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“Quirky and cosy home with excellent service” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Orchid Hotel

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The Orchid Hotel
No.65 Baochao Hutong, Gulou East Street, Beijing 100009, China (Houhai)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Complimentary bottle of wine
Ranked #3 of 5,414 Hotels in Beijing
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Quirky and cosy home with excellent service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

I would describe this hotel to be very cosy and homely - I would love to have my home decorated in this way, lots of wooden surfaces and quirky furnishings and decor. We travelled as two couples and opted for the Garden rooms each and we did not regret it. It was relatively spacious compared to some hotels I've stayed in large dense cities like Paris and Hong Kong. The rooms were cleaned every day and replaced the complimentary fruit even if we had not touched it. They have a small bar/lounge/library/games room/lobby area where you can do all those things, visitors liked to hang out here with the staff as they were so friendly. We had a chat with the owners and it felt like talking to old friends. Now and then you would see their two laid back cats lounging about, it really felt like a home.
In terms of location, it was right in the hutong area so there's little eateries, people on their bikes, close to the Drum Towers, walkable to a subway (about 10 or so minutes), a straight bus down to The Forbidden City and across the road from Mr Shi's Dumplings, one of "legends" in Beijing dumplings - best of all you can order it from the hotel and get it delivered. The staff are great as they would offer to plate it up for you so you can have it in your room or in their breakfast parlour. Speaking of breakfast, you get a great menu, I would highly recommend the one with the szechuan bacon, if you're more of a sweet tooth person the pancakes are great too.
One thing we realised Beijing was its sheer scale, it takes time to get from place to place. Furthermore taxis were impossible to get unless they were ripping us off six-fold, to save time and pain I would recommend planning your days by working around locations according to the subway or hire a private driver from the hotel. If you are travelling in a group this works out even better as it is charged by car not per person.
One last tip is that when you first get to the hotel for the first time you won't see The Orchid anywhere as it is hidden in a tiny alley (Don't worry it really is a hidden gem) so tell the driver to find Mr Shi's Dumplings and it is really across the road in a tiny alley and at the end of it you will see sign "The Orchid" on a white board - and yes, you can see it from the main street so don't walk down some weird alleyway if you don't see the sign at the end of it. Alternatively you can call the staff and ask them to come out to the main road to greet you which is what they did for us.
If you're looking for 5 star hotel facilities you're not going to get it here, but if you want honest hospitality and a place that feels more like a home rather than some generic hotel chain this is definitely it. We loved our stay here!

Room Tip: I noticed there were rooms in the middle of the courtyard where we could see into, not advised to ch...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Calgary. AB
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

In short, this is the perfect place to stay if you'd like to be immersed in old Beijing, and also be close to major tourist spots and authentic delicious food.

The rooms are big, the bed is extra comfy, the rain shower perfect - with views of amazing Chinese roof tops, you can't beat that. The staff can't be friendlier. Kudos to Lu, who made our visit extra special. She was so helpful and nice, she even offered to go with us to the market! Take advantage of their tours, they are reliable and organize everything for you. Don't miss having dumplings at Mr. Shi's across the street.

Their breakfast is incredible, don't miss it. They also have an itunes collection of hundreds of recorded movies in English.

Sure, getting there might be intimdating. Once you leave, you won't be sorry for this combination of comfort and authenticity.

Room Tip: The rooms upstairs are isolated and quiet.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013 via mobile

