General: We spent nine (9) night at the Shatan hotel and were _very_ satisfied, definitely would go there again. It's a bargain! Great location near the Forbidden City, nice and clean rooms, confy beds (!), and nice staff. It's a western-style hotel in a lively chinese-style block. Even late at night, the surroundings felt very safe. But if you're into more western-style Beijing with fancy malls and restaurants, location might not be the best for you, but grown-up backpackers like us it was the place to be! Only minus was that the receptionist could not help us to get tickets to Beijing Ducks's basketball playoffs...their english was sufficient enough for basic stuff but that was too tricky to understand/arrange. Well, we went to see the Acrobatic show in Chaoyang Theatre instead and were not disappointed, that was the greatest circus we've ever seen! The hotel also sells trips to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs and other sights, I guess they were a bit on the pricey side but easy to participate.
Transportation: Chinese address and tel. no of Shatan hotel can be found on their home page: http://www.shatanhotel-beijing.com/. Print those to show to your taxi driver. If the driver doesn't know the address, ask her/him to call the hotel (with her/his own phone). Chinese
taxi drivers do not usually know how to read a map, even one with chinese street names!
Nearest metro station is Dong Si, easy 15 min walk. But taxis are so cheap (10 rmb to get from the hotel to Tiananmen square, for example) that we used them all the time. You can ask to hotel to call you a cab or just walk to nearest bigger street and wave and catch one. And take the taxi card from the reception, it has the chinese addresses to the most important sights.
Nearby tips: Good and cheap massage (50 rmb foot massage, 100 rmb whole body massage) and be found near hotel, a small hair salon on the eastern end of the hotel street. They asked us to keep our clothers on during the body massage (= back, neck, legs, hands, arms, face were massaged).
Try the small shabby-looking restaurants on the hotel street, food is delicious (and cheap)! We did not get any stomach problems:)
There's a great breakfast cafe, Alley Cafe, in the western end of the hotel street (near Jingsan Park). Good italian coffee and english-speaking staff. They were actually more useful in giving advise than the receptionists at the hotel (and spoke better english)! And don't miss Jingshan park, it provides great views over the city, a small buddhist pavillion temple, local people doing stuff (singing, playing games, taiji...).
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