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“Seeing Beijing with fresh eyes”

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Double Happiness Beijing Courtyard Hotel
Ranked #12 of 6,449 Hotels in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
Wadhurst, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Seeing Beijing with fresh eyes”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2012

In April I spent five days in Beijing with my wife, my two grown-up sons and daughter-in-law. I have been to Beijing several times before but this is the first for the rest of the family. We chose to stay at the Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel because I had stayed at the big multi-storey hotels on my previous trips and I wanted to experience Beijing differently. It would be different in any case because my daughter-in-law is vegetarian (so I would eat differently, at least some of the time), and my younger son is on a backpacking trip around the world (so we would/should always take public transport).

The Double Happiness gave us a very good experience of Beijing. It consists of low two-storey buildings constructed in the traditional way around one or two courtyards, in a compound enclosed by walls. It is situated in a hutong which is a neighbourhood of such compounds separated by narrow streets. The hotel rooms are modernised with ensuite bathrooms and air-conditioning, television, computer and free wi-fi. The decor and furniture are in the traditional Chinese style. A speaking mynah bird at the entrance, and goldfish in the courtyard, provide diversions from the pre-electronic age! The rooms are clean, quiet and comfortable especially the bed. One can relax in chairs, of the static and swinging variety, laid out in the shade of trees in the courtyard. The photos in the website give an accurate representation of the hotel.

There were too many restaurants to try in Beijing, including several only 5 mins walk from the hotel, so we ate only breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Free breakfast offered Chinese and occidental choices. Both were good without being exceptional. On the west end of Dongsi Sitiao (East 4 4th Lane, outside the hotel) is Taste, the highly ranked Yunnan restaurant in TripAdvisor. We visited it twice. The food was delicious but hot. At the other end of the lane we ate also twice in a neighbourhood restaurant. It served Beijing dishes that are not found in fancy restaurants, and had a menu in Chinese only. I read Chinese but speak only Cantonese. My family could do neither. We had to make a second visit to correct our mistake of ordering too much the first time, and to try the 'pulled' noodles that we missed by arriving too late. Most restaurants close at around 10pm, and in our case the noodle chef left although customers continued to eat and drink till midnight. Food, including beer, came to 10 yuan or 1 euro per person!

We took the metro everywhere, including the Summer Palace on the edge of Beijing. There is a fixed fare of 2 yuan for all journeys. Directions and names of stops are written and announced in Chinese and English. It is hard to get lost. The nearest stop is 10 minutes walk from the hotel and Tiananmen Square is 10 minutes/ 3 stops away. One walks though a local as opposed to a touristic neighbourhood to the stop. It can be a little chaotic when cars were passing through the narrow E4 4th Lane but the shops offer shoes and cloths at wonderful prices. Street merchants sell fruit and vegetables, chicks and ducklings. For the Great Wall at Mutianyu, we hired a minibus with a driver from 9am to 4pm for a modest cost of 900 yuan. My younger son acceded to this 'unbackpacking' extravagance by insisting on walking the entire permissible length of the Wall at Mutianyu. Effectively you walk this length twice, because the starting and end points are between the farthest permissible points. Believe me, this is very hard work for a 65 year-old!

One visit we made that is not often mentioned in guide books and in TripAdvisor itself, is the National Museum of History on Tiananmen Square. We had time only for the Ancient History section covering the start of civilisation to 1911. (I am leaving the other section for a future trip.) Going through the rooms at a brisk pace you can take in more than 5000 years of Chinese civilisation in about 3 hours. The panels are in Chinese and English, the latter at a standard that would be expected in a world-class museum. The exhibits are magnificent, and the building itself monumental. Do not take my word for it (which is in any case adequate) but see it for yourself.

I leave till last the beautiful ladies, helpful beyond words, who 'man' the front desk of the hotel. They always greeted us with a smile, answered all our queries, and made many practical suggestions, in perfect English. They helped us book all our trips including the journey to the airport. My wife left a scarf in the hotel and did not realise it till a month later. Yet on sending an email, it was found, and is now on its way back to its owner.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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2 Thank Philip1946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Singapore
Level Contributor
92 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2012

did not know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised.
amazing service. one of the best service experience in beijing.
rooms were small and quaint. but very clean. traditional in design with cute courtyards.
hotel is a perfect way to experience the famous beijing hutong lifestyle // the smells // the sounds // the area

my only issue was trying to get a taxi // generally in beijing this is a nightmare // but the location of this hotel does not make this any easier ...

