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“Wonderful, strongly recommended”

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Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel
Ranked #67 of 6,463 Hotels in Beijing
Shanghai, China
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful, strongly recommended”
Reviewed 4 January 2013

The first impression I got, and you will probably get, of this hotel is its surroundings. They didn’t seem ideal at first sight, but after one night there they became part of the experience. I stayed there 4 nights with my family in total, and I personally strongly recommend this hotel to anyone who would like to visit Beijing.

The hotel is situated in a “hutong” neighbourhood and its location is extremely convenient for anyone who wishes to do tourism: just 10-15 min. away from Ping’anli metro stop (line 4). The streets to access the hotel aren’t particularly clean or tidy, but you will find it easily since it is clearly indicated and it has a beautiful light sign in the entrance.

From the street, you first access the hotel to a small lobby from which a couple of stairs descend to the reception. Adjacent to the reception is the heart of the hotel, the courtyard. The hotel is then organised around it, just like traditional Chinese housing. The courtyard has been properly glazed, making it warm and generously lit. Inside it there is comfortable seating, small dining tables and plenty of books to get your hands on.

As for the staff, they were very friendly. We stayed there over Christmas, and the Hotel organised a dumpling making session which was followed by a shadow performance to celebrate it. After the performance we ate the dumplings. At the end of the dinner, the hotel gave us as a gift a book on Chinese animal zodiac which contained very carefully made crops. All guest where invited and it was free of charge. Amazing service.

If you are looking for a well priced, excellent hotel in Beijing you found it. I hope your stay in it is as wonderful as ours was.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank E A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Xi'an, China
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2012

What a magical hutong-situated hotel. Just the perfect location to explore some wonderful hutongs and smaller shopping areas. For those worried about finding the hotel don't be....it's only a 15 minute walk from Ping'anli subway station (take exit B) - take a quick look at google maps first http://goo.gl/maps/NVUVx. The hotel staff were so friendly and helpful. OK so breakfast is nothing to write home about but the hotel is just delightful. My room did not have a window but it was cosy and very comfortable none the less. The central sitting area has a wonderful feeling of space and plenty of books and other material. Where will I stay next time in Beijing? The Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank chrisbrown101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
55 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2012

Had mixed feelings about our recent stay at Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel. We spent four nights in a Jester Room.This was an entry level room. The layout of the room was not user friendly with my husband having to climb over me to get the bathroom. The authentic style kang bed was hard. Very hard even by Asian standards. Suit cases had to be stowed on the floor and as this had obviously happened many times before the walls were marked, scuffed and looked shabby. This shabbiness was not what I expected from a boutique hotel and at odds with their high quality decorations. Biggest drawback was there was nowhere to sit in our room except on the bed. The bathroom although compact well designed and spotlessly clean. Free wifi available throughout the hotel. Choices at breakfast were limited but adequate. Communicating with the staff was difficult due to their limited English skills but they were pleasant and really tried hard to meet our needs. The free shadow puppet show preformance was enchanting and the opportunity to try my hand post show demonstrated just how skilled the puppeteers were in animating their puppets.The highlight of our stay was the opportunity to explore the Hutongs and experience local life. Watching elderly ladies preforming thi chi in the park by the lake. A man having his hair cut by a street barber. Locals eating at street stalls that mysteriously appeared at days end. Enjoyed the Houhai area with its bars,restaurants,shops and felt very safe walking there at all times - day and late evening.Yes it was a little touristy but that was part of the fun.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank CCH1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
Level Contributor
138 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 November 2012

The Shadowart hotel is an interesting departure from the typical hutong hotels. It is modern, plush and discreet in its style yet tries to keep close to Chinese cultural roots in the art of shadow puppet play. The rooms were generally small but we were okay because this is a hutong hotel no matter how it is styled, and rooms do tend to be smaller than conventional chain hotels. The rooms we had overlooked the lobby through patterned Chinese window panels. A kang bed acted as a window seat. Very charming. My husband could not believe that this was a hutong hotel. It is understatedly stylish and elegant.

