1. Facebook doesn’t work there.
2. You aren’t actually a nobleman of the Qing Dynasty living in 1757.
But we’ll forgive you if you forget that last one while you hunker down at The Temple Hotel, a 250-year-old temple in the heart of Beijing that’s now an eight-room palace of extremely good living, taking reservations now.
Used to be, this place was filled with long-robed monks bowing in silence to the emperor on his way to the Forbidden City (the entrance is just around the corner). But while the monks and emperors are gone, everything else is still intact: the original pagoda roof, the antique four-poster beds. (Well, some of the furniture has gone all modernist. And we’re pretty sure those aren’t 250-year-old minibars.)
It’s exactly where to bring a companion who just wants some culture. You’ll check in, marvel at some ancient frescoes in the courtyard. Drop off your bags, then admire James Turrell’s skylight-art thing in the gallery. And meander all day around the Forbidden City, before stopping by the restaurant for some chili lobster, suckling pig and all-day-braised short ribs.
Short ribs: the cornerstone of every great culture.