Accommodation near the Wall
To make the most of your visit to the Great Wall and to avoid a really early start for a sunrise visit, consider spending a night close to the Wall. Not only does this save on travel times, it also means you can enjoy views of the Wall and the picturesque surroundings long after the crowds have left. There are a number of non-descript accommodation options at the more popular sections but we've selected a pick of boutique properties that offer a unique experience.
Red Capital Ranch:
Styled like a Manchurian hunting lodge at the foot of the Great Wall, this boutique property features just 10 individually designed villas with salvaged architectural elements from old Chinese houses and decorations that comply with traditional Feng Shui. Open from early April to the end of October, the Red Capital Ranch has its own private access path to the Wall as well as a peaceful spa inspired by Tibetan Buddhist practices.
Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu:
Designed using the existing footprints of a traditional peasant's house, the Brickyard Retreat aims to preserve an important part of China's rural outposts whilst providing discerning guests with modern comforts. The 25 rooms are open to nature with uncurtained clerestory windows and skylights with a rainforest shower and private terraces where you can enjoy the views of the Great Wall. The property also features a spa, fitness room and seasonal complimentary yoga lessons.
Commune by the Great Wall:
Comprised of forty individually villas that were designed by 12 Asian architects, the Commune by the Great Wall was hailed as a 'New Architectural Wonder of China' by Business Week with buildings designed to respect the history of the land and blend in with the environment. The villas feature numerous bedrooms, a living area and exquisite bathrooms with some also offering saunas, tea rooms and independent kitchens. All guests can dine on regional specialties at the Courtyard Restaurant, relax at the Poolside Cafe or enjoy a cocktail at the Pink Bar.
Home of the Great Wall:
Spread out across a wooded hill right beside the Great Wall, this mountain retreat is rustic in appearance yet modern with beautiful private villas equipped with air-conditioning and cable TV. Each villa can accommodate between 8-16 guests with Chinese style architecture and contemporary flourishes, many with a large sun deck, separate dining and living rooms, and spectacular views throughout. Perfect for groups and large families, the villas also boast large-screen satellite televisions and high-speed internet.
Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel Gubei:
Situated besides the Simatai section of the Wall in the styled water town of Gubei, the Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel infuses traditional Chinese design with all the modern conveniences you would expect of a luxury hotel. The four-poster beds feature intricate wood carvings and a raised seating area where you can enjoy a cup of Chinese tea. In the bathrooms a separate shower and bath tub are provided. Guests can dine on hearty local dishes at the on-site restaurant.