Image by Saad.Akhtar
I must confess that going to China wasn’t exactly top of my bucket list. Don’t ask me why – I just thought life would take me there and, as part of my MBA, guess what? It happened.
We were due to go to Shanghai and see some more parts of real China, but I thought, if I am going there, why not go to Beijing as well? And to be honest, I am glad I did!
We arrived at the fabulous St. Regis Hotel, which would be our home for the next five nights. We were knackered as we had taken the red-eye flight from London, but our own personal butler did everything he possibly could to make our stay easy and relaxing – from a cappuccino, to unpacking our bags, nothing was too much trouble… this was starting well.
We decided to walk for a little bit and headed towards Tiananmen Square. It was a real wake-up call to be so close to where history has been made. Oh, and I felt SO tall!
We were due to meet friends who had recently moved to Beijing and agreed to join them at the newly opened Aman Resort at the Summer Palace. We just thought we were going to meet them at a random hotel – blimey, we were in for a surprise.
After a cab ride to remember (I seriously feared for my life) we arrived to the Summer Palace. The queues were horrible, as it was a bank holiday, but all of a sudden, a door opened. Wow. An oasis of tranquillity, calm and extreme good taste. We loved our hotel, but next time this would definitely be the place to stay.
We enjoyed their high tea experience where we were introduced to Chinese tea – something we indulged on during our whole trip. And of course a glass of bubbly never hurt anyone…
After reaching our inner Zen, it was time for some shopping; our friend took us to the world-famous silk market. I had no intention of buying any counterfeit goods, but was absolutely amazed with the variety on offer. Floors of pretty much anything you could want to buy… and I did; a baby Montblanc with which I was never able to sign my name. That would teach me alright!
Someone recommended we go to DragonFly, a massage place just in front of the hotel. If you are visiting China, you can pre-buy packs of massages and use them in various cities. We did and loved it. A word of warning – Chinese massage is not relaxing in any sense of the word; try it by all means and then maybe switch to a more traditional oil massage, which are absolutely fantastic!
With this, we were absolutely famished and as we were in Beijing, would have been wrong not to have its most famous specialty, Peking Duck. We managed to get a table (which we pre-booked with 2 weeks’ notice) at Made in China, a restaurant which I will never forget. The décor was amazing – like a vegetable market, the service was very good, but the star? Mr. Duck. So good, we had to go back on a different night.
I am glad I took some time to explore Beijing – 4 days was about right and it was, by far, my favourite Asian city. Who knows if I will be back again?
Check out Ana’s blog, mrsoaroundtheworld.com
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