The Chaoyang District (Chaoyang Yu in Mandarin), whose name literally means, “facing the sun,” is the city’s most modern quarter. The recent 2008 Olympics saw Beijing undergo massive construction projects, the results of which can be seen in Chaoyang. Here one can spot the famous “Bird’s Nest” and “Water Cube,” both located in the Olympic Green, as well as a number of other notable Olympic stadiums. The district is also home to many of the city’s embassies, good restaurants and great bar scene. Sanlitun, the city’s most famed street for nightlife is right next to the embassy district. Here the entertainment ranges from small watering holes where you can get a few cheap drinks, to Beijing’s largest and finest (i.e. most expensive) nightclubs.
Finding accommodation in Chaoyang is not hard at all. For some of the finest living in the city, try the Renaissance Beijing Chaoyang Hotel, located minutes away from the embassy district and China World Trade Centre. Although the district offers some of the best restaurants in the city (it is within walking distance of the famed Da Dong Roast Duck restaurant), the hotel too has some great dining options. Its Wan Li Restaurant offers traditional Cantonese, Sichuan and Chaozhou fare in an elegant setting. For a break from Chinese food, try the Renaissance Café, which serves food from around the globe, with an extensive a la carte menu and buffet.
The Opposite House is a trendy new boutique hotel that seeks to combine the traditional with the modern. Aptly located on Sanlitun Street, this new addition to Chaoyang has become very popular among visitors to Beijing. The outside is made of a striking emerald glass, and was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. On the ground floor of the hotel, you will find a contemporary art gallery that features a spectacular sculpture collection by Chinese artists living abroad and on the mainland. There are 98 “contemporary studios” and two penthouse suites in the hotel. The studios have open designs and high ceilings with plenty of windows to let in the natural light. They also feature “spa-inspired” bathrooms with vast, oak bathtubs and rain showers.
The hotel offers two restaurants, with a variety of cuisines, and two after-dinner options. The most interesting menu can be found in Bei, which offers cuisine from Northern Asia. These Japanese, Korean and Northern Chinese dishes are then re-imagined to create a new, fusion taste, in keeping with the hotel’s philosophy of mixing the old and new. Sureno offers Mediterranean food and an extensive wine list to complement the fresh tastes of Southern Europe. The hotel’s bar and nightclub, Punk is a popular hotspot for young Beijingers with cash to spare. For a chiller atmosphere, there is Mesh, a lounge with an extensive wine list and great cocktail menu