I must confess to having some trepidation about staying in a Chinese hotel: would the staff speak English? Would my American credit cards work? Would there be anything to eat? Well, at least at this Home Inn, worry not, because it’s a fine, small, budget-oriented hotel in a great location.
I flew to Shanghai from Guangzhou, and arrived nine hours late; the taxi to the hotel took 30 minutes wth no traffic; plan on an hour during a normal day. Arriving at the hotel I was greeted by the surprised staff and a sleepy security guard (not many westerners stay at Home Inns), processed my credit card (AMEX, and it worked no problems) and got me into my room with a minimum of fuss. I slept like a log.
Home Inns are pretty basic hotels. No carpeting, minimal decorating, no fancy bed linens and towels. But everything is there, everything is clean, and it works just fine. The single elevator is a bit slow, but that’s not too much of a problem. The internet was fast and free, but I did have a few issues getting disconnected and reconnected. The bathroom was small but offered soap, shampoo, towels and everything you need. Three free bottles of water – Take that, Vistana Hotel in Penang! – were refreshed in the room every day. I bought some instant coffee at a local store and made myself a hot beverage every morning.
The best part of the Home Inn is the neighborhood. There are five neighborhood restaurants, and I ate at every one of them and they’re all fine. (Don't bother buying the breakfast buffet at the hotel; it's terrible, and there are great alternatives just a few doors away.) The noodle shop to the right of the hotel (as you walk out the front door) has great fast food and cheap prices. The more elaborate restaurant on the left side of the hotel was spicy, delicious and suitable even for bringing customers, which I did. There are several fruit stands where I enjoyed water melon and “dragon eye” fruits. There’s also a McDonald’s on the corner, so I had breakfast there most days. The Sheraton Four-Points is a short walk away, and I went there most evenings for a glass of wine. It’s a great, safe neighborhood and perfect for extended stays like mine. Aside from food, there are all sorts of shops, an electronics mall, a smoke shop right next to the hotel where I bought some cigars, a barber shop, several massage centers, a copy shop; just about everything you could possibly need.
The hotel is a 20 remembi taxi ride to the giant new Shanghai Convention Center; you could almost walk it, if you were really feeling lively. The Bund is a 20 minute/40 remembi taxi ride. The Metro is next to the Sheraton and it was 7 remembi back to the airport when I finally left.
I paid about $40 a night.
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