I stayed at the Bestay Hotel Express in Urumqi for 1 night in late August 2013. I had planned to stay for 4 days / 3 nights during my entire duration in Urumqi, however, I couldn't tolerate the room and needed to move somewhere better. I selected the Bestay based on the positive reviews on TripAdvisor, and of course the economical rates of 156 RMB (or about US$25) per night for a single bed room.
The Bestay is located in an convenient location in Hongshan district of Urumqi, about a 10 minute walk from People's Park (note, not "People's Square Park" which is a different place). The front desk reception staff was able to answer my questions on transport options to visit various sites, storing luggage, etc., although I expect that you will encounter difficulties if you don't speak Mandarin.. Other guests were not foreign travelers, but local Chinese travelers and it seemed some people that were living there on a long-term basis.
Although the room was clean, it was very simple -- very much like a little jail cell. There was one window about 6 inches (W) x 12 inches (H), with opaque frosting, that cracked open into an alley way. There was one stool that I used to place my backpack, where I asked the front desk to send another two stools so that I could place one next to the bed (to use as a nightstand to stage my water and mobile phone) and another stool to sit. Unfortunately, the front desk reception replied that there is only one stool allowed per room. OK, fine.
I've stayed before at similar budget hotel chains in China (e.g., Huating, Jinjiang Inn), and had been satisfied with the value that they offered. But this one was particularly dreadful, perhaps due to the particular room that I was assigned. As the weather in Urumqi called for rain over the next couple of days, sometimes heavy, instead of the thought of suffering being trapped in the little jail cell that was my room, I had instead decided to take the effort to check into another hotel of better quality (Bayin He Hotel, a.k.a. Musbox). It turned out to be a great decision.
The hotel presents a low daily rate, was clean, and should be safe. I didn't think that this particular experience presented good value, compared to paying more for something much better. Especially if the weather required that you spend any significant amount of time in the room. Even at the 156 RMB rate for the standard room, you may do better on value and have a better environment to meet other travelers if staying at the Silver Birches Hostel.
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