I am no stranger to budget Chinese hotels but this is only for the desperate. At the end of the golden week holiday, all moderately priced accommodation was taken so this was our last choice.
After dealing with the melee at the front desk and securing a room, we headed up to our 7th floor cell. We were confronted with a double bed, one pillow and one towel. I went downstairs to ask for the extra pillow and towel. This caused some consternation. I also asked if toiletries were supplied. They said I must buy them (23rmb for a traveller toothbrush kit). No free drinking water either.
The floorboards in our room were lifting as there had a clearly been a flood at some point. I prefer to think it was the unenclosed shower but it could just as easily have been the reluctant-to-flush toilet. If you are feeling tired, you can easily sit on the toilet seat to have a shower - just be careful that water doesn't spray into the electrical socket above the sink. There is also very little buffer zone between the bed and bathroom, just a thin, opaque piece of glass.
There were exactly six channels available on the brand-new flat screen TV so I entertained myself by reading the the costs of various items in the room. It costs 30rmb if you steal a pillowslip, even though the pillows don't have covers on them. It will cost 20rmb if you want the door safety chain as a souvenir. You have been warned.
Despite the spartan conditions of the room, the bed was comfortable (quite hard for those not used to Chinese beds), air-con worked well and there wasn't too much noise. You can even wash your hair and dry it with the communal hairdryer while you wait for the elevator. The location is good with Esquire Coffee diagonally across the road to kick-start the day.
The next morning when we were checking out, another couple were booking into the same-priced room as ours. I saw that they were being given free toothbrushes and soap. When I queried this, I was informed that I should have been given these items. Why did the staff the previous night SELL me toiletry kits when they should have been free? "Sorry, sorry" was the explanation.
Our room cost 279rmb and even during golden week, with a little foresight and prebooking, there were plenty of hotels that were better value for money. This is the price you would pay in Hong Kong for a hostel at Chunking Mansions. Next time we will plan ahead and stay at a Home Inn which is consistently cheaper, cleaner and provides better service.