Socialist military compounds aren’t usually where you’d go looking for artistic inspiration, but Beijing’s 798 Art District is an exception. These are the top 10 hotels and Airbnbs to stay at when exploring the Chinese capital’s coolest neighbourhood.
Named after the Bauhaus-style factory complex Chairman Mao built for China’s military in the 1950s, the 798 Art District has been converted into Beijing’s hottest cultural precinct. Inside old army warehouses, you’ll now find edgy galleries, museums, cafés and restaurants.
At the centre of the 798 Art District, this boutique hotel’s decor matches its stylish surrounds. The Gracie’s 24 air-conditioned rooms all come with an insider guide to the area’s must-see art shows, a minibar and access to a fitness centre offering massage treatments after a long day exploring the Chinese capital. Guests will also appreciate the cocktails and live jazz at Bar 798, the Yi House bistro serving Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, and the breakfast, which was named the city’s best brunch by The Beijinger newspaper.
Studios don’t get any more chic than this gorgeous Airbnb. The apartment features sophisticated European decor, bright hardwood floors and a sunny sitting area. A smart ramie curtain conceals the large double bed, and the property also has a fully equipped kitchen and spacious bathroom.
What this apartment lacks in size, it more than makes up for in style. These MUJI-themed apartments squeeze in an open balcony, TV and living room, generous bathroom and serviceable kitchen around the cosy double bed. With its enviable location, this minimalist apartment is the perfect base to explore the 798 Art District.
This huge two-bedroom Airbnb boasts two bathrooms, a huge kitchen and a sun-filled balcony with 270-degree views of the 798 Art District. But the highlight is the atmospheric projection room, featuring a giant movie screen and two comfortable sofas to relax on after a long day exploring Beijing. The proximity to Wangjing’s shopping malls and a subway station on Line 14 are two more pluses.
Tall glass windows and exposed red-brick walls have converted this old industrial building into one of the 798 Art District’s trendiest places to stay. The Qiuguo Hotel’s 84 rooms showcase Scandinavian-inspired design, while the airy common areas add another dimension to this fashionable property.
The description of this Airbnb promises exquisite decoration, and it’s hard to disagree – traditional Chinese furnishings complement the generous layout and the two bedrooms. Occupying a lofty level of a high-rise building, this high-end flat towers above Beijing’s hottest cafés and restaurants.
These five-star condos offer simple, graceful design just a couple of blocks from Factory 798. Jiuxian Condominium includes all the amenities a traveller could ask for: access to an indoor pool, room service, gym, free Wi-Fi, an executive lounge and meeting facilities, and an in-house restaurant for when you’re too tired to venture out in search of a meal.
The rainforests of Southeast Asia feel a long way from the grey skyscrapers of Beijing, but they don’t seem so far away in this jungle-themed Airbnb, which has two beautifully appointed bedrooms and floral touches throughout. This apartment is only a short stroll from the 798 Art District, surrounded by the street markets and Korean restaurants of nearby Wangjing.
Situated just south of the 798 Art District, this luxurious lifestyle hotel is a modern place to stay on the doorstep of China’s coolest contemporary art galleries. EAST’s innovative architecture utilises natural materials such as sustainable woods, bamboo and stones in its 369 high-end guest rooms, energetic open kitchen and food market at the Feast restaurant, plus the industrial-chic Xian bar.
If you’re travelling to Beijing with a large group of family or friends, this huge Airbnb is a great choice. With six beds spread across three rooms, this warm apartment takes its design lead from the vivid colours and vibrant artworks of the 798 Art District just outside the front door.