Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Beijing Courtyard Hotels

There's a discussion going on the mailing list Discussion of travel in China on Beijing courtyard hotels.

Here are some extracts from the postings:
Some years ago we stayed at the Bamboo Garden, which was quite lovely and comfortable; here is an excerpt from their website (, and though I can't vouch for the accuracy of the history which is reported, I can certainly vouch for its close-in location, helpful staff (with decent English), and a wish to go back:

"Bamboo Garden Hotel Beijing is located in a tranquil lane on the westside of Gulou, built in a classic Chinese courtyard-style. It was the private residence of Sheng Xuanhuai, the postal department minister in late Qing Dynasty, and it was also said to be the garden of Andehai, the imperial eunuch. Since the late Qing Dynasty, a succession of celebrities such as Wang Yintai, Mahansan, Dong Biwu and Kangsheng have lived here."

Joe Luttrell
2 years ago we stayed at the Haoyuan Courtyard Hotel. Although ours was a basic room, it was nicely decorated and like all the rooms, opened up into a courtyard. The breakfast was good, and the staff were amazing. We had purchased a cell phone chip at the airport and were having trouble getting it to work. One of the staff walked us down to a shop nearby, explained the situation and got it fixed for us. It was a great introduction to our first time and first night in China.

Last year we stayed at the Lusongyuan Courtyard Hotel. It too was nice, the breakfast was good, and the staff helpful. We chose it over the other as it seemed to be closer in walking distance to the places we wanted to go to, more centrally located. However, it was larger and there were more people staying there.
If we get the opportunity and are lucky enough to be able to go back, I think that I would chose the Haoyuan over the Lusongyuan, although either would be a good choice. It just seemed to be more intimate.

Some of the better new ones--in real courtyard homes--include the following.

Cote Cour

Banqiao No. 4

Autumn Garden

Red Capital Residence.

I'm sorry I don't have the details handy now, but you can Google them. The first and last are on the expensive side, but the middle two are quite reasonable and comfortable.

Paul wrote:

Some of the better new ones--in real courtyard homes--include the following.

Cote Cour
When I looked round this I thought it had been almost totally rebuilt from the ground up, I must admit, as well as overpriced (Y1295 rack for a standard room) and poorly staffed. There aren't many rooms (9 standard and 14 altogether), and the place was full when I looked at it, partly perhaps from having a quick burst of exposure in the foreign press.

Red Capital Residence.

I haven't seen this, but I'd boycott it on the grounds of its owner's sycophantic relationship to senior Party leaders, and tasteless employment of the effects of those who died in the Cultural Revolution to decorate his restaurant.

The Lusong Yuan seems to be suffering from its own popularity, as it's now used by small tour groups, and its prices have risen considerably.

At the budget end of courtyard accommodation, the Templeside House Hostel is worth a look. It's a pruced-up traditional courtyard house with friendly staff in the hush of the hutong but in walking distance of the White Dagoba Temple and other sights, major Xi Dan shopping, and Fucheng Men subway station. Dorm beds to double rooms all share modern shower facilities, laundromat, and courtyard bar. This is basic, but family-run.

Peter N-H
The Bamboo Garden is a Great hotel.

Typically the website doesn't mention that the courtyard now the Bamboo Hotel was also the residence of one of the members of the Gang of Four. This explains why there is a Nuclear Shelter (Bunker) in the garden. It is also the reason why it is so exceptionally well-preserved.

The Bamboo Garden is a 3-star hotel, however, service exceeds the 3-star service level, and almost all staff is very friendly and speaks English. Originally the rather simply decorated rooms in the northwest corner of the yard were cheap, while the luxurious rooms in the southeast corner were expensive. Popularity of the hotel has driven up prices of all rooms to the price level of an expensive 4-star hotel. Very central and convenient location.

Edwin Baak
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