I write this as one who had never been to China before, I didn't know what to expect. I stayed as I arrived at the airport Ramada. A US Ramada is basically a motel; the Pudong Ramada is far nicer, more like a good Marriott. On the way home I stayed between flights at the Qube, which is nicer still: what I'd rate as a high-end 4-star in the US, like one of the better Hyatts. Great bar and two fine restaurants.
The only note: you need to take a taxi, which cost me about 60 yuan. (Don't pay attention to the guys at the desks in the terminal who are shouting at you. One offered a "special deal" of 300 yuan.) The hotel said that it will offer a shuttle if you book it by phone in advance; fine, but who knows, really, when his flight will arrive and he'll be out with his bags? So, plan on a cab. But print out a map ... I can't speak Chinese and the cabby didn't have a word of English. He called the hotel (I had the number) and took me to within a block or so of the Qube and then seemed lost ... I spotted it, and it seemed to be a new one on him.
When I arrived there was a little weirdness: they couldn't check me in due to some grumpiness in the computer system. They bought me a beer and I sat in the bar for 45 minutes. No big deal, and hey, this sort of thing can happen anywhere.
To be honest, I might end up choosing the Ramada next time because it's easier to get to; but although the Ramada is very good, the Qube is a palace. On the other hand, if I was here with my wife I might go to the Qube: At the Ramada you are basically just there. At the Qube you can get out and walk around and get some small feel of a China. (But you aren't downtown.) There's a McDonalds next door, for those who don't like to leave home even when away.
Some China advice from a complete newbie: I was worried about three things coming to China, the money, the airports and the water. As regards the first, I changed money at JFK, and that turned out to be enough. But my Chinese friends have told me that Chinese ATMs are temperamental about which US ATM cards they work with ... investigate this on the web before you come. As regards the airport, the two Chinese airports I've seen (Pudong and Xianyang) are probably better than ours in the US, at least that's my impression: very efficient, clean and kind of fun to be at. As regards the water: not even the Chinese drink their water. All hotels seem to give you two bottles per day, and buying more is easy.
One thing I didn't worry about and should have: I use gmail, and you may have heard that China censors google. Well, they do: My gmail was awful to use, it wouldn't do anything for 5 minute intervals and then would flush everything through for 30 seconds; then another 5 minutes of cobwebs. Next time I'll get a temporary 163.com or yahoo account or something. And dropbox doesn't work at all in China, that was a pain for me.
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