Hotel desk staff and security staff of courtyard related to me in a very personal way. The staff knew me within the first day, and made me feel as if I were a guest in their family home. A few times there were no English speakers available, and my Chinese is very limited, providing a fun challenge to resolve whatever needs for the few trivial problems I had. One, Ms. Jane Zhang, had excellent English and was very helpful. Frankly... I often have more serious issues communicating with hotel staff in the USA!
Cozy comfort. Very quiet and peaceful. Very clean. Charming and accommodating staff. I LOVED staying there during my cold Beijing winter nights. First thing I did when I entered the room: opened the valve to the old-style radiator, which provided quiet, clean heat that 5-Star hotels cannot even dream of (hi-tech heat pumps or electric heat systems are always accompanied by noisy air handling generating human-desiccating atmospheres). Of course, I don’t know what that room would be like in the middle a hot summer night.
My room had a minor irritation that the shower often flooded the main bathroom floor, but this was such a small problem in the context of a wonderful room.
Hotel Cote Cour employs a cadre of highly competent House Cats (approx four) that roam the courtyard and are allowed in the main office, but not in rooms. These cats keep rodent population under control (remember, this hotel is in the middle of a hutong district, and other means of rodent control are not only environmentally bad, but bad for health of people and other animals. Do not stay in a hutong hotel unless a well-maintained feline staff is on duty 24/7!) These cats were also very friendly to guests and were a positive influence on homey ambiance. My email send from the hotel to a friend: “The hutong hotel had maybe six House Cats on duty 24/7. This is because without cats, there would be serious rat / mouse problems in a hutong environment. One morning I found two of them playing "cat and mouse" with a mouse right outside my room. The mouse was really enjoying it, I thought. The cats would let it run a few feet and then pick it up and put it back at "Go." I don't know if the mouse would be eaten later. I lost interest after a few minutes. The cats were never bored. The mouse had no choice but to play.”
Arghghg! WHY are any Chinese hotels still rationing toilet paper? The war is over and economy is booming in China. Yet Cote Cour doles out TP one roll at a time. This practice casts a dark shadow over any stay as guests are constantly stressing about whether that TP will run out at a time of critical need, how to make yourself understood during the emergency phone call to the desk. ANY hotel charging over $100 per night can solve this problem for a few cents a day.
Cote Cour got the HOUSE CATS right, TP wrong.
The upstairs restaurant was a large hall with an elevated cove for reading (a mini-library). Breakfast was limited to yogurt, two slices of toast, dumplings and hard-boiled egg. Excellent coffee, brewed fresh. And once I found the cook, I was able to get eggs cooked however I wanted and other breakfast items. Dinner menu was similarly limited to what cook had on hand; I did not eat a formal dinner there, partly because of the potluck menu, but mostly because my Chinese friends demanded that I accompany them to dinner elsewhere. However, I had two extended lunches in the wonderful ambiance of the upstairs restaurant; ordered a la carte, delicious spring rolls and other snacks and sipped wine, tending to emails and arranging my travels via my iPad, reading newspapers and items from the downstairs library.
Yes. Of course, Cote Cour has a main library branch, downstairs from the restaurant area. There’s WiFi for your own iPad or PC, but they provide a few computers (I think mostly Macs) linked to Internet, and there are BOOKS and newspapers, and interesting things to look at. I spent a few pleasant hours there. This would be a great place to meet people and maybe sip some wine or tea and just talk.
The Yanyue hutong, the many surrounding hutongs, and the entire Dongcheng District neighborhood can be safely walked at all hours, night or day. This provides ample entertainment. There are dozens of wonderful restaurants, tea houses, shops and anything else one could want within easy walking distance. For instance, I had my nan kan shou ji (ugly cell phone that a friend had loaned me) serviced by China Mobile. And I spent many delightful hours exploring other hutongs and shopping Wangfujing Street. The whole neighborhood is Eye Candy for the Western tourist.
There is no Cote Cour “concierge,” just people who help. When I departed, though I did not “need” this service, someone came to my room and took my bags to the front office and arranged a taxi to take me and bags to the main Beijing train station. I sat for a few minutes waiting for the cab in the company of two large House Cats, sipped tea and chatted with the desk clerk. I was impressed with how personal this experience was.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Cote Cour Beijing is a neoclassical Chinese courtyard-style boutique hotel that is fully equipped with modern amenities. We are located in Yanyue Hutong within an historical protected hutong area of the city which used to serve as a rehearsal area for royal musicians during China’s dynastic period. We aim to provide you with a stress free and sustainable living environment, with dedicated staff and affordable rates. ... more less
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