I prepaid my stay through a third party site and got a good rate of about USD105 per night for a 1 bedroom deluxe apartment. I took a copy of the hotel's Chinese address from their website (which doesn't work at all well!) and showed this to the taxi driver at the Beijing South train station where the high speed trains arrive...he had no problem knowing where to go. Beijing's traffic is horrendous, but despite the 10km/45 minute journey the fare to hotel was not a lot more than 30RMB (about 5-6USD).
First thing on arrival you are greeted by the doormen, who really are a credit to the place. They are always friendly, smiling, can make decent conversation - they really are trying to make a great impression and they succeed. Unfortunately in general things go downhill from there. Reception is officious and robotic and language problems and long waits are common. You're unlikely to get a smile out of these ladies!
Apartments have traditional door locks, no key cards here and you will only be given one key which I would imagine could be an inconvenience. Beware also that doors do not lock behind you as you'd be used to in most hotels...you'll need to lock the door manually yourself.
Our one bedroom deluxe apartment was large. It did have a smokey, musty smell - I don't really hold that against the management - I'm pretty well aware that they could call it non smoking but people will smoke in there regardless - and it's really not easy to get rid of that smell. At first sight the kitchen looked adequate with decent cooker, washing machine and reasonable sized fridge...it also looked perfectly clean. There was then a large lounge room with dining table at one end. In addition there were a few pointless pieces of furniture which just made the place look even more old fashioned than it already is - like a large empty dresser near the dining table. The sofa was again, old fashioned and somewhat hard and uncomfortable. Essentially the room just felt spartan and unwelcoming.
The bedroom was again very large, with a small balcony. A walk in robe led through to the bathroom which could also be accessed from the main hallway. The bathroom was of a good standard and amenities were replenished every day. The bedroom contained a sofa bed, which as there were just the 2 of us we left in sofa mode & a queen bed. The bed was AWFUL!! It was rock hard and terrible to lie in. This was then complimented by the horrendous pillows which were so incredibly soft that even using 2 provided no support. I'd find myself folding them in half in the middle of the night and trying to stack them on top of each other just so my head wasn't basically on the mattress! I don't know what the filling was in the pillows but it was noisy...sometimes there was a constant sort of crinkling noise in your ear! Jinyu Hutong, the street on which the building was located, is a busy & noisy street however the noise proofing in the bedroom was excellent and noise very well subdued even with construction going on across the street.
Initial happiness with the kitchen is soon dispelled when you actually think about using it! My photos show the sum total of the crockery etc supplied. There is virtually nothing...for example only 2 small rice bowls are supplied, no other types of bowls. There was not a single sharp knife! What's then worse is that there is no means of washing up dishes provided. Typically in this type of arrangement housekeeping supplies a sponge and small sachets of washing up liquid...there is none of that here! So you can't even wash up...which you need to do between meals because they supply such a small amount of crockery! The Lee Garden model seems to be that the maid does your dishes...once a day obviously! Now of course you could go out and buy your own sponge and detergent but it just seems like a strange lack of attention to detail to me. Similarly our apartment had a washing machine...but there is no detergent supplied or ability to get a small quantity from the hotel (the convenience store around the corner does sell small bags for next to nothing however...but you have to practically beg the hotel for info like this...why oh why couldn't they just put it in a compendium!?). The washing machine is also fun...yet again, the hotel fails to provide any instructions for the washing machine...and the programs on the front are in Chinese...good luck with that! It's that lack of attention to detail again...so frustrating! Now you can ascertain some details about the programs from the onscreen menu but when it comes time to move onto the drying cycle...no help there at all. I got the maid in, she couldn't work it. She sent up the head of housekeeping, she claimed it was broken and summoned engineering. In the meantime I managed to start the dryer and all was well...until engineering walked in a switched the thing off again!!
There is free, but painfully slow wifi available in the communal area near the restaurant but this does not extend to the rooms...well certainly not the 12th floor where we stayed...lower floors might have more luck.
Let's have some positives. The location of this place is FANTASTIC! It's just around the corner from the Wangfujing pedestrian street where there are shops, malls and eating options. The famous Wangfujing snack street (if it moves, it's available on a skewer) is also about 2 mins walk from the front door. Now you've booked a self catering apartment but it's actually very difficult to find anywhere near by to stock up on things like breakfast cereal or decent milk - there is a convenience store just around the corner which the staff will direct you to but there are a lot of things it just doesn't sell and others you probably won't want to buy! Once again, there are better options nearby but you really have to push the staff to offer up any of this valuable information (once again, please just put it in a guest compendium rather than info about foot massages etc!) - there is a great, if expensive, supermarket (Ole) in the basement of the nearest shopping mall...2 mins away. You can get everything you need there, but as stated, take an inventory of the kitchen equipment first to see if you'll actually be able to make and serve meals easily. From the front door you are looking around a 20 min walk to the entrance of the Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square. There is a subway station nearby and taxis are cheap as chips of course.
We tried to organise a driver to take us to the Great Wall through reception but the receptionist showed little interest in doing that - instead she directed us to some hotel literature around guided bus tours. Somewhat reluctantly and under time pressure I signed us up to tour C to Mutianyu Great Wall section & Sacred Way (Ming tombs). Each of these spots is great and worth a visit...but you should be aware if you take this tour that, I guess predictably, you will spend 2 - 2.5 hours of your day also visiting a Jade Factory & then a Silk Factory where the sole intention is of course that you part with cash - these aren't listed on the itinerary of course! The Jade Factory is particularly mind numbing and depressing...the Silk Factory is very close to the Olympic Park so if you're quick you can ditch the hard sell and run off and have a look at the Birds Nest stadium.
It's rare for me to disagree with a property's overall TripAdvisor rating but in this case I really am surprised by scores for this one and the accolades it has. I think it's a real shame because in terms of location it scores really highly and it really wouldn't take much to dramatically improve the service.
If you book a tour through the hotel be advised you will spend time being sold Jade & Silk - not...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.