I was only there for two nights and two days but I managed to fit in the Forbidden City, a 12 course meal and the best fashion event I have ever been to!
I have just returned from a whistle stop trip to Beijing and it was incredible! I was only there for two nights and two days but I managed to fit in the Forbidden City, a 12 course meal and the best fashion event I have ever been to!
Unfortunately, the fashion event is still under wraps and embargoed, so I can’t talk about it. So annoying! However, I can tell you I was rubbing shoulders with Mr Alaia, Nicholas Kirkwood and the fabulous owner of Lanvin who was simply amazing! Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it all soon, so watch this space!
I was really lucky and visited during the APEC Summit which is basically a political event where all the world leaders get together to talk about the global economy. All very important stuff! Anyway as the world’s eyes are on Beijing they make a massive effort to clean up the city. All industry is made to stop, there is no construction and the amount of cars on the roads are hugely restricted. Usually the city is thick with pollution and you can barely see across the street but when I was there the sky was blue and the sun was shining!
Unfortunately, I missed out on the Great Wall which was a bit disappointing BUT I did get to visit the Forbidden City. I swear after being there I am meant to be an Empress! The stories of the Emperors, their wives, concubines and all their traditions are fascinating. I’m now obsessed and planning on paying Waterstones a trip to purchase a load of books and read up on ALL the history.
I also got a chance to go to Hong Kong Jockey Club which is known as one of the best restaurants in the city. The food was simply out of this world and after 12 courses I certainly had my fill! The steak was the absolute best I have ever had. I also got to try a Chinese liquor called Maotai, it has 53% alcohol and tastes like how I imagine petroleum would! If you are looking for a fabulous restaurant in Beijing… THIS IS THE ONE (although I don’t necessarily recommend the Maotai)!!
The truth is Beijing isn’t a really a holiday destination, if you are in the area then, of course, the Great Wall and Forbidden City is worth a visit but otherwise there are probably far more exciting cities in the Far East. Although the shopping is fantastic (great malls include Shin Kong Place and Sanlitun Village), but luxury items such as shoes and clothes, are subject to huge taxes so goods can be up to threes times the price they are at home. It really is a business city but if you are stopping by visit some of the above suggestions! I also recommend the the JW Marriott, as a really great hotel, even if it is purely for the incredible view and being amongst the skyscrapers!