Beat the freeze in Beijing's best hot springs

Updated: 2012-09-26 08:40

By William Wang (

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Beat the freeze in Beijing's best hot springs

Chunhuiyuan Hot Springs Resort[Photo/]

The entrance to the Chunhuiyuan Hot Springs Resort is modern and elegant, setting the tone straight away for the kind of hot spring it is and the clientele who frequent it. Indeed, since its 1997 opening, this hot spring has catered largely to Korean and Japanese tourists. This is high praise indeed considering that the Japanese themselves have undisputedly perfected the art of the hot spring.

Chunhuiyuan is a smaller set up than many of Beijing's offerings. Its 10 hot spring pools are all outdoors, clustered around the periphery of a small lake. In one of the larger pools, a party of 25 can lounge comfortably, while as few as three slender friends can get intimate in a small one. Trellises shade spaced out lawn chairs, and a few trees punctuate the area. There's plenty of open sky, so you can lose yourself in the sun or stars.

The waters have different scents, but frankly, it's hard to smell much difference among them. They also have different subdued hues, although it's doubtful that the colors actually mean or represent anything. It's a bit unclear what's in the waters, although you can intuit clues from their names, which range from "chocolate" to "sedative". Villas stretch out along the lake in a wing, offering (for a price) private pools for groups. If you prefer to bathe in total privacy, the adjacent hotel has rooms with private spas.

The interior of the main building is a pleasantly open space, housing the massage section, indoor swimming pool and an open eating area. The food is Chinese, reasonably priced and very tasty. Freshly squeezed juice is also available. The second floor is home to a slightly ritzy hot pot restaurant.

Come nighttime, you have two options: Tilt your head back, let your feet float upward and lose yourself in the stars; or settle into the swanky bar lounge a few paces away. The only things dirty here are the martinis.

Steamy and Dreamy:

The smaller scale of this spring lends itself to intimacy. It's definitely one of the choice picks if you're looking for a spot to take your date. This classy hot spring doesn't stray from its focus: relaxation. The space isn't cluttered with time-killing novelties or games.

The Cold Reality:

Beautiful as it is, the indoor pool is too small to do much more than splash around in. Nobody comes to Chunhuiyuan to work out. Also, because this place is focused on relaxation, there are no time-killing novelties or games.

Basic ticket price: 168 RMB

Address: Yuzhuang Village, Gaoliying Town, Shunyi District. (About 1 hour north of Beijing on bus 942 from Dongzhimen)

Chinese address: 顺义区高丽营镇于庄村

Tel: 86 10 6945 4433

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