Best Beijing Hotels | Reviews of budget hostels to 5-star hotels

[ Last updated: December 2010 ]

Beijing hotels….You’ve come a long way, baby

Hotel G

In the not-too-distant past, staying in even the best Beijing hotels was a grim proposition. The Communist-controlled hotels of the 1950s, 60’s and even 70’s consisted of drab, concrete boxes with rock-hard beds and dim lighting. Service was abysmal and the staff was indifferent. Fortunately things have changed for the better….in a big way.

After letting in foreign investment, competition slowly heated up and today, travelers of all budgets have a great range of options –from budget guesthouses and cheap hostels to two- and three-star midrange options to upscale luxury hotels. At the higher price range in particular, tourists will notice that service quality (though vastly improved) still lags behind that of international cities.

2008 Olympics Upgrade

The Legendale Hotel

Even better news: The Olympics left Beijing with a legacy of even more quality hotels to choose from. After the 2008 party ended, the city was left with a multitude of brand-spanking new hotels waiting for you. Increased competition has naturally led to an arms-race in providing guests with better service and amenities, especially at the higher-range (like business centers, WiFi, health clubs & pools, nightclubs, etc).

And with increased supply and competition, travelers have more bargaining leverage (at least during non-peak travel seasons), as well as more bang for their buck in general. 2008 shook up the Beijing accommodation landscape across all budget ranges, but especially in the top range of luxury hotels. Literally dozens of five-star hotels opened in Beijing since 2000. Today, the city is known as one of the best values in the world at that luxury range. For instance, if you visit during the low season, it’s possible to find a top hotel for as little as Y800, complete with all the modern amenities that you’d expect (flat screen TV with satellite, DVD player etc).

Beijing historical hotel charm?

Red Capital Residence

If you prefer staying in modern “Western style” accommodation, you’re in luck. Most of Beijing’s hotels strive for modern hotel comforts.

But if you’re hoping to experience Beijing’s historical character during your stay, you’ll have to look a bit harder. In particular, many travelers hope to stay in one of Beijing’s traditional courtyard hotels, which are becoming rarer and rarer. So if staying in one of these ancient courtyard hotels floats your boat, you should definitely make an advance reservation. Two best bets are: the Banqiao No. 4 and the Red Capital Residence.

Also, as another alternative to the big cookie-cutter hotels, many small boutique hotels—often stylishly decked out with both antique Chinese furniture and contemporary art—can be found tucked away in Beijing’s alleys.

Don’t forget to bargain!

Guxiang 20

Prices listed below are the rack rates that hotels charge during the peak seasons. Except for the budget hotels (harder to get any discounts), it’s always worth asking for discounts or special promotions during non-peak travel times (See When to Travel to China). Also, if possible avoid the annual Beijing Literary Festival, usually around March). In Beijing in particular, you can get expect big discounts during non-peak travel times. Rack rates are sometimes double or triple of discounted rates during the off-season. You’ll have more leverage if you commit to staying for many nights. Also promotions, like an upgrade to an executive suite, are often worthwhile.

Location, location, location

Emperor Hotel

Beijing is huge…..there are a lot of options. For high-end luxury hotels, most are clustered in the Chaoyang district, near the two main diplomatic areas just outside the East Second Ring Road. The southern half of Chaoyang is called the CBD (Central Business District), which is the highest end area with almost all top-range hotels (and naturally Beijing’s swankiest shopping). The north is close the airport as well as the bustling Sanlitun dining and nightlife district.

But if you’re not staying in a high-end hotel, your best best is to stay in the Dongcheng (sometimes called Back Lakes or Hou Hai lake area). This is the best location to tourist sites, as well as the best location for general Beijing atmosphere (many hutongs, old alley neighborhoods). Lots of budget to midrange options have sprouted up in this area in the last decade or so.

Aman at Summer Palace

Similarly, you’ll find even more options—from budget to five-star hotels—in the nearby City Center area. You’ll be within walking distance of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the shopping/dining mecca of Wangfujing Dajie.

