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The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu: Beautifully Balancing Tradition and Luxury

By  William Wang (CRI Online)

14:46, September 24, 2012

Guests enjoy a meal in The Schoolhouse's front courtyard. (CRIENGLISH.com/William Wang)

The Schoolhouse is a multi-faceted project lying just a scant five kilometers south of the Great Wall's Mutianyu gate that offers some of the most delightful rooms for rent in Beijing, exquisite western cuisine, an art gallery, yoga classes and even glass-blowing workshops and demonstrations.

As the national holiday of Golden Week races towards us, Beijingers brace themselves for the hordes of visitors who always accompany it. Chinese from the vast breadth of the country seize the one week holiday to visit the capital, adding a particular crush to local life. Beijingers also seize this time to escape from the grey confines of downtown and, you know, get reacquainted with Mother Nature.

As always, the Mutianyu Great Wall provides epic vistas and strains the quads, but after (or before) the hike, many people seek a little something special to add into their holiday time, a little something to counterbalance the time they spend "roughing it" on The Wall. The Schoolhouse is a multi-faceted project lying just a scant five kilometers south of the Great Wall's Mutianyu gate that offers some of the most delightful rooms for rent in Beijing, exquisite western cuisine, an art gallery, yoga classes and even glass-blowing workshops and demonstrations.

Built on the site of a disused schoolhouse, the restaurant and offices still pay homage to the location, with blackboards still in place, and children's art on display. In fact, every building on site winks an eye towards local history.

American Jim Spear is the man who created The Schoolhouse along with his wife. Having lived in China for 27 years now, Spear's discerning eye regarding Chinese design and architecture is evident in the way he takes old peasant homes and transforms them into something wonderful. His designs' décor retain much of the building's original character, while adding unexpected new elements.

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