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“Great getaway in Beijing” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall

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Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall
Yingbeigou Village, Beijing 101405, China   |  
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Hotel amenities
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Complimentary Transfers
Ranked #4 of 812 Beijing B&B and Inns
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Great getaway in Beijing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2014

Three of us visited the SchoolHouse for one night in June, 2014. We booked a two room house for one night. We planned on catching the chairlifts up to the wall, walking it, and riding the toboggan back down.
I was very very impressed with the accommodation - we stayed in the 'Hearts Desire' house. A very relaxing, traditional but modern style house. It had two separate parts to it. The first, a large open living space, with a very modern kitchen, wall to floor windows, views of the mountains all around, and even the great wall in some parts. The second part was the sleeping quarters. Two large bedrooms, air conditioned/heated, with new comfortable beds. There was also a very large courtyard that joined the two living quarters, which included a BBQ, outdoor dining area and grassed area. It also included free wifi which was a bonus.

We brought all of our own food, so be prepared. There is a reastaurant at the main SchoolHouse, but i think its best to bring your own, and enjoy the surrounds the house has to offer.

Ill definitely make the trip back here.

Room Tip: There are many different types of houses/rooms to choose from. Check ahead to find out which will su...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jimatmutianyu, Owner at Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall, responded to this review, July 3, 2014
Dear gbug1, Thank you for reporting on your experience in one of our Brickyard Homes, Heart's Desire. I am the designer of the property so I especially appreciate your enjoyment of the experience. We do hope you come back soon! Kind regards, Jim Spear & the Brickyard Team
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225 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
hong kong
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2014

We went to Beijing for a few days between Mongolia and Hong Kong and took advantage of the 72-hour visa free transit policy in China - Awesome! Anyhow, we spent a day in Beijing city touring the common sites before heading out to Mutianyu for 2 days of Great Wall action. We loved our stay at the Brickyard. From the hotel, we were able to walk to the Wall, along a fairly intensive, but quiet, country road and explore a quieter part of the Wall before taking the cable car back down and taking in some cold adult beverages at their sister restaurant, The Schoolhouse. Rooms are cute, clean, water pressure is awesome, and internet is free. What more do you need? It was the perfect transit trip.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jimatmutianyu, Owner at Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall, responded to this review, July 3, 2014
Dear travelyj, On behalf of our team I want to thank you for your review for the Trip Advisor community. We're just delighted to know that you enjoyed the experience of staying at the brikcyard near Mutianyu Great Wall. With best regards, Jim Spear
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West Palm Beach, FL
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2014

OK, granted, it was the storm of the century. Being from Florida, as soon as the lightning started I knew it was just a matter of time before the power failed. A few minutes later, it did. What I didn't expect was the roof to start leaking ... onto the bed.

But let me backtrack. I'm an American editor living in Beijing, and this was to be a treat to myself. I wanted to write, relax and enjoy. And see the Wall, which was ... Great!

The room was unique, furnishings really nice. Grounds are fabulous, the setting unforgettable. Yes, I could see the Wall from the bed. I could also see it from the shower, which made me wonder if people could see me? Made me a little paranoid since there are no curtains on the floor to ceiling windows. And since it was really hot, the A/C unit was really struggling to compete with the sun beaming through the skylight/windows. Luckily the floor was slate. So I spent part of each night sleeping on the floor to get cool. Especially when the electricity went out for most of the second night.

The transportation: There is an overworked driver shuttling guests back and forth from the Schoolhouse (which is on the main drag) to the Brickyard (in the boonies) and back. After I arrived from Beijing, I was chatting with the Schoolhouse staff, and the driver took off without me! A phone call later he returned, but the folks on the van were unfriending me, shall we say.

The food: The buffet was very nice. The dining area at the Lodge was small but had great atmosphere. Again, the help are not well-trained, whether Chinese or Westerners. The Lodge menu is ala carte. My first night, I ordered the salad and nachos, which were priced well. The tall American waiter then told me loudly, "Those dishes are both huge. Probably enough for two people." I had to defend my choice by murmuring, "I'm very hungry." Turned out they were not too much or too big (though the nachos were a little too burnt).

