City Guides: Beijing and Chengdu - Wayne Arnold

Wayne Arnold, global CEO at Lowe Profero Global, gives us his insider tips on Beijing and Chengdu.


Best hotel for pleasure?
The Opposite House in Sanlitun: From its funky design and enthralling art installations to its master mixologists and sumptuous restaurants, The Opposite House makes for a great stay when visiting Beijing.

East Hotel by JiangTai: Located within walking distance to 798 Art District and attached Indigo Mall, East hotel offers a trendy and comfortable accommodation for a stay in Beijing.

Best bar for celebrating?
Rowdy: Great Leap Brew Pub in Sanlitun: The Brew Pub combines New York design cues with monstrous burgers and delectable craft beers named after famous and influential figures in China’s history.  It can get loud, but that’s half the fun.
Low-key: MaoMaoChong:  This Hutong hotspot is located off NanLuoGuXiang in central Beijing and serves up some of the city’s finest cocktails and mixed drinks. Choose something off the chalkboard menus or ask the staff to mix up something unique for you. Either way, merriment will be made.

Best bar for a business drink?
Janes & Hooch: Classy cocktails are served with mesmerizing jazz and house tracks in this self-described 'urban saloon.' The speakeasy décor and ambiance creates a calming setting for negotiations and networking, particularly after a few Smokey Old Fashions.

Best restaurant for a business lunch?
Capital M: Feast on canapés and other haute cuisine delights in full view of Tiananmen Square and one of Beijing’s oldest shopping centers. With an ever-changing menu, you’ll be sure to find something that suits your taste no matter how many times you visit Beijing.    

Jin Yaa Tang: What’s a trip to Beijing without trying the famous Peking Roast Duck? Jin Yaa Tang offers contemporary style décor and traditional style cuisine from various provinces across China. Sample the crispy roast duck or any of the pan-regional dishes from the extensive menu. Jin Yaa Tang also offers an all-you-can-eat dim sum brunch seven days a week if you have the time and the appetite.

How to spend an hour in-between meetings?
Head to the Silk Market to pick up some souvenirs for friends, family and colleagues, but be sure to bargain the prices down. If haggling isn’t your scene, head to Sanlitun Village North for some luxury brand window-shopping.

If you only have time to do one thing in this city, do this...
Hike the Great Wall in the morning or early afternoon. The Mutianyu section of the Wall is just far enough away to be less crowded but is still close enough to be convenient. The luge track from the top of the Wall can help sate your need for speed. If you can’t reach the Wall, spend a few hours strolling through The Forbidden City in the historic heart of Beijing to feel you are in an Ang Lee film set.


Best hotel for pleasure?
The Temple House hotel, Chengdu. The hotel belongs to the same group as The Opposite House in Beijing and offers a unique blend of blending tradition and modern Chinese style. Guests enter via a renovated 100-year-old courtyard building, with rooms and restaurants stacked behind in two modern blocks.

Best bar for celebrating?
Chengdu is not awash with bars and clubs yet for the discerning traveller, the first time I went there I ended up buying a rather cheap bottle of wine from 7-Eleven! However things are starting to open up.

Address: Lanse Jialebi, 143 Kehua Bei Lu
This club has established itself as the premier place for foreign men and Chinese women to meet and dance, if that’s your thing! This is most certainly a club and not a bar. The music is loud and the dance floor is packed but an outside area provides some respite from the party if needed.

Address: 15 Renmin Nan Lu, Section 4
Shamrock is one of the most established Western-style bar/restaurants in Chengdu. It has pool tables, a Western menu and occasional live band. Think Irish pub with a sports bar feeling.

Best bar for a business drink?
Address: 9 Binjiang Dong Lu
Situated in the Shangrila Hotel, offering a great roof terrace and live band entertainment, it get’s lively, without bursting into a full-blown dance party.

Best restaurant for a business lunch?
Li Xuan
Address: No.269 Shuncheng Main Street, Qingyang District, Chengdu 116017, China.
Located in the Ritz Carlton Chengdu, Li Xuan boasts great Sichuan cuisine that isn’t too over-powering. Enjoy contemporary Chinese luxury ambience that underscores China’s modernity while honouring its heritage.

How to spend an hour in-between meetings?
Go to a local teahouse to rub shoulders with the locals. Teahouses remain a central lifestyle feature in this part of the country and can provide a nice grass-roots retreat from the hotel experience.

If you only have time to do one thing in this city, do this...
It doesn’t get much more authentic than holding baby panda, and if you’re lucky you can do exactly that at the Chengdu Panda Breeding & Research Base. The base also cares for a number of other endangered species, including red pandas and peacocks.
Address: 1375 Xiongmao Avenue, Chenghua, Chengdu.

(A personal thanks to the Lowe Profero teams around the world for ensuring I get to discover these places - Wayne Arnold.)

Browse more City Guides here and more from Wayne here.