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  • Writer's pictureDustin Chen

Eventful Wall-the Great Wall of China in Hospitality and Event Industry 1 -Sleepover

The Great Wall is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of China and its long and vivid history. You may not have been there, but you must have heard about it: the ancient Wall built among the high mountains, one of the Seven Wonders etc. The now UNESCO listed site was built to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions from outside of historical northern borders of China(And yes you can compare it to the Wall in the Game of Thrones). The history of the Wall serving as a defense site has long gone but the Wall is never peace, at least not in the industry of Hospitality and Event. The site receives more than 10 million visitors a year. Apart from being a tourist attraction, the Great Wall also serves as a popular venue for experiential marketing for top corporations who want to develop China market. The latest addition to the list is Airbnb. The Home rental website and APP has just launched a new contest called "Night at the Great Wall," in which four people and their guests will sleep in a custom-designed "home" set in one of the UNESCO-listed structure's towers. With the chance, New Imagination DMC will public a series of articles about the Great Wall in the hospitality and Event Industry and we will start from the topic of Sleepover the Wall.

The competition of Airbnb, which closes on Saturday (11 August), asks users from the company's 11 biggest markets – China, the US, Britain, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain and France – to submit a short essay on why it is important to break down barriers between cultures. You can take part in the contest through the link here:

Well, with only 4 winners to be picked, the chances to go with Airbnb is odd, but it doesn't mean that you won't be able to sleepover on the Wall, there are more alternatives than you think. Well, sleeping right inside the towers the Great Wall is difficult, but there are multiple options where you can sleep with the Great Wall and wake up to the sunshine on it. Here are recommendations of New Imagination DMC:

1. Camping

There are no laws banning people from staying overnight on the top of the Great Wall. Even though they are many examples of historical sites converted into boutique hotels in China, commercialize the Great Wall into a permanent accommodation facility is undoubtedly prohibited. What Airbnb does this time is temporarily converting an old watchtower at the Badaling section of the wall into a double bedroom and said it will be the first time in history that ordinary people will be allowed to stay there. It looks something like this:

Great Wall Accomodation
Great Wall Sleeping Over

Well, it is basically a fancy camping in the most commercialized section of the Great Wall. Badaling Section of the Great Wall is approximately 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of urban Beijing, one of the closest, which make it the most visited (also most crowded)section of the Great Wall of China, It doesn't sound very exciting, does it? For more adventurous people, there are better options. Survey has concluded that the walls built by the Ming dynasty measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Among them maybe only 1/100 was exploited as tourist sites and under good management. The rest of it was called the Wild Great Wall. The Wild Great Wall as its name suggests is left abandoned without management from tourism companies, this means they are not as well preserved as those "tourist Great Wall" and lack of tourist facilities like cable cars etc. However, this also means that the wild Great Wall is more authentic. They are abandoned and decaying which truly reflects their glorious history and war defense architecture. Take an example of Jiankou Section, the most famed Wild Great Wall around Beijing, You would first need to hike 2 hours up to the site, Building among high mountain is one factor that makes the Wall great, and visiting with cable car won't allow you experience the greatness of it. Most importantly, Wild Great Walls are way more magnificent than those well-preserved ones. See pictures to judge by yourself(Left Jiankou Wild Great Wall, right Badaling Great Wall):

Wild Great Walls are usually where people chose to camp if they want to have experience of sleeping on the Great Wall. This usually includes at least 5 hours of hiking and one night of camping at a relatively preserved tower. Consult us if you want to have the experience for yourself or your clients.

It seems a warm camping spot

2. Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu

Well, camping and intensive hiking are surely not for everyone. If you want a comfortable bed yet experience the lifestyle of villagers who live on the foot of the Great Wall. Brickyard Retreat is for you. The Brickyard is self-described as "a run-down, smoke-belching glazed tile factory without a blade of grass [that] has been transformed into a lush and private eco-retreat at the Great Wall," The premises features 25 rooms and suites all open to vistas of the Great Wall through stories and a half window wall. They also offer 11 vacation homes nearby with 2 to 5 bedrooms that were created from village homes. Brickyard Retreat is part of The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu, with dining, wellness and function spaces. Guests here can enjoy yoga classes, live music, barbecues, farm-to-table dinners all year around. With the advantage of the location, guests here can also wake up early to catch the sunrise on the Mutianyu Great Wall. The section is less accessible by public transportation thus fewer tourists which make it a quieter section and guests can enjoy the pure beauty of the architecture.

3. Commune by the Great Wall

Brickyard Retreat features with an organic notion and promotes a down-to-earth lifestyle if you are looking for a more stylish option, we have Commune by the Great Wall. Commune by the Great Wall is a private collection of contemporary architecture designed by 12 Asian architects. It was exhibited at the 2002 la Biennale di Venezia and bestowed a special prize. In 2005, Commune by the Great Wall was hailed by Business Week as a "New Architectural Wonder of China". Commune by the Great Wall is now comprised of forty villas with 175 suites and eleven Presidential Suites, and three restaurants, Kid's Club as well as an outdoor pool and tennis court. A private path accesses an untouched portion of the Great Wall of China. The Commune is close to Badaling Section, the most commercialized section mentioned above, however, A private path onsite Commune by the Great Wall leads to a non-restored section of the epic Great Wall of China. Exploring this truly untouched piece of Chinese history still entrenched in the raw beauty of its original landscape intensifies the mystique of the Commune by the Great Wall experience. This truly a perfect combination of stylish and wild! Plus, a helicopter tour is also available around the section of the Great Wall which enable you to see the most impressive architectural feats in history in a bird view. Consult us for more details. We can offer the greatest package of accommodation and helicopter tour.

4. Gubei Water Town

If you a single resort is too boring for you and you wish to have more things to do. Well, how about a "theme park"- Gubei Water Town? The town surrounds the beautiful Mandarin Duck Lake Reservoir and leans against the Simatai Great Wall, the most dangerous and majestic section of the entire Great Wall. ' Gubei Water Town boasts a combination of mountains, water and ancient villages(replicas). The town is more like a "theme park" or "holiday resort complex' rather than an actual town with actual residence. Covering an area of 3.5 square miles (9 square kilometers), the complex includes dozens of starred hotels, boutique hotels, theme hotels and B&Bs catering for guests with the budget of all levels. Like all other "theme parks", there are lots of things to do within the town, most of which are Chinese culture experience activities, such as witness the process of Chinese spirits making at Sima Distillery, learn about Chinese traditional ecological cloth printing and dye and create your own DIY work in Yongshun Dye House. Other activities such as Chinese calligraphy, learning Confucian classics can also be done here. Notably, the Great Wall Simatai is also part of the "theme park" and night tour on the Great Wall with Chinese lantern is one of the highlights you don't want to miss here. The Great Wall will also be lit up at night, view from the town or even your room is spectacular. With the Great Wall being their own, events on the Wall is more flexible. From Yoga to wine tasting to group dinner, the venue can host all sorts of events.

The Great Wall being a national treasure of China, it has a lot to offer, even solely in accommodation aspect. Contact us for your more recommendations on how to make the most your visit to the Great Wall.

When I said Great Wall is a national treasure of China, it is actually more than that. The Great Wall has exceeding being a heritage site and became a spiritual symbol of China and the Chinese people. Its long-standing history through thousand years reflects the toughness of Chinese people. In the next article before we move on talking the Great Wall as an event venue, we will long through a brief history of the Great Wall and what it means for Chinese people nowadays.

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