The Peninsula Academy provides in-house guests with the chance to learn about and gain exposure to the uniqueness of Beijing. The rich culture of the capital and it's hidden gems are highlighted in a variety of bespoke programmes including activities such as a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour of the Great Wall, a rickshaw Hutong tour, a kite making class at Tiananmen Square and many more.
This Peninsula Academy reveals the historical significance of the Temple of Heaven to events of paramount importance in the Chinese imperial calendar. The journey begins with a chauffeured transfer to a morning private tour of the historic park, where a tai chi master will offer insight into what went on behind the cleverly constructed building commissioned by the Qing dynasty’s emperor, Qianlong. Later that morning, guests will be whisked away to personally experience the basic movements of tai chi. This fascinating exercise is said to unblock and encourage the proper flow of qi or energy force thought to stream through the body. Tai chi is also said to promote a balance of one’s yin and yang, gently keeping your opposing elements in harmony. The morning culminates in a Naturally Peninsula brunch at Huang Ting prepared to enhance your rejuvenating experience.Make an Enquiry
This unrivalled adventure kicks off with a helicopter ride soaring high above the tourist queues, to watch the magnificent wall snake its way through the valleys of the Juyong Pass. From the luxury of a helicopter seat, guests will take in aerial panoramas including the glorious Bird’s Nest Stadium – co-designed for the Olympics by artist Ai Weiwei and so-called because of the numerous trussed steel columns giving it the resemblance of a bird’s nest – before touching down for an exquisite Champagne brunch on a private pavilion with spectacular views of the great wall.
From the splendour of the past to the vibrancy of the present, guests will be transported in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce to Beijing’s contemporary 798 Art Zone, where you can browse works at your leisure and gain private access to a renowned artist’s gallery and open kitchen. Back at the hotel, be pampered in style at the Peninsula Spa in preparation for a six-course Peking Duck feast in our award-winning Huang Ting restaurant.
With a history of over 1,000 years, Chinese dumplings or jiaozi as they are known, are one of the most time-honoured dishes in Chinese cooking. Eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this doughy staple of the local diet is generally vegetable or meat-filled, boiled, steamed or fried and dipped in soy-vinegar.
Your unique introduction to this ancient fare will begin with a visit to ‘Food Street’ (Hu Guo Si Da Jie) where you can fuel up on a typical Beijing breakfast of jian bing (savoury crepes). You will then absorb the sights and smells of the sixty year old Si Huan fresh market with a Peninsula chef, picking the freshest produce, spices and oils to personally recreate the classic dumpling.
Your exclusive masterclass with Chef Zhao follows. Innovate and create your own dumpling in-house with the expertise of Chef Zhao and his guidance. This culinary and cultural extravaganza culminates in a four-course dumpling lunch at Huang Ting, where you reap the fruits of your dumpling labour.
Beijing’s hutongs are narrow streets or alleyways formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences built around a quadrangle. The word hutong comes from the Mongolian for water wells, nodding to the fact that communities gather around wells. Although many of the city’s hutongs have been demolished to make way for modern roads and high-rise buildings, some have been preserved as designated areas of Chinese culture. Those that survived, give a real glimpse into Beijing life as it has been for generations.
From their size and style, you can tell whether the compounds belonged to the rich and powerful or the poor. On this exclusive tour, you will get an insight into both, with visits to more humble abodes as well as the mansions of Prince Gong, one of the most extravagant and ornate residential compounds in Beijing, and Soong Ching Ling, wife of Sun Yat-sen, former president of the People’s Republic of China.
Made from bamboo, paper, silk and rattan, traditional Chinese kites are usually crafted in the shapes of animals: dragonflies, swallows, butterflies and centipedes. With their grace and symmetry, the kites are said to be emblematic of freedom and their making is seen as a vehicle for artistic expression.
Under the guidance of the kite master, you will start by choosing a design for your kite – maybe a dragon or a fish or something simpler for your first attempt. Then you will build your frame and choose material to cover it: silk is the traditional fabric, but you may also use strong paper, nylon or plastic. Balance and proportions are key to ensure your kite stays aloft. Once you have cut the material to fit your frame, you are ready to paint and decorate your kite. Attach it to your frame; add the string bridle and you are fit to fly in the nearby Temple of Heaven Park. But don’t let it go, because according to Chinese folklore, this can bring bad luck!