We booked our holiday through ebookers where we booked the hotel and flights together. I'm guessing that we didn't get one of the best rooms but all we needed was a bed and a shower and both were good.
The first night there, we went down to the bar and had a beer and a snack. We decided on spring rolls. They weren't very good. If 'Iceland' had a shop in Beijing then I would have guessed that they bought them there. The Chinese don't seem to do bars but if you are in the same first night predicament as us, then just go back down the hutong to the main street and turn right. Within 100 metres there is a great hot-pot restaurant and also a busy chinese reataurant. Don't be worried about speaking chinese because most of the restaurants have pictures of the dishes on the menu. Be guided by the pictures! (In another restaurant, we ordered Beef ribs even though the picture had strips of what looked like chicken on top. After chewing these strips for a minute with no impression we used Google Translate to find out that we had in fact ordered 'bovine tendons'). Get 'Translate' on your phone. It magically turns squiggles into English when you scan. If you simply want a drink, then turn left at the end of the hutong and there's a 7/11 type shop a couple of doors down. There's a nice courtyard back at the hotel.
The clientele at the hotel are not very Chinese during the week and this is reflected in the buffet breakfast which is superb.There is a cabinet full of steamed buns and dumplings as well as other chinese food; salted eggs, stir-fry, pastries. You could have an English fry-up, fresh fruit, yoghourt or sliced meat and cheese.()See the pictures).
The hotel has no arrangement with tour companies but they organised a car and driver to take us to the great wall at Simotai (and back) for 1300 yuan. We had to pick up our daughter the au pair, en route, so this was ideal. The same driver took us to the airport at the end of the holiday (£11 for the hour's drive)
The hotel is in the fourth hutong from Dongsi. In the sixth hutong is a restaurant called The Crescent Moon which is listed in both Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. It's good, not too expensive but the portions are huge. The soup could have fed four people and we ordered one each.
The hutong is a 10 minute walk from Dongsi subway which has lines which run to all four points of the compass. Yes, we enjoyed our stay and yes, we would go there again. Thanks to all the staff.
Almost forgot the complimentary gift of tea when we left.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Living in the real heart of the city, you have the chance to witness the daily life of Chinese people. Living in the courtyard house with over 500 year's history, you are closer to those ancient Chinese stories. Our hotel is suitable for culture explorers & mind-peace seeker. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Courtyard Beijing