heading on to Prague (Czech Republic), the delegation invited travel operators and the media to the Radisson Blu hotel in Vienna (Austria).


During an impressively professional show my colleague Stefan Tauchhammer and I managed to hale the delegation leader into a back room for an interview. Cao Pengcheng (曹鹏裎), Vice Chairman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, revealed interesting future plans for the Chinese capital.

What do you expect from this trip?


We want Beijing to become known even better, and the new visa-free 72-hours possibility for transit passengers is a good occasion. In the near future we will be able to provide tourists with a better service and with an easier approach to Beijing. There are many other famous cities with a 72-hours policy. We can learn from them. Our new policy is meant to serve the upscale travel market. We want these additional tourists to selectively visit the best places.


Into which direction do you want the tourism in Beijing to be developed?


Due to a rapid growth in recent years the tourism has become an important factor in the city’s economy. There are 230 million overnight stays per year, and we estimate the total revenue in the city’s tourism sector to be around 360 billion Yuan. On the other side we know that we have a very general visitor structure. We would now like to increase the number of wealthy tourists.


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This sounds as if you would like to attract more individual tourists.


You understood right. But we also want to increase the numbers of congresses and trade shows. Besides that, we see a high potential in health tourism.


Health tourism in Beijing?


In Beijing we have the best doctors related to the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). We from the tourism department gathered with people from the health administrative office, and together we evaluated the existing institutions and doctors. In the near future the best of them shall be booked systematically by tourists.


How will the communication work with the doctors?


The service will be fully provided by travel agencies, from picking up the guests at the airport to taking care of them during the whole trip, with a translator included. This shall by the way not only count for health trips, but for upscale travels in general.


Even in many five-star hotels the language barrier is an obstacle. Due to the high demand there is a lack of perfectly trained personnel. Are there any initiatives to fight this problem?


People who want to work in the travel industry already now have to know a foreign language. However, we have to confess that there is still a certain potential in terms of professional competence. The city of Beijing is currently working on a college of higher education for tourism. I hope it will be opened at the end of this year. Furthermore there is an already existing institute for foreign languages, which will focus on tourism in the future.


Currently 64 hotels in Beijing are classified as five-star. Is the upper bound reached?


At the moment there are enough hotels in Beijing. Nevertheless around 80 new hotels are currently being built, many of the in the upper price range. We try to convince the hoteliers to build theme hotels in order to create a higher diversity. Themes could be TCM, for example, or a specific architecture. It would be nice if the hotel operators combined their hotels with the Chinese tradition and culture. We consider the construction of too many hotels a great danger. It leads to a high competition in prices that harms everyone. The room rates are already now lower than in other comparable cities. However, we can only give recommendations. Very often the construction of a new upscale hotel has psychological reasons. Some hotel operators want to erect themselves signature monuments.

Jin Sha Blog - Talking about what matters :-)


For the tourism industry it would be better to have no visa restrictions at all. Wouldn’t you agree?


For a Chinese citizen it is more complicated to get a visa from a country of the European Union (EU) than the other way round. Of course everyone should first put his own house in order. But in fact China enables European visitors to receive their visas comparatively uncomplicated and non-bureaucratic. For Chinese who want to travel to Europe, on the other side, the whole visa process is connected with much more efforts.


I guess you would like to see that changed.


Yes. I think that the tourism industry brings advantages for everyone.


How is the visa situation in the USA compared to Europe?


It has lightened up in the recent years. However, it is even more complicated for Chinese citizens to get a visa from the USA than from an EU country. An additional advantage of the EU is the fact that you only need a visa for one EU country, but then you are allowed to visit the other member states, too.


If I only have 72 hours when I come to Beijing the next time: What shouldn’t I miss in any case?


At least once in your life you should have visited one of the restaurants serving imperial cuisine.



This interview was held on April 22, 2013, with the help of a translator in German and Chinese.

Click here for the original German transcript



China stimulates short-term tourism

FourSeasonsBeijingSince the beginning of this year the People’s Republic of China is offering transit passengers in Beijing and Shanghai a visa-free 72-hour stay (more details here). That’s a clever move from the officials. People now might be seduced to prolong their transfer time and to leave some additional cash. Between 600,000 and 800,000 additional visitors expected to make use of this new possibility in this year alone.


Without the annoying need to run to a Chinese embassy prior to departure, they will be able to see the Forbidden City or to experience some great cuisine at the Bund – or just get pampered: The Four Seasons Beijing latterly promises to make the best out of your short stay. Besides a limousine pick-up at the airport with Chinese tea refreshments included, the hotel offers tailor made itineraries. In the context of the hotel’s so-called City Explore program, the hotel assures to show their guests authentic insider locations – according to the guests’  islam preferences.


I have never been to the Four Seasons Beijing so far, but its homepage makes me want to experience it one day. The hotel houses auspiciously looking contemporary Chinese artwork (more here), and its newly opened hotel restaurant called Cai Yi Xuan is “deconstructing” Dim Sum (more here).


The prices for the stopover packages (two nights) start at CNY 7,400 (around € 915).


Four Seasons Beijing / link to the transfer package