I stayed in room 747 from May 20-25, 2014 with my wife and two young kids (ages 4 and 6). I have stayed in a lot of different hotels in the USA, Hong Kong and Shenzhen (China), this this hotel was definitely sub-par compared to the ones I have stayed at. Note that I cannot give an overall rating over the hotels all over China, but just in my sample size (which I believe is of an "adequate" size). While the location seems pretty convenient near the city center and near the two more prestigious (and famous) universities in China, the first thing an english speaking visitor will notice is that of the few employees that do speak a few words of english, you are not certain if they understand you. Like I mentioned, I was traveling with my family so it would be customary( at least in the US and probably other countries/hotels)to have four towels in the bathroom. Well, there were two bath towels in the bathroom -- ok -- no problem...we'll just call down and ask for two more. They figure out pretty quickly that I don't speak enough mandarin so they connect me with someone who does speak english and I politely ask them for two more towels. They reply in the affirmative (or what sounded like a confirmation of my request); an hour passes and still no towels. My wife does the same thing and has the same response and extrapolated understanding that two towels are own their way -- still nothing. The next day, we ask our guides to speak with the front desk to ask for two more towels. I didn't completely follow the conversation in Mndarin, but by the looks on their faces and the length of the conversation, it seemed to me that they were annoyed by the request and questioned our need for two more towels. They finally acknowledged the request and two more towels were waiting for us later that day when we returned to the room.
The air conditioning was also questionable. We like to sleep with the ambient temperature relatively cool (around 68 F) and it was hot outside and in the hallway outside the room. We turned the thermostat down but the room never really got cooler - we heard the fan and could see that the thermostat controlled the fan (you could hear it turn off and on when you flipped the switch) but the temperature never seemed to change (there was no thermometer there, just a dial to set so I could not track to see if it was even slightly cooler). We mentioned this to our guides ( I didn't see the reactions this time), but later, the room was cooler -- in fact a bit too cool now, but turning the thermostat up did not increase the temperature -- we put on jackets.
The buffet is relatively expensive. It is true that they have a reasonably "large" selection of food, including muslim (non pork), non-muslim, and oriental type food as well as a waffle station and omlet station (not quite the same as you find in the USA - I got it once but not again). They also have cold water (not sure if the ice is made from tap, or if the water is from the tap so beware!) as well as grapefruit, and orange juice, coffee and tea (no decaf that I could see). We went there several times because there was not (as far as I know) any recommended breakfast places nearby the hotel. There were places like fruit stands and perhaps some restaurants near the Walmart (easy walk about 1-2 blocks away) but I didn't check these out.
There are several power outlets that are on top of the desk table to charge your electronics and while the Wifi is free, you are told that the router you should use is named your room number with no password. Why they need to have so many (virtual?) routers is not known to me (perhaps for surveillance purposes?) - but so many sites (like facebook, google+, university websites, etc) were blocked that it didn't seem to be worth it. Cnn.com and various other news sites did work so I know that you could get some data transmission but it was very annoyingly limited. Somehow, my VPN connection could not be established (where it worked just fine in Kunming (in south west china)) so perhaps a lot of these sites are blocked due to political sensitivity? I don't know. The beds are VERY firm, which doesn't bother me, but as far as I have experienced, I believe ALL hotel beds in Asia are very firm so if you like a pillowtop, you're out of luck. The tap water out of the sink is labeled as "non-directable", which I believe is supposed to indicate that it should not be consumed. My son accidentally drank a small amount and within 24 hours had cramps and a case of diarrhea. The rest of us various GI ailments ranging from mild discomfort to ejection out both ends - which, after some consideration of the other members of our traveling party and their backgrounds, was likely due to the "bad" water from the tap/shower. I would recommend brushing your teeth with bottled water (which, btw, is provided with the room as two small bottles -- you may want to procure your own larger bottles).
We did check out the pool and gym during our stay - we did not use but took a careful look at these facilities. The pool is an indoor 25 m pool with lanes and a gradual incline -- I was told that it starts at > 1.0 m so it is perhaps not young kid friendly and you need to provide your own showercap or purchase one for about 60 RMB at the pool entrance. The gym was nicely stocked with 6-10 multi-mode machines as well as free weights and several treadmills and there was no one there when we visited at about 8:45 am, so I am not sure how busy it gets.
In summary - I would probably not stay here again, but this was supposed to be one of the nicer hotels in the area (based on recommendations from a local resident), they are not world class as far as language qualifications, and the buffet could use some work with outside consultants. they do have a pretty nice and large shark tank with about 6 small sharks (~1m long?) and the kids liked to watch them swim around but the food and drink is somewhat expensive and not particularly satisfying. The hotel is otherwise reasonably clean and in good shape. If I had a do over, I would probably look at the intercontinental Beijing in the financial district.
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- Also Known As:
- Jade Palace Beijing
- Jade Palace Hotel Beijing