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China Accommodation

shangri la hotel guilinGuilin shangri la hotel

Accommodation in China is generally convenient. Whether you are in China on vacation or on business, it is not difficult to find a hotel.

Hotels range from five-star to one star-rated, inexpensive hostels, local guesthouses and roadside inns. Some hotels offer typical Chinese or local features and architecture, while others are completely modern, and of course those that are simply average.

Not all the hotels can accommodate foreign visitors, but three, four and five star-rated hotels certainly do. There are both domestically-run hotels and international chain hotels, especially in highly developed or tourist cities, where you may find Sheraton, Shangri-la, Hilton, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Four Season and so on.

Price, however, is not a good guide to quality. Eastern China , for instance, is far more expensive than western China. Large cities are more expensive than small cities. Tourist cities are more expensive than non-tourist cities. Most hotels charge much higher rates during major holiday periods, particularly around Chinese New Year, the first week in May and the first week in October. Even within a major city, a more expensive hotel is not necessarily the best.

Quality can also vary considerably between hotels of the same star-rating, so feedback from other travellers can be important. Standards of service and cleanliness vary in the lower star-rated hotels, as does the amount of English that is spoken. Four and five star hotels, particularly those from international chains, have some staff who speak reasonable English, but it is not unusual to find that the majority of the staff do not speak English. In three star hotels the people on the reception desk can usually be relied on to speak some English.

It is not difficult to reserve a hotel by phone, fax or on the Internet. However, hotels of less than three stars may not have staff with good English-speaking skills, which makes phone or even e-mail reservations difficult or unreliable at times.  Many travel agencies, tourism or transportation companies offer a reservation service, and there are many on-line reservation centers who offer very fast and nice service.

Pay attention to at least two things when you stay in a hotel. Hotels in China are reasonably secure places, but please don't leave money or valuables lying about in your room. Take them with you or leave them in the security in the room or at the receptionist if it is available. Common check-in and check-out times are respectively after 2pm and before noon. Extra cost will be charged if you check in before 6am.

Note for Minority and Remote Areas

  • Minority areas (Xinjiang, Yunnan, Tibet and Guizhou) and mountain areas (Zhangjiajie and Huangshan) have unique characters, but generally speaking, accommodation and meals in these areas are comparatively simple. What we recommended are the best possible available hotels and restaurants. Because of limited choices, tourists may find hotel facilities are not very good, especially basic breakfast and lower service level. Tourists should get well-prepared mentally come with lower expectations.

Star Hotels in China

Five-Star hotel

China National Tourism Administrationissued a standard to rate hotels in China from one to five stars. The basis for ratings is as follows:

hotels: Five-Star hotels are usually palatial with huge lobbies, their standards not quite matching the best of Paris or New Year, but very close. Service should be better than the four-star hotels described above. See Top hotels section below. There are many hotels of five-star international standard, just as good as hotels in Washington or Ottawa except for the standard of English. Some hotels have:

  1. Their own fleets of Mercedes limousines of Toyota vans that make regular runs to the airport or city center.
  2. Executive floors with concierges & free continental breakfasts; best western food and probably the best Chinese food in town, and the most luxurious breakfast buffets.
  3. Many have magnificent ball rooms and lobbies and cater to foreign business people on expense accounts.

hotels provide:

  1. luxurious and spacious sound-proof rooms, low-noise toilets, and hair dryers. They should have guests and service elevators, background music, health club, swimming pool, sauna, business center, greenhouse, 24-hour doorman, reservations accepted through fax/telex, 24-hour room service, and onward reservations in China for guests. A guest reception and assistant manager should be available in the lobby 24 hours a day. Laundry should be returned by next day.
  2. The restaurants in four-star hotels should provide two kinds of Chinese food with the last order no earlier than 9pm.
  3. Bar service should be available to one am. There should be a 24-hur coffee shop and a breakfast and dinner buffet.
  4. A clinic should be on-site.
  5. A business center with photocopying, typing and translation services should be available, as should a ticketing agency with city tours and babysitting services.

hotels must have

  1. at least well-decorated guest rooms with dressing table, desk, drawers and closet; carpet or wood floor; telephones in every room with international direct dial(IDD); mini-bar and refrigerator; color television sets, in-house movies, music; writing materials; sun-proof curtains; and bed turn-down service.
  2. They must have single rooms and suites, western and Chinese dining rooms(with English-speaking attendants, and the last order no earlier than 8:30pm), 16-hour coffee shop, banquet hall or function room, buffet breakfast and bar service(until midnight), and 18-hour room service.
  3. They must also have elevator service, washroom, equipment and service for disabled people, disco or karaoke, foreign exchange, safe deposit boxes, store, camera film developing, fax and telex service, luggage storage, 24-hour laundry and dry-cleaning, wake-up calls, shoe polishing, and taxis.
  4. They should be able to mend articles of everyday use for guests.
  5. They should accept major credit cards.
  6. They must have an emergency electricity supply for public areas, medical services, 16-hour a day doorman, and message service, guest reception, and managers on call. An assistant manager should be in the lobby 18 hours and railroad timetables available.
  7. China Daily and China Tourism News should be on sale(or free).

hotels: Two-Star hotels must have at least 20 guest rooms, 95% with private baths, 50% with telephones, and 16 hours of cold and hot running water, Western and Chinese breakfast must be offered.

One-Star hotels: One-Star hotels must have air-conditioning, coffee shop, dining room, and at least 20 guest rooms, cleaned daily. Of course, 75% must have private baths. They must have central heating, a lobby with information and reception desk, postal service, and 12-hour a day cold and hot running water.

China Hotel Facilities

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Hotels in China range from the luxurious five-star on the eastern seaboard to street guest houses with very basic conditions, in remote part of China.  As you travel further west to places along the Silk Road or in Tibet, even 3 and 4 star hotels may no have a hairdryer for example, and complimentary drinking water may not be provided.  Mini bars are a moving target, sometimes there and sometimes not, and the level of English spoken will vary.

Laundry:Laundry services are available in most hotels. Outside services are not recommended.

Electric Current:China uses a 220 volt 50 Hz cycle system so electric appliances from countries that use 220/240 will operate without any adopter. Appliances requiring 110 volts will need a transformer to operate. Hotels will not always have these. We recommend that you bring a transformer with you. Chinese hotels cater for most plug types.

Bathroom: Western Toilets are generally available except in the remote countryside. Toilet paper is usually supplied.