Although it's called International Financier Club; this is not a business hotel. The name refers to Pingyao's 19th century status as the major banking center of China.
If you're charmed by the idea of sleeping in a traditional Chinese room in a Ming and Qing Dynasty courtyard complex, this might be the place for you. But only if you think Ming and Qing Dynasty hardships are part of the charm.
On our evening arrival, we wended our way through several courtyards, with poorly lit steps up and down challenging our aging night vision at every turn. Our nonsmoking room smelled of smoke (common in China), but we chose it over the substitute offered, which had a faint odor of sewage. The Ming Dynasty charm of the elevated platform bed did not make the fiendishly hard Chinese mattress any softer. (We asked for extra blankets to sleep on.)
The room's period furniture added to the amosphere, but not to its comfort. The bathroom was just adequate. The room lacked a safe. All the windows were of frosted glass, so the only way to check the weaher was to open the door, which locks with a padlock.
There is free wired internet in room. There was supposed to be wifi in lobby but it was not working.
Rigors of the period Chinese housing aside, the courtyards are indeed charming in the daylight, and make the guest feel a part of Pingyao Ancient Town.
Although the desk forgot to deliver our wakeup call, we still made the narrow breakfast hours of 7 to 9. We might have been better off oversleeping.
The buffet breakfast featured a good selection of Chinese dishes with a few Western ones, all served in chafing dishes over cans of Sterno, most of which had gone out. The few dishes that weren't cold to start with soon got that way in the poorly heated breakfast room. All the tables seat eight, so if you don't tolerate strangers well before your first cup of coffee, be warned: sharing is obligatory. One of the two young ladies tending the food had an obvious cold.
This hotel is one of those travel experiences that grows more pleasant as it receeds in memory. I now regard the photos of the place with some fondness. So if you're a traveler who wants the atmosphere of the country and can roll with the punches, toss a string of cash at the International Financier Club and enjoy an Ancient Town experience.
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