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled on business
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1 Thank thomas_destinations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 May 2012 via mobile

Have stayed here twice now, and will again. The rooms are very nice, good showers and tastefully decorated. The staff are amazing and all speak good English. The breakfast is very good. There are lots of nice little extra touches that make you feel very well looked after.

Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank Joe C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
57 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 2012

My wife & I very much enjoyed our recent stay at this hotel. It is located in a Hutong (alley) where you can experience the "real" Beijing. There are many good restaurants in the vicinity. All the staff are very friendly and helpful & the breakfast provided is good. It's great to be able to relax in the courtyard after a hard days sight seeing. Whilst the rooms are on the small side this didn't bother us as we spent very little time in our room. I recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ShaieB_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Australia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 2012

We really enjoyed out stay of 7 nights in the 'wedding suite' of this hotel in the hutong. A great way to experience some authentic culture! The staff were very helpful, the breakfast offered was plentiful, there was a computer in the room with free wifi. We found lots of great eateries within a few minutes of the hotel and the subway and grocery store only a short distance. Some taxis didn"t want to take us up the alley to the hotel but we enjoyed our walks from the main roads to the hotel so this was not a problem. We had organised transport on arrival and departure so bags were not an issue. I would highly recommend this hotel.......

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SunshineCoastLady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Creston, Canada
Level Contributor
89 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2012

Just got back from our time in China. The Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel was instrumental in our AMAZING holiday in China.

First, we were in contact with the hotel prior to our arrival in China and the e-mails were replied to quickly and efficiently. We needed to book our train tickets to Xi'an for very specific dates with very specific sleeping arrangements. The hotel handled this all for us, prior to our arrival, via e-mail. Also any specific room requirements mentioned in the e-mails were in place when we arrived.

Secondly, the hotel is an oasis of tranquility in a busy, and HUGE city. The rooms are well appointed with a bathroom that would be at home in most western houses. The bed in our first room was a little hard as there is no box spring and the mattress was foam (228). Our second room was much better (006) with a spring mattress and even a private roof-top terrace. As countless other reviews have said the rooms are great. The best part of the accomodations are the courtyards. A great way to decompress after a hectic day. Just sitting out on the swinging bench/table using the free wi-fi and drinking a 50 cent Chinese beer... doesn't get any better.

Thirdly, the area/hutong is ideal. There is a Wu-Mart about 10 minute's walk, right by the Dongsi "B" subway entrance. Expand your culinary bounderies, check out the unusual (for us) offerings. I bought a bunch of packaged spicy chicken feet for souvenirs, yum!! Go great with the inexpensive Chinese beer. The location was very important for us primarily as it gave us a glimpse into Chinese life. In a western style hotel I was afraid I'd be insulated from the "real" China. Walking down the alley was an experience as there are bikes, electric bikes, motorcycles, trikes, and even the occasional car that ply the alley. I'll hear bike bells in my sleep for the next few weeks!! Lots of local shops where you can get an ice cream or soft drink.

