Hotel Commune by The Great Wall of China

The Hotel Commune by the Great Wall is one of the amazing hotels in the world. It is on an estate of land an hour and a half outside of Beijing, in the mountains by an untouched part of the Great Wall. It is populated by 12 incredible modern buildings each one designed by a different famous Asian architect, each one with a different style and name (see below).

The part of the Great Wall that it is near is not touristy — it is untouched — AMAZING. You are in the mountains, and can visualize what it was like to be a sentry on the wall.

And the hotel itself is AMAZING.

Hyatt Hotels bought it in 2022 — it is now a Hyatt Hotel.

An Hour & a Half Outside Beijing

I visited the hotel in 2011, there to make presentations at a conference. When I was first told I would be staying in a hotel named Commune by Great Wall of China — the “Great Wall” part of it didn’t register. All I knew is that I was going to be living in a commune in China.

I arrived in Beijing in its evening, and hired a cab as instructed, providing the driver with a paper with directions to the hotel in Chinese. I sat back and enjoyed the ride. I didn’t expect the ride to be that long – but it was over an hour and a half — we drove out into the country in the dark of night on the China highways.

I started to wonder if the cab driver read the instructions right or if he was taking me god knows where. As we got farther and farther from the city, more and more trucks enveloped around us on the highway, big Mack-like trucks with very aggressive driving by our cab driver and the trucks all around — in the dead of night at the 1 am hour — trucks honking at each other all around us, with us cutting in and out of traffic. Crazy. Where the heck was I? China?

We finally got off the highway and took a long expeditious path up a long hill through quiet forested residential streets. Finally we arrived at a gate that was opened for us and we drove another few minutes through the grounds until we arrived at a well-lit, low-slung modern building — the hotel’s main building and entrance.

I was greeted by doormen in spiffy white shirts and black pants; the female receptionists were dressed in similar outfits: everyone very polite and efficient.

I checked in and they told me the building I’d be in was four buildings away down the road.

I learned the Commune by the Great Wall hotel consists of a dozen buildings each designed by a different high-profile Asian architect. Each one more amazing than the next — depending on your taste. I found my building, walked in the main entrance, and climbed modernist stairs to the second floor — my room took up the entirety of the second floor — a private villa. Some commune!

My room

In the morning I went back to the main building to attend the event and give my presentations, etc.  I could now see the hotel grounds clearly. This was a very woodsy area but an attempt had been made to line the grounds with flowers. I felt like I was in the Catskills.

The Great Wall

My adventures on the Great Wall are detailed in another article. Suffice to say — visiting the Great Wall in this area — not the touristy areas of the Great Wall but this untouched area in the mountains — is one of the AMAZING things you can do in your life.

The Architects & the Houses

The names of the buildings and the Asian architects who designed them are:

  1. Gary Chang designed the Suitcase-Hotel house.
  2. Shigeru Ban designed the Bamboo Furniture house.
  3. Cui Kai designed the See and Seen house.
  4. Rocco Yim designed the Distorted courtyard house.
  5. Chien Hsueh-Yi designed the Airport house.
  6. Antonio Ochoa designed the Cantilevered house.
  7. Kengo Kuma designed the Bamboo wall house.
  8. Kanika R’kul designed the Shared house.
  9. Kay Ngee Tan designed the Casas gemelas.
  10. Nobuaki Furuya designed the Forest house.
  11. Yung Ho-Chang designed the Split house.
  12. Seung H-Sang designed the Club house.
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