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“Only choose if you are an adventurous traveler”

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Autumn Garden Courtyard Hotel
Ranked #878 of 6,568 Hotels in Beijing
Reviewed June 28, 2010

I am torn with what to rate this hotel. The staff, as previously mentioned, are very helpful and the shining redeemers. The room itself was average. The location, however, was very eye-opening and not very pleasant. I think if you are an adventurous traveler that likes to be with "the local people", then this hotel might be a better fit for you. I found the walk to/from the main roads into the hutong area where the hotel is located to be the worst part of this hotel, as I will discuss below. The hutong area was bad enough that I can't give this hotel more than 2 stars, one of them strictly being for the staff.

First, the hotel can arrange for a taxi pick-up from the airport for 120RMB. Definitely take them up on this offer. They do not provide this rate for the ride back to the airport. We hired a taxi with a meter running and it was over 180RMB, due to the endless traffic in Beijing. It is about a 40 min - 1 hr ride, depending on traffic. When you approach Mao's Memorial Hall and Tiananmen Square, you are about 5-10 minutes away.

The hotel staff, mostly women, will greet you and the front desk girls speak decent English. I found the front desk to be really nice and helpful. When I wanted to go to restaurants, they would write down various dishes for me in Chinese that I could show the restaurants. They recommended the National Grand Theatre nearby as a good place to run, and that was a fabulous recommendation. It is not crowded, about a 5-10 minute walk, and flat/circular path way. I was pleased most with that recommendation, as I would never have figured that out myself.

They provide you with breakfast daily, and you can point and choose from a small selection of Western + Chinese dishes. Boiled eggs, toast, dumplings, fried dough sticks, steamed dumplings, coffee, tea. I ordered the fried dough sticks and it was completely oily, the steamed dumplings "steamed" in the microwave. I stuck to boiled eggs + toast after seeing that. It really is not much and disappointing, but enough to get you through the morning.

The courtyard is small, but I admit it is nice and surprisingly quiet. The room is decorated with Chinese furnishings and details, including a large mask with a very long, hairy beard (I assume to scare away bad spirits). The bed is a large wooden Chinese bed with a thin, hard mattress. I was so exhausted from sightseeing that it didn't bother me too much. There is a table with 2 wooden chairs and a cabinet. The bathroom has a shower stall, sink, western toilet. The room is dim. There is an old tube TV with only Chinese channels. CCTV had 1 English news channel. There is free Internet connection, not wifi. That was a saving grace as well, as it was our only connection out to the world. The front desk does have some adapters if you need it. Overall, the room was adequate but felt really dusty. I wasn't sure how long it had been since someone had stayed in that room, honestly.

The front desk has offers for trips to various places, such as the Great Wall, but the prices are ridiculously expensive and I would not go with them. Research on the internet or go to other travel tours to get your tours in. Perhaps try negotiating with the front desk if you would rather use the services the hotel provides.

Now, the hotel is located within walking distance to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and 2 metro stations on Line 2 - the Hepingmen station to the west and the Qianmen station to the east. The Qianmen station is much closer. The metro is so convenient and cheap to travel through Beijing (usu about 2RMB per ride for a tourist staying in the main parts of Beijing). The buses are 1RMB, but a bit more difficult to navigate and much slower. It seems like the metro has continuously expanded and improved, as a lot of metro maps online are already outdated.

I'd also like to mention that China in general is very stingy about distributing maps, so good luck finding a free map. Either rely on your guide book or buy maps. The hotel only provides you with a hand-drawn map of the immediate area, mainly to show you how to get in/out of the hutong area.

Now, the hutong area you HAVE to walk past to get to any of the attractions or train stations. It is about a 5-10 minute walk, depending on how quickly you want to walk through the hutong area. I am going to be honest here, and I hope I do not offend anyone. I am simply stating what I saw with my own eyes, and not a slandering observation of Chinese people. Anyway, I don't see the "attraction" in staying in a hutong area. I wanted to stay at an older, traditional setting for a hotel, but I was not expecting it to be in such a dirty hutong area.