The hotel's theme is on the dying art of shadow puppetry and there are many framed and intricately cut pieces of popular Chinese characters - the God of War, the Monkey King, opera faces etc - on display. These are available for sale. And considering that each translucent piece is delicately hand-cut from carefully processed leather and then brushed with colour, these are works of art. The hotel puts up performances of shadow art too and my children were captivated by this ancient art and entertainment form. They were invited backstage after the show and allowed to play with the puppets which delighted them. So that was a very nice touch from the hotel.

Breakfast was adequate, enough to fuel you up for a good start. Don't expect the egg station, the cold cuts counter etc. Still, it was decent in variety and quantity.

Location-wise, this hotel is nicely placed if you like Houhai action. It's also not far from the Prince Gong mansion complex. Definitely within walking distance of the highly touristy sections of the lakes, including the bars, restaurants and shops etc. Yandai alley, which is full of souvenir shops and cafes, is not far. Also within walking distance to the Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Beihai lake and Nanluoguxiang, another trendy street chock full of shops and eateries.

The subway is 15minutes away on a brisk walk but it takes you through another interesting neighbourhood hutong, with opera star Mei Lanfang's residence, a bustling residential area with market and food stalls and the famous Huguosi small snacks shop, two stories full of Beijing's street food and snacks. The neighbourhood was interesting so the walk didn't feel far.

That was the good and now for the bad: the staff at reception were not perceptive to the needs of their customers, and could be trained better to anticipate and assist their guests. Some examples: when we first arrived, it was late at night and we were hungry. It was also cold. We were travelling with young children. The young man at the counter suggested that we walk all the way out to the Houhai area for food - easily about a 15-min to 20min walk in the cold. We tried this but it was late, the kids were tired and we really just wanted a snack, not a full (and expensive) meal. Halfway round, we turned back. En route, we met a friendly elderly Beijing resident who lived nearby. He directed us to a 24-hour convenience store nearby at the main road where we happily stocked up on some milk, cup noodles and biscuits. While the guy at reception was not wrong in suggesting what he did, he was not perceptive enough to see the situation and make appropriate suggestions. In the hospitality industry, what defines adequate service from great service is this ability, or lack of.

Finally, on our last night, we returned to the hotel at 8pm, having checked out earlier in the day and leaving our bags in their storage area. The intent was to get a taxi at 9pm to get to the airport by 10pm. At 8pm, my husband checked with the hotel reception (unfortunately manned by the same young man). He assured us it was not a problem to get a taxi in when we needed it. We were quite specific that we needed to leave at 9pm and we made sure to ask because this was a hutong and some taxis do not want to get into the lanes here. But at 9pm when we approached him to call a cab, he told us it was not possible, that we needed to call a cab one to two hours in advance! That rattled us because we had luggage and kids and now we needed to walk and haul our bags to the main road to get a cab. We were quite annoyed that he did not say so earlier. It felt a bit risky because we were not sure if we could easily get a cab at that time. Luckily we could and did in spite of that man's poor advice.

So in short, I like the Shadowart hotel, but I think they need to work a lot harder on their staff and their staff's proactiveness, service attitudes and product knowledge. This mars what would otherwise be a great little hotel worth recommending.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank chongbrood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
84 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2012

This is a small hotel down a narrow alleyway in the Hutongs close by Houhai. It has no more than a dozen or so rooms many of which have no windows. Most rooms seem quite small. The food was rudimentary with little choice for breakfast and there is no restaurant. Good coffee though!
But, and this is a big but, it was the most memorable hotel we stayed in during our holiday in China and, now that I know it, the one I would have been most sorry to have missed. There is a resident puppeteer who creates magical flat puppets from thin sheets of vellum and operates them from behind a screen. Performances seem to be every other night and are a must see. Walking in the dimly lit alleyways around the hotel trying to find a restaurant is fun but not in the least bit intimidating. Near the lake there are restaurants which have English menus but in some of the streets you have to find a restaurant with a menu which shows the dishes in pictures to let you decide what to eat. The Hutongs are informally built small houses without proper sanitation (although the sanitation in the hotel is fine with en suites in all rooms. We felt closer to China here that anywhere else we stayed.

