The Schoolhouse Canteen is housed in the former classrooms of the village primary school which was abandoned in the 1990’s due to declining enrollments and urban migration. It is now a full restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating where guests can gather, relax and enjoy all day dining.
Beijing expats Jim Spear & Liang Tang acquired a peasant’s house in Mutianyu Village nearly two decades ago after a serendipitous encounter with villager Li Fengquan on the Great Wall.
In 2005 Jim & Liang moved to live here full-time and Mayor Li Lianting encouraged them to give something back to the community. Along with old friends Julie Upton-Wang & Peiming Wang they leased Mutianyu’s abandoned primary school and turned it into a restaurant.
Today The Schoolhouse has grown into a comprehensive lodging and dining destination with venues around Bohai Township. We’ve welcomed guests from more than 100 countries to our little corner of China for meetings, events, sightseeing, getaways, and homemade food.
We hope you’ll visit us soon!
The Schoolhouse represents a direct source of income for many local people, encourages women empowerment and trains staff to have the possibility to work with people from around the world, with different realities and a different language: English.
All of our projects use existing footprints and village structures which were delicately restored to create unique spaces for sophisticated travelers to relax and enjoy the Chinese countryside at the foot of the Great Wall. In conjunction, these projects provide local villagers with rental income for otherwise underutilized buildings.
Many of China’s top leaders have visited or stayed at The Schoolhouse. Our partner Jim Spear is shown here with the then Politburo member and Beijing Party Secretary Liu Qi. Jim & The Schoolhouse have attracted more than Rmb 100 million in outside small-scale private investment, a model for transforming rural communities. Jim was recognized in 2014 with the Great Wall Friendship Award.
The Brickyard Homes are originally local village houses leased from villagers. We preserved the existing footprints and reused salvageable materials in the build-out, and finished each home with modern interiors, finishings and facilities resulting in a unique experience where guests are immersed in an authentic village community, the rural face of today’s vibrant China.
The Brickyard is a 25-room retreat built on the footprint of an old ceramics factory producing glazed roof tiles for temples.
Huairou District was a center for producing the glazed tiles used in palaces and temples in Imperial times, and the Brickyard’s kiln was originally built in the 1960’s during the Cultural Revolution for village industry. When we first discovered the site it had been virtually run into the ground and thick black coal smoke billowed from the nine chimneys whenever there was a firing.
Set in a walled chestnut orchard in the middle of Beigou Village, Xiaolumian preserves the original stone farmhouse dwelling of a villager. When we leased his home, we provided him with an upfront cash payment and provided him with quarters and employment as a security watchman on one of our other properties in the village. Now a noodle shop, Xiaolumian provides Mutianyu with a charming dining experience where guests enjoy fresh homemade noodles and dumplings in a beautifully restored building with original heated “kang” beds.
The Art Room started as the village tractor station during the period of communal agriculture. It offers a 200 square meter exhibition space filled with natural light that is used for meetings, receptions, and dining for up to 160 people. There are unobstructed views of mountains and the Great Wall as well as a private outdoor terrace nestled into the hillside. It’s now used for a variety of events including parties, gallery shows and art installations.
The Smithy was a vacant village blacksmith shop converted into The Schoolhouse’s fine dining room.