Star in your own travel film

Cathy Winston

If you religiously post your holiday snaps on Facebook the minute your plane hits the runway, there's a new way to make your friends even more jealous: creating your own travel film. And you needn't be a budding director, thanks to a new Chinese hotel package.

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The Opposite House Beijing is launching 'Suitcase Cinema', providing guests who book into their Studio 70 suite a Canon camcorder, bike, tourist map and a short-stays DVD to inspire you. Then all you need to do is hit the streets of the Chinese capital, film whatever takes your fancy, edit it in your room and the hotel will burn it onto a DVD for you to take home.

There's certainly no shortage of movie-worthy spots. If you're brave enough to take to your bike, along with the thousands of others who cycle through Beijing, do make a beeline for the hutongs, the city's old neighbourhoods with traditional courtyard residences as many are being demolished.

The Forbidden City is another unmissable spot. Renovated for the 2008 Olympics, the government has now restored many of the palace's thousands of closed courtyards. Most visitors concentrate on the central section of the Forbidden City, with its stunning palaces, but it's worth stepping away from the main axis to the less explored areas, and imagine life over the centuries.

Leaving through the Tiananmen Gate to Tiananmen Square, you'll pass under the portrait of Chairman Mao – although the guards can be touchy about photos, so don't be too surprised if you have to hide your camera away briefly.

If you have time, venture further afield to the beautiful Summer Palace and the incredible Great Wall. The sections closest to Beijing are inevitably the most touristy, but if you head to the stretch between Jinshanling and Simatai, a couple of hours' drive away, you'll have little company – although at times you might want someone else to carry the camera!

Quick facts: The Suitcase Cinema package starts from £260 per night, including breakfast for two, bikes, maps and DVD. Visit or email for more information.