Finally, in the city’s western district, you’ll find another good cluster of hotels, which are close to tourist sites like the Summer Palace, the Olympic Green, and the Fragrant Hills. In addition to a handful of decent budget places, you’ll also find the luxurious Aman at Summer Palace resort.


China Mike’s list of Beijing’s best hotels (as rated by major travel guides):

Whenever possible, I’ve listed the (approximate) room rates (based on best available info 2009-2010; obviously subject to change). Also note: the prices listed are the high-season room rates.

dm = dorm room (shared)
s = single room
d = double person room
tr = triple room
tw = twin rooms
f = family rooms


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CHONGWEN & SOUTH CHAOYANG

BUDGET:

Leo Hostel Guangjuyuan Fandian
6303 1595
52 Dazhanlan Xijie
www.leohostel.com
Dm Y45/70 (12/4 –bed); d with toilet Y200-240, without Y140-160
L. Planet: “Popular and ever busy…OK dorm rooms…simple but passable doubles, a lively bar and a fine location”

Beijing City Central Youth Hostel
8511 5050
1 Beijingzhan Qianjie
www.centralhostel.com
4-8 bed dorm Y60 / s with shower Y298-328; without shower y120-160 / tw with/without shower Y328/160
L. Planet: “Compensates for lack of character with handy location and clean rooms.”

Far East International Youth Hostel
6301 8811
113 Tieshu Xiejie
courtyard@elong.com
dm Y60 / s 320 / d 420 / suite 610
L. Planet: “There’s bike rental, kitchen, washing facilities, café-bar, and a tourist desk.”

MIDRANGE:

Hotel G (One of Frommer’s “Best Moderately Priced Hotels”) (Fodor’s Choice)
010/6552-3600
No.A7 Gongtixilu,Chaoyang District
Metro: Chaoyangmen
www.hotel-g.com
110 units
¥1,100- 1,300 (+15% service charge)
Frommer’s: “Stylish rooms done up in a 1960s Hollywood glamour theme come with whimsical touches like toy motorcycles on the nightstand and rubber duckies in the bathroom, plus all the modern technology you’ll need, including an iPod dock and flatscreen television….no pool, unfortunately…. priced lower than many of its competitors, making it an overall value, especially if you appreciate the irreverent style over the feel of corporate hotel chains.” Fodor’s: “This vibrant and stylish design…rooms have a colorful and almost funky atmosphere. There’s a split-level rooftop Mediterranean restaurant with a Tibetan-style tent and open fireplace, a sleek Japanese restaurant, and a glamorous lobby bar for cocktails….PROS: Adjacent to one of the hottest nightlife areas, chic design. CONS: Too colorful for some, can be noisy.”

TOP END:

St Regis $$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
010/6460-6688
21 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District
Metro: Jianguomen
www.stregis.com/beijing
d US$340 / suite US$500-530
258 rooms, including 102 suites
LP: “First-rate, top-notch elegance complemented by professionalism and a superb location…one of Beijing’s very best hotels.” Fodor’s: “Considered by many to be the best hotel in Beijing…a favorite of business travelers and visiting dignitaries….luxurious interiors combine classical Chinese elegance and modern furnishings. The Press Club Bar, with its wood paneling, overflowing bookcases, and grand piano, feels like a private club….an added plus is that it’s just a 10-minute taxi ride to the Forbidden City. If you can afford it, this is the place to stay. PROS: Ideal location, near public transportation, lots of restaurants nearby. CONS: The little extras really add up here.”

Grand Hyatt Beijing (Frommer’s “Best Business Hotel”) (New York Times Pick)
010/8518-1234
1 Dongchang’an Jie (Beijing City Center, around Wangfujing Dajie)
www.beijing.grand.hyatt.com
825 units
¥3,800 (+ 15% service charge)
LP: “Stunning hotel crowning Oriental Plaza right in the heart of town….matches its top-notch design and splendid interior with exemplary service. Rooms are modern and comfortable and oasislike swimming pool is way, way overboard.” Frommer’s: “unrivaled for location…still the most popular hotel for business travelers, with professional service, a great location, and some of Beijing’s best restaurants — including Noble Court and Made in China.”