Fourthly, the area has a good selection of restaurants. For the traditional Peking Duck there's a Dadong restaurant about 15 minutes walk. Famous for their lean Peking Duck if you can get by their impersonal, frankly unfriendly service you'll have an enjoyable meal. Another restaurant nearby (turn right as you exit the hotel) is "Taste", in the hutong. Mango chicken was enjoyable as well as the noodles with spicy pork sauce. Pricy and small, make reservations. Another restaurant in the hutong was "Small Cafe". The restaurant is owned by a Chinese fellow that is quite well-travelled, claiming to have visited 52 countries. He speaks very good english and is helpful with menu suggestions, of which there aren't many. Good Thai Green Curry, although I make one as good or better. A chance to try something different while in China. Our favourite though was a restaurant I found while reading another Tripadvisor review of the Double Happiness Hotel. It is a Chinese muslim restaurant in the next hutong. Turn left as you leave the hotel, then left again at the end of the alley. The restaurant is located in the next hutong/alley (Dong Si Wu Tiao) right on the corner, on the right hand side (see my pics). We met the waitress (Cheung Yinyin) who suggested MANY dishes, all "Very, very good" as she put it. We didn't know it was a muslim restaurant, thinking it was just traditional Chinese so we were surprised to see some of the dishes had bread in them. Wow, the best meal we had in China... and also the cheapest. We (4 of us) ate like kings, including drinks (beer, Coke) and the whole meal was around 100 Yuan ($16 CDN). We couldn't even finish the whole thing. Spicy Spinach, Spicy beef (had cumin and other spices), fried rice, beef skewers, and a potato, bread, chicken, hot pepper, tomato and onion "stew" (small, 40 Yuan). If you only order one thing order the tomato stew thing. We ordered the small (40 Yuan) and it was the size of a pizza platter. I'm sure the large is the size of a manhole cover!! Surreal eating at a miniature table and stools on the edge of the alley with the locals. At one point a huge dump truck almost ran the lot of us over. Where else can you say a dump truck drove through your restaurant?!?

Lastly and most importantly, the staff (De De, Kathy, Lily, Jacklyn, Catherine, Aggie, Sunny, Tency and Alan) were SIMPLY THE BEST. While the accomodations are great, the staff are superb and truly make this THE hotel to stay at. Any problems were addressed immediately, they were happy to make any bookings or arrangements you needed. We even got to go to the Great Wall at Mutianyu with Lily! The kids thought she was the best, she really added to our Great Wall experience. Make sure you ask De De to come camping on the Great Wall with you, she LOVES it!! Just bring your rubbish bag full of bedding, De De and a sense of adventure!!When we arrived (quite late, after midnight) the lovely Kathy met us at the front door and helped us with our taxi driver. She got us all checked in quickly so we could go to our room and crash. They were so great to talk to after a long day's adventures. They helped us with sorting out our subway routes, written instructions for taxi drivers (make sure you have your little yellow card for the taxi return trip to the hotel!!) and even giving us advice on bargaining at the "Dirt Market". While we were strangers when we met, we were friends when we parted.

So, if you want an experience as important as any other while you're in China stay at the Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel. I did, and I wouldn't trade our time there for anything!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank CDNVistaCruiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
Level Contributor
74 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 May 2012

If you choose to stay in one of the western-clone hotels in the city when you could stay here, you must be crazy. This felt like authentic China and I loved the fact that it was situated in a Hutong, so that we experienced local life.

The reception staff were fantastic - kind, helpful, friendly and attentive throughout our stay - and they spoke good English. The atmosphere in the hotel was calm and tranquil and the seating in the public courtyard sections was great - relaxing and gently convivial.

Breakfast was good, but my advice is to get there early as the room is quite small and you can find there's no place to sit if you arrive later in the breakfast session. However, this was never a problem for us.

In Shanghai, we stayed in a five star hotel which didn't offer us the convenience of the Double Happiness in Beijing. To have both free wifi and your own internet-connected PC in the room was something I've not had in any other hotel - and it's a big plus. Bigger/posher hotels take note! Oh, and they also supplied two free bottles of water each day. Once again, very helpful and something which so-called "superior" hotels would do well to emulate.

In summary, I can honestly say that this is the most memorable and pleasurable hotel I have stayed in. The whole experience was great and when I return to Beijing I will definitely book in to the Double Happiness - and if they have no room, I'll change my dates!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Malcvtr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Double Happiness Beijing Courtyard Hotel

Property: Double Happiness Beijing Courtyard Hotel
Address: No.37 Dongsi Sitiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100010, China
Phone Number:
Region: China > Beijing > Beijing Workers' Sports Complex
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Beijing
#5 Romantic Hotel in Beijing
#14 Business Hotel in Beijing
#70 Best Value Hotel in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Double Happiness Beijing Courtyard Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Living in the real heart of the city, you have the chance to witness the daily life of Chinese people. Living in the courtyard house with over 500 year's history, you are closer to those ancient Chinese stories. Our hotel is suitable for culture explorers & mind-peace seeker. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Agoda, Ctrip TA, Odigeo, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Double Happiness Beijing Courtyard Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Courtyard Beijing

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