Excellent quaint Hutong Alley Courtyard Hotel. We booked this hotel, because of our desire to stay in the Hutong Alley District of Beijing. Keep in mind this hotel has a character of its own, and it cannot be compared with a modern hotel. The Soluxe Courtyard Hotel, is absolutely a charming clean hotel. The rooms are appropriate to the age and style of the hotel. If you are looking for big modern rooms, this is not the hotel for you. If you are looking for a clean room with a beautiful courtyard view that is within close proximity to what I consider the most charming part of Beijing, than this is the place to stay. The hotel can be reached from the airport via metro. Take the airport express train to the Dongzhimen train stop. Transfer at Dongzhimen to the line 2 train Guloudajie stop. Make sure you take exit B. Make a right turn immediately after reaching the street level of exit B. Less than a 2 min walk, the first right you can make into an alleyway, you will see the hotel lettering in red, at the end of the alley. I cannot comment on the smaller lower price rooms, as we stayed in a courtyard room A042. The room was clean, quaint, included wire internet, western toilet, and a separate shower. Again, please keep in mind this hotel cannot be compared to a modern hotel. Having lived in China the last two month, by Chinese standards this hotel was very clean. Quaint but not luxurious, but absolutely perfect for my husband and myself. Our room included breakfast. If this hotel had any flaws, I must say it was the breakfast buffet. The food on the buffet bar is terrible, cold, and spoiled. If you choose to eat breakfast at the hotel, make sure you get to the dining room by 0800, if not most of the food will be gone. Having read previous reviews regarding the buffet, I knew what to expect. If you leave the hotel and turn right on the main street, there are numerous restaurants and food vendor stalls, where you can have a delicious inexpensive breakfast.
The hotel is within proximity to the Bell and Drum Tower. Make sure to wear some very comfortable shoes for sightseeing in Beijing, as the pavement can be hard and uneven. Also, always expect to climb steps in many of the tourist spots, as in the Bell and Drum Tower, the steps are many and steep. Expect huge crowds. In my opinion take tours when possible. Make sure to go the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, much more picturesque and less crowded than the Badaling section. The vendors will harass you at the great wall, make sure you haggle with the on the price, as the items are much higher in cost at the Great Wall. Going out to the right of the hotel on the main street will take you to the Hutong Alley area. This area cannot be missed. The food in this area is much more expensive than the area of the hotel. My husband and I preferred the food along the street of the hotel area and made it a point to eat in the various restaurants surrounding that area. There are many shops and bars in the Hutong Alley area. There is also a lake that is very pretty. You can take an hour long rickshaw ride along the perimeter of the lake for as low as 100RMB. We decided to walk around the lake and take in the view. At night the area around the lake becomes animated with music and people, not to be missed. It reminded me of Greenwich Village in my home town of NYC.
After, fighting the Beijing subway travelers a day or two, we decided to pack up that experience and convert to taxi goers. It was inexpensive and quite a relief to our aching feet. The Forbidden City and Tiannamen Square are not far from the hotel. You can bus it #82 or walk up to the main street and take a taxi. Also, you can take the train. If you want more bang for your buck at the Forbidden City, you are better off seeing the side wings. The crowds of people at the main palaces make it practically impossible to look in through the glass. The Ming Tombs and Temple of Heaven were nice to visit, but nothing to write home about. The Summer Palace was beautiful and worth the visit. We were in Beijing six days and still not able to see it all. It was a wonderful and beautiful city, full of warm friendly people. Note Peter at the hotel is absolutely charming, professional and very helpful. Also, the hotel has a resident artist Mr. Lee or Master Lee. His figurines are exquisite. We took home two of them.
Splurge and get a courtyard view room. We had room A042. Remember you get what you pay for.
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