When my friends are in town, I take them for a drink at… Infusion Room, upstairs at D Lounge (Courtyard 4, Gongti Bei Lu, Chaoyang). It’s a relaxed speakeasy-style bar with a great cocktail list. Another is Scandal, next door (Courtyard 4, Gongti Bei Lu, Chaoyang), which specialises in cocktails, including some infused with coffee beans, coriander and rosemary. The restaurant that best shows off Beijing is… Jing Yaa Tang, here at The Opposite House (hotel.qantas.com.au/theoppositehouse), which is famous for Peking duck; the meat is tender and the skin is so crisp. The eclectic menu is pulled from various regions around China, unlike many in the city that focus on a specific area.
For a business meeting, I book a table at… Opera Bombana (operabombana.com), a fabulous Italian restaurant with excellent food, wine and service. The tables are well positioned for privacy.
For my caffeine fix, I go to… Soloist Coffee Co. (39 Yangmeizhu Xiejie, Xicheng), a great alternative in Beijing where the coffee scene is dominated by chains. Soloist is aimed at connoisseurs who want a more refined coffee experience.
Pick up the perfect souvenir at… an amazing place called Plastered T-Shirts (plastered tshirts.com). They have a humorous approach to gifts, with everything from neon chopsticks and canned Beijing air to great Chinese logo T-shirts.
For a romantic experience, go to… Jingshan Park at sunset. You can walk up to an old pavilion [built in the early 16th century], which is the highest point in Beijing and overlooks the Forbidden City.
When it’s raining, stop by… Mr. X Escape Room (Shimao Guangchang, 13 Gongti Bie Lu, Sanlitun, Chaoyang). You’re locked in a room and have an hour to find your way out by solving clues and puzzles. The room starts moving while you’re in there and laser lights come on – it’s really fun. Beijing’s best kept secret is… Beijing Sideways (beijingsideways.com), a city-sights tour by a local guide on a motorbike with a sidecar, which you travel in. With Beijing’s heavy traffic, you need to have strong nerves but our guests rave about it.
The Imperial Palace (Forbidden City), Beijing
The Opposite House