China World Hotel
6505 -2266
1 Jianguomenwai Dajie
www.shangri-la.com
d Y3200 / suites Y5000-31,000
LP: “Gorgeous five-star China World delivers an outstanding level of service to its well-dressed complement of largely executive travelers…rooms are modern and amenities extensive.”

Raffles Beijing Hotel (Moon Guide’s “Most Historic”)
6526-3388
33 Dongchang’an Jie
www.beijing.raffles.com
d Y4300
LP: “One of Beijing’s best choices…overall presentation highly impressive…location is fabulous”

Westin Beijing, Financial Street (Frommer’s “Best for Children”) Chaoyang
010/5922-8888
7 North Dongsanhuan Road,
Xinyuan Nan Lu 1, Beijing
Metro: Liangmaqiao
www.westin.com/chaoyang
550 units
¥3,500-¥4,800 standard room/presidential suite
Frommer’s: “One of Beijing’s newest five-star hotels, this second Westin to open in the capital offers stylish, modern rooms in a fairly central location with quick access to the airport….the feel is overwhelmingly corporate in the public spaces, but the rooms have a nice homey touch with white orchids, Chinese artwork, and furniture accents…pays special attention to young kids, with cribs available in rooms and highchairs (rare in China) in the restaurants…a kids’ center offers babysitting. “


DONGCHENG

BUDGET:

Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodation
8400-2429
85 Nanluguo Xiang
Backpackingchina.com
LP: “Central hutong location …is hard to beat….Free breakfast and free pick-up from Capital Airport”

Beijing Saga International Youth Hostel
6527-2773
9 Shijia Hutong
Sagahostel.com
4-bed room Y65 /d Y220-240 / tr 260 / courtyard room Y260
LP: “Top location…staff are friendly…rooms are well kept.”

Beijing Lama Temple International Youth Hostel
6402-8663
56 Beixinqiao Toutiao
4-10 bed dorms Y50-60 / s 200 / d 220
LP: “Congenial and pleasant”

Peking International Youth Hostel
6526 8855
5 Beichizi Ertiao
4-12 bed dorms Y90-100 / d Y400-500
LP: “Highly relaxing small courtyard…homely lounge area…and great rooms. Zero stress, maximum hutong charm and winning location”

Qingzhuyuan Hotel
6401-3961
113 Nanluogu Xiang
Y150-260
LP: “Excellent location and reasonable prices, but there’s little hutong atmosphere…staff could be friendlier”

Motel 268
5167 1666
19 Jinyu Hutong
Motel268.com
d Y270-450 / family room Y540
LP: “Fantastic central location…dependably clean and well-kept rooms…good value at the lower end of midrange”

MIDRANGE:

Han’s Royal Garden Hotel (Frommer’s “Best Whiff of Old Beijing”)
010/8402-5588
Bei Bingmasi Hutong 7, Beijing
www.hansroyalgarden.com
Metro: Zhangzizhong Lu
33 units
¥1,300 deluxe room (+ 15% service charge)
Frommer’s: “Luxurious courtyard-style accommodations with a distinct historical touch just off a bustling alley in central Beijing…. painstakingly restored series of five courtyards has been turned into a luxurious hotel with an emphasis on preserving China’s history and culture… location is fantastic, just off the busy alley of Nan Luogu Xiang, yet on a very quiet, low-key alley where you’d least expect to find such a gem.”

Guxiang 20 (One of Frommer’s “Best Moderately Priced Hotels”) (Moon Guide’s “Most Fun Location”)
010/6400-5566
Nanluoguxiang 20 (About 200m south of north entrance of Nanluoguxiang lane)
Metro: Beixinqiao
www.guxiang20.com
28 units
¥500-¥1,280 standard room s Y888/ d 1280
LP: “Fab location on fun Nanluogu Xiang” Frommer’s: “This lovely three-star hotel is smack in the middle of one of old Beijing’s gentrifying neighborhoods. The stylish rooms are decorated with Chinese antiques and flatscreen TVs, and third-floor rooms have picturesque views of the hutong (well worth the upgrade)…English service is uneven, but everyone is super-friendly.”

