We flew capital to capital on our 14 1/2 hour flight to Beijing, China. Luckily we got First Class – the flight literally flew by and in no time we landed in one of the last great ancient capitals of China.
Before we could even get to immigration, we had to pass through an infrared thermal imager – heat detectors to screen for elevated body temps. Glad we were all feeling well or else it would have been a big bummer after all the work it was to get the visas for our 2 week visit to China!
Then we got in one of the many unruly lines for immigration, after clearing, we pushed our way into one of the trams that carry you to customs and moved with the herd towards the exit . The airport has well-marked signage and the subway connects the airport to the city which is super convenient and inexpensive!
As you might know, we always try to stay at a Marriott when we can since that is where we have accumulated at least some status! There are many to choice from in Beijing – we chose the Renaissance Capital Center. It was located close to the city center ( which is the Forbidden City) and about an hour from the airport. Beijing’s roads are set up in “rings”, it was located on the 3rd ring. It was stunning property and had very helpful staff. Surprisingly, it was only a category 4 hotel -in the US this would be more like a category 8. No complaints here – it only cost us 20,000 points per night and they were offering a free night if you booked 4 nights, so for 80,000 points we had 5 nights – that was a no brainer! Then when we thought it would not get any better, they upgraded us to a suite. We unpacked and set out to enjoy the best of Beijing.
By now it was getting to be late afternoon and super hot, 104 F – you felt like you were in an oven. My daughter and I set out to one of the many nail salons, a short walk from the hotel we had a mani pedi and hour-long foot message. It was a total bargain and we felt like a million dollars.
We laid out our plans for the next few days; The Pearl Market and Temple of Heaven, then Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park and Houhai, then the Great Wall and the Olympic Village, and finally the Summer Palace and the Silk Market. We got a map and the hotel gave each of us business cards with all the top attractions written in both English and Chinese to help from getting lost, along with the address of the hotel.