There are 3 main paths that you take to leave the hutong. Path #1 leads you west towards the Hepingmen station. This is the longest path, and the one that leads to the famous duck restaurant chain, Quan Jude. I only took this path once and don't remember too much about it, besides it taking the longest. Path #2 is east towards the Qianmen station. This path is down a narrow alley that 2 people cannot cross paths simultaneously. You walk right outside of people's bedroom doors, which was uncomfortable for me. I also didn't take this path more than twice. It was probably the shortest, but also led you through more private areas.

Path #3 is the one I took the most, which also leads you out to Qianmen Station. It is the easiest and the widest walkway. However, this one has you passing 2 public toilets that are very smelly on hot summer days. I was ok with it, but my partner would hold his breath throughout this walk. The people in the hutong do not clean up after their dogs. You will see dog droppings throughout your walk, in addition to random, loose dogs. I am not sure if they are pets or not, but I was weary of them coming near me (and I am a dog owner/lover). There is always numerous piles of garbage, old, rotting food, and various unsightly items. The babies do not wear diapers, but pants with slits in the seat area. They relieve themselves out in the open on the streets, as you walk by. Spitting and nose-picking are common in China, which will also be occurring all around you in the hutong area. You will get stared at by the locals sitting outside of their living quarters, as it is evident by your skin color, clothing, shoes, bag, mannerisms, language, everything - that you are a foreigner. I never felt unsafe by any means; if anything, the exact opposite. Crime feels/seems nonexistent in China. However, just be aware that locals will curiously look on.

So, that's the absolute worst part about this hotel. It made it difficult for me to go in and out leisurely from the hotel, as it was really uncomfortable for me. I would not recommend staying in this hotel to my friends and family, unfortunately. I would only recommend it to a traveler that would like something different and to feel like he/she had a chance to experience local, poor living for him/herself. I think if I knew that this was the only type of accommodations available, then I could adjust my expectations accordingly. However, knowing there were many cleaner, comfortable places in Beijing made it more difficult to accept. Stick with places that give you the ease of being able to leave and come back at your leisure as a tourist. I understand it is not the fault of the hotel for the state of the hutong surrounding it, but it was a huge detractor for me.

Lastly, there are not many places to eat around this hotel. Sure, you are close to Forbidden City + Tian Square, but after you visit once, then what? There is that duck restaurant and a bakery near Hepingmen station, and a KFC and a bad ramen place by Qianmen station, but that is about it. The hole-in-the-walls were intimidating, esp since we didn't speak Chinese. We took the metro to Wangfujing for street food, to Sanlitun for good expat food (pricey for Beijing, but still decent for foreigners), and to Chaoyang for dimsum. These were all very convenient, no longer than a 15-20 minute subway ride.

I still enjoyed Beijing very much and highly recommend a trip to the Mutianye or Simatai sections of the Great Wall. Lei Garden had great dimsum (in Chaoyang area), and Blue Frog is a Western food restaurant chain in The Village in Sanlitun. It's a bar & grill based out of Shanghai, but it's very classy and fun in Sanlitun. It was not so easy finding cheap DVDs, but there is a store across from the Village in Sanlitun.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank queenbee19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 - 7 of 15 reviews

Reviewed March 10, 2010

The rooms are cosy and decorated in the chinese style. About 15 minutes for walk away from the forbidden city and tinanamen square.The most outstanding aspect was the helpful attitude of the staff. They take hospitality seriously in China, and the Spring Garden exemplifies this.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank buleeyes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2010

Staying at hutong area is must to every openminded traveller! Hotel is nice and sure chinese experience. Nice staff and beautiful rooms!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank mk94366
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2009

My boyfriend and I stayed in the Autumn Garden hotel at the end of our trans-siberian railway trip from Moscow and staying there was one of the highlights of an amazing holiday. Staying in the hutong was so much better than an international style hotel, we really felt that we experienced a 'real' bit of Beijing. We loved the choice of english or chinese breakfasts, the room was gorgeous and having free internet was incredibly useful. The location was wonderful too, only 10 minutes walk to Tiananmen square.

Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
Thank GreenPanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2009

The staff are extremely helpful and friendly, enabling you to find your bearings by providing a trishaw facility to the main road from the hotel. The location of the hotel is a 5 minute walk from Qianmen subway and the furnishings of the hotel rich in tradition. You may not get the western breakfasts you do in more modern hotels but it gives you an opportunity to live like the locals.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank applelu065
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2008

This is a great little hotel, I booked this hotel based on previous reviews, so I thought I would come on here and recommend it myself.
I went to Beijing on my own for 4 nights to see what its like. It is quite a crazy place, Chinese people seem to take advantage of tourists at every possible opportunity.
The Autumn Garden Hotel however is amazing, such nice people, and I consider it a great price for what I got. Its location is great if you want to get a slight feel of what its like living in China.
You need to walk down a couple of narrow alley ways to get to the Hotel, but it is very close to Tienanmen Square, with a lot of sites close by, such as the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City within walking distance. Also there is a touring company with nice and cheap tours (although in Chinese) which is less than 10 minutes walk away next to Tienanmen Square.

The rooms are clean and comfortable. Breakfast is simple but decent. The People are fantastic, talk English and are very very helpful. They picked me up from the airport without any charge, Im not sure if this is a regular service, but it was helpful. If it is your first time in China, I recommend getting picked up, as taxi drivers talk very little English if any at all, and the Hotel can be hard to find, Taxi drivers wont know it.

The hotel welcomes you very nicely, and give you a map to the area and to the hotel, and even a mobile phone to use while you stay with them.
The hotel had everything you should need, but I was truly impressed by the service there which easily allows me to recommend it. In contrast to most of the Chinese which I met who seemed to try and take me for every cent that I had, this little hotel was there for me for every need, without trying to charge me for the help that they offered, or even the things which I expected to pay for such as the half a day late checkout, or airport pick up.

If you want a simple, relaxing, and friendly stay, try the Autumn Garden. I will no doubt be staying there again on my next visit.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled solo
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Thank Yousef515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2008

Just got back from Beijing and a wonderful experience staying in the middle of a hutong (maze of alleyways) in Beijing, just next door to Tian'anmen Square. This inn is truly an oasis in a crazy busy city and right in the middle of what feels like 50 years ago - staff were so welcoming and accomodating - if you want a taxi, they have one - we went to the Great Wall with our very own driver - even had a (very simple) lunch prepared by one of the staff - who were all delightful - lovely courtyard - very quiet even though in the midst of chaos - a real feel for old China - haven't downloaded our photos yet, but willing to share if anyone is interested!

Stayed: November 2008
Thank travellingviolet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Autumn Garden Courtyard Hotel

Address: No.23 Sanjing Hutong, Xicheng District, Beijing 100051, China
Location: China > Beijing > Chongwenmen
Hotel Style:
Ranked #878 of 6,568 Hotels in Beijing
Hotel Class:3 star — Autumn Garden Courtyard Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 1
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The autumn garden hotel, at the center of Beijing, boasts its convenient transportation for it is only 5 minutes’ walk to the Tian’anmen Square, the Dazhalan culture street and the street famous for its glaze workshops. Besides the royal fitment, classic furniture, ornaments of various Chinese traditional craftworks and a full set of articles and equipments in the guest rooms, it also provides a dining-room, a bar, a cyber cafe, and a business center. In order to provide its guests with a good chance to better appreciate the different hutong styles at different city zones, our hotel would like to offer the special services as follows: 1. the guests can live both in the south garden in the autumn end and the spring garden in the west end during their stay in our hotel. And we will pick them up free of charge between our two gardens. 2. To facilitate the guests to better experience the traditional cultures of the Beijingers, we offer the following services: 1. free to taste the Chinese dumplings. 2. free to try on the Opera costumes and take photos 3. Chinese Mahjong lesson. 4. Chinese calligraphy lesson. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Courtyard Autumn Garden
Beijing Courtyard

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