Davies + Starr

Cultural Revolution kitsch

Rob McKeown
June 17, 2009

The Cultural Revolution's national ideology—fortunately—has gone the way of the Little Red Book, but the distinct style that emerged out of China's heyday of state-issued propaganda is back by popular demand, at the five-room Red Capital Residence hotel in Beijing. In the gift shop, nostalgia-hunters can pick up the ultimate in retro-camp agitprop. Our favorite item was this shoe box–sized porcelain rendering of Chairman Mao and his defense minister, Lin Biao (who allegedly once attempted to assassinate his boss). The two soak up the adulation of their comrades while riding in the backseat of a Red Flag Limo. Red Capital Residence, No. 9 Dongsi Liutiao, Dongcheng district, Beijing; 86-10/8403-5308; www.redcapitalclub.com.cn; from $74 each.

Red Capital Residence

Located in the Dongsi historic district, this restored boutique hotel includes five rooms surrounding a small courtyard like a traditional siheyuan, a type of residence common to Beijing with a specific design-style. The hotel furnishings are Art Deco, but each room type has unique extras: The two Concubine's Room have private courtyards and poster beds facing east or west, while the Author's Room named after Edgar Snow includes a vintage typewriter. The property is also home to the Bomb Shelter Bar & Cigar Divan, a Revolution-era bomb shelter that has been converted into a humidor and bar.

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