We were not sure what to expect in Beijing, this being our first trip to China. We stayed in a “brand name” hotel near the Olympic Park for the first two days (the business part of the trip) but wanted to get a more “Chinese” experience and be closer to the center of things. We chose the Red Wall Garden Inn based on Trip Advisor reviews and we were not disappointed in the least.
The hotel is on a quiet hutong in a neighborhood; “regular” people also lived and worked in the hutong. We were very surprised at how quiet things were: little internal hotel noise and virtually no noise from the street. We were a little nervous about noise when we saw the beautiful wooden floors but that never proved to be a problem. The hutong is dark at night, with near-silent electric mopeds coming and going; we never once felt unsafe, though, even in the dark with people standing in doorways.
There seemed to be a good number of Chinese business travelers and tourists at the hotel, and some Western tourists from all over (various parts of Europe, Australia, not a lot of Americans) but mostly the clientele seemed to be Chinese.
The location is fantastic. The Red Wall Garden Inn is centrally located in Beijing, maybe a 15-minute walk from the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square. There’s a subway stop (Dengshikou) about a block and a half from the hotel, some big-name hotels not far, and the Wangfujing shopping district not far.
The staff was extremely friendly and extremely helpful. We had to check in quickly because we were off to an unexpected business dinner, and the staff took us to our room, explained how everything worked, and while we were getting ready for the dinner, got us information for a driver and guide to go to the Great Wall the following day. Almost all of the staff spoke some English and we were never at a loss trying to explain a need or get directions.
Additionally, the hotel had two interns who were exceptionally helpful. One was from South Africa, the other from Senegal (with whom I was able to speak French); they were lovely, both very friendly in a quiet way with considerable attention to service.
The hotel puts two small bottles of water in the room (you can get larger bottles of water at the tiny grocery shop further down the hutong: 1.5 litre cost about 2 or 3 RMB). One afternoon upon returning to our room we noticed that the water had not been replenished and notified the front desk. They were horrified and the water was replaced instantly.
Our room was HUGE. In addition to a king size bed, there was a sofa, another settee, a sideboard/dresser, an armoire, two bed-side tables with storage, and a desk in an alcove. I don’t think I’ve ever had a hotel room with as much storage for clothes and belongings. The hotel is very proud of its Dux beds. I’d never heard of them but our bed was extremely comfortable; we slept very, very well. There were plenty of electric outlets and we were able to plug in some phone chargers without adapters. The windows opened and looked out onto the courtyard (see photo, there’s a nice coy pond). Black-out drapes worked well.
There was wifi and it worked OK; I’ve had stronger but it worked, except that you only got two connections (we had a laptop and two iPhones, so had to choose two of three).
The bathroom was very modern, with a big walk-in shower with a rain-type showerhead (and a hand-held shower), a nice hot-water ladder-type radiator that warmed towels well; the basin was very modern. Lighting could have been better but this is not a problem unique to this hotel.
Restaurant: We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant twice. It’s a little on the pricey side, but the buffet has quite an array of choices, from Chinese buns, salad, and sausage, to an omelet station, to pastries, juice, and fruit. Their coffee is OK. Because we were exhausted one night after our sojourn to the Great Wall, we decided to eat in the hotel restaurant, and it was quite good. We found Beijing food to be rather greasy, but the food in the restaurant was far less oily than what we found elsewhere, the cuts of meat were much better, and the presentation exceptional (see photo). The restaurant staff was helpful and polite, and the African interns were exceptionally helpful.
The front desk staff offered us a complimentary ride to the airport when we checked out. We were amazed! The driver was polite and an extremely careful driver. This was an unexpected treat, and one that would encourage me to stay here again.
Overall, there are certainly less expensive rooms to be had, but I wonder if there could be quieter. The staff is exceptionally polite and helpful. We have raved about our stay here since we returned, and I owe much thanks to Trip Advisor reviewers who steered us here.
Tips for guests: Do take the subway—it goes everywhere, announcements are in Chinese and English, and it is unbelievably inexpensive (2 RMB per trip). It is crowded and can get very crowded at rush hour, but nothing to fear. And for Westerners looking for good coffee, there’s a Starbucks in Jinbao Tower about a block away from the hotel. And in spite of the direction cards the hotel gives out, taxi drivers cannot always find Shijia Hutong: you need to tell the driver it’s near the Shijia International School. The Regent Hotel is around the corner and a good landmark.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Red Wall Garden Hotel is a cultural oasis of tranquillity in the very heart of the vibrant city of Beijing. It is located in Shijia Hutong, one of the city's most historic neighbourhoods and is within walking distance of the Forbidden City and the famous shopping and food streets of Wangfujing and Jinbao in DongCheng. A traditional Chinese courtyard hotel invoking the past, yet replete with modern facilities. All 40 individually appointed guest rooms feature ultra-luxury DUX beds, wooden flooring, en-suite bathrooms and amenities such as large flat screen TV, complimentary WI-FI throughout the hotel and private in-room bar. All rooms have air-conditioning & heaters. Located within the central courtyard of the award-winning Red Wall Garden Hotel, The Courtyard Bistro serves great value dishes that are inspired by the eight main culinary areas in China. The Courtyard Bistro also features open stage cultural entertainment nights as well as indoor and outdoor noodle stations and daily special chalkboards to further enhance the guests' dining experiences. The Lounge Bar invites guests to kick back in an armchair with a drink, a snack and a book. The Courtyard Bistro's full service bar serves up classic and specialty cocktails as well as traditional afternoon tea and features an excellent selection of wines, beers and other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. Situated just off the west lounge of the hotel, The Courtyard Bistro Tea House offers daily tea ceremonies where the in-house tea master guides patrons through Chinese tea history that looks back on over 4000 years of tea excellence. The private dining and event rooms at The Red Wall Garden Hotel can accommodate up to 200 people for meetings, weddings or events. The tailor-made menus offer an array of traditional Chinese cuisine to suit either a formal or an informal meeting, wedding or event. The "Red Wall Garden Boutique Hotel Experience" emotionally connects our guests with the intense historical, cultural and artistic life of authentic and historic Beijing. ... more less
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