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“BEWARE: 200 rmb cash deposit required. Dishonest Management”

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Zaoyuanju (Hutong Inn)
Ranked #2,801 of 6,461 Hotels in Beijing
San Diego
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“BEWARE: 200 rmb cash deposit required. Dishonest Management”
Reviewed 26 June 2011

This hotel is part of a chain of "Hutong Inns", however this location is referred to as THE "Hutong Inn" even though it's official name is "Zaoyuanju" and their other location (walking distance away) USED to be referred to as "Hutong Inn" (and is labeled such on maps) and is now "Hutong Culture Inn". They are both very hard to find and are easily confused.

The room quality is decent and the staff speaks English quite well. The challenge is that customer service/management and their policies are nothing short of ridiculous, therefore I would not recommend this hotel at all.

I read previous reviews that stated patrons were told they reserved an "inner" "no window" room when they had reserved a room with a window. This happened to me, despite the fact I paid the higher amount for a room with a window. I brought up my reservation on my PDA and showed it to the desk agent who appeared to not understand it, but because I was staying multiple nights I WAS offered a "free" upgrade for my first night. Thanks.

After staying for the amount of time I reserved I did decide to stay one additional night because I woke up too late to find another hotel and the quality of the room was not too bad. The front desk requested an amount substantially higher than that offered online, so I renewed on a travel site and sent them an email confirmation. I checked with the front desk, they confirmed they had the email and all looked alright. Apparently the different "Hutong Inns" are easily confused by even the staff because upon returning from lunch I was told I paid for the Hutong Culture Inn down the street (same company) and not the Zaoyuanju "Hutong" Inn and the manager told the desk agent I would have to pay the difference. That seemed reasonable to me and therefore I remained at the hotel rather than moving down the street to their other hotel.

But the next day the front desk staff told me the manager said I had to pay the full rate for the previous night despite the fact I had already paid a higher rate for THEIR hotel just down the street under the same ownership and management - and despite they had explicitly told me my staying there wouldn't be a problem and I would simply have to pay the difference (though there was none). RIDICULOUS but they had my money already.

The fact they tried to do a bait-and-switch at check-in (that was reported by at least one other patron) and their resolution of problems was dubious at best leads me to conclude the management of the Hutong Inns are not honest. Combined with the fact they require a 200 rmb CASH-only deposit on check-in and you are at their mercy if any dubious management decision is levied against you. BUYER BEWARE.

Room Tip: PRINT your reservation to PROVE your room type
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank CalBos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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155 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Date | Rating
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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
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English first
Hackensack, New Jersey
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2011

Very convenient to metro station as well as a cool local neighborhood. Only issues- I had to fix the wireless connection for the hotel, turns out they didn't have their router plugged in, and even then it was weak. Thankfully they did provide an ethernet cable in the room. Like most Chinese hotels, you have to put the room card in a slot to make the electricity work, it was a bit inconsistent, but not horrible. Skip breakfast at the hotel and head over by the Drum Tower, a great bakery with french pastries and good coffee! Overall, would return, cannot beat the price!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank wandering_roadrunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris, France
Level Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 June 2011

The room has no window and it smells like it was previously used by prostitutes. I know. Gross. I do have a hound-dog nose, so you might not notice. We asked for a room with a window, and were told that we couldn't have that room because we booked at a special internet price (on agoda). We also asked for a non-smoking room and alas, as with other places we've been in China, there is an ash tray in our non-smoking room. Surprise! We were told when we walked in that we had to wait 1 hr for our room. We continued the check in process and were ushered immediately to our room, and noticed that many other similar rooms were also available, as their doors were open. We noticed this was the same story given to another couple that showed up when we were in the lobby using the free wifi (yay!). Apparently there are no rooms with a bed for two so we don't get to sleep together either... despite the large number of previously mentioned empty rooms. It seems to be in a great neighborhood though.
I've started judging our transient housing by whether or not I want to go home while I'm staying there. I want to go home while staying here.

Room Tip: Don't book and see if you can get a window.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank vinzdee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Beijing hotels

Singapore
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2011

We stayed here for a few days, went to a friend's house, and then checked into a hostel in a different hutong--the Inner City hostel--only to check out the next night and return here. It's the same price as a hostel but has all the comforts of a hotel. The rooms are small but, except for the carpets (which never seem to be cleaned in China--no vacuums?), was very clean. There's a free breakfast in the morning (fry your own egg), and the staff are professional. There seemed to be lost of empty rooms, so go ahead and bargain. Make sure you get a room with a window. We tried the one without, and couldn't stand the stuffiness. Oh, and the location is good too. A quick walk to the subway. There are lots of cafe and restaurants around too. You can even walk to the cute pedestrianised (or, it should be pedestrianised) street in the hutong past the drum tower. Simply walk down the street away from the hutong entrance and take your third right, then cross the busy street. Fun!

Oh, one not so good thing. The internet is bad in the rooms. You will have to sit out in the hallway or downstairs in the breakfast area to pick up a signal. They have computers but charge a fee to use them.

