Hong Kong Jockey Clubhouse on Jinbao Street, thanks to a friend who is a member of the one in Hong Kong.
It's a grand place that follows the style of a siheyuan or courtyard house, but on a much larger scale. The exterior has red columns, Chinese tiled roofs and gardens in various areas. Inside is very modern and tastefully decorated with a colour scheme ranging from beige to chocolate brown.
We had dinner in the Chinese restaurant called Beijing Oi Suen, with a Peking duck that rivals that of Da Dong Roast Duck, deep-fried fish in a sweet and sour sauce, an especially inebriated drunken chicken, and thinly sliced lamb stirfried with leeks and beans cooked with long thin sliced strips that were actually mushrooms.
After our meal we wandered around the clubhouse, first taking a look at our friend's hotel room. It's very large at 550 square feet and could be considered even grander than some five-star hotel rooms. That's because the ceilings are high, amenities are top class and even the windows look into the courtyard garden.
The library gives an atmosphere of being in someone's extended living room, with many books on the shelves, sculptures and paintings of horses, a variety of chairs and sofas, and a flat screen TV. The only thing missing is a fireplace and one would feel they were in a living room in North America.
Exercise enthusiasts would also love the gym facilities. There are two gym areas, one with two tables for table tennis and mirrors all around, which probably makes for an interesting playing experience, and then the other with practically brand new equipment for running, elliptical, stair climbing and weight lifting. There's also an indoor swimming pool 25 metres long with a glass ceiling to allow natural light in. Even the changing rooms are deluxe with individual seats in the powder room, a relaxation room, and treatment rooms for massage.
The lobby is also impressive, which features giant chrysanthemums in gold in the ceiling. They are probably wood carvings covered with gold leaf, but nevertheless gorgeous and sophisticated.
All the staff are polite and friendly. Perhaps the doormen like their jobs the best. To help guests grab a taxi, they jump onto their Segways and drive down to the street and lead the taxi back to the entrance. How cool is that?
It's too tempting to ask how much the membership is... I'd have to stay in Beijing forever if I could afford it!
Beijing Hong Kong Jockey Clubhouse
68 Jinbao Street
Dong Cheng District