The next night they were advertising a jazz BBQ in the courtyard for around $35 (drinks not included). I was looking forward to mingling with other guests and enjoy some great food. At 6:30 I went down to find a raucous crowd drinking champagne and enjoying the music. But there was nowhere to sit. I was confused. Inside, I saw a solo table, with my name on it. Huh? I felt like I had been put at the children's table. I sought out owner Jim Spear. He was affable but not real helpful. Told me the partiers outside were a birthday party crowd who had booked the upstairs function room, "but they like it better down here."

"Go mingle, sit anywhere you want," he told me warmly. So, I had my chicken and potato salad perched on a planter until the birthday group took their champagne upstairs. I figured I might hang out in the lodge, so I brought my empty wineglass in, thinking I'd order another glass. But my waiter from the night before then took it, dismissing me with, "Thanks, have a great rest of your evening." I wanted to say, "This IS the rest of my evening."

Instead, I trouped back to my room, where I spent half the night on the floor, especially after the heavens opened and the drip drip drip started on the duvet. Which didn't surprise me as workers had been banging on the roof both afternoons while I was trying to rest.

The next morning I was taking a shower when the rubber tubing suddenly split and I got a faceful of water. By this time, I wasn't even surprised. What was surprising was the reaction I got from the (concierge? front desk clerk? waitress?) in the lodge when I reported all these malfunctions. No apology. Certainly no consideration. All I got was: "Oh."

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jimatmutianyu, Owner at Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall, responded to this review, June 11, 2014
Dear MJ_WestPalm, This is Jim Spear. I am so sorry that you were not satisfied with your visit to the Brickyard and felt compelled to write your review.

The young man you mentioned responds, “Her table inside was not away from the rest, other tables were also inside next to hers, but as she is one person, of course her table was for one. I do remember telling her that our portions are rather large, but not ‘loudly’ or in the way she states, but just letting her know in case she feels like we sell her too much food without a warning as most guests appreciate to know portion sizes. Anyway, I apologize about the complaints on my part and promise to try and improve my service.”

My daughter, who handles reservations and sends follow up notes to guests, reports, “I did her booking. Night duty reported to us that the roof leaked a bit and I had noted it in the calendar but failed to send a follow up in a timely manner to make amends.”

As the designer and an owner of the property I can tell everyone reading that our rooms do have drapes and privacy, no one has ever complained about our efficient and effective air conditioning in our north-facing insulated rooms or claimed to have slept on the slate floor, and no one was working on the roof above your room during your stay. The “overworked” driver works hours mandated by the government and no more. The barbecue dinner was all you can eat with trout, steak, ribs and lots more and included an evening of jazz by a live trio. We had about 75 guests enjoying the music and the food and the courtyard and lodge were buzzing with laughter and happy conversation. I am very sorry that the power in our district was off for an hour and a half from 22:00-23:30 due to the storm.

I do think everyone on our team is willing to take our lumps and learn from your criticisms but we also think you’ve embellished your story. Jim Spear and the Brickyard Team
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Australia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2014

I stayed at the The Brickyard for 2 nights as part of my husbands tour group. After living in China for 4 years (about 3 years ago), this was our first time stay here. We were welcomed by the owner Jim Spear and his wife and given a briefing of the property. (Jim also signed copies of his book, with photos of the Brickyard and the Schoolhouse rental homes). The twin rooms were lovely with a small courtyard with table and chairs. It is pleasant walking through the grounds, with their own veggie garden. You can also have massages but there is only one therapist. The rooftop seating area provides great views of the Mutianyu Great Wall. There is a shuttle bus provided which is able to transport you to The Schoolhouse for lunch and dinner.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jimatmutianyu, Owner at Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall, responded to this review, June 11, 2014
Dear DaisieB, It was a real pleasure for me and our whole team to host your group. Thank you very much for contributing your review to the Trip Advisor community. BTW we are working on getting a second therapist on board so there will be more slots for guests to have massage treatments and we will also offer a couple's suite for guests to enjoy concurrent treatments together. Wishing you safe and happy adventures... Jim Spear
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Largo, Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2014