Room Tip: Bargain for a room with a window.
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Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank BeachBumX2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
517 reviews
150 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 235 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2011

My wife and I stayed here for 4 nights while visiting Beijing. We moved from a 2 person room that came with our package to a 3 person room. No photos, but I have a video I uploaded on youtube. The main reason we switched was space because of my luggage. I had extra luggage because i was flying back to the states. It was about $8 USD extra a day and worth the cost. For my first visit to Beijing, China, I think we did well by choosing this hotel and I am recommending it! The staff are well spoken in english and will do anything to make your stay enjoyable! The rooms have all sorts of mini bar like items; crackers, soup, cookies etc. Of course you will have to pay though. Avoid that higher priced hotel items and walk 5 minutes down the street to a local grocery. The hotel rooms have toilets and hot water. It is no holiday inn and the beds are ROCK hard. But for about $30 USD you are getting a great value. Did I mention the fre continental breakfast? Eggs, some type of bologna, lettuce, tomatoes, breads, brewed coffee, and juice.
---------- An Excerpt from a website----------------
Hutong Inn is full of Chinese traditional cultural atmosphere in a quiet Hutong.
Zaoyuanju (Hutong Inn) is ideally positioned for visitors to the China who is wishing to enjoy the sights and delights of central Beijing. It is located in the north of the second ring, which just minutes way from the mysterious Bell Tower, Ditan Park and BeiHai Park. It is in the west to the Lama Temple, GuoZijian and HuangChenggen; north to the Beihai park, Jingshan park, the forbidden city, Tiananmen square and Chang An street; in the south of Ditan park, and it is also very near to the Olympic park.

Pros:
- English Speaking Staff
- Free breakfast
- Vans & Tours readily available upon request
- FREE WIFI
- Close to Grocery and restaurants
- Quiet and Airconditioned room

Cons:
- No Ice or refrigerator

RetiredArmyRanger
PC Platinum Member

Room Tip: Ask for a 3 Person Room, It's worth the money!
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank WHDSM-Owner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2011

We stayed at Hutong Inn Zaoyuanju for three nights in late April 2011 (My wife and I and our two small children), and our experience was very good. The staff was friendly and helpful and so was the owner. All of them were very attentive and tried to meet even our smallest needs this without us asking for help.

Regarding the flooded bathroom that came up in one of the previous posts, I must admit we experienced the same problem. However we simply told the staff and they took care of it in less than five minutes. In the rest of our stay the bathroom was working perfectly.

Furthermore a post states that this place is more like a motel. That is perhaps right but compared to Chinese standards this is definitely a good deal the carpets may be a bit worn but overall there is not much to complain about. There is even a small courtyard where you can hangout which is normally hard to get in cheap hotels.

Overall we would definitely recommend this place it is hard to get a better deal. We payed around 280 yuan for a family room. Furthermore the area of Beijing it is situated in really nice.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tuslingen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2011

My husband and I just returned from our trip from China today and I have to say this by far was the worst hotel (more like motel) ever!! We came in as strangers and left with resentment of this place.

We weren't expecting too much figuring the room was only $26 but from the reviews we thought we would get a nice bed and hot shower. Well the beds are no worse than any other hotels we stayed in while in China (this was our 3rd hotel during our travels in China). And the hot shower...non-existent.

We had just gotten in a 11 hour train ride from Xian and looking to shower before we went out of the day. When we checked in they gave us the wrong room, we requested a double bed and received two single beds. When they moved us to the double bed our room was in what is considered the middle section (or B class) of the hotel. This means your "window" opens into the hall way and your "view" is the door of another room. But anyways, this is one of those hotels were you need to turn on the switch to have hot water. I didn't see this as an issue and waited the 30 minutes for hot water. And waited, and waited. There wasn't any water pressure at all for hot water, it was like a trickle. We called down stairs to have some one look at it. They came in looked at the shower and said they would come back. Well after 20+ minutes waiting I called downstairs to see if they were going to fix the shower anytime soon. The person who answered indicated that the person ran out to get a part for the shower. I then asked if I could use another room to shower since I had know idea how long it would take to fix. They were kind enough (sarcasm) to let me but as soon as I hung up the person was there to fix it. They must have done something with the pipes because when they came in it was working correctly.

So yeah, I get hot water to take a shower. I was only able to wash my hair and the whole bathroom gets flooded with water. As the other reviews indicated there isn't a separation between shower and toilet. The water floods into our room. We called again downstairs to have them look at our shower again. Not sure why it was clogged but the woman who fixed the shower took off the grate of the drain. Had I known this I would have taken off the grate before I started my shower. No one offered to moved us to another room, the woman just put down towels to soak up the water and put a floor mat down.

We ended up taking 3 showers while staying there 3 days and only had 1 good shower. This morning we had an 8am flight to take back home, didn't think there would be any issues getting water at 4am but of course with our bad luck with this hotel I was wrong. I again was able to wash & condition my hair (maybe 5 min tops) but then the hot water ran out. I had to finish my shower using the sink. At least I had some hot water in the beginning my poor husband used the ice cold water for his 2 min shower. Since we were checking out and the people really don't understand English we didn't say anything and got the heck out of dodge.

There are many other hutongs that have hotels around this area that I would say to stay at over this one. The breakfast was 30RMB for an egg (that I think you make your own) and toast...needless to say we didn't buy this. There is a cute bakery across the street that you can get breakfast from. Also, you'll notice while walking in the hallways you can see there are water stains on the walls were the shower/bathrooms are. I would recommend using shower shoes if you stay here.

The only good thing about this hotel is the free Wi-Fi in the rooms. If you want to use their computer in the lobby it's 5RMB but not sure how long you get for that price.

I never once felt like family here and wouldn't recommend this to my worst enemy.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank melisa_d_chi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Zaoyuanju (Hutong Inn)

Property: Zaoyuanju (Hutong Inn)
Address: No.17 Zhangwang Alley, Jiugulou Main Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100009, China
Region: China > Beijing > Houhai
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2,801 of 6,461 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Zaoyuanju (Hutong Inn) 3*
Number of rooms: 66
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Chinese Traditional Bed and Breakfast in Beijing Hutong. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zaoyuanju (Hutong Inn) Hotel Beijing
Zaoyuanju Hotel Beijing

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