On a recent trip to China, we stayed in both a large mid-priced hotel like the Park Plaza and a smaller, more intimate one like the Shichahai Shadowart in the hutongs. Yet, if service is the differential factor, then the Park Plaza wins hands-down over the small hutong hotel.
We had a comfortable stay in the Park Plaza. We upgraded to two suite rooms that came with a king bed and a sofa bed, which also included a buffet breakfast, free drinks and snacks at happy hour. Service from everyone - chambermaid to reception staff to concierge and doormen - was excellent. One of the doormen went out of his way to the main road to hail a cab for us. Some offered advice on transport connections, sights etc. All were helpful. I can understand why the Park Plaza consistently gets high ratings.
The buffet breakfast is extensive and delicious. My youngest misses her daily glasses of milk! Apparently milk tastes much better there than back home!
The hotel is also very well-placed. Just 10min walk to Wangfujing. The subway is just behind the hotel. From the hotel's back door to the subway entrance, the walk is less than 50m. From there it is easy to access most parts of Beijing. Further up the main drag of Dong Bei road is a strip of shops, boutiques and eateries, more for locals and priced accordingly but no less interesting - for us, even more so than Wangfujing which is touristy, commercialised and a strip of malls featuring the same brands back home.