We arrived to China after 30+ hours of travel from Florida and were jet lagged and exhausted. This is the place to recover from the jet lag and get ready for your China adventure. We were picked up from the airport exhausted but when we arrived at the retreat, I knew this was going to be a great place to stay. The room have high vaulted ceilings and we could see the Great Wall from within our room. The rooms have little courtyards and I would have loved to transport the bathroom back home with me!! The retreat has a relaxed vibe. The staff was welcoming and eager to help us and the food was great. All in all, it was a perfect introduction to our vacation.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jimatmutianyu, Owner at Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall, responded to this review, June 11, 2014
Dear cchina, Wow! I am so happy to know how much you enjoyed the experience of simplicity at the Brickyard. As the designer of the hotel, I especially thank you for appreciating the guest room bathrooms which bring light and views into an intimate space. Our rooms, connected to nature, are ideal for recovering from jetlag or getting ready for a long flight home in a steel tube. With best regards from all of us at Mutianyu... Jim Spear
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Winter Garden, Florida
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2014

My wife and I stayed at The Brickyard in May of 2014 and really loved it. The accomodations were immediatly struck by the artistic feel of the retreat. The staff was eager to help and they took time to explain the areas and how to get around. They even let us know about the areas that are less touristy. They provided a driver to take us to the areas we wanted to go, and their sister property, The School House had a great restaurant we ate at each night. Did I mention the view? I hear that every room has a view of the Great Wall, and I can say that ours was magnificent. Even though the room felt wide open, we felt very private with a small enclosed sitting area. The only draw back was an open bath floor plan seperating the shower, sink and toilet from the bed room with only a 6 foot brick wall. Bring your bathing suite to relax in the hot tub.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong with room selection, all are quiet and have great views.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jimatmutianyu, Owner at Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall, responded to this review, June 1, 2014
Dear RovingBel, This is Jim Spear, a partner in the Brickyard. Thank you very much for your review. Just in case your travels bring you back to our corner of the world, we do have twin rooms with completely enclosed bathrooms (which still have Great Wall views, though) for guests who aren't sharing the same bed or who prefer more bathroom privacy. And in case guests forget bathing suits we do have reasonably priced ones for sale on site. It is a real adventure for me and our team to host people from all over the world and feedback like yours gives us a lot of encouragement! Wishing you safe and happy Trip Advisor travels... Jim Spear
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Stuttgart, Germany
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
100 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2014 via mobile

surely environment around is pretty nice…but living in the villa outside not really my cup of tea…wake up at 5am because of chicken and dogs in natural area is ok but because of noise from workers of other building work and public radio big no go better stay away if you like to relax wrong place at all!!walk way main entrance currently not existing not nice … 1 day not more

Stayed May 2014, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jimatmutianyu, Owner at Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall, responded to this review, June 1, 2014
Dear Bumsii, I am so sorry that the experience we offer was not, as you put it, your cup of tea. I think you stayed in one of our homes set in the middle of the village. At the top of our FAQ is this statement: "Nearly all of our guests seem to appreciate becoming part of our village even if only as short-term visitors. We are in a very quiet community though dogs do bark, cocks do crow, donkeys do bray, and neighbors do sometimes have a family argument. Sometimes the village public address systems broadcast announcements or news and entertainment. Please be tolerant of the sounds of village life which we have no power or right to control." We try to create a set of expectations so guests who don't want this experience will seek somewhere else better suited to their personal requirements. We trust that prospective guests will put your very harsh review into perspective. Still, I see that you rarely give such bad reviews so please be assured you have my full attention. Again, I am sorry you didn't enjoy your stay with us and wish you many more happy travels. With best regards, Jim Spear
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Additional Information about Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu Great Wall

Address: Yingbeigou Village, Beijing 101405, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Beijing Region > Beijing
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 812 B&Bs / Inns in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 33
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Brickyard is a lush and private eco-retreat that incorporates the kilns and other buildings of a traditional glazed tile factory in a design which is "green" from the ground up. The 16 queen rooms all have private terraces and story-and-a-half window walls with spectacular views of the Great Wall. Wireless internet but no TVs. Complimentary breakfast buffet and coffee, soft drinks, and homemade cookies all day the Lodge, where casual meals and bar service are also offered. The Activity Center is fully-equipped for conferences. The Brickyard Spa is set in our four-season garden with lotus pond and yoga platform. Enjoy complimentary use of the Exercise Room and the Outdoor Jacuzzi (available May). Try a Chinese massage or relax in the Spa's Gold Suite with Great Wall view sauna, private bath, treatment room, and courtyard with outdoor shower and cold plunge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Brickyard Eco Retreat At Mutianyu Great Wall Hotel Beijing

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