Banqiao No. 4 $-$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
10/8403-0968
4 Banqiao Hutong, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District
Metro: Beixinqiao
16 rooms, 2 suites
Fodor’s: “Well-preserved courtyard house with an unbeatable central location….the rates are quite reasonable. Set in an old neighborhood with many intertwined alleyways, this hotel is only a few minutes walk from the metro station…offers thoughtful extras like Wi-Fi access. PROS: Reasonable prices, large rooftop terrace. CONS: Some bathrooms are small.”

Beijing Sihe Courtyard Hotel $-$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
10/5169-3555
5 Dengcao Hutong, Dongcheng District
Metro: Dongsi (Exit C)
12 rooms
Fodor’s: “Lovely courtyard hotel tucked inside one of the city’s quaint hutongs…the VIP room is the largest and best room, and is worth reserving in advance. If not available, ask for one of the executive rooms. All rooms are furnished with rosewood beds, antique bureaus, and modern gadgets like satellite TV. Pros: Lots of privacy, homey atmosphere. Cons: Not many rooms have courtyard views, no restaurant.”

Côté Cour S.L $-$$ (Fodor’s Choice) (New York Times Pick)
10/6512-8020
70 Yan Yue Hutong, Dongcheng District (Betwn Dong Si nan Da Jie and Chao Nei Xiao Jie)
Metro: Dengshikou (Exit A)
www.hotelcotecoursl.com
14 rooms
Fodor’s: “Boutique hotel is in a grand old courtyard house in an atmospheric hutong….style is a perfect blending of East and West, combining a traditional feel with modern comforts…like flat-screen TVs and wireless Internet connections….PROS: Traditional courtyard lodging, intimate feel, lovely terrace. CONS: No restaurant, no pool.” NYT: “For some hotelgoers no feat of modern design and engineering can compete with the charm of Beijing’s traditional courtyard houses….luckily, a precious handful have been preserved as guesthouses, and perhaps one of the finest, is this one. Painstakingly restored and stylishly renovated, it is a rambling, 14-room sanctum of Venetian plaster, glass mosaic tiles and Chinese antiques set among courtyards replete with a lily pond and century-old date tree.”

Red Capital Residence $$ (Fodor’s Choice)
010/6402-7150
9 Dongsi Liutiao, Dongcheng District
www.redcapitalclub.com.cn
5 rooms
Fodor’s: “Beijing’s first boutique courtyard hotel is located in a carefully restored home….each of the five rooms is decorated with antiques and according to different themes, including the Chairman’s Suite, the two Concubine’s Private Courtyards, and the two Author’s Suites…a cigar lounge where you can sit on original furnishings used by China’s early revolutionary leaders, as well as a wine bar in a Cultural Revolution-era bomb shelter….PROS: Intimate feel, friendly service, plenty of atmosphere. CONS: Small rooms, limited facilities.”

Hotel Kapok (Fodor’s Choice)
6525-9988
16 Donghuanmen Dajie, Dongcheng District
Metro: Tiananmen East
www.hotelkapok.com
d Y1280
89 rooms
LP: “Aspiring top-end hotel is popular with the design set.” Fodor’s: “This hotel is quite a find….the work of local architect Pei Zhu, who came up with the minimalist design. Rooms are large and nicely designed, and have all the modern amenities of more expensive hotels….PROS: Cozy and comfortable rooms, near top tourists sites, close to shopping. CONS: No pool.”

