Category Archives: Recommendation

A Right Royal Mess – The Royal Hotel – Grade B+

Located at the end of the Shijia Hutong, directly opposite Dengshikou Subway Station Exit A, the Royal House (国赫宫) is a gorgeous example of French architecture. Hidden behind the surrounding yellowing sycamores, its majestic windows and four cascading rooftops stretch up into the blue winter sky, making for a home that would make the Hunchback of Notre-Dame proud. Nearby, a Beijing baoan sits in his metal booth outside the compound’s ominous black gate, socks off, feet up, snoring gently as we pass.

A stone’s throw from Wangfujing Shopping Street and 800 meters from Chang’an Road, it seems inconceivable that a property in such a location should fail so dramatically, especially given that it’s the spitting image of the ultra-plush Regent Hotel just down the road. But like all of the best French literature, the Royal House has a tragic story to tell, one of corruption and greed, rendering the luxury suites unoccupied, possibly forever.

In 2008, one year after its completion, Anjie Changdi Logistics company took charge of the sale of the complex. At the time, the project was worth an estimated RMB 2.1 billion, however, Anjie Changdi sold the project brutally short, pocketing RMB 500 million and dividing the sale between Hongyuan Real Estate and Yunnan Jinshan with 51 percent and 49 percent stakes, respectively. This is where matters began to get complicated.

In 2010, Hongyuan sold its stake in the property, giving Yunnan Jinshan full ownership of the Royal House. By this time, the property’s value had skyrocketed to RMB 3.1 billion meaning within the space of two years, Yunnan Jinshan made 500 percent profit. The only problem was that upon investigation by Soho Finance, neither Anjie Changdi nor Yunnan Jinshan actually existed and the latter was no more than a shell company – the registered address turned out to be farmland in Yunnan.

It was later discovered that Yunnan Jinshan and Anjie Changdi were registered subsidiaries of the Fujian Lijin Group, of which Chen Longji, the richest man in Fujian, was the owner. Although it is owned by the subsidiaries, the Royal House is ultimately controlled by Chen, who is holding the project hostage waiting for the price to increase even further.

Today, the 58 luxury apartments ranging between 210 and 463sqm remain empty and unfurnished. Baoanoccupy some of the ample office space on the ground floor, but the silence in the enormous two-level underground parking lot is deafening. Forget Quasimodo, the only residents now are pigeons circling the building, flying in through the open fourth-floor windows, home to their luxury roost.

FEELING MORE STABLE – ZHIYUN SMOOTH C – GRADE A+

When you’re having a mid-life crisis,

What you need is a bit of stability.

Burbex is not a big fan of fancy equipment. Anyone who has been out with him on trips before knows that he much prefers his battered and scratched iPhone 6 rather than his Sony RX100 m3, but the joy of the iPhone is it takes great pictures and videos and it just slides into your pocket.

Sony DSCRX100M3 Advanced Digital Compact Premium Camera (Wi-Fi, NFC, 180 Degrees Tiltable LCD Screen) – Black

The only drawback of the iPhone is that it doesn’t have inbuilt stabilisation like a more expensive DSLR might have. When Burbex first started his YouTube channel Burbex – Beijing Urban Exploration, he was very aware that many of the videos were much too shaky. You can see that in his first ever video below:

After a recommendation from Antoine, one of the stars of Burbex Gang on YouTube, Burbex invested in the Zhiyun Smooth C gimbal, and the effects were immediately noticeable. Whether running or jumping, the Smooth C stabilised the iPhone so that the images looked a million times more professional. You can see how it performs in the Pokemon Go! video below:

The gimbal works with all smart phones, and can even handle the iPhone 6+. It works on three axes, and has a tracking mode which locks on to your subject however much you move about, or joystick mode, where you can move your phone smoothly yourself. For Burbex, the battery life is most important.

the best smart phone gimbal on the market

Andoer® Zhiyun Z1-Smooth-C 3-Axis Handheld Brushless Gimbal Smartphone Stabilizer for 5.7cm~8.5cm Width for iPhone5 / 5s/ 6 /6 Plus for Galaxy Note

While the instruction manual states the batteries only last 3-4 hours, Burbex found they last anywhere up to 10 hours on one full charge. The gimbal itself is light-weight, but made of durable metal. Burbex is rough with his kit, and the gimbal has taken some hard knocks with no trouble.

Zhiyun Crane-M with Dshot Tripod Professional 3-Axis Handheld Stabilizer for Smartphones Card Cameras Compact Cameras Action Cameras Some Mirrorless Cameras

Burbex doesn’t often make recommendations about technology, but the Zhiyun Smooth C has made a world of difference his videos, and it comes at a very affordable price too. Plus, if you are looking to make videos with your camera, you could consider the Zhiyun Smooth Q, which can even support a DLSR.

Now that Burbex is feeling more stable, you can expect some great Burbex videos in the near future. Don’t forget to subscribe to Burbex – Beijing Urban Exploration on YouTube, and be sure to leave all your great comments and questions.