A Palace Retreat by the Great Wall

We’re please to introduce our community to Kristen Lum and her new weekly column called Beijing Bites by LumDimSum. We know you’re going to love learning about what’s going on in Beijing and beyond.

The Great Wall of China is one of the most impressive sights in the world. Whether it’s in Spring to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom, in summer to see it in all it’s lush green glory, in autumn to count the vivid shades of gold, orange, ochre and scarlet red, or in winter when no one else dares to climb the wall covered in white, this is one of the world’s most breath-taking wonders and I truly believe that one of the biggest perks about living in Beijing is its proximity to so many hike-able sections of the Great Wall.

Not just a great place to impress guests who visit Beijing from out of town, this is also my retreat when I’m looking for a weekend escape away from the city. I’ve done everything from day hikes to camping on the wall, but my preferred weekend experience is to book a room in either a retreat or a courtyard in one of the countryside villages by the wall.

But that was all before I discovered Ban Jie Gou Villa, a mountain house built by a Brit who has been living in Beijing with his family for over 15 years and originally kept this villa privately for his family and friends as their weekend retreat. But this year, the owner of this villa has decided to make his home away from home available for private bookings.

I had the privilege of being invited to spend a weekend at this villa recently and when I first set my eyes on this palace as we drove up its cobblestone road that leads up, up, up to this magnificent piece of architecture, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I know that I have the habit of getting overly excited about things and places that I like, but this is another level of genuine amazement. I have never been so impressed as I was when I started exploring this villa and as you scroll down and see the photos, I’m pretty confident that you will be too.

Ban Jie Gou Villa in Huairou

The Private Road that Leads Up to Ban Jie Gou Villa

Built into the mountain at Ban Jie Gou (hence the name), the property covers a total internal area of 750m2 and occupies an exclusive valley location to the north of the village.  The valley itself is covered with native forest including some evergreens but mostly deciduous trees such as walnut, sweet chestnut and oak.

Oh yeah, and there also happens to be a gorgeous waterfall on the way up to the villa (which was still frozen on our visit).

Ban Jie Gou Villa in Huairou: Frozen Waterfall

Frozen Waterfall

A great space for entertaining, sunbathing or meditating the roof terrace enjoys views of several kilometres across the national park and close ups of the surrounding mountains including Turtle Rock and Devil’s Finger.

View1

Yes, these are the views you can look forward to enjoying!

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Basically, aside from the fact that this is an incredible work of architecture, it is in close proximity to some great nature hikes by the Great Wall and comfortably sleeps about 10-12 people.

Because of the elevation of the villa, The Great Wall is visible from the roof deck and upper floors and the nearest access it is to drive 3km north to the next village of Xi Zha Zi from where you can hike up to the Wall at Jian Kou.   Heading south there is also a particularly beautiful valley walk from Jiao Jie He following the river to Sheng Tang Yu from where you can access the Wall at Mutianyu.

Great Wall by Ban Jie Gou Villa in Huairou

Morning Hike on the Jian Kou Section of the Great Wall

Whether you’re interested in using this villa just for the day or to stay for the whole weekend, there are different rental rates depending on the time of the year. Generally, the months between October and April will be a bit more expensive as it’s more costly to heat the whole villa (to make sure it’s warm and cozy enough).

You can email me for more details Kristen@lumdimsum.com

About Kristen

Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle  blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.