Back At The Ranch

"It is when one is beyond the Great Wall," wrote the Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722), "that the air and soil refresh the spirit." The ruler's words could equally apply to the Red Capital Ranch, tel: (86-10) 8401 8886, a 90-minute drive northeast of Beijing and a favorite getaway for the city's sophisticates. Stepping through the gate reveals a vista considerably more pastoral than the smokestack and skyscraper views normally offered at Chinese hotels: a brook burbles through a thicket that hides 10 detached villas, and the resort is ringed by a Ming-era stretch of the Great Wall.

A private...

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