Dennis Oldfield: A city on the wheels

Dennis Oldfield, General Manager of Grand Mecure Beijing Central

Hi, I’m Dennis Oldfield, I’m from Australia. I’m the general manager of Grand Mecure Beijing Central in the Xidan District. I’ve been live in Beijing since 2008 with my family. We, to be honest, just love Beijing. Since we’ve been here, we’ve been able to experience many wonderful things that only residents could experience, including getting in some of the back streets, not only some of the major cultural sites but some of the smaller areas that people often don’t have opportunity to see. We’ve done that through probably the most popular form of transport here in Beijing which is on bicycle.

And then one of my most favorite things to do was at the night time riding from my hotel. We will take our bicycles with friends, who were visiting, go to somewhere like Houhai and have dinner and then come back, and ride around Tiananmen Square at night time. If you haven’t done that I can really recommend it to you,riding around Tiananmen Square with night lights, it’s just absolutely gorgeous. And it’s one way being able to really feel what the city is all about. The very first time I came to Beijing, in actual fact was the golden week in 1991. Beijing in those days had very very few international hotels.

Since that time of course we have hundreds of international hotels with brands ranging from the most basic and economic international brand all the way to some of the greatest five star luxury hotels we have in China. It’s a magic city that has a lot to offer . And over the years as the economy has grown, that sort of travel has become much more affordable for people. Domestic tourism is at an all time high and it’s expected to increase dramatically as people realize their dreams and come in to visit the capital of China, Beijing.We have so many people coming from overseas now, from all parts of the world that are coming to visit China and really experience the magic of the middle kingdom themselves. So there is a great balance between modernity and also the old cultural sites. Previously it was really only the iconic sites people would come to visit, which typically were the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Bell Tower, and then beyond that was obviously the Great Wall.They were really the top choices for visitors coming to Beijing, But you know since then, there are so much more on offer both with cultural heritage in some of the old hutongs, but also some amazing newer buildings like the National Centre for the Performing Arts, an absolutely glorious architectural phenomenon,I think the final word about my feelings to Beijing, actually not my words, they’re the common words from my friends. They come and visit Beijing for the very first time. And always to a person, they said exactly the same thing.They are incredibly surprised. They are excited by the city. They are amazed that the combination of modernity and old culture, the friendliness of the people,bearing in mind this is a capital city, and most capital cities are not necessarily the friendliest of places because people are very busy. Beijing defies that stereotype. You can walk anywhere in the city, anytime another day. Be completely completely safe and enjoy your time here.

[ Editor: WPY]


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