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Mike Meyer

Style Watch: Rattan Revolution

Diversions: All Talk

Food: Season to Taste

Outdoors: Comfy Camping

“It is when one is beyond the Great Wall,” wrote the Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722), “that the air and soil refresh the spirit.” The ruler’s words could equally apply to the Red Capital Ranch, tel: (86-10) 8401 8886, a 90-minute drive northeast of Beijing and a favorite getaway for the city’s sophisticates. Stepping through the gate reveals a vista considerably more pastoral than the smokestack and skyscraper views normally offered at Chinese hotels: a brook burbles through a thicket that hides 10 detached villas, and the resort is ringed by a Ming-era stretch of the Great Wall.

A private path means guests can escape the crowds that often mar enjoyment of the wall’s other sections. There are no chairlifts or souvenir stalls here, just heated suites made from local stone and beams salvaged from some of Beijing’s demolished courtyard homes. Rooms are decorated with Manchurian, Mongolian and Tibetan antiques, and each has a private porch. The Tiger Bar provides the perfect setting for cigars and cognac, while the restaurant offers cuisine inspired by Genghis Khan, whom the menu quotes: “The greatest pleasure in life is to defeat your enemy, then ride his horses, drink his wine, eat his food, and sleep with his women.” Beijing’s new business warriors may be inclined to agree.

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