First, a warning. The Yayuncun is a complex of buildings left over from the Asian Games of 1988 (I think). It shares a huge, densely populated site with another management company, Hui Yuan. Together the buildings run from Block A to Block R.The lowest block is around eight stories. The tallest is around twenty. I have stayed in half a dozen of them. They vary enormously. Indeed, the quality varies floor by floor. Several of the buildings (e.g. Block A and Block M, among others) are "proper" (albeit Chinese style) hotels (i.e. they have a limited sense of "service"). Others are "service apartments". In my experience, the service apartments are better than the hotels. (Less aggravation, possibly because of lower expectations?) Anyway ... on this trip I stayed in Block B Service Apartment. You check in at Block A and then trundle around the back to Block B.
As other reviewers have noted, the check in staff are unhelpful and have limited English.
I really want to write a good review of Block B. They really tried hard but, unfortunately, they just don't get it quite right. The suite (service apartments always seem to be suites. A sitting room/lounge, a bedroom, a bathroom, and, frequently, what can only be called a sun room. Although the hotel's website says that there are kitchens, as far as I can tell these are always sealed.) had been recently renovated/modernized. It's an enormous step in the right direction. Unfortunately, they just don't get to the finish line.
The suite I was in was recently redecorated and was a pleasant change from the shabbier suites I have had in other blocks in the past. Everything was re-done -- ceiling and trim repainted, walls had new wallpaper, new vinyl "wood effect" floor, new electrical sockets that took Chinese, US, and European plugs (Brits, take an adapter), new light fixtures on the ceiling (flourescent strip lighting gives everything a bluish tint -- which is pretty ghastly on cold winter evenings). The furniture was new or nearly new. So no stains, no badly mended tears. New curtains. Best, the bathroom was entirely re-done to a high standard. Although there was no bath tub, there was a proper 4-star style shower stall (so, no more wet bathroom floors), a new sink, mirror, lighting. The walls were freshly tiled. The floor, I think was also new (hard to tell because it was pretty filthy -- the housekeeping staff didn't seem to know how to clean a room properly -- possibly didn't have the right equipment. I never saw a proper mop or a vacuum cleaner). The biggest downside to the bathroom is that it is tiny. This was made worse by the fact that although they had replaced all the doors and door hardware, the door was hung backwards. It opened into the bathroom. The result? You must stand in the shower stall to open and close the door. This was a real shame as they really tried hard to modernize the apartment. But too often they got it wrong.
The bedroom had two (very hard) beds, a chest of drawers, a beside table, a flat screen TV. What's missing? A bedside reading lamp would have been appreciated.
The sitting room had a table and four chairs, a sofa, an arm chair, a desk, a chest of drawers, a large 3D TV, and a full-sized refrigerator. Internet connection was via cable. It was a reasonable connection. Again, no desk lamp.
At the end of the living room was what I can only call a "sun room". I have no idea what this room could be used for. (Possibly, when the buildings were built they were used to dry athletes' clothes?) Anyway, you enter the room through sliding glass partition-style doors (which basically perform the function as a glass partition between the lounge area and the sun room). The sun room is 4.5 feet wide and 11 feet wide. There is no furniture in it. Again, the people who did the make-over tried hard, but didn't quite get it right. All the other service apartments I had stayed in had grubby sun rooms. This one was clean. New patio doors, freshly painted ceiling, the exposed brick walls and freshly tiled floor were finished to a high standard. But to what purpose the room could be put I cannot begin to guess. The room is too narrow to accommodate the table and chairs. Indeed, it's too narrow for the armchair. You could, I guess, move one of the dining chairs out there but I'm not sure why you would do it. Not only are the dining chairs uncomfortably hard but, much more importantly, there is nothing to look at through the windows. This is because the windows in the sun room (which were also the only windows to the sitting room) faced the wall of the adjacent (say 15 feet away) building. This wall was, without a doubt, the ugliest wall I have ever seen -- a melange of duct-work, guttering, dangling wires. You could not see the sky. Just the wall. Without a doubt the most horrible view I have ever had in a hotel room anywhere, ever. (Note, the windows in the bedroom also face this same wall.) As far as I can figure out, all the rooms in the hotel face the same way.
On the plus side? The heating worked well (note: there is a delay of several minutes between when you make a setting and when the heating fan turns on. It's like hitting a brontosaurus on the tail and waiting for the message to reach its head). The shower was terrific. Excellent shower head, excellent water pressure, excellent drain. The new refrigerator was useful (there is a good supermarket in the building adjacent to Block A and the newspaper kiosk has the English language edition of the China Daily). The internet connection was reasonable. It is close to the convention center and to the Bird's Nest stadium. The residential neighborhood across Anli Road has a wide variety of local restaurants. While English-speaking staff and English-speaking menus are few and far between, but most menus have photos.
By the way, there are also restaurants in some of the Yayuncun and Hwai Yuan blocks. Near Block M there is a good Hot Pot restaurant (with beer garden) and a Baskin & Robbins ice cream shop.
Would I stay there again? In the complex, yes. In this block, no. The view is too depressing.
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