We chose this hotel as a relaxing treat at the end of a hectic couple of weeks in the region as we wanted to experience Hutong China before if disappears. We arrived in the morning after a 24 hour train journey to a warm welcome at reception and a good cup of coffee in the bar. The hotel's website has a map you can print out with instructions on how your taxi driver should find the hotel; although it's in a hutong there are parking spaces outside and you should be able to drive right up to the entrance.
We had booked a wedding suite for 5 nights but I think we were put in a Happy Family room which was more like an apartment and definitely didn't lack romance with its secluded location on an upstairs corner, private terrace and gorgeous four-poster bed in a luscious red bedroom. I defy you to find one review of this hotel which doesn't use the word "beautiful" on at least three occasions. It's difficult not to. Beauty is certainly a concept that is key to the ethos of this hotel. It's a surprisingly tranquil place too when you consider its location in the middle of a busy city centre neighbourhood but then that's how courtyard living was designed to be.
Good service seemed a central tenet and Americans will love the charm-school friendliness of the front desk staff who are still genuinely kind and very good at understanding people. The hotel offers a range of services and we were very grateful for reception to book train tickets for us. Staff are fluent English speakers who very knowledgeable about their city and will offer tips, advice and suggestions. The hotel is very family-friendly and parents with young children are welcomed. "The Global Times" is delivered to the mailbox outside each room every morning and all rooms have a computer with internet access. Chocolates were a nice touch but it was the small bags of detergent we were really thankful for.
Breakfast was a hot buffet of Chinese and western favourites with pastries, cakes and fresh fruit (one morning we noticed with delight a guest tucking into an entire half-watermelon and he finished every bit!) in a cosy bright room with colourful oilcloth tablecloths and Enya and her New Age cohort on the stereo. Coffee was good (soya milk available) and breakfast items were constantly replenished as they ran out. Other meals were available in the hotel but the alley it's on offers a great range of good value cafés, restaurants and snack stands. A 10-minute wander north through hutong Beijing brings you out onto Ghost Street with its seemingly endless eating options. If you need a specific item there's a 3-floor Wu Mart supermarket five minutes down the road by Dongsi metro station.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Living in the real heart of the city, you have the chance to witness the daily life of Chinese people. Living in the courtyard house with over 500 year's history, you are closer to those ancient Chinese stories. Our hotel is suitable for culture explorers & mind-peace seeker. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Courtyard Beijing