Sumptuous elegance pretty much sums up the Shangri-La Beijing (shangri-la.com, £££). Check out the Chi spa for extra pampering, and the all-day buffet prepared in Café Cha's open kitchens. Out by the airport, Langham Place (langhamplacehotels.com, £££) is regarded as one of the best hotels in China. Cutting-edge East (swirehotels.com, £££) is due to open later this year. Or try Red Capital, a hip, retro-chic hotel (redcapitalclub.com.cn, £). For simple and affordable, check in to Lu Song Yuan Hotel Beijing (lusongyuanhotelbeijing.cn, £).
Specialising in Yunnan cuisine, Dali Courtyard Restaurant (67 Xiaojingchang, + 861 0840 42030, £) is small, charmingly renovated, inexpensive and much prized by Beijing's expat community. Rather more flash, Green T House (green-t-house.com, ££) has a menu of modern fusion dishes, ably complemented by a vast assortment of teas.
On the radar
Spare as much time as you can at the Forbidden City (whc.unesco.org/en/list/439) and marvel at the magnificence of this architectural treasure from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Many sequences in Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning The Last Emperor were filmed here.
Below the radar
The vibrant higgledy-piggledy communities known as hutongs, where once just about everyone lived in Beijing, are fast being
replaced. Catch the last of them on a guided tour (beijinghutongtour.com) that wends its
way among shops, markets, temples and
iconic courtyard homes where little has
changed for the best part of a century.
£££ Work on that bonus
££ Spoil yourself
£ Great value
BA (ba.com) flies to Beijing.