Kempinski Opens Hotel with Private Access To Great Wall of China
BEIJING, China, September 28, 2006. A new modernist hotel with private access to an unrestored section of the Great Wall, opened on this week. The Commune by the Great Wall Kempinski is located in the Shuiguan Mountains, one hour's drive from Beijing.
The Commune has existed since 2002 as a collection of contemporary villas designed by 12 Asian architects. It first opened as both a boutique hotel and semi-architectural museum and became a showcase of contemporary Chinese and Asian architecture. The owner Ms Zhang Xin won a special award at the 2002 Biennale di Venezia for an individual patron of architectural works.
Kempinski Hotels took over the management of the hotel in 2005 and together with Ms Xin, have built an additional 21 villas containing 191 new rooms. The new villas are dotted among eight square kilometres of private land and offer spectacular views of The Great Wall. Each one is a replica of one of four of the original designs: The Bamboo House, Cantilever House, Shared House and Forest House. The furniture is designed by a series of famous designers ranging from Philippe Starck and Matthew Hilton to Karim Rashid and Claudio Colucci.
The hotel, which has become an icon of new China, has been visited by many celebrities such as actresses Renee Zellweger and Sigourney Weaver, director Anthony Minghella, tennis star Serena Williams and the designer Paul Smith.
The villas range in size from four to six bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms. For the first time guests can take an individual bedroom rather than a whole villa. Each villa has a communal area, which has a kitchen with a fridge with complimentary beer and soft drinks, a living room and dining room. The hotel also has a Club House with two restaurants serving local specialities from five regions of China, a bar and private dining rooms; a Kids Club; and an Anantara Spa. Two new deli cafes are also planned.
The new Anantara spa has fifteen spa suites, including five double suites for couples all with partial views of the Great Wall. The modern corten steel building integrates with the natural surroundings and includes an outdoor yoga area on the roof. Spa treatments range from two hour spa sessions to full day indulgences with a spa cuisine lunch. The oils and elixirs will come from the freshest indigenous ingredients including ylang ylang, lemongrass, ginger and local fruits.
The Kids' Club, named Commune of the Children, occupies a whole villa, with a kids' size kitchen for cooking classes, a garden with camping ground, a tree house and outdoor pool. It offers a wide range of supervised activities for children from 2 to 12.