Our group of 7 rented 2 apartments (1 bdrm unit and 2 bdrm unit respectively) for 4 nights in March 2012. We were attracted by the location, the large space and the reasonable prices. We also booked 4 tours with private car/guide.
Booking was very smooth. All inquiries answered promtly and to our surprise, no deposit required to secure the units. As promised, we were met at the train station by Sandy (who was to be our tour guide) and taken to the apartment. Sandy spoke English fluently, was professional, polite and attentive throughout our time with her (review of the tours on another post). I would recommend booking at least a half day's walking tour with HQ - well worth it just to get an introduction to all the delicious food at the Muslim Quarter.
As advertised, the apartment was 3 min walking distance to the Muslim Quarter. This was highly convenient as the Muslim Quarter is 'the place to go' for food. We navigated home by looking at the Drum and Bell Towers. We felt quite safe walking home quite late into the night even though we had to go through an alley to get to the apartment unit. A block into the alley from the main road is a hole in wall convenience store and the apartment units had security guards.
Upon arrival at the apartment, Aunty Yang (Mei's mom) greeted us warmly at the door and offered to help us with the luggage. Once we settled in, we 'settled up' and were provided with business cards, cell phone, and maps of attractions. Both apartments were spacious and well furnished.
It was quite cold in Xian but the units were warm with radiant heating. Our 2 bdrm unit only had a electric hotplate but our friends' 1 bdrm had a full stove. Didn't use the kitchens much because we wanted to try all the ethnic specialities available to us in Xi'an. However, the bottled water unit (with heated dispenser) was a godsend for coffee/tea/midnight instant noodles. Our unit's internet was wired which we didn't bother with. To check email/use the internet, we went to our friend's unit down the hall that had wifii or just stood in the hallway in front of their unit. Our children enjoyed the dvds provided. Ample linen was provided.
Cleanliness: I read some other posts about cleanliness and felt that I should give a balanced opinion. The landlords do try to keep the units clean and I noticed that Aunty Yang comes in to tidy up each day (even though this is a self-catering unit). However, they are limited by a) the water in Xi'an which left tend to leave scales on bathroom fixtures, b) the construction in the city which made things dusty very quickly (we certainly trekked dust and mud back each day), and c) the quality of construction in China. Don't know what they can do about the scales except eventually replace the fixtures. Shower is very similar to other showers in Asia and Europe. Plenty of hot water. There was a faint sewer smell emanting from the drain on the shower floor each morning. This is due to the lack of U-joints in Chinese plumbing which is prevalent (some 4 star hotels in China over 3 years old not built/managed by foreign companies has the same smell). Just light a match or an incense stick and the smell will be gone. And disposing of toilet paper in the bin instead of flusing down the toilet - an adjustment but that is the reality of millions of people. We had a minor incident of a screw coming off in one of the radiators suddenly. We decided to mop up and tightened the little screw rather than call our landlord. Aunty Yang was very thankful and immediately called in someone to check on the radiators. We wanted our children to have cultural experience of living in a home and that often entailed working out some kinks on our own.
About our landlords: Mei's parents were a cute retired couple who lived at another unit on the same floor. Aunty Yang was especially sweet. The laundry was self-serve (at 20 RMB) but she was very kind and hung up our clothes for us. She offered us buns on arrival and then bought us these awesome hot crispy Chinese donuts one morning. When I said I really liked them, she bought more (along with fresh hot soya milk) for our farewell breakfast. Sandy was very helpful when I got lost and called her one evening.
All in, staying HQ Guesthouse was a great experience for our group and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who want to feel like they are staying in a place with friends rather than at a hotel.
- 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