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“wow experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Commune by the Great Wall

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Commune by the Great Wall
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Exit Shuiguan, Badaling Highway, Great Wall, Yanqing County 100020, China   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 61 Hotels in Yanqing County
Beijing
1 review
“wow experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2011

visited the Commune in July. Stayed with family and friends. yes need improvements with English. The service staff showed sincere attitudes. The bamboo house was great and the chinese restaurant food was super. you must come and tried the hotel.

Under SOHO management shoed improvement compare to previous management. please do go and experience not only the great wall also the service and food.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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268 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Washington
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2011

Having just returned from a family two week trip to China, our time at the Commune was one of the highlights. The hotel driver met us at baggage claim at Beijing airport and transported us 45 minutes to the hotel. My son's eyes bulged as we exited the highway and drove directly towards the Great Wall's public access at Shuigan.

Less than a mile past the wall we entered the hotel's property. The ultra modern architectural buildings and staff welcomed us into their care with efficiency and grace. The rooms are scattered abut the property in a variety of different style buildings- ours was Chalet 2- a basic modern style abuilding with about 8 rooms/ suites. We pted for a family suite- large living room with 2 double bedded bedrooms and large bathroom (sorry ladies no electrical outlet in bath for hairdryers)

Rooms were modern minimalist with comfortable beds, free wifi and an abundance of room. It can be a bit of a hike to and from the main lobby/ restaurants but a phone call to the desk brought the hotel's van to our door within minutes- usually before we exited the building.

We quickly unpacked and found our hiking shoes and set off on the hotels path to the Wall. This is not for those who have mobility/ access issues. the terrain is steep and through forest area but within 10 minutes we came upon the wall and it was magic.

We were able to trek up and down several lengths of an unrestored section of the Wall for more than an hour without sign of anyone. We felt as if it was our own secret.

After many photos and 'a-ha" moments we made our way back and into the great outdoor pool. The adjacent bar/ restaurant was staffed by several outging team members who looked after us as our son splashed about.

Drinks at the Red Bar found us in a stylish setting with a great drinks menu and excellent bartender who was open to learn cocktail combinations from the US (aka Cosmopolitan) Dinner at the Courtyard restaurant was very nice. Their menu in English and chinese was also made earier with an abundance of photographs of the dishes. The dining staff was also eager to please and most accomodating to our 8 year olds limited culinary desires.

We had breakfast the next morning at the terrace restaurant which had a large buffet with good quality but lacking when it came to specific requests for something ala carte(pineapple, pancake) Also quality was not same as at courtyard restaurant

Only after the hotel drove us down the road to the public access restored version of the Wall, we really appreciated how magical our time was the day before on our "private Wall". It was the typical throngs of people and souvenirs hawkers that one exects to see.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2011

First and foremost, it needs to be stressed that Commune is CERTAINLY NOT of a 5* standard. Certainly and emphatically NOT.

Pros:
- Wonderful natural setting in the foothills of the Great Wall
- Nice private access to natural section of the Great Wall
- Peaceful getaway from the madness of Beijing
- good (but VERY expensive) food in the restaurant downstairs (Chinese)

Cons:
- Anyone expecting great architecture will be disappointed. The designs are so-so in the first place, but the construction is downright SHODDY (think Zaha Hadid in Guangzhou). Sub-standard materials were used, leading to a very cheap-looking result.
- VERY VERY poorly maintained. Grass is uncut, gardens unkempt, rust on the metal walls, disgusting brown moss growing in the pebble pool, subsidence of floor tiles....to bedside lamp not working in room, leaking showerhead.
- Where you will stay will not be in 1 of the 12 feted architect designed houses, but instead a "clone". Only it is not a clone -- it is a mere very poorly copied shell. The shape is the same, but everything else (all the detailing that goes into architecture and all the materials) is different. If I were the architects I would treat this as blasphemy.
- terrible breakfast

We all felt very cheated by the website. This is good if one lives in Beijing (as I do) and are looking for some peace and quiet (but not 5* international-standard luxury). Definitely NOT for those who have seen the website and are expecting the level of standard shown in the pictures.