Shi Jia House (One of Frommer’s “Best Moderately Priced Hotels”)
010/5219-0288
Shijia Hutong 42 (Beijing City Center, around Wangfujing Dajie)
Metro: Dengshikou
www.shijiahouse.com
8 units
¥1,100-¥2,000 suite
Frommer’s: “One of our favorite (boutique hotels)… Spacious rooms have dark wood floors and are decorated with refurbished antique Chinese furniture…. The spacious courtyard is a wonderful retreat from the city chaos….perfect for relaxing, complete with a koi pond and a miniwaterfall….the one annoyance is negotiating a cab into the narrow hutong.”

Hutongren
8402-5238
71 Xiaoju’er Hutong
hutongren@ccthome.com
s Y230 / d Y330
LP: “Loads of charm but only a handful of rooms…staff are friendly”

Bamboo Garden Hotel $$ (New York Times Pick)
6403-2229
24 Xiaoshiqiao Hutong
www.bbgh.com.cn
s Y520 / d 760-880 / suite 990
LP: “Cosy and tranquil, this courtyard hotel gets good reviews but staff lacks motivation.”

Lusongyuan Hotel
6404 0436
22 Banchang Hutong
www.the-silk-road.com
s Y660 / d 1200
LP: “Popular courtyard hotel has pocket-sized singles.”

Haoyuan Hotel
6512 5557
53 Shijia Hutong
www.haoyuanhotel.com
s 760-930 / suite Y1080-1380
LP: “Red lantern-hung courtyard feng shui is charming and leafy rear courtyard…is seductively quiet”

3+1 Bedrooms (New York Times Pick)
010/6404-7030
17 Zhangwang Hutong, Jiu Gulou Dajie, Dongcheng District
www.3plus1bedrooms.com
NYT:With its cool, white interiors and raw concrete finishes, Beijing’s new 3+1 Bedrooms is as minimal as its name….this stylish little hotel has only three rooms and one suite. Too intimate to be pretentious, it has all the amenities (well, almost all) of a larger boutique property — minus, of course, the scene. Still, if it’s the latter you’re looking for, you won’t have to go far.”

TOP END:

Novotel Peace Hotel
6512-8833
3 Jianyu Hutong
www.accirhotels.com/asia
d Y1500-1800
LP: “Efficient, refurbished and centrally located four-star hotel has a fresh and cosmopolitan character”

Regent Beijing
8522-1888
99 Jinbao Jie
www.theregentexperience.com
Y2000-2500 / suites Y3000
LP: “Rooms are slick and modern with large flat-screen TVs, lovely beds, neat shower/bathrooms”

Peninsula Beijing (Moon Guide’s “Best Service”)
6559-2888
8 Jinyu Hutong
www.peninsula.com
d Y3150
LP: “Lavish hotel remains one of the best in Beijing….boasts two excellent restaurants”

Legendale $$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
10/8511-3388
90-92 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District
Metro: Dengshikou
www.legendalehotel.com
390 rooms, 81 suites
Fodor’s: “Those fond of a classic ambience will be drawn to the Legendale, surrounded by some of the city’s best-preserved hutongs….palatial architecture is done up in rich blues, golds, and burgundies, exuding an Old World elegance….Petrus, a French restaurant, has a large wine collection, and Macao focuses on Chinese fare. PROS: Plenty of pampering, in a great neighborhood. CONS: Stratopheric prices.”

The Emperor $$$-$$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
10/6526-5566
33 Qihelou Jie, Dongcheng District
Metro: Tiananmen East
www.theemperor.com.cn
46 rooms, 9 suites
Fodor’s: “Located on a tree-lined avenue….nestled amongst traditional temples and houses, making it a tranquil oasis in the midst of a fast-evolving metropolis….cutting-edge interior by a team of internationally renowned designers. Its rooms boast a modern aesthetic, and have wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet connections, and butler service…. PROS: Best rooftop terrace in the city, views of the Forbidden City, unique design of rooms. CONS: Restaurant on the expensive side.”



