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Sitting on the City Walls (Beijing) Courtyard House
Ranked #5 of 941 Specialty Lodging in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A hidden jewel”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

This place is amazing. Granted it is a bit hard to find, but Rick and Rachel sent us a directions card in Chinese to give to our Taxi Cab Driver. He got us to within about half a block of the entrance to the alley they are located on. Thanks to pictures online here, I recognized their sign and after a short exploration, we found them down the alleyway. We were greeted by an amazing couple into a true jewel of a guesthouse. The second you enter off the alley, you feel like you have stepped into another world. One that is friendly, inviting and actually very homey. Their knowledge of their city and the best way to see the sights is amazing. They have detailed guides they give you, so that you can plan out your days with ease. The rooms are clean and comfy and the courtyard area is peaceful and quiet. This is truly a gem. Thank you Rick and Rachel

Room Tip: All the rooms are great
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Gary P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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267 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Boston
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013 via mobile

We stayed in a Double Room with Ensuite for 4 nights. It's great to experience the Hutong, just know that it comes with the quirks of historic housing. Rooms are fine, no desk or storage area.

Overall: 3.5- above average

Pros
- Staff: very helpful, great map and detailed information provided at check-in.
- Tours: no need to book your Great Wall tour before arriving, great options and other activities can be booked through hostel.
- Location: very close to Jingshan Park and a 30 minute walk to Forbidden City (there is also a bus).
- Free Wifi: works in the room.
- Dinner: chicken dishes and dumplings are good.

Cons
- Noisy: part of the Hutong style is the courtyard where most of the rooms open to. Guests were all respectful, but even low conversations can be heard. If you are a light sleeper this might not be the place for you.
- Breakfast: coffee was good, but eggs were cooked in too much oil/butter (tried them a few times).

Suggestions:
- Great Wall Tour: Jinshanling is less busy and has a bit of hiking involved (not for everyone), highly recommend it.

  • Stayed March 2013
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Helpful?
4 Thank rtwsarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Stayed here for 4 nights the start of January. A bit hard to find as its down a Hutong but the locals were friendly and pointed us in the right direction, even though they could not speak English. I would advise printing a map before arriving. Great location, central to all attractions & restaurants.

Stayed in a private en suite room, comfortable, spacious enough but was a small bit cold and the courtyard was freezing. Wrap up in the winter time.The breakfast was good & cheap. The hostel also provided a good selection of drinks which were also very cheap.

Staff were friendly and helpful providing maps and information about the area. Booked trip to the great wall through hostel, good trip, no shops. In all great stay & would highly recommend this hostel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank JRCork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newtonville, MA
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Our bedroom was warm and comfortable and this hostel is in a fabulous location, within easy walking distance of Beijing's major sites. The hostel's staff was very helpful and even connected us to a shopping-free Great Wall trip! The only drawback was the temperature - we travelled in January and it was very cold in Beijing - and the hostel's courtyard/main seating area is unheated. (Most places have little or no heat in common areas, but in this especially cold time it made it impossible for me to spend much time in the courtyard, where breakfast is served and people can hang out.) However, this hostel had the best dumplings and honey ginger tea that I had in China. And it's a great way to get to know Beijing's disappearing hutong. Highly recommend this hostel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank kgt11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

Husband and I stayed here for 6 nights in October 2012, in the quiet period after the National holiday week (a week worth avoiding unless you adore crowds). It is basic accommodation but is located very centrally: two large blocks north of the forbidden city and one block north of a nice/quiet city park, and reasonably close to some other interesting attractions in the city. The staff will provide a list of suggested activities in Beijing and how to get to them (bus, subway, taxi) and we found the subway easy to use but the buses a bit confusing (to put it mildly; people in China including Beijing were generally very helpful to us confused travellers and saved our butts more than once, getting us off into the right direction on our travels). Don't believe it when people tell you that a lot of people in Beijing speak English: few do, although you will get by if you have a sense of humour! I used my lonely planet guide Mandarin glossary plus the google translate app on my iphone and they saved my butt frequently: one night, we pre-programmed into the iphone the specific dishes we were hoped to order for dinner and simply asked the waitress in a local Sichuan restaurant if she had them. We found Beijing food at some restaurants to be very salty unfortunately....
Anyway, the reception area is a large common room with lots of interesting knick knacks and books to look at and kill some time; there are a couple of PCs for guest use and wifi there. Meals are also served there; they are simple but good. Breakfast is not included but it was not expensive; you can get eggs and white toast, a spot of muesli (never enough for me) or go Asian (noodles); they provide hot water if you are thrifty enough to bring your own instant coffee, tea or noodles. The area is a good way to get some company and chat up other people for wonderful travel suggestions and stories.
Back to the staff: in addition to speaking English well, they also graciously loaned us a phone to use when we received a few calls, and made a couple of calls for us, which really smoothed travel matters (including a long-distance call to prebook a taxi to pick us up for our next hotel in south China). I noticed that they were helpful to other travellers, such as booking train tickets (although you may want to book them in advance to ensure that you don't get a hard sleeper or seat).
A bit hard to describe the hotel's layout: boy, it is not very easy to find at night, but persevere! My taxi found the hutong only by talking on his cell phone with the hotel; I gave him the map and Mandarin directions provided on the hotel's website. I had never been in a hutong and so, hesitated a bit before I found the hotel...some locals in the alley way were also helpful in pointing me on to the right place. Once you step inside the place, you are still outside...in a courtyard. Two or three double rooms (including ours) actually have their exit door right out into this inner courtyard. This provides more privacy but in cooler times of year, may be a pain for getting to/from the common area since a coat and winter footwear will have to be worn! I'm unsure, but expect, that the rooms surrounding/opening into the common area, while not having this problem, might be a bit noisier, as people gathered there rather early in the morning for breakfast, and talked at a regular level, having frequently flown in from very different time zones.
I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone wanting a central location and good service but not needing anything fancy. There was no TV in the room or other entertainment but will all of the walking we did, including right in the area around the hotel itself, we soon dozed right off to sleep. The hutong location meant little or no traffic noise at all.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank TorontoCarol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2012

Tucked away in a hutong, this hostel was a lovely peaceful little haven away from the hustle and bustle of Beijing. The courtyard area was lovely and a great place to chill out in the evening and nurse sore feet from all the site seeing. We made good use of the chess set and exceptionally cheap beer one night! Also a small but very good value menu if you don't fancy venturing out one evening. We had a private en suite room opening off the courtyard which was fine, plenty of hot water in the shower too which is always a bonus. It's not 5 star comforts but then this is a hostel and as such is excellent.
Staff were brilliant. All spoke exceptional English and upon arrival we were issued with a map and loads of tips with suggested itineraries, things to avoid, places to eat etc. We had already sorted ourselves out with a trip to the Great Wall otherwise i would have had no hesitation in doing it through these guys.
Thoroughly recommended.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Hughesy_32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2012

Great place to stay on any visit to Bejing.Location that is near to all the major attractions or on the bus line or subway to these sites. However,what makes the Courtyard House so special is the people.Rick,Rachel,and Lucy could not have been more helpful during our first visit to China.They all speak excellent English and very patient in writing out directions in Chinese script to give to people on the streets when trying to find a location. I made the mistake of booking some things(Great Wall trip,Acrobatic show) before traveling to China.Rick can do all this for you at about half the price that you can arrange yourself.The food is very good and the beer the less expensive in all of China. They can also do your laundry services by weight.Overall,a great experience.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank mike5399
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sitting on the City Walls (Beijing) Courtyard House

Property: Sitting on the City Walls (Beijing) Courtyard House
Address: No.57 Nianzi Hutong, Jingshanhoujie, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100009, China
Location: China > Beijing > Houhai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 941 Specialty Lodging in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Sitting on the City Walls (Beijing) Courtyard House 2*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
It is Classic, Therefore it is Modern…¬City Walls (Beijing)/0 km…Staying and Being a real neighbor of locals/1 km circle…Forbidden city, Beihai park, Jingshan Park, Drum and Bell Tower, Houhai lake leisure area, Nanluoguxiang culture street. Senior officer’s private courtyards (China’s Chairman, Premier and Generals) Located in the central of the middle AXIS; definitely here is in the HEART of Ancient Peking.Quiet alleyway, friendly eyes exchange and warm greetings within neighbors, a simple and happy life atmosphere, all these are reminding you: Life Style in Old Town Beijing ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sitting On The City Walls (Beijing) Courtyard House Hotel Beijing
Courtyard Beijing
Beijing Courtyard

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