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“basic but comfortable”

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Zaoyuanju (Hutong Inn)
Ranked #3,259 of 6,568 Hotels in Beijing
Reviewed 7 August 2011

I loved the look of the place the minute we walked in, loved the local laneway we had to follow to the hotel. The reception staff were friendly but very busy and check in/out tends to be a bit of a slow process. Our room was extremely small but the room was so cute with these neatly made beds and big yellow cushions. The bathroom was ok i have stayed in worse, the whole room reminded me of staying at my grandmothers house. The bed was pretty comfortable but we were pretty tired when we returned each night. Breakfast was only the basics but ok. All was good till the morning our regular host was not there and my travel companion had to cook our eggs and all hell broke loose with the hotplate that would not stop dinging!!! A pretty funny start to out day. The courtyard is a nice place to sit in the afternoon and have a few cold beers and chat with fellow travellers. The only real complains would be the smell of cigarette smoke that seems to have invaded every corner of the rooms and hotel hallways, its very unpleasant but that seems to be china its full of smokers. We opened the windows at night for some fresh air. The location of this hotel was fabulous only about a 10 minute easy walk to the subway and 10 minutes in the other direction to Bar Street. The main road near our hotel was lined with all different restaurants, and we fell in love with a little vietnamese place. Its an easy walk down to the lake and Bar Street with the lively restaurants and bars and little alleys full of cute little shops.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank cortez48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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
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3  Thank CalBos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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Thank wandering_roadrunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank vinzdee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
Thank BeachBumX2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank WHDSM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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2  Thank Tuslingen
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)

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 #3,259 of 6,568 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range: £20 - £37 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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