I say ditto because my review will probably just echo some of the previous positive reviews of this quaint little hotel.
En-route to the hotel there are many things that go through your mind (where are we? the area looks shady, have we made the right choice? If this is what the surrounds look like, what is the hotel going to be like? Etc). But don't worry. The surrounds, although worrying to begin with, are actually just part and parcel of the quirky hutong that the Orchid is situated in.
The Orchid is quite tricky to find as it is in a slightly dodgy-looking side ally (also known as a hutong) off the Main Street (specifically Baochao Hutong). The the entrance is in a further narrow ally diagonally across from a small restaurant called Mr Shi's Dumplings.
When entering the Orchid you get a welcomed surprise with a quaint modern-type entrance with small sitting-room and bar. There is wifi throughout the hotel and if you require there is a computer available with Internet access.
The courtyard leads to the various rooms and is very pretty and cosy. We were there while it was snowing and so it looked quite romantic.
We were in room 10 which is either the Yin or Yang room (one of the larger rooms). In a previous review I read, someone said to choose a larger room as they come with better views. Well this one had its own private balcony. While we didn't use it, as it was about -8 degrees or so, it was a lovely option.
The breakfast nook is really lovely and comfortable with beautiful views of the neighbouring buildings rooftops. In the summer you can sit outside under umbrellas. The breakfast options were fantastic. I suggest "Cake for Breakfast" which was lovely pancakes with fruit and homemade syrup.
The staff were very friendly (Lou was very helpful). A suggestion is to ask the staff what nice areas there are to visit and places in and around the neighbouring Hutongs to see. Unfortunately we only found a busy Hutong off the Main Street on our last night, where there were a few bars and interesting stores and restaurants (including a nice modern Korean restaurant), and weren't really able to explore much. So ask for directions to this area especially, you will be sorry you missed it.
If you consider going in winter ask for an extra blanket as the heating in the rooms is not that great.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theorchidbeijing, Owner at The Orchid Hotel, responded to this review, January 26, 2013
Thanks for the interesting and detailed review!

As much as we love Beijing, coming here when you did took unusual guts. A colder winter hasn't been felt in 30 years, or so they say. Particularly late December 2012 when you were around. Our heating system simultaneously took a few blows and was in constant recovery mode.

As a result we have since added new insulation layers to the Yang room (the one with the private terrace) and a few others, as well as backup heaters for anyone wanting a bit of extra heat. And since this major upgrade Beijing has warmed up significantly, of course, but we will be better prepared next time around.

See you next Spring!

Joel S
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hampshire
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012 via mobile

I have just come away from the orchid with very mixed feelings - on the plus side the location is fantastic right in the middle of a working hutong so you just go out the door and are immersed in sights sounds and smells of the real Beijing - easy to walk to subway plus can walk to forbidden city in about 30 mins - if that.
Another plus was the staff who were all really friendly and helpful:)
Downsides - and sorry, there are some-

Breakfast was really only so so and I ended up having toast most mornings
I stayed in lookout room with fabulous view if bell and drum Towers but bathroom had a really unpleasant smell if door kept shut plus plasterwork in ceiling had fallen in and needed replacing. This room is also by the laundry and one night at about 1030pm they decided to do some laundry - the noise of the extractor fan woke me
Cats roam in public areas so be warned if you have allergies which I do
Apple TV is a real boon - why doesn't everywhere have it? But being china it trips up every 2 hours and you have to ring down for the team to give it a kick
Would I go back? Probably not to the orchid but most definitely to another hutong style hotek

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theorchidbeijing, Owner at The Orchid Hotel, responded to this review, January 26, 2013
Thanks for the detailed review and both the positive and negative feedback.
I'll comment quick on a few of the details that caused problems for you:

1) Bathroom ceiling, indeed, it's China and it has taken many iterations of materials to find something that is stable. Generally when something like this becomes a problem we fix it immediately, so I'm sorry this appears to have been overlooked when you were here. All good now, however.

2) Breakfast being so so. Well you are the first to mention this. Since you say you had toast on most days I must feel this is related to that specific part of the breakfast. I'd hesitate to think our cheese or jam is the problem, so it can only leave the bread. We offer unlimited toast for any guests, whether they order this breakfast or not. Based on your comments I've revisited this part of the breakfast and switched entirely to the local breads that we use for the other breakfast items. We are all for going local .. and all that!

3) Laundry in the middle of the night? I'm not sure what that's about. There is in fact a small storage area near the Lookout room, however it mostly contains clothing, extra toothbrushes and coffee beans (in separate bins). I can't imagine what could have caused the noise you described, but we do try to keep whatever we do as quiet as possible.

