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A cocktail of luxury and elegance

By Liu Yujie | China Daily | Updated: 2010-10-21 14:40

A cocktail of luxury and elegance
The main bar area at Yan Club resembles a golden tree stump,
 topped in glass and lit from the floor.

A cocktail of luxury and elegance
The individual rooms offer moments of privacy.
Although he prefers not to discuss most of them publicly, Hai Yan is a man of many talents.

As the author of Plainclothes Cop and See How Much I Love You, both of which were made into TV dramas, he could have stopped there in terms of achieving fame, but he didn't.

Hai Yan then went on to become a major player in the hotel industry as chairman of the board for Chaoyang district's Hotel Kunlun, but he didn't stop there either.

It is mastering interior design that Hai Yan is believed to be most excited about, and in particular, his latest work - Yan Club.

Louis Liu, assistant general manager of Hotel Kunlun, of which Yan Club is a part, watched every stage of the creative process.

Now officially open after a monthlong trial that began in September, Yan Club occupies the hotel's former backyard garden. A bird's-eye view gives visitors a typical garden scene, but at the ground level things are quite different - a low roof has been added, which is covered with green plants and grass, to provide a secluded space underneath.

The bar has more than 20 separate rooms and can accommodate some 300 people at one time.

A cocktail of luxury and elegance
Louis Liu, assistant general manager of Hotel Kunlun. Photos provided to China Daily
These semi-open spaces are scattered throughout the central garden, bordered with French windows that allow the public to enjoy quiet views of the garden.

"This is perhaps the only bar inside Beijing's Second Ring Road where urban dwellers can form an intimate bond with Mother Nature over a cup of tea," Liu said.

Connecting corridors between the rooms are lined with rocks, called yan in Chinese - the same character as that in Hai Yan's name.

But the personal touch goes further, with Hai Yan attempting to mix modern and classical styles, as well as providing a touch of both the East and the West.

For example, traditional Chinese round-backed armchairs are seated beside shiny metal materials. Tea tables have legs made to look like tree roots but are topped by transparent glass. At the entrance, to the left, stands a large mosaic - a form of architectural decoration flourished with the rise of the Byzantine Empire - that depicts a Chinese painting of flowers in black and red.

The drinks are also a combination of eras, with two house specialties stading out: Singapore Sling and Espresso Martini.

A cocktail of luxury and elegance

Liu said Yan Club took one whole year to complete, largely due to specific material requests from Hai Yan - for example, the sofas were made to order from Italy.

He added that the luxurious atmosphere chiefly attracts the capital's elite, with the majority of its customers being entrepreneurs, celebrities, artists and executives.

They come for the style but they stay for the ambience, such as the meandering garden sparkling at night by a flood of magic lights as foreign bands give live performances of soft rock and jazz.

Liu said entrance fees are not sought and drinks are cheaper at night than in the day. Additionally, welcoming drinks are provided for free at the door.

"Our nightclub is different from the stereotype, which is filled with foul air. Ours is quite formal," Liu said.

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