Room Tip: Try and get a room on the first floor with a window
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Rex S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
oregon
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 2012

Staying at the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel was the most memorable and best experience of our 23-day trip to China. If you want to see a big western hotel, stay in downtown Beijing. But we wanted to experience life in China as the Chinese live it, so we chose to stay in the Hutongs. From the moment we walked into the entry of the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel, we knew we had chosen a magical place to stay. From the carpet in the entry, to the rooms themselves, to the staff, this hotel is beyond amazing. The goal of management is to provide you a special visit and they definitely accomplish that. Christine, the manager, is beyond accommodating and speaks fluent and flawless English. The rooms are modern, have wonderful beds and special bedding, and are immaculate. The puppet show is very fun. You can choose either Western or Chinese breakfast. The staff treat you like family. We were able to walk to restaurants and many tourist sites and spent a fair amount of time just exploring the Hutongs on foot. Returning to the hotel was quiet and peaceful-a different world from the hubbub of life outside.

I'll say it again . . . A stay in the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel is magical and very special. We would never stay any where else in Beijing.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank oceanfrontcabin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Long Beach, California
Level Contributor
34 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 2012

I work in Beijing, and when family comes to visit, this is my go-to spot. The location is great, close to Houhai for restaurants, a drink, a stroll by the lake, etc, and it's central, so everything else is a short cab ride or walk away. Hotels vary a lot in Beijing, but you won't find this charm and level of comfort for anywhere near this price elsewhere (we booked online at first for around US$100 a night, with breakfast). While it's got all the modern conveniences, and is in a beautifully remodeled enclosed courtyard (a really relaxing and inviting setting), outside the hotel is a Beijing many don't experience. The hotel is set about a block into a hutong, the old Beijing alleyways lined with courtyard homes. The neighborhood is friendly, you can get some great chun'r or skewers of barbeque at a couple of storefronts, and you can see how Beijing lives, and has lived for a long time. I take my family and friends here, and I love it myself!

The managers are eager to help and the staff wants to make your stay great too. While there's no elevator (it's only a two story building), there was always someone to help with luggage. This hotel is an experience, and I haven't even talked about the shadow art!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank PalominoMadera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
feng y, Guest Relations Manager at Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel, responded to this review, 30 April 2013
Dear PalominoMadera

First of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to write such an amazing comment about The Shadow Art Hotel. It is always a pleasure for us to read about our guest’s wonderful experience.

We appreciate your loyalty and looking forward to welcome you back in the near future.

Looking forward to your feedback,

Kind Regards
Manager Feng
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel

Property: Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel
Address: No.24 Songshujie, Xicheng District | Beijing, Beijing 100009, China
Phone Number:
Region: China > Beijing > Houhai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #67 of 6,463 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shichihai Shadow Art Performance Hotel hold a cultural conviction that we believe the true cultural beauty of chinese heritage should be preserved and we found a modern way for the world to appreciate the true beauty again.Bustling lives mask us from the beauty of nature. Through travels, we refresh our senses about culture and nature. We strive to inject life and cultural forces into our tourist sites.This is the first stop of your cultural expedition; the next one is to explore nature and the Beijing old city from Shichahai for new pulses.We are situated in the dragon pulse of Beijing, the most sacred site of Fengshui.Shadow Art Performace Hotel is located in the hutong district of Houhai. Here, its design brings you to a lakeside, over the waterfront, into hutongs, and this dwelling in a city district with waterscape and nature puts us back on the path to nature and reshape our heart to value respect and tranquility that go for natural environment and culture. ... more   less 
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