4) AppleTV. You are right, all hotels should have this. It's the best and coolest reason to never leave your room that I'm allowed to write about. It has indeed been through many ups and downs especially during the time you were here. This is a difficult part of the hotel to debug, since we are the only ones apparently doing it, and the feature is a bit of a hack to begin with. Nevertheless, ditching our China-store bought flaky equipment for our new quad-core mega server seems to have got the problem in check! Now we can stream Fawlty Towers 24/7.

I hope that sums it up and I really do appreciate hearing from our guests about areas of the hotel that need work. When our guests stay in other hotels prior to arriving at the Orchid, they begin to fully appreciate how far ahead we are in terms of both service, amenities and general way of thinking. You can certainly try another hutong hotel on your next future visit just as you mentioned, and we of course will love having you back the next day!

That being said, detailed comments such as yours made by guests that have not visited other hotels in Beijing is exactly what we want to hear. We strive to be the best on a global scale, and not simply far ahead in Beijing alone. For that we are mostly aware of how much work is needed, but from time to time need reminding!!

Thanks once again, and see you soon back in Beijing!

Joel S
Orchid Hotel
Assistant IT manager
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Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
132 helpful votes 132 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

This is a gem of a boutique hotel that fills a nitch & perfectly done, a blend of modern with older features retained. Fantastic location if you like wandering hutongs & local neighborhoods like we do. It's a 15 to 20 minute walk to the nearest subway station but that will change later when nearer stations will open on the new line.

We stayed in the Yin room which was a very good size for a hutong hotel. Beds are very comfy but can be a bit soft if you are used to harder ones. Lovely bathrooms with piping hot water. The climate control in the room was for aircon only for the warmer months. Heating is supplied by underfloor heating only. Being December it's very cold & only just managed to heat the room. If you are not opening & closing the door it stays warm.
Apple TV is a nice touch. Bottles of water, fresh fruit & lovely flavored tea is supplied. Wifi was slow & kept cutting out sometimes at the time of our stay. The Yin Room included a small private courtyard area which was too cold during December to take advantage of, but would be nice in the warmer months.

Breakfast is incredibly well done & thoughtfull. There are some lovely choices all served in an upstars room with lots of character.

We come to Beijing often & The Orchid will now become a firm favorite. After a busy day its nice to relax over a glass of wine in lounge/bar area - it feels more like you are visiting someones home & its very cosy and relaxed feeling.
The staff deserve a standing ovation. They bend over backwards to help you and are very warm & welcoming.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stavanger, Norway
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

We started our four week China trip with three nights at the end of September at the Orchid. We chose the Orchid based purely on their great TA rating and comments. We stretched our budget a tiny bit to get a room there, but it was definitely worth it. We arrived late, pretty tired after our flight and luckily the taxi driver found the hotel without any problems, despite it being a bit hidden (which we had read beforehand).

We can echo the same comments of others' by saying that the beds were amazing, their Apple TV was great for relaxing in the evenings and we looked forward every morning to having a yummy breakfast on their balcony (the banana bread was so good it was addictive!). The hotel staff incl. the owner/manager were helpful, even booking a fantastic Peking duck dinner. We also got to experience a wine tasting evening with food, all complimentary.

The location was also good, although it does throw you in at the deep end if you've never been to China before (like us), as the authentic Hutong is a bit chaotic. It is also near a more touristic area around the nearby lake which is nice for evenings meals and drinks.

We would definitely recommend this hotel and would choose them again if we returned!

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Sollentuna, Stockholms Län, Sweden
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

Great hotel with excellent location in a traditional chinese street, Hutong. The Hotel is small & charming with a nice design. Breakfast is fantastic as are the staff! Very friendly & service minded staff that speak excellent english, whish is a true advantage :-) The rooms are small but nice. The only drawback was that it was very, very cold in the room and in the hotel in general. But in all fairness, it was one of the coldest days in Beijing this winter. The room heated up after a while, but 1 extra blanket per bed was needed.
The street where the hotel is located is very traditional, and we loved it! Just be prepaired, it might not been the cleanest street you have walked. Go here!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Orchid Hotel

Address: No.65 Baochao Hutong, Gulou East Street, Beijing 100009, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Beijing Region > Beijing > Houhai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5,414 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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