The restaurant, which opened Friday, has already drawn some criticism on microblobbing site Weibo.
"McDonald's has the deepest respect for the heritage and culture of the communities where we operate; we are part of these communities," McDonald's spokeswoman Becca Hary told CNBC in an email. "When McDonald's China took over the site, we also took over the commitment to preserve its heritage. Since then, we have been working with relevant authorities and architects to ensure the conservation of the villa's structure and style. We remain committed to its protection while providing a convenient spot for tourists to rest and enjoy the surrounding environment."
Read More Taco Bell plans a first for fast food
It's not the first dining spot to occupy the building — part of the space already houses a Starbucks.
To read the full Guardian report, click here.