The capital of China, Beijing is located along the north-eastern coast of China and is one of the most populous cities of the world. The city continues to embrace tradition and at the same time keeps pace with the contemporary; this lends Beijing a one of a kind vibe.
Winter in Beijing is very cold and is thus the least popular time to visit. The mild weather in the spring months of April and May and autumn months of September and October make them the best time to visit. Sandstorms play the occasional spoilsport in the spring season.
Palaces, temples, parks and other memorabilia from its three millenia old history dot the cityscape. These combine with the insignia of the modern times to tell the story of the city which has been a political and cultural hub for over eight centuries; a claim that few global cities can boast of.
Distinctive red and blue doors mark the entrance of the DuGe. One step through them, over the threshold into the courtyard and the sense of journeying back in time seeps in. The first courtyard boutique hotel of China, the DuGe uses a combination of traditional and modern elements of Chinese architecture and design to tell the story of the country’s rich past.
Each of the six suites opens into the central courtyard. The name of each suite connects it to some insignia of the glorious Chinese past and is designed in a unique style. The colour palette too is distinctly different from room to room – golden hues in the Imperial, bold red in the Silk Road and monochromatic in the Bamboo. In the Gold Lotus, black and gold create an exotic look while in the White House gold and white come together for a more contemporary appeal.
Every element is individualised to match the overall décor theme of the suite be it the silk furnishings in the Silk Road Courtyard or the intricately carved screen in the Bamboo room. Accessories, light fixtures, wall coverings, furnishings – every detail has been carefully selected. In the common areas east-meets-west; traditional lanterns glow in the courtyard while Baccarat chandeliers add to the elegant interiors of the restaurant.
Lacquered furniture and present-day pieces, the curved roof, engraved woodwork and mirrors all find a place at the DuGe. Such has been the interest in the designs and art at the hotel that the hotel has started a referral and purchase service for guests who want to take a piece of the DuGe back home.
Watch This Place
Located in the Beijing Art District, the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA) was set up in 2007 to provide an impetus for local talent as well as enable international exchange.
The UCCA occupies three factory chambers that were built in the 1950s and some of the traces of the original space have been maintained. Stark white interiors ensure that the installations are the cynosure of all eyes. The 8000 square metre space is divided into four areas each of which is equipped to showcase design in its varied forms.
A Divine Abode
The Yonghe Lamasery or more popularly known as the Lama Temple is the best preserved monastery of modern China. When it was built at the end of the 17th century, it was meant to serve as a royal residence and its regal appearance continues to lend it that air. The roof appears to be made up of multiple layers stacked over each other with their corners turned up to salute the sky.
The temple contains all the motifs of ancient Chinese temples but three art pieces are the standout attractions. One, the sculpture of Arhat made with five precious metals, second, a sandalwood statue of Buddha towering at 26m and third, three elaborate bronze Buddhas.
Up The River
A capital M atop an entrance on a grey stone building marks the location of the Capital M restaurant building. The flaming red light fixtures on both sides of the wall are the only indication that the humble façade is a cover-up. And a splendid cover-up at that! A black-and-white marble mosaic floor covers the entire interior.
The 400-seater restaurant has been divided into smaller areas to create a more intimate vibe. A vibrant river-theme mural runs through the whole space and connects all the different areas. And those who can bear to tear their eyes away from the stunning interiors move to the al fresco dining space where the views of the Forbidden City serve as a stunning backdrop.
Text By Himali Kothari