Where to Stay

No other city in mainland China offers the range of accommodations Beijing does. And with the municipal government's decision in early 2003 to scrap the antiquated foreigner-approved hotel system, the range has expanded even further. The high season in Beijing is not well-defined, but you should generally expect lower availability and higher rates from mid-May to National Day (Oct 1) and around Chinese New Year (usually late Jan or early Feb). It is usually possible to wrangle discounts of anywhere between 10% and 50% off the rack rate even at these times, although some of the new boutique hotels located in hutong courtyards (siheyukn) will refuse to bargain except in the dead of winter.

On short visits the best option is to stay within walking distance of the Forbidden City and Tian'an Men Square, on Wangfujing Dajie or nearby. The greatest luxury and highest standards of service can be found in the Chaoyang District. For budget travelers, the new obvious choice is the expanding range of comfortable but affordable hostels buried in the labyrinth of hutong south and west of Qian Men, with convenient metro and bus access.

Note: The city construction fee (¥6/80i per person per day) once levied on all hotel rooms was scrapped in early 2003. Some hotels still seem (or pretend) not to know, so scan your bill carefully upon checkout.

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