Overall very very disappointing and so typical of China.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Aarhus, Denmark
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2011

After a hectic week in Beijing sight-seeing all day surrounded by people and cars all the time, arriving at Commune By the Great Wall was like entering paradise.
Fantastic nature and totally quiet apart from the birds and other animals entertaining. Nice rooms - view of the great wall from our own bedroom. Some rooms are a bit small. Beautilful architecture, houses with the rooms scattered in the forest around the main house, nice outdoor pool with cafe. All in all a fantastic place, friendly staff who do their best ro communicate in English.
After three days we knew the menus in the two restaurants in the Commune, so much more than 2-3 days is not recommended... and the prices are also rather high.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
London
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2011

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting hotel concepts in one of the most amazing locations...but regrettably only conceptual.

I was, on arrival greeted by some driver or guard urinating against the wall of the reception building, only meters away from the main entrance.

Check in was friendly but inefficient, taking in excess of 15 min to ascertain data and to complete a rather simple process.

The physical condition of the entire hotel is extremely poor and it seems as though no maintenance is taking place there whatsoever. It was very noticeable even during an evening arrival. The full extent of the problem became obvious the next morning during a stroll through the resort.

Hungry after the approximately 45 min journey from Beijing Airport, I opted for a bite to eat at the western restaurant. I aborted the meal after the "Vitello Tonnato", consisting of some rainbow coloured and indistinguishable slices of meat with one line of Mayonnaise and one line of Ketchup.

Service is very hit and miss and although staff are generally friendly, their training and professional knowledge is very limited, as is their English literacy.

The idea is great and some of the views onto the great wall are awesome, the execution however is amongst the poorest I have seen, even by Chinese standards.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Beijing
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2011

We stayed here last May, and decided on another trip, as the first visit was very nice.

This 2nd trip was horrible.

First of all, the management has changed from Kempinski, to Soho China. I expect this is the major reason for the mostly unattentive staff, bleak and overpriced food, and insanely overpriced rooms. If you charge 5 star prices; Mrs. Soho, one should expect staff who speak some english, and know how to open up a bottle of wine. and serve food. The location is great, but the crap service, and weak food, (The breakfast buffet was so average, one could find a better buffett at a Holiday Inn) really made the whole trip a waste of money for us. We will never go back to Mrs Soho's gem in the mountains near Beijing. Never again will we stay here.

Room Tip: Good Luck.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2011

The original properties that make up Commune are still simply stunning architecture and well worth touring. Add in the fact that a family can sleep inside one and use it as the base for exploring unrestored sections of the Great Wall and you have the makings for an unforgettable vacation. After you've worn yourself out with the masses at the other sites of Beijing, head for the hills! It was cool and quiet at Commune while the rest of the city was sweltering and we could have easily stayed a week just unwinding. We specified a non-smoking room and were given an entire original house for just our family-- Furniture House, which our kids quickly renamed Butterfly House for the amazing butterfly watching from the huge windows. Star gazing from the lounge in the courtyard was another highlight. The hotel restaurant is a little limited and pricey, but we brought some picnic things with us for our hikes and also trekked down the hill a bit into the nearby village for amazing local meals--veggies straight out of the garden to our table! The pool was a bit of a hike, but they run free shuttles around the property all the time. We didn't take advantage of the kids' club since it looked a little young for our girls, but there's a nice hike right behind it with a great view at the top. Absolutely worth your time.

Room Tip: Ask for non-smoking and hope for an original house
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  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Commune by the Great Wall

Address: Exit Shuiguan, Badaling Highway, Great Wall, Yanqing County 100020, China
Location: China > Beijing Region > Yanqing County
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 61 Hotels in Yanqing County
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Commune by the Great Wall 4.5*
Number of rooms: 172
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Commune by the Great Wall - located at the Shui Guan Great Wall - designed by 12 Asian architects Commune consists 42 villas dispersed along the steep slope of the serene valley - it was exhibited at the 2002 Biennale Di Venezia the only hotel from mainland China selected by Conde Nast Traveler as one of 100 Hot Hotels in the World and included in the Tatler travel Guide - 2005 - as one of the 101 Best Hotels ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Commune By The Great Wall Hotel Yanqing County
Commune Beijing
Commune By The Great Wall Beijing Region, China

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