CHAOYANG:


Zhaolong International Youth Hostel
6597-2299
2 Gongrentiyuchang Beilu
www.zhaolonghotel.com.cn
Dorms Y50-70
Six-floor block . LP: “offers clean room, laundry, kitchen, reading room, safe, bike rental, and internet”

Park Hyatt (one of Frommer’s “Best Splurge Hotels” & “Best Health & Fitness Facilities”) (Fodor’s Choice)
010/8567-1234
Jianguomenwai Dajie 2, Chaoyang District
Metro: Guomao
www.beijing.park.hyatt.com
237 units, 18 suites
¥2,000-¥2,500 standard/deluxe (+15% service charge)
Frommer’s: “New 66-story hotel impresses with expansive views of the city, top-notch gym and spa facilities, and unconventional room layouts… sexy, if you’re staying with a romantic partner, but inconvenient if you happen to be traveling with your grandmother….has not one, but two, gorgeous pools and fitness facilities.” Fodor’s: “Plenty of pampering. Imagine your own spa-inspired bathroom with an oversize rain showerhead, deep-soaking tub, and heated floors. The rooms themselves are large and functional, with expansive desks…. PROS: Spectacular views of the city, centrally located. CONS: Pricey.”

Opposite House (One of Frommer’s “Best Splurge Hotels” + “Best Design”, “Best Newcomer)
010/6417-6688
Sanlitun Lu 11, Beijing
Metro: Tuanjiehu
www.theoppositehouse.com
99 units
¥5,000-¥6,500 studio/studio suite (+15% service charge)
Frommer’s: “The best of a bunch of boutique hotels that have opened in Beijing…a stylish Japanese-designed boutique hotel on Sanlitun Bar Street, one of Beijing’s liveliest bar and shopping districts…modern minimalist rooms, great restaurants and bars, and impressive service…except that it comes with a hefty price.”



WESTERN DISTRICT:


Aman at Summer Palace $$$ (one of Frommer’s “Best Splurge Hotels”) (New York Times Pick)
Beijing West, Haidian & Yayun Cun
010/5987-9999
1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace
www.amanresorts.com
51 rooms
¥3,740 (¥4,420 courtyard)
Frommer’s: “If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to live like a Chinese emperor or empress, head straight to the Aman Beijing, a luxurious resort in a private corner of the Summer Palace…. housed in a historic imperial series of courtyards, the resort features luxurious rooms with grand bathrooms, a world-class spa, and a top-notch steakhouse with a Bible-sized wine list…known as one of the most luxurious resort chains in Asia, the Aman has arrived in Beijing in style…the resort is the perfect place to relax and unwind while absorbing many of the historical sites in the area.” NYT: “For a getaway within Beijing, there’s no better place to claim your own mandate of heaven. The standard rooms are a bit small for the price, but with all the extras, you may be too pampered to notice.”


FENGTAI & XUANWU:

Qianmen Jianguo Hotel
6301-6688
175 Yong’an Lu
d Y1300 / tr 1740 / suites Y2070
LP: “Extremely popular with tour groups lured by its combination of excellent location and value…rooms are spacious, lean and attractively carpeted”


HAIDIAN & XICHENG:


Red Lantern House
010/ 66562181
5 Zhengjue Hutong, Xinjiekou South Street
www.redlanternhouse.com
dorm Y55/ d Y150
LP: Homey hutong-located courtyard style lodgings…doubles are comfy, clean, cheap and charming”

Red Lantern House West Yard
6656-2181
111 Xinjiekou Nandajie
www.redlanternhouse.com
dorm Y60-80 / rooms Y300
LP: “Pretty, open courtyard hotel is a relaxing place but does not quite have the character of its nearby original….book online for cheaper rates”

Sleepy Inn
6406-9954
103 Deshengmennei Dajie
www.sleepyinn.com.cn
Dorms Y60-80/ d Y260
LP: “An adorable perch between Houhai and Xihai Lakes…clean pine-bed dorms and well-looked after doubles”

Shangri-La Hotel
6841-2211
29 Zizhuyuan Lu
slb@shangri-la.com
d US$ 180
LP: “Has a new tower, a top-notch selection of restaurants, bars and sops as well as a fine spread of rooms”


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