Commune by the Wall Kempinski in the Shuiguan Mountains is situated within 810 hectares of walnut-trees, just 64kilometres north of Beijing. Its northern perimeter is traced by a magnificent stretch of unreconstructed wall.
The commune is a private collection of contemporary architecture designed by 12 Asian architects. Walnut Valley has 11 villas with 46 guest rooms and a club. Stone Valley has 31 villas with 190 guest rooms, children's club, a spa, fitness room and conference centre.
Houses have rather wonderful names. There's Suitcase House, Furniture House, See and Seen, Distorted Courtyard, Airport, Cantilever House, Bamboo Wall, Shared, Forest and Split Houses and The Twins. The choice of rooms covers standard king, twin and interconnecting, deluxe king, and twin and deluxe suites.
Dining is a true Chinese experience including the classics of Beijing, Sichuan and Cantonese cuisines. Courtyard Restaurant has a bar and four private rooms named Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, each with a private yard.
The Terrace Lounge is open 24 hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and two cafes/delis serve continental breakfast, snacks, beverages, afternoon tea, sandwiches and take-away meals.
Commune of the Children is designed for those between 3 and 12 years. Furniture and facilities are designed with the children's height in mind and interior decoration is bright and colourful. There is a wide range of activities including trail hiking, gardening, cooking, arts and crafts, star gazing, camping and swimming.
The Great Wall of China, a symbol of the nation, is one of the largest construction projects ever carried out. It runs around 7300km east to west from Shanhai Pass to Jiayu Pass. The quality and structure of the wall changes significantly and is not one continuous construction across the country.
The walls date from around 700BC. During the Qin dynasty, major construction began from 221BC when sections of wall across China were built and joined together to keep out foreign invaders, including the Mongols, Manchus and nomads. Today, much of the surviving wall dates from the Ming dynasty, 1368-1644.
The Great Wall was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 and was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World following a global vote by around 100 million people. (Also included in the list were Brazil's statue of Christ the Redeemer, Peru's Machu Picchu, Mexico's Chichen Itza, Jordan's Peter, the Colosseum in Rome and Taj Mahal in India.)