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“Authentic Beijing hutong experience in clean, welcoming hotel”
Review of Citycourt Hotel

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Citycourt Hotel
Ranked #19 of 1,324 Beijing B&B and Inns
Memphis, Tennessee
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Authentic Beijing hutong experience in clean, welcoming hotel”
Reviewed January 6, 2011

I live in Beijing and recently had a friend come visit me, and as my home is a typical, Westernized apartment complex far away from the "pulse" of the city, I booked her a room at the Citycourt Hotel. This choice could not have been better: Citycourt is a genuine hutong hotel with very clean, traditionally furnished rooms facing a large, well decorated and open courtyard. And as this is January, the weather in Beijing is currently an icebox, but there's an opaque, removable covering over the length of the courtyard, so it was possible to relax on one of the couches and drink coffee outside without feeling discomfort. In regard to the rooms themselves, they have more than enough heat and feel "cozy" very quickly, and there's television and wifi in each room (one of the reviews mentioned the short showers you need to take and this is true, but there's nothing that can be done about this due to the fact the hotel's location is in a hutong, where plumbing can be described - at best - as archaic.) As also mentioned by other reviews, the staff is very helpful and can provide detailed information and book train tickets for you. But most essentially of all, Citycourt is located in a traditional Beijing hutong - an ancient neighborhood village composed of narrow, winding alleyways and teeming with people, pushcarts, animals, and all the sights, sounds, and aromas this wonderful mix will create. So if you want a traditional - yet still thriving and very much alive - Beijing experience, and if you want this experience at good value, then you should consider booking at the Citycourt Hotel.

** Just a quick word of advice for how to find this hotel when arriving from the airport: if you're coming from a domestic flight, go directly to the info kiosk and ask them to write the name and address of the hotel in Chinese and to include the telephone number (if you booked online, the number they list doesn't work inside China so be certain to ask for a telephone number that works inside Beijing.) If you're arriving on an international flight, you'll arrive on the first floor. The info kiosk is on the second floor, so go there to get this info. Once you've got the name and and address in Chinese, go to the taxi stand and simply keep your fingers crossed. Beijing taxi drivers are notorious for not knowing how to get anywhere unless you can tell them the specific directions, and the less they know the more probable it is that they won't want to take foreigners in their car (I've had taxi drivers suddenly need to put oil in their car as soon as they see they've got a Westerner walking over to them). If you have a cell phone that works in Beijing, once you're in the cab you can call the hotel's number and have the driver speak to the hotel, or else you can sit there and smile and hope they'll take you directly there. As the previous reviews have stated, the entrance to the hotel is about 300 - 500 feet from one of the main roads, and if your taxi driver insists on dropping you off at the mouth of the hutong and then points down a narrow street that he wants you to walk, don't worry. Once you go into the hutong, you can show the piece of paper that has the name and address to the people walking around, and they'll be able to point you in the correct direction. Once you get to Citycourt, they have business cards with a very well planned out map on one side and Chinese directions on the other, and it won't be difficult at all getting around after the initial arrival. And if all this sounds like it's not worth it - trust me, it is! This hotel is a true gem, and finding your way around a hutong is all part of the Beijing experience, so enjoy!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank jstheodora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Malaysia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 26, 2010

We stayed in this hotel because it was given free as part of a freebie when we applied for a credit card. It is located in the old part of Beijing where there is a grid of alleys and old houses (like those you see in old Chinese movies eg My Father is A Hero starring Jet Li).

The staff is friendly and one of the staff speaks very good English. There is a bad smell in the middle of the covered courtyard and the rooms are a bit stale. They like to use a rose air refreshener for the rooms that makes it worst. So we went out to buy our own air refreshener for the room. The bathroom is really small, and the water heater has limited capacity. They say to bathe no longer than 15 minutes, but the hot water runs out in less than that.

There are some interesting small little shops on other alleys like the Bao Cao Hutong. There's a shop that sells Roasted mutton that's not too bad. Local beer is cheap there too. The next larger road that is parallel to the hotel street is the Jiu Gulou Road which has a number of shops. The subway is about 15 minutes walk away.

If you want to experience old China, this is it. Otherwise find some other hotel.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank omsakti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2010

Tired of souless star hotels then try this wonderful intimate courtyard hotel right in the heart of the ancient Hutong area of Beijing. Close to all the sites with a very kind and helpful staff. Wonderful for singles, couples and small families. Highly recommended

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank BeijingBob50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karmiel, Israel
Level Contributor
21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed June 25, 2010

Very nice hotel but also very difficult to find. Taxi drivers doesn't know the hutong (small alley) name, so you need to have a printed map of the hotel location.

As for the location - hotel located in ancient area (hutongs). The buildings here are from 500 years ago, so if you are looking for comfortable 5* hotel - stay away...

I will recommend to stay here for those, who want to feel the Chinese stile of life. This was my fifth visit to Beijing, previous four were for business purpose, so I stayed in business hotels - like kowloon, sheraton and others. This time I choose to be in the middle of Chinese life, and that was a great experience.

Bottom line - I will stay here again if I will visit Beijing in future.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank IgorKushnir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottetown, Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2010

We booked 4 nights at Citycourt through a tour company called China Highlights. I was traveling with two girls, so a feeling of safety and security was certainly important. When we pulled off the main road towards the hotel (make sure the taxi takes you down with your luggage... it's about 300m down a one-way street) I had my doubts. But this place is like a diamond in the rough.
A welcoming staff and original setup/concept make this a great option if you're staying in Beijing and looking to save a few dollars on your hotel. Two courtyards (one covered, one not) and a small breakfast room are available for lounging (they have wi-fi, or you can use their computer for 10Y/hour), with the rooms lining the outside of both courtyards.
The rooms were basic, but cozy. The water was hot, the beds weren't as hard as we were used to in China, and the air con worked great. I was worried about the possibility of noise (the sound carries pretty good from the courtyards) but everyone seemed to be in bed by 10:30pm and no one was up before 8am (when breakfast was served). Scrambled eggs and toast are available in the mornings (it was free when booking with China Highlights but not the case with every group...) as well as coffee and tea (for a few yuan). Like I said, the hotel is about 300m from the main road (which has great shopping and cool cafes), but the one-way roads have some worthwhile spots -- like Mr. Shi's Dumplings -- and a few bars.
The subway is about a 15-20min walk (or a cheap taxi), as is a McDonald's. The staff at the hotel speak great English and are very helpful in finding anything -- if you find a place you'd like to go they'll write it down in Chinese for you to show a taxi!
A great bang for your buck.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank MattyT080
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Level Contributor
37 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2010

I wanted to like this place but I didn't. Very poor but with so much potential.

This courtyard hotel is in a brilliant location. Walking distance to two metro stops, in a suburb with lots of little alley ways to get lost in, and some very very cheap eating places around (hot steamed buns for 2 yuan).

But we just couldn't stand the smell. It was revolting. The smell of sewage coming from the bathroom made us both feel ill. On the third of four nights we asked to move rooms and they moved us into a fully renovated room in the front section. Why oh why they'd put people in the run down shacks in the back when the front courtyard with refurbished rooms was fully vacant I have no idea. In the rear rooms the paint is peeling, the heater in the room doesn't work so it's absolutely freezing, they use the centre of the courtyard to stack beer bottles, bits and bobs, and what have you so there is no desire (or room) to sit out and enjoy the place. Towels had gaping holes in them. And all night the two young girls played music so loud that we had to ask them at midnight to turn it down.

Couldn't recommend the place even if I wanted to.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank BrisbaneRunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leicester, England
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed December 8, 2009

Good: *inside Beijing's inner ring road so easily accessible to main sites
*great bus service at end of hutong (alley/road to main road) *excellent aircon/heating as it's COLD in Beijing in November!
* feel very much part of 'local life'

Not so good: *located down a hutong and then an alley that is about 6 mins walk from main road & on the night we arrrived 3 different taxi drivers flatly refused to take us unless we paid between 4 and 10 times the usual cost; one we eventually found took us but got lost & had to ring hotel 3 times to find it.
* although it felt very safe I'm not sure if a woman travelling alone would feel OK along very dark streets at night
* I would describe it as a hostel rather than hotel
* Breakfast is always the same: scrambled egg, toast & very cheap coffee & we had to wait 30 mins & 70 mins on the two days we had it

On the whole if you want a cheap place to stay it's OK. Buses are only flatfare of 10p a ride anywhere & if you get a good map before you go it should have routes on. Didn't use underground but it's only 20p a ride. One bus ride to Forbidden City, walk through (north to south) and you come out at Tianamen Square & Mao's Mausoleum. Bus 124, check with staff who willingly tell you.
Very easy to get to airport by public transport: take bus 107 at main road to Dongzhimen station (terminus)(about 15 mins) for 10p and then train to airport for 25 yuen (£2.50).
Restaurants along hutong good, Mr Shi's Dumplings fantastic, 90p for 15 and small place by bus stop selling kind of stuffed pancake for 30p - delicious for breakfast and if you really need a western fix then McDonalds is within walking distance too.
Rooms have free internet access if you've got a laptop & will give you a LAN cable free, otherwise computer in main area.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank suliz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Citycourt Hotel

Property: Citycourt Hotel
Address: No.14 Liulisi Alley, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100009, China
Location: China > Beijing > Houhai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 1,324 B&Bs / Inns in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Citycourt Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 24
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