Nestled in the maze of back alleys near Beijing’s iconic drum and bell towers, the Orchid is a small boutique hotel catering to adventurous travelers looking for the quaintness of a bed-and-breakfast in the middle of the capital. The hotel is a converted siheyuan (courtyard) that, although thoroughly modernized, retains much of the lived-in character of an ancient Chinese home. One of the location’s standout features is a top-level deck that allows you to peek through the tops of old-growth trees for views of the drum tower and the surrounding hutongs. Room amenities include heated floors, complimentary bottomless fruit baskets, and air purifiers.
In 2015, the Orchid plans to open a second location in Dashilar, the traditional Peking Opera district near the main imperial gate.
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Despite Beijing’s rapid pace of development, the neighborhoods around the Drum Tower remain largely unchanged, retaining a rustic and authentic—if sometimes quaintly scruffy—character. You’ll wake up to sounds of pedicabs, street peddlers, and wizened old locals shuffling through morning errands in their pajamas. Houhai, the imperial lake to the north of the Forbidden City, is a short walk from the hotel, as is the gentrified shopping street of Nanluoguxiang. Nearby food and beverage options include Beijing’s top microbrewery, Great Leap Brewing, and Black Sesame Kitchen, a private kitchen serving some of the city’s best contemporary Chinese cuisine.
Need to Know
Rooms: 10 rooms. From $110. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The Orchid serves breakfast and brunch on-site, and the owners have developed a guide to the wealth of food options in the area. Local culinary highlights include Zhang Mama’s, a hole-in-the-wall Sichuan joint that many patrons believe to be the city’s top example of the regional cuisine. The Orchid has a bar offering a respectable wine selection, cocktails, and even local craft brews. Spa and gym details: None, but the neighborhood alleyways are a great place for a morning run.
Who's it for: Do-it-yourself travelers looking for low-key luxury with easy access to local culture. Our favorite rooms: The Yang is the Orchid’s flagship room, featuring a large private rooftop balcony, rainforest shower, and heated floors. Beijing sundowner: If the weather is clear, don’t miss the chance for a sunset drink on the rooftop balcony.