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Last updated: 03 October, 2022
Expert travel writer: Thomas O’Malley

A secret sanctuary in the hutongs, The Orchid is one of the best options to get a feel for traditional Beijing life.

The owners have restored and built upon a Qing Dynasty-era courtyard home, adding gardens, restaurants and a terrace bar with majestic views of the Drum and Bell Towers, looming above the eaves of courtyard rooftops.

Petite guestrooms come with Chinese tea sets and mobile phones, and there are larger ‘dispersed’ suites dotted about in nearby alleyways.

Enclosed by a grid of strollable lanes, and close to Houhai Lake and the Lama Temple, the Orchid makes a wonderful base for sightseeing on foot.

Surrounding area

Beijing’s narrow hutong lanes don’t suit taxis, so you’ll have to drag your case from the main road to find The Orchid.

It’s well worth the effort, though, because the location is a delightful respite from the high-rise hustle of Beijing’s more modern districts.

Wander the surrounding alleys and you’ll see locals sitting outside playing xiangqi (Chinese chess) and sipping tea, and no shortage of Chinese tourists at nearby Nanluogu Xiang, a popular snack street.

Look out for stylish venues dotted throughout the neighbourhood, like Cafe Zarah for coffee and breakfast, and Modernista for cocktails and live jazz.

The Orchid have prepared an excellent walking map of their immediate neighbourhood, ideal for a hutong wander.

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Key facilities

Airport transfers*
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
Parking: Not available
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Free

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Jacuzzi (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed

Bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Lama Temple

Beijing, China[1.6 miles]

Beijing’s most spectacular religious site, this palatial temple complex is a reminder of China’s long and complex association with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >

Jingshan Park

Beijing, China[2.1 miles]

Beijing’s best park is also one of its only central hills, offering inspiring views of the Forbidden City. It’s also where elderly locals come to sing, dance and let off steam.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3

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Overview >

Beihai Park

Beijing, China[2.2 miles]

Once the preserve of emperors, the sculpted surrounds of Beihai Park are dotted with fascinating temples, halls and pavilions, and crowned by the magnificent White Dagoba, towering over the central boating lake.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >

Forbidden City

Beijing, China[2.8 miles]

A magnificent and unique 15th-century complex of imperial palaces that served as the home of Chinese emperors for 500 years. Beijing’s must-see attraction.

Best for ages: 13+ | £6

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Overview >

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest, closest first

Drum Tower

Drum Tower

Beijing, China[0.4 miles]

Rising up imperiously over grey hutong rooftops, the Drum Tower (together with the adjacent Bell Tower) has sounded the rhythm of Beijing for centuries. Climb the steep steps for exhibits on time-keeping in ancient China, and an hourly drumming performance.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3

Website >
Overview >
Bell Tower

Bell Tower

Beijing, China[0.4 miles]

Beijing’s official timekeeper since the age of the Mongols, this splendid, 47-meter tall stone tower, facing its compatriot the Drum Tower, houses a gigantic copper bell said to weigh over 60 tons.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3

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Overview >

Houhai Lakes

Beijing, China[1.2 miles]

Three inter-connected lakes surrounded by willow trees, hutong lanes, and bars – a fun place to experience local culture, and take a rickshaw ride.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

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Overview >
front entrance to Confucius-Temple

Temple of Confucius

Beijing, China[1.3 miles]

Carved tortoise-like beasts heave enormous stone slabs on their backs at this grand temple complex honouring China’s foremost spiritual thinker, the great sage Confucius. The attached Guozijian (Imperial College) is where scholars of old studied for their civil service exams.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >

Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay



A burgeoning megacity with one foot in the past, Beijing is a marvellous melange of UNESCO-listed heritage buildings set within an ever-more tech-forward cityscape. Come for the culture, the people, and of course the food.

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