With the rapid growth in China tourism industry, various hotels are spring up all over the country, and it’s easy to find a satisfactory accommodation for you according to your budget. One thing should be noticed that foreign travellers can stay only in the hotels that have license to accommodate foreign travellers. As more and more foreign tourists visit China, theoretically, most of the hotels have the license, however, it’s not ruled out that some small inns are not qualified. It’s advised to check this out before booking.
China provides foreign tourists with all kinds of hotels, from luxurious hotels to economic hotels, from vacation resorts to youth hostels and home inns; such a full range covers all needs of the tourists. China hotel industry adopts Star Rating System to evaluate the facility, scale, service quality and management of a hotel. There are five levels, from 1-star to 5-star, and 5-star is divided into normal 5-star and Platinum 5-star, the latter one is the highest standard of the rating system. However, it’s not always accurate to judge a hotel from its star rating result, since the 5-star hotels in big cities may have better accommodation environment than that in small cities, or some 4-star hotels have the same service and facility with some 5-star hotels. For those who have a high requirement for accommodation, it’s advised to see hotel reviews before booking. Normally, international hotels and hotels beyond 3-star will be safer choices.
As the rapid development of China, many international hotel groups expand their business to China, including the InterContinental, Cendant, Marriott, Accor, Hilton, Starwood, Hyatt, Best Western, Kempinski, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental, etc. Every hotel group provides different brands aiming to different markets and target customers.
In the major cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xian, and Chongqing, etc. it’s easy to find all kinds of brands of the international hotel groups: Luxury hotels like St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Ritz-Carlton, Waldorf, Conrad Hilton, Peninsula, Park Hyatt, Shangri-La, etc.; Upper Upscale hotels like W Hotels, JW Marriot, Westin, Grand Hyatt, InterContinental, etc.; Upscale hotels like Sheraton, Hilton, Indigo, Crown Plaza, etc.; upper midscale and midscale hotels like Four Points, Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place, Holiday Inn, Ibis, etc. Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong have most luxury hotels in China as the economy centers.
In smaller cities and famous remote tourist site, like Jiuzhaigou, upscale hotels and midscale hotels are also easy to find. In general, the distribution of the international hotels follows the principle of economic development: eastern cities have more international hotels than western cities, while provincial cities are more than second-tier or third-tier cities, and tourist area are more than non-tourist area. As for hotel rates and hotel facility of the same brand, the small cities and remote tourist site may charge less than big cities, and the facility may not good as the big cities, too.
There are so many kinds of hotels in China, from 1-star hotel to 5-star hotel, from luxurious international hotel to youth hostel and family inn. A simple way to classify them is through hotel rates.
Price: ¥700 ~ 1500+ (US $100 ~ 200+), with 10% to 15% service charge
Normally, hotels beyond 4-star hotel (included) and luxury hotels are in this range. Expensive hotels often provide full facilities, like restaurants, bars, swimming pools, health clubs and spas. These hotels usually have English speaking staff, so it’s very convenient for foreign tourists. Hotels in this range are very alike, good service with full facility, so tourists can choose according to location, hotel rates and personal preference. Some of the luxurious hotels in major cities may charge over ¥3000, however, most of them are below ¥2000, and if you book in advance, you have a great chance to get a good deal.
Price: ¥150 ~ ¥350+ (US$20 ~ 50+)
Generally, starred hotels under 3-star hotel (included) are in this range. There are many hotels in China are in this range due to the huge market demand. Cheap price with a relatively full facilities: basic room with private bathroom, A/C, TV and some of them even have restaurant, these hotels are the primary choice for those who have limited budget, yet pursue a relatively good accommodation environment. One thing to notice: it’s not easy to find a competent English speaking staff in these hotels unless you’re in a tourist destination that’s popular with foreigners, like Yangshuo in Guilin. Some youth hostels can also be counted in this range. Nowadays, more and more youth hostels are labeled with local features with modern facilities and unique services, so it’s worth a try. A famous Chinese hotel chain in this range is Jinjiang Inn, where provides a clean and comfortable accommodation with competent price.
Price: ¥150 ~ ¥350+ (US$3 ~ 15)
Most youth hostels and family inns are in this category. These hostels normally provide several choices for tourists. You can find private room with a bathroom or an individual bed in a room while you need to share bathroom with others. Normally, people who share one room will be the same gender; however, if the hostels are short of beds, tourists may share room with the opposite sex. Despite for the low price, the biggest advantage of these hostels is tourists can meet other travelers and enrich the travel experiences here.
Notice: most youth hostels will provide a safe box for travelers to store valuables, make sure you lock up when you go out.
It’s advised to book the hotel in advance, especially in peak tourism seasons, like the first week of May and October, all kinds of festivals and summer vacation (July to August). Plus, you may find discounted price when you book in advance. Travelers can book a hotel by phone and internet. If the hotel you want to reserve has no English speaking staff, it’s better to ask a local people to call to book for in advance, or you can find travel agencies that supply this kind of service. Most hotels support order cancellation for free, and detailed information should be subject to the regulations of the hotel you book.
Check in time is normally after 14:00 and check out time is the mid-noon the next day. Some hotels may be checked in after 13:00 or 15:00, the specific time is subject to the information on booking website or the official website of the hotel. Foreign travelers need to present passport and fill out a registration form when checking in. Tourist will pay a refundable deposit when checking in and it will be returned when checking out if there is no damage or loss of the room.
Most starred hotels will supply laundry services. Travelers can also find laundry shop outside the hotel, it charges cheaper than the hotel. However, it’s inconvenient comparing with the hotel service. Choose according to your actual situation.
Many hotels allow that a child under 12 years old sharing the parents room for free, however, different hotels have different regulation about the age limit, and some may charge the extra bed fee. Please check for the related information and regulation of the hotel when booking for confirmation.
In the minority areas and remote areas, like Tibet and Xinjiang, luxury accommