26 January, 2010

Hutong Hustle: DuGe Courtyard Boutique Hotel, Beijing

26 January, 2010

This little gem is tucked away off hip shopping street Nanluoguxiang, the 700 year old hutong where Beijing’s arty and creative types spend their days hanging out at cool bars and coffee shops, and stores selling one-of-a-kind curios and knick-knacks thrive. The DuGe hotel’s suites and rooms combine old-world Chinese décor (think red and black lacquer, classic antiques and contemporary Chinese artwork) with stylish and classy Western design.

It’s the little things that make a difference at DuGe – their courtesy mobile phone (handily filled with pre-set numbers – perfect for when you’re lost, no one speaks English and you desperately need to get a taxi/find your way back to the hotel/eat), free DVD and music library and airport transfers all make you feel right at home. If you stay in Beijing long enough, they’ll even do your laundry, dry-cleaning and ironing and throw in afternoon tea and a bottle of wine too – and no, we’re not joking!

DuGe’s über-cool Reflections restaurant serves Chinese, Western and fusion food looking out on the hotel’s private courtyard. Surrounded by bamboo, lanterns and the hutong’s traditional skyline, it’s a totally different Beijing experience – a world away from the modern buildings and heaving crowds. We also recommend the hotel’s petite White Russian bar (who says good things don’t come in small packages?) – perfect for a pre-dinner drink or a relaxing chat.

As for the suites and rooms, we love the cool jade tones of ‘The Bamboo‘ (above) – simply elegant, with the room’s original and intricately-carved Moon door still in place. We’re also fans of ‘The Peony Pavillion’ – dramatic red lacquer meets contemporary Shanghainese glam. Or live like royalty in ‘The Imperial’ (below), where the four-poster beds, private atrium and rich gold décor are fit for an Emperor.

The hotel is only 5 minutes away from the Drum and Bell tower, a 20 minute drive from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City and 45 minutes from the Great Wall. Step through the red and black doors and find out for yourself…

DuGe Courtyard Boutique Hotel, from CNY 1200 a night.

Recommended by QUINTESSENTIALLY, the word’s leading private member’s club with a global concierge service. Committed to the notion that quality matters, whether it be music, art, travel, food or – most importantly – service, they aim to bring members and clients nothing but the best. www.quintessentially.com.

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