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“Kind of dodgy, but okay for the those who like the no-frills...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Xian Apartments Guesthouse Hq

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Xian Apartments Guesthouse Hq
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Building A, Hong Cheng International Apartment Complex, Xi Hua Men, Xi'an 710003, China   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 106 Xi'an B&B and Inns
australia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Kind of dodgy, but okay for the those who like the no-frills...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2011

As a family of two adults and one 5 year old child, we stayed here for 3+ nights in early December. All communications prior to turning up were with some called Mei. The website indicates that the place is run by Mei and her NZ born husband, Todd. However, we were met on arrival at Xian train station by someone called "Sandy" who is a "friend" of Mei's. She turned out to be our landlady, "fixer", and tourguide throughout our stay. It turns out Mei and Todd live in Australia, and "Sandy" and Mei's mother "Aunty" (who speaks no English but is an amiable presence) run the operation. We had a 1 bedroom apartment which is conveniently located in a residential building for 400 RMB. It is pretty okay, and if you're used to backpacker places furnished with stuff found on street corners, you'll love this place. If you're used to more lavishly furnished places, you probably won't. "Sandy" was our guide for a tour of the Terracotta Warriors and she was very friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the site.

Problems arose when we asked "Sandy" to buy us soft sleeper train tickets in the same compartment (we are a family and understably wanted to sleep together) from Xian to Datong (at 50 RMB commission per ticket). Instead she bought us hard sleep not train tickets not in the same compartment from Xian to Pingyao (yeah, she stuffed up). Luckily we were amenable to the change in itinerary and agreed to accept them, and in turn "Sandy" agreed to come to the train station as she said she had contacts on the train (her brother in law) that could get us in the same compartment. On arrival at the train station, "Sandy" revealed she had no such contacts, and that she was happy to "write us a note" in Mandarin that we could show to fellow compartment dwellers in the hope of getting someone to switch. Understandably we were pretty annoyed at this point (she had got us the wrong tickets, promised us she could fix it, and then changed her story at the last minute and wanted to dump us) and on confronting her, "Sandy" changed her mind. On boarding the train again luckily "Sandy" found someone to switch compartments, and so ended our involve with HQ Guesthouse. Did we enjoy Xian and the Terracotta Warriors? Sure. Is HQ Guesthouse acceptable accommodation? Sure, if you're not fussy. Is the whole operation really dodgy? You betcha!

Room Tip: Don't treat the word of "Sandy" as gospel.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hqhostel, Owner at Xian Apartments Guesthouse Hq, responded to this review, January 17, 2012
Hi there
While we certainly appreciate your candid review I do think you are a bit off the mark here with some of your comments. There is certainly no subterfuge here… Particularly this comment I found a little strange
“All communications prior to turning up were with some called Mei. The website indicates that the place is run by Mei and her NZ born husband, Todd. “
Sorry what is the problem here? Yes we are currently in Australia though we return to Xian regularly throughout the year (next trip will be in April, May and June 2012). Mei organises all bookings and arranges everything even when we are not in Xian. Lets be clear, we are the owners and we do run the place, even if this is done remotely at times. We established the business and worked 100% onsite for the last 5 years and now feel we are entitled to some travel ourselves.
When we are away the operations are over seen by 2 people – Mei’s mum (who doesn’t speak English but is incredibly welcoming and a fantastic cook. I would go so far to say you couldn’t find a better host) and Sandy who is the manager. You state here that Sandy is “friend” of Mei and calls Mei’s mum Aunty. I would just like to explain that Sandy is too modest to call herself manager and in Chinese everyone is a friend and all elderly people are referred to as aunty as a form of respect. Your review makes a great travel story but could we please try to stick to the facts…
Sandy is the interface when Mei and I are not around. All guests are given free use of a mobile phone to call Sandy or Mei 24 hours a day if there are any problems. We have set the phone number so anyone can call Mei at no cost if they need to talk to someone other than Sandy. We believe it is an incredibly convenient service we offer to be frank. How many other places do you get met for free at the train station (and dropped off at 10.00pm), taken to the accommodation, given a free cup of coffee or tea and provided with a mobile phone for free to use anytime day or night if you have the slightest problem?
Now personally I found this part rather insulting “ if you're used to backpacker places furnished with stuff found on street corners, you'll love this place – a bit harsh surely? For example do you get a brand new computer with super fast broadband at your local backpackers with 70 – 100 m apartments? None that I am aware of… and nor are they found on street corners as rule
About the train ticket debacle I am not going to try to defend that. You are right we did “stuff up” and I do apologise. Getting train tickets in China can be an absolute nightmare and offering this service has bought us more problems than any other aspect of the business to be completely honest. In fact for 3 years we refused to offer the service for precisely the reason you state here – it is actually impossible to guarantee that we can get the exact tickets you require, particularly when trying to organise one whole compartment. However as a courtesy to our guests we have decided to try our best with it. Generally speaking train tickets are a lottery and Sandy should have spelled this out more clearly. Again I apologise for that, though I do believe the $7/ ticket commission we charge is fairly reasonable for the service.
I hope this clears things up and as I am sure you will now see our operation is in fact a model of transparency. Not sure what you mean by “Don’t treat the word Sandy as gospel? “ What are you implying here? Sandy has been working for us more than 3 years and you will see from the other reviews here she has done an outstanding job. Her only mistake being not being able to get you the tickets you wanted. For a third time, I sincerely apologise for that.
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85 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Melbourne
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2011

My family and I stayed at HQ for 3 nights in early December and really enjoyed our time there.

The apartment is spacious, has a kitchenette and eating/sun room and a computer with internet.

Sandy and her Aunty were really friendly especially with our 2 kids inviting us in for coffee and food, giving us a run down on places to visit while in Xi'an, best places to eat and answering all our questions with a smile.

We also had Sandy as a tour guide to the Terracotta Warriors and she was very knowledgeable, informative and patient and descriptive with answers to our questions

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, NC
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2011

I was looking for a hotel in Xi'an and found that many are a good distance from the center of Xi'an. I then found out about the Hq Guesthouse and after reading the reviews, I decided to give them a try. Overall, I was not disappointed.

I arrived in Xi'an by air and took the Airport Shuttle Bus to the Melody Hotel, near the Bell Tower. Sandy met us in front of the hotel minutes after the bus arrived and walked us to the Hq Guesthouse, a short distance (perhaps 1/2 Km) away.

Our apartment was a two bedroom apartment with one room locked (we only paid for a one
bedroom one). It was clean, roomy and comfortable. During our stay, Sandy asked us to move to another apartment since the one we were in was equipped for larger parties, the 2nd apartment was larger and even nicer.

Sandy was quite helpful, offering advice on local sites. During one of the evenings we were staying in Xi'an, she invited us back to her aunt's (Mei's mother) apartment where we had a pleasant conversation for over an hour. Sandy's aunt was also very hospitable and does a great job keeping the apartments clean for guests. Regrettably, her command of English is on par with my command of Mandarin (pretty minimal) ... she seems to be a very nice lady ... would have liked to have gotten to know her better.

Sandy and her Aunt arranged early morning taxi transport for us to the Airport, including having her aunt take us to meet the taxi at 5:30 AM.

Location-wise, the Hq Guesthouse is really hard to beat. We were probaby 200-400M from the end of the Moslem quarter where we found quite a few good eateries and also gift shops. It is also a short distance from the Bell and Drum Towers, the center of Xi'an and the hub for almost all public transport.

I had one minor complaint about the rooms ... The shower in both apartments were simply a curtained off area of the bathroom. It was hard to keep the rest of the bathroom floor from getting wet, leading to a slippery bathroom.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2011

This is a two bedroom apartment centrally located with the convenience of a modern washroom, living room, basic kitchen and a access to a computer with Internet. The communication was very good right from our booking to the end of our stay. The owners Mei and Todd were not available during our stay but Sandy, their go to person was at the train station upon our arrival even when our train was very late. Sandy arranged transportation to take us us to the apartment where we met Mei's mother who provided us tea and was very warm and welcoming. You are able to arrange tours through the apartment and our tour we chose was provided by Sandy, who was very gracious and well spoken. We would highly
recommend HQ Headquarters as an alternative accommodation to our friends and family! Thank you from Wendy, Mary and Susan (Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada)

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Kyoto, Japan
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2011

Excellent central location, very close to major attractions, amazingly quiet. Everything independent-minded travelers would need; a home away from home, but much more than just a place to stay, due to Hq Guesthouse's fully professional and genuinely personalized service. Sandy, who is a wonderful guide, was managing Hq during our 5-night stay and consistently did everything she could to make our stay comfortable and to ensure that we got the most out of our time in Xian, providing exceptional assistance that went far beyond our expectations - we greatly appreciated her thoughtfulness and care. Mei was also very helpfu and engaged despite being out of the country at the time. I'm so glad we stayed at Hq; I definitely recommend it!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Columbus, Ohio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2011

Our two bedroom HQ Guesthouse apartment was great for our three day stay in July. The bedrooms and living room are enormous, and even the bathroom is very spacious. It was very hot during our stay, so we were grateful for the air-conditioning in the bedrooms. The apartment was in a quiet area, but within easy walking distance of the Drum and Bell Tower and the Muslim Quarter. (The markets of the Muslim quarter were very colorful and lively, and we ate most of our main meals there, snacking extravagantly on the luscious dried fruits). We also enjoyed playing some of the many DVD's on the up-to-date computer in our apartment, and we liked having internet access as well. Most of all, we liked having such nice lodging from which to launch our visit to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2011

Mei and HQ took wonderful care of us. It was such a pleasure to find a clean, spacious apartment with great internet and a small kitchen located 2-5 minutes walk from the Muslim Quarter.

My family and I had only one night here, but loved it so much (and Xian as well) that we wished we'd stayed longer. Everything about our interactions with Mei was to notch and trustworthy, which made us feel safe and secure while traveling.

The apartment has a nice space to relax and eat as well as a coffee machine. We went to the Muslim Quarter street market for dinner, bringing back an assortment of delicious food and drink (kebabs, "chinese pizzas," beer, dried fruit, dumplings, etc) and ate it all at home. Lovely evening. Fond Memories of our HQ apartment.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Xian Apartments Guesthouse Hq

Address: Building A, Hong Cheng International Apartment Complex, Xi Hua Men, Xi'an 710003, China
Location: China > Shaanxi > Xi'an
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 106 B&Bs / Inns in Xi'an
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hq Guesthouse Xian: Boutique accommodation for families, couples and independent travelers of all ages located in the centre of Xian. Offers bunks, double rooms with balconies or your own self contained 100m2 apartment near Muslim Qtr, absolutely perfect for families. Spacious, cozy, clean and extremely central: experience absolute comfort for a fraction of the usual cost. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Xian Apartments Guesthouse Hq China/Shaanxi

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