We arrived in Beijing late Wednesday evening, June 13th right at sunset. It was a good flight with no delays. Landing and deplaning in Beijing can sometimes take a lot of time. It took about 15 minutes to taxi to the gate. Fortunately once we were off the plane, customs and baggage claim were a breeze. We were so happy to see our driver and start the 45 minute ride to the hotel.
By the time we got to the hotel it was after 9pm. The hotel entrance was located at the end of an alley. I knew I was going to the Hutong area, but little did I know that Hutong is a Mongolian word for alley. As we neared the end of the alley, suddenly a little piece of paradise appeared in the middle of the darkness. The hotel’s logo is a cat and pleasantly we were greeted by this cute cat upon entry to the lobby.
The Orchard Hotel is in the middle of the historic Beijing Hutong area. This charming area of Beijing is in walking distance to Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square. We checked in and had to walk several blocks away to get to our room. After 15 minutes of dragging our luggage through the dark streets we entered an alley that was even darker and stumbled through to pull our luggage over a broken and uneven walkway. When we finally entered our room we were exhausted and needed sleep but were pleased with the dwelling.
To our delight the space included a rooftop patio! The Drum Tower and Bell Tower stood large and grand from the view on the patio. It was so dark on the rooftop, but in the lobby we brought some candles, cheese and crackers, and wine so that we could enjoy being outside. Even though it was a difficult hike to the room we loved the area and feeling that we were getting a real sense of the culture. It is definitely our new favorite spot in Beijing!
Travel days to China really do consume all of your energy, but once you arrive it’s always worth the hassle of the airport and long flight. Finally we were able to relax on this rooftop right in the center of Beijing. It was surreal! As we sat on the patio exhausted we were both in awe of the fact we traveled half way around the globe to be here, in this place, this haven of beauty. Filled with immense gratefulness we were able rest soundly.