Our family stayed at this location for five nights for our Thanksgiving vacation. I have previously stayed at this hotel and reviewed this property but not with my family-in-tow. So this review is with a family in mind.
Back in July of this year I emailed the GM, Mr. Travers and asked him as a Platinum Elite member could I reserve three rooms all on the same floor. He immediately replied and after receiving his room rate I agreed and reservations were made.
Upon arrival, I went to the front desk and our reservations were correct (rate and rooms on same floor). Although I would have preferred to be on a higher floor, we were all on the 7th floor. Our room had been upgraded to a suite and the other two rooms were as requested... two beds in each room. Our children were ecstatic with their rooms for the first thing they all did was to take a shower after such a long trip from the US. Everyone loved the hot water and pressure! The beds were incredibly comfortable and everyone had a great first nights rest.
Incredible, delightful, awesome are words that are not sufficient to describe how amazing our suite was on the 7th floor. The bathroom was larger than ours at home in the US. The separate bath and shower and vast two sink vanity with a separate toilet area and chandelier lighting was breathtaking to my wife. She said she didn't need to go anywhere else (ha ha). We also had a separate living room from the bedroom. This was perfect for our family of six adults as we were able to congregate in the living room area. There was two couches and a desk/working area. Just this area was the size of a normal hotel room. The large flat screen TV, refrigerator with drinks, and large window were truly fabulous. This living room area also had a separate toilet area from the bathroom next to the bedroom.
My family wants to know when they can come back and stay at this hotel again. They loved it and said it was one of the top three places they have ever stayed.
Over the course of five nights and six days, we fully utilized this hotel. The swimming pool, sauna, exercise room and locker rooms were first-rate. There are separate facilities for men and women and once again, loved by all. There are a variety of work-out exercise equipment, as well as, free weights. This room comes with a water cooler and towels. Bring your headphones and you can watch your favorite channel while you are working out.
The Amazing: The breakfast on the 6th floor will not disappoint! Each morning at 8:00 we would meet for breakfast and we would still be there at 9:00. We ate and laughed and ate and laughed. There is truly something for everyone's individual tastes. In my last review I commented that improvement needed to be made with the servers. Well done! There was a noticeable difference in the quality of service all five mornings. I say compliments to whoever fixed this area. Please pass on my compliments to the morning staff as they were fantastic. By the third morning they recognized us and even one of the male servers asked as soon as I was walking toward my seat, "Hot green tea this morning?"
I also would like to compliment the staff for the Sunday morning, December 1 breakfast. Due to needed repairs on the 6th floor, they moved breakfast to the first floor at the German restaurant. First of all, there were many employees standing in the hallway directing people to the new location. Nice touch. What surprised me was that they completely set-up the German restaurant as if it was the Café on the 6th. I mean they took no short cuts. Everything and I mean everything was moved to the first floor and it was just as incredible as if it was still on the 6th floor. A side comment here: permanently move the breakfast to the first floor please. It was an awesome sight to be able to look out on the sidewalk and watch people and traffic while eating. The first floor had much better lighting and ambiance than the 6th floor. Plus, you would do more outside business for your restaurant if you opened this up on the 1st floor. It was a much better place as far as the location.
What is near this hotel? Everything. There is a Burger King, Sizzler, Dairy Queen, and a Starbucks all connected to this hotel in the Utown Mall area. The Burger King has excellent seating and you can see two different directions and watch lots of people while you are eating. The Starbucks is very busy and definitely more expensive than the US. Across the street you will find a McDonalds (very dirty and several homeless people sleeping in the morning).
Within a ten minutes walk there are two Pizza Huts, KFC, and a Wal Mart. Only this Wal Mart is nothing like the US. However, if you forgot anything in the US, you can find it at this Wal Mart. It is actually in the basement of the building and an awkward entrance.
The Bank of China is straight across from the entrance to the hotel. Just grab a number from the machine as soon as you walk in on the left before you sit down. The exchange rate was 6.05 during the week of Thanksgiving. They do NOT take a service fee when exchanging money. There are pretty good Tom and Jerry cartoon reruns while you are waiting to exchange money. You will need your passport to exchange money and they will give you a form to complete while they are making a copy of your passport. This happens everytime so nothing to be alarmed about. It is cheaper on you to exchange money at the bank than it is at the hotel.
We took many subway trips during our week and it is a good 12-15 brisk walk to the subway station. It is easy to get to but you will have to cross on a pedestrian bridge across the very busy street. You can buy tickets for 2 RMB as soon as you walk down the long tunnel. The ticket office is open until 10 p.m. If you have a bag you will have it screened just before the ticket office. We found for the six of us it was much cheaper and for the most part, quicker to take the subway than to take two taxis. We took the subway to Wangjing, the Forbidden City, the Acrobatic Show and to the Beijing West train station. We never had a problem and it was very, very easy to use. If your first time using, once you buy your train card at the ticket office, you use it to enter the subway and when you exit the subway station at your final destination, you will put your card in the machine in order to exit the station... so don't lose your card or expect to keep it.
If you are really adventurous, the Silk Market is a 1.25 mile walk from the hotel. It is very, very easy to get too. Take a right out of the main entrance and walk until you come to a main street that forces you to make a right or left. Make a right and at the end of the street the Silk Market is on your right. So, only one right hand turn to make. It is an enjoyable walk as you can see and smell different things along the route.
There are always taxis available and the two times that we did take taxis, we were able to get two both times and all went smoothly. Concierge was very helpful in telling the taxi drivers where we wanted to go. The taxi ride to the Pearl Market was 25 RMB for each of us.
Now back to the hotel... I highly, highly recommend this hotel. I enjoy staying here and will stay here again in the Spring when I return. The front desk still needs to work on their English but you will get through it. The lobby was decorated for Christmas and it was beautiful... great attention to detail from the staff.
Only one negative comment for this trip... the morning that we left they were filming a movie in the lobby and drive outside with a great big limo. The only, ONLY, way for us to exit to our van that was waiting to take us to the airport was through the front lobby. We had six people, twelve pieces of luggage (lots of shopping) and our carry-ons. The people filming became very irritated with us trying to exit. We were only following the concierge gentleman who was leading us out. Everyone stopped (a group of 35 or so) to watch us exit the building. Of course we had to make a couple trips to get everything. This wasn't right as we were guests. The filming crew was paying the hotel, no doubt, to use their facility. Kinda left a sour taste as we were leaving from such a fabulous vacation.
Otherwise... a nearly perfect vacation at this hotel. I'm just sorry I didn't see Mr. Travers again. Maybe he was on vacation too. We will be back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town is an international hotel perfectly located in Beijing's Central Business District, adjacent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Embassy Area, Sanlitun Bar Street and teh Silk Market. Hotel prime location is wonderfully convenient in meeting your business, shopping and entertainment needs. The hotel adjoins popular U-Town Lifestyle Center and Shopping Wall, which features a vibrant array of leisure and entertainment venues. Splendid accommodations and superior quality service make Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town The Place to Meet. ... more less
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