Beijing’s Temple Hotel is not a hotel in the traditional sense. What it does contain behind its unassuming hutong walls defies categorization and begs to be discovered by the intrepid traveler.

Founded by Juan van Wassenhove, Li Chow and Lin Fan, who spent over three years restoring the site, the Temple Hotel is an authentic, tranquil space in the heart of downtown Beijing.

With a storied history spanning 600 years, the Temple complex sprawls over a city block just yards away from the fabled Forbidden City.  Stepping into its open courtyard, one is immediately greeted by the circle of bronze crouching men, barely 2 feet high but mysterious and unsettling in their perfect arrangement over the stonework.  This is feng shui personified, and the first of many surprises one will encounter when experiencing the Temple.

Designed by founder Juan van Wassenhove, the interior design is modern, understated and perfectly blends with the historical surroundings.

The hotel is also home to fine dining restaurant TRB and the hotel’s key theme of light is embodied in Gathered Sky, the first and only light installation by artist James Turrell in China.

1-31-2014 9-00-44 AM

1-31-2014 9-01-21 AM1-31-2014 9-01-37 AM1-31-2014 9-01-55 AM1-31-2014 9-02-13 AM1-31-2014 9-09-12 AM1-31-2014 9-09-42 AM1-31-2014 9-11-32 AM1-31-2014 9-02-54 AM1-31-2014 9-03-18 AM1-31-2014 9-04-05 AM THE TEMPLE HOTEL

23 Shatan North Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China / 86 (0)10 8401 5680

Images courtesy of The Temple Hotel, Beijing and taken by Ben McMillan