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“Good hostel, not the best”

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Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel
Ranked #1 of 982 Specialty Lodging in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 13, 2012

Like others who give an average rating, I just can't undurstand how someone may write on the hostel's wall that it is the best place they've been. Or maybe it is their first hostel in China?

The place is ok. We had a nice, clean double room. It was big enough for the both of us, and one of the biggest we've got in China. It is really well situated in Beijing and there is many great walks to do around.

Some of the staff was very helpful, and we owe them much. But some was not that helpful (ex. saying that no bus line was going to the place we wanted to go, but that was not true at all) (I think that it is linked with the fact that in Chineese culture, you don't answer with an "I don't know")(anyways, we got help from another staff member).

To be honest, the only reason I give an average rating is because of the lack of ambiance. There was no ambiance at all. The small common room was not an inviting place to stay. It seems that on the rooftop there was a place to hang, but it was under construction. In all the places we stayed in China, it was the most boring place. We did not had the chance to meet other backpackers.

Little word of advice: get lost in the hutongs arounds, don't say on Nanlougo Alley. You'll find good cheap food, and more authentic sightseeing. To go out, the Salud bar, near the hostel, is a good place to go (price are high, like the rest of the street, but the ambiance is good, with lots of Chineeses and expats). And don't go to the hostel restaurant (except for breakfast), it is way too expensive.

That said, I would recommand this place anyway, but maybe not for a lone traveller that wants to meet some other peoble.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank iciPompom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 10, 2012

We stayed here for 6 nights – in both a triple and a double room. The hostel is in a great location – on a lively street in the middle of the hutongs so loads of places to get food and have a drink at night. The restaurants and bars on the main street were quite expensive but if you headed down one of the side streets they were a bit cheaper. It was also a nice 15 mins to walk to the metro (through the hutongs) and possible to walk to the Forbidden City as well.

The triple room we had was quite basic and a bit crumbly, and not all that clean, but lots of space. The double room was nicer but quite a lot smaller. In both there was always hot water for showers. The breakfast is in the café next to the hostel – it’s a Western breakfast and was fine (other than getting a bit boring having the same thing 6 days in a row). The café itself is quite expensive (as are most of the cafes on that street).

The reception staff spoke good English and were helpful when we needed to find things. We didn’t realise until it as too late, but they can book train tickets for you, so that can save a lot of hassle.

The only thing we were confused about were all the comments on the walls saying it was 'the best hostel ever'! There’s no wi-fi in the rooms, so the communal areas tend to get filled up with people all silently staring at laptop screens. So we didn’t find it to be all that friendly and it was functional, but nothing fancy.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LeahAndTom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

I thought I'd review this place as my experiences (and that of others who stayed at the same time as me) was different to the below reviews

The location is very good,though 15 mins walk from subway. the dorms and bathrooms are decent

Wifi near reception, but at a push I could get it in my room too on the 1st floor

The breakfast at the cafe next door is passable, seeming as its free

But the people are amongst the grumpiest and least friendly I came across in my month of china hostels. I normally put this down to lack of English skills in china (which is my fault anyway, not the fault of the Chinese), but here they speak enough English to communicate and still stare at you blankly, and responses to questions are normally blunt or merely grunts. They're more interested in getting back to their newspapers or mobile phones than they are in helping travellers. This was even more surprising, after having read previous reviews here lauding the staff

The other reviewers clearly didn't stay at mama naxi in lijiang or sims in chengdu, where they would come across staff who would go through hell or high water to help you

It's not a bad place to stay as I've mentioned the positives- you just need to know that if this place is your first stop in china (fortunately it was my last) and you're overwhelmed by the busy-ness, the language, the culture then this place won't help much to alleviate that

If/when I return to Beijing I will probably stay elsewhere as I'd heard about (reportedly) better places, and I didn't think much of the staff here

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank sameer k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

Good hostel located in a Hutong's area. The street is particularly touristy (which means boutiques, high prices and lost of autencity), but you can stroll around to see a nice hutong area by foot. Stayed two nights in a 4-bed dorm and 2 nights in a private two-bed dorm. Rooms were clean and comfortable enough. Soap, shampoo ands sheets were provided (not towels, you can hire them at reception). Showers are not separated from toilets, as in all hostels and hotels we stayed in China, so don't be surpised. Not noisy at night, so we could have a good sleep. Complete breakfast included in the price (toast, bacon, eggs, fruit and juice). People at reception more efficient than kind, but overall helpful enough. Free wifi in common areas. Internet at 3 RMB minimum charge. Metro station at 15-20 min walking (not a bad option at all, faster than take buses because traffic is really bad at some times of the day). Good value for money and a reasonable budget option to stay in Beijing!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank minnieSydney2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2012

very nice location on a lively (not loud) hutong alley, a bit far from the metro, but still ok (15 min walk). rooms (privates) were relatively spacey with a big and comfy bed. air-condition. no window (had to pay 20 yuan extra for that). Breakfast was included = very nice. toast, juice, jam, egg, bacon or sausage and melon. wifi in reception, would be nice to have in rooms. also nice with a livingroom area to chill out in.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Emilia E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

Staying at the Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel has many advantages. It is located on one of the city's historic streets that attract many people in the evening. Of course, that can be a disadvantage if you're in a hurry. But why rush! Enjoy the food, music and street activity.

Another advantage is that the hostel is located close to major tourist attractions like the Drum Tower, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Also, just walk down any of the side streets near the hostel and you see how real Beijingers live.

The rooms are clean, simple, reasonably priced, come with a free American style breakfast next door. The mattresses are only about five inches thick, nornal for China, but the sheets are crisp and ironed. There is no daily cleaning service for rooms.

They offer free airport pickup if you're staying four or more nights and airport dropoff for 150 yuan. The front desk is staffed 24 hours/day and internet access is free with excellent speed.

When choosing a room, be aware that some rooms do not have windows, only skylights. This can be a little disconcerting at first. But you get use to it. Also, the walls are a bit thin so you hear people talking, coming and going and bathroom use. For me, this was not a big issue.

Most of the front desk staff are friendly and seem comfortable with English. I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank mazel510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

I stayed in BDBH in a private room for 8 nights. It's a good place, very well located in a historic street full of restaurants and shops frequented by young Beijingers. It's not close to any metro station (the nearest one is around 15 minutes walking away) but everything in Beijing is far away of everything. The accomodations are simple, but the price is good (half the price of another hostel in the same street). The staff is kind even though the communication sometimes is hard (a problem very common in all Beijing). I would stay there again. And don't forget to rent a bike.

Room Tip: They have rooms with and without window. All of them are good.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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Thank gabebritto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hostel

Address: No. 85 Nanluogu Alley, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100009, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Beijing > Houhai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 982 Specialty Lodging in Beijing
Price Range: $15 - $48 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodation is the original Nan Luo Gu Xiang Youth Hostel. Located in the traditiona Hutong location - Nan Luo Gu Xiang Alley, Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodation is much more economical than similarly placed competitors. As a well established value provider we are well attuned to the essentials. Rooms are basic, but well priced, clean and tidy. Our staff are well aware of western traveler needs and cater for various Great Wall tours and Hutong Bike tours. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Beijing Downtown Backpacker Hotel Beijing

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