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► CHOOSING THE RIGHT HOTEL IN CHINA
One of the things I concentrate hard on at The China Travel Company while putting together our tailor made China tours is to give people hotel options that are interesting and a bit different.
If there’s one thing we can’t stand it’s lazy or poor hotel choice, usually based on pushing the star rating as high as possible without taking any consideration into location, character and service. We like to give people the option of our considerable first hand experience, of which we do have a lot over decades dealing with the Middle Kingdom and living there.
Western comfort versus Chinese traditional style
Part of this is understanding that not everyone is looking for the same thing. Some clients just want that “Western” comfort after a day’s trekking on the Great Wall of China, and why not - the Hilton Wanfujing, an exceptional hotel, will give you that. Others want to submerge themselves in a Chinese experience, perhaps staying in one of the ever increasing amount of courtyard hotels, such as the Double Happiness Courtyard hotel that has some of the friendliest staff in China or perhaps the Red Wall Garden, for a slightly higher end experience. Others will want to see a touch of the new China in one of Beijing’s growing number of Boutique hotels like the Opposite House in the San Li Tun bar district. It’s not about judging the individual’s tastes but instead providing them with something that gives them the best possible choice for their style and budget.
The mysteries of the hotel star rating system in China
China is rich in hotels but they can, unfortunately, still sometimes lag behind a bit in service. This doesn’t have to be the case though if you have the ground level experience of actually being in these places. Quite often a 5 star hotel can have much worse service levels than a smaller 3 star. A great example of this would be the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat in Yangshuo near Guilin. The two 5 star places there run so far behind them in service levels, well let’s face it, if you’ve been on a tour in China and you were fortunate enough to have been booked into the YMR, you’ll know that almost everywhere else in the country lags behind them!
Surprises in sometimes unlikely places such as Luoyang!
Also, just because you are out of the big tourist cities like Beijing or Shanghai, doesn’t mean you can’t find an upmarket boutique. The wonderful Christian’s hotel in Luoyang is worth the extra cost for anyone travelling to see the Shaolin Temple or Longmen Grottoes. It’s the sort of place that you wonder how it is there and not in Shanghai!
You can also find a bit of history when you are travelling around China but I don’t mean in the obvious wealth of sights that China has but even in the hotels. The perfect example of this is in Shanghai where the Astor House not only provides an affordable option on the Bund but also is a place steeped in history.
All in all don’t just look at what the tours can give you in China but also how the hotels can enhance your China tours experience.
Article posted by Phil Stanley & Headseast: 21st May 2015
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