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“Hidden Gem - Tucked Away” 4 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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Ranked #6 of 5,457 Hotels in Beijing
Alderney, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem - Tucked Away”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Great little hotel tucked away down a side ally in the Huntongs. The location is very much part of the charm. Step out of the door and at the end of the ally is real, local, residential Beijing. Narrow streets and lane, people, bikes, cars. Lot's of shops; restaurants and cafes. The nearby Gulou East St seems to be becoming a bit of a musicians area with musical instrument shops and record shops scattered around.

Tianenmen Square is a 45 minute walk though it's all quite interesting and doesn't seem like a chore. The Line 5 Underground station is 5 to 10 minutes walk away. Every journey cost 20 RMB (0.20 GBP) so it's cheap, comprehensive and easy to use.

The hotel is small, 8 to 10 rooms. Serves breakfast but no other meals. There is a little bar with a nice selection of beers and wines.

Rooms are not huge but well presented and all are slightly different. We were there in February and a burst pipe caused some damage to one of our rooms (a change of room was arranged) and the constant dripping noise disturbed sleep for three nights in the other. The problem was fixed on the Monday morning but should probably have been addressed sooner for the sake of both the guests and the fabric of the building.

It's a great little place to which we will return next year. Not cheap for what it is (Some of the major chains can be booked for similar prices) but it offers a different and enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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337 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
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Alberta, Canada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

My first review was too large and had too much in it so I have to do another!

The Orchid is TERRIFIC and I can't see how a couple or small group would not simply adore this place. Has all the Chinese charm you would dream of for staying some nights in Beijing - and the added plus of it being run by a Canadian - makes it perfect.

The Orchid is really, in our opinion, perfectly situated for a tourist in Beijing. So much to see in the ancient Hutong area that it is located in. Anything else is an easy metro ride away or a taxi ride if you prefer that. Joel the owner is very knowledgeable and you should not want for anything.

We stayed for 5 nights in September in the Yang Room. Can't imagine a better room than this at the hotel. This is the room that has a roof top terrace and that should explain why this room is so special. Your own private roof top terrace in the ancient Hutong area of Beijing. Simply - cool.

We were there in our plush bathrobes early in the morning or in the evening/night after a day in Beijing and after a cool shower. Spectacular. The room is simple and comfortable for two and had everything you could want. We brought cheap flip flips to wear in "all" the showers while in China and we think that is just good common sense for a warm foreign climate. It was recommended to us and we further that recommendation. The room has no one above and no one next to you and in our opinion is the best room at The Orchid. The breakfasts are fantastic and the service was impeccable. Truly well done. The Orchid itself is just lovely - a tucked away oasis and quiet and clean and interesting and unforgettable. Has all the Western necessities and the views from its rooftops are magical. We felt so lucky to be at The Orchid as compared to a typical high rise hotel in some other busy and loud part of Beijing. This is a gem and I say that in all honesty.

The area the hotel is in is an amazing area with ancient history at every turn. It is safe and full of families and babies playing and children and culture galore. We were never worried about anything - day or night. The Hutong has a vibrant feel and a legendary vibe. The Orchid is right in the middle with famous sights all around including the Drum and Bell Tower and also The Hutong Cooking school. Everything you might need is nearby. Our Hutong tour on the bikes was a blast and we must recommend Yo Yo who speaks English: http://www.synotrip.com/yoyo-wang or: namewangya@163.com. She knows where the Orchid is and takes you around all the area around the hotel and teaches you about its history.

The hotel arranged for us a private mini van to come and get us at the airport and to return us to the airport. Worked perfectly. We also used the hotels connections to arrange a private mini van to The Great Wall and that was good too. On the way back we were dropped off at the Silk Market and took the subway back to The Orchid.

The subway is about a 10-15 min walk through the Hutong and is safe day or night and easily navigated. From there we went everywhere and saw everything.

The Orchid was a refreshing oasis for us after a day of sights or a night of shopping. Perfectly quiet and well appointed and just what someone is looking for. The price cannot be beat and you are not a number - you are a guest. There is a lovely bar onsite and sitting areas and the breakfast is phenomenal really.

We do not have one negative thing to say about this boutique one of a kind hotel and if you want to feel like you are in China, but you want to feel comfortable and be well located - pick The Orchid. That's why it is rated #2 on TripAdvisor. Because it delivers without breaking the bank.

We miss it and highly recommend it. It made our visit to Beijing fantastic and was a great spring board for the rest of our trip around China all on our own. You gotta eat at Mr. Shi's Dumplings across the street from The Orchid.

Thank you Joel and staff and thank you for making a perfect place for guests in Beijing.

  • Stayed September 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodland, California, United States
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We booked this hotel solely off of Trip Advisor reviews. It did not disappoint! Our room was the Yang room and it was just perfect. Once the heater was going and we'd had hot showers to warm ourselves up after a long day of outdoor tours in 18 degree temps (F), we needed it! Both nights we spent time in the lobby/bar enjoying wine/beer and chatting with the owner, employees and other guests. It was super relaxing and even the cats found their way to our laps. We enjoyed wandering the street and taking up restaurant recommendations (Mr. Shi's & Southern Barbarian), and had a wonderful time! Our tour company was called "Stretch-A-Leg Travel" and was excellent as well!

  • Stayed January 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

The first praise has to go to The Orchid's staff, who went out of their way to make us feel welcome and help us make the most of our stay. This started with being greated by our first names from day one when we arrived. It also included help with arrangements for drivers, train tickets etc and also meant we were offered free hot drinks when we came in from the cold.

Our room was on the ground floor, with a view of the courtyard, which was green and, towards the end, white, as we were lucky enough to experience Beijing in the snow. The big bed was great, the shower even better, and the wifi comes via its own VPN, so if you use it, the Great Firewall isn't an issue.

The Apple tv in the room was a nice touch, but the times that we tried it, it kept disconnecting a few minutes into whatever we were watching. We didn't bring this up with reception, though, as we were out and about most of the time anyway. There's also a bottomless fruit bowl in your room and breakfast is delicous - with a wonderfull view over hutong roofs.

All in all, the contrast between the bustling alley outside and the peaceful hotel atmosphere couldn't be greater. We'd definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: Even the most affordable ones are still really nice.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 5,457 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Orchid is a Beijing hotel experience. It is happily not a big box 5-star hotel, nor is it a hostel. Our reviewers here on Tripadvisor have collectively described the wonderful spirit of what it means to make The Orchid your home in Beijing. Expect: Easy communication, friendly and REAL people acting as staff, real actual expertise in Beijing and the surrounding areas, great and comfortable hotel amenities, a big and well-put-together breakfast, a local mobile phone when you check in, excellent detailed maps to guide the way with all our favourite spots... and yes, one of the best locations in the heart of Beijing. Booking is easily done on our website linked above - See you soon! ... more   less 
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