Two weeks travelling around China and this was by far the worst accommodation that we stayed at. It was so bad that we left the hotel within 30 minutes of checking-in and forfeiting the entire night stay which we had prepaid in advance. Surprisingly, this was a very large amount as our credit card statement now confirms, coming to £68 per person (there were three of us) for two nights – a ton of money for China. This of course was because it was the Olympics and this was the best deal that we could get in the last two days of the Games in Beijing despite booking nearly four months in advance. In retrospect, we could have held out as hotels became available closer to the start of the Olympics as the influx of tourists didn’t materialize as planned.
The hostel is in a great location but arriving from the outside I could tell that it was a bad idea. The hostel is sandwiched by some commercial buildings and I believe that it used to be an office itself. The lobby is in shambles and looks more like a pay-by-the-hour motel than anything that could have been listed by Hostelling International. The ladies at the desk were hospitable and had a reasonable amount of English and the hostel seemed to be full of foreigners.
Things definitely looked bad when we were told that our room was on floor -4 (4 below) and the elevator was broken. We would have to go next door, take the elevator of the adjacent building to our rooms. The elevator was dingy and looked like a service elevator from years gone by. The elevator dropped us into a basement with a large iron blast door and iron frame – for all intents and purposes, it was a bomb shelter. The door had a large turning lock mechanism that you would find on a submarine or in an air raid shelter. This was just bizarre. The hostel had made some effort to decorate the building but it was clear that was a basement or previously an indoor parking lot. It was entirely concrete, felt damp, cold and there was absolutely no sunlight. From my understanding, this was the entire hostel – all rooms were located here.
The rooms themselves were cold, had an air conditioner, an oversized but broken television and the mattresses were very, very hard and no more than 2 inches in thickness. Whilst the room seemed to be clean enough, it would have been a depressing start to the trip and it was clear that we had made a mistake. The filthy communal bathroom confirmed that we had to leave.
We ventured outside and within 10 metres of the hostel we ran into a Chinese hotel called Oriental Hotel that looked like that it had recently opened. We went inside to query and decided to stay there. It was very, very well priced, required little effort to move and was a much better start to the trip. See my review on this hotel.
We checked out of the hotel and explained the reason why. The receptionist apologized that we could not get our money back as we had pre-paid. However, she was quite sympathetic why we left.
In summary, there is no reason to stay at this hostel unless you are desperately looking to save money, assuming the prices drop to a reasonable level post Olympics. Western hotel chains and hotels overall are very cheap in China, so paying a bit more to stay in somewhere decent is well worth it.
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