I was originally not going to need a place to spend the night in Beijing. A last minute change in travel details, however, got me in Beijing more than 12 hours earlier than I originally planned. I knew of rooms in Capital Airport (at/near gate E10) that one can rent by the hour, but I wanted more than just a bed. (Privacy, security, etc.) I knew I'd have to book myself a room, but it had to be a place close by and preferably one with a shuttle to the airport.
TripAdvisor helped me find this one as other reviewers say its only good for one night stays. After my one night, I agree.
I used Booking.com to make my reservation. I also used Google Translate to add my flight details to the comments section in Mandarin so they would pick me up after customs in the terminal. Sure enough, there they were.
Upon arrival to the hotel, everything went downhill. They found my reservation rather quickly. I saw the slip in her hand. It had my flight number and "Booking.com" written on it. However, despite the best efforts of the sole front desk agent who spoke English, it turned out incoming guests to the hotel (Chinese, not even foreigners) spoke better English than her.
Tip to possible visitors: Bring folding cash. All I had was my debit card, which I used to pay for my room. But I couldn't leave a 100 RMB deposit, which had to be paid in cash, without which I, for example, couldn't make calls to the States from my room. I had to make my phone call right at the front desk (I spoke Spanish, but still) and paid for it with my debit card. (8 RMB/min. by the way)
Now, I've traveled in Asia before (Japan, North Korea) and have come across firm mattresses that still yielded to my weight revealing some degree of overall softness. In this hotel, which was actually a re-purposed apartment complex called Ao Zhu, the mattress was solid. I mean, I might as well have been sleeping on the floor. Mind you, I did manage to sleep. 10 hours, even. I was simply shocked at how hard the mattress was.
There were textured bath mats on the floor of the bathroom. The shower is right in front of the toilet and a curtain separates the toilet/shower area from the sink area and window. I did my best and didn't completely soak the place.
Thanks to another guest with better English than the staff I confirmed that breakfast was included. I skipped it however. Breakfast was served on the second floor between the hours of 5:30am and 9am. For those interested, anyway. I thought I wanted to, but I decided against it. I wanted to make myself some tea using the electric kettle, but there was lime scale at the bottom of it so that was out. I even refused to drink either of the two bottles of water provided in my room. Basically, for a reason I could not explain, being here made me overall uneasy. I just wanted to leave. The front desk agent said that since my flight was at 6pm, I was to check out at 2pm. I ended up leaving of my own volition at 11am.
The morning shift was more promising as there was a different English-speaking agent present who took to my needs fairly quickly. I was checked out and was returned 40 RMB in cash. (I guess they did take that "deposit" from my debit card anyway). She called the shuttle to the airport and asked me which terminal I needed to get to.
Her English was better but it wasn't enough to make me feel any less uneasy staying at this hotel. If you happen to have one more night to spend in Beijing and will be flying the hell out the next day, stay here. Deal with check in/check out and a hard mattress like I did but sleep well. Check out and get yourself to the airport. What you do from there I leave to you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Aulympic Airportel is a three star hotel in Beijing, China. It is just an 8-minute drive from Beijing Capital Airport and is close to Ligao Park, Tianzhu Garden, and New International Exhibition Center. It offers 258 air-conditioned rooms that is equipped with double/twin beds, cable TV, IDD telephone, and free high-speed Internet. The hotel offers you ideal venues for corporate and social events. Meeting rooms are available for seminars. Aulympic Airportel has a classy bar and restaurant, where you can celebrate life's wonderful moments. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aulympic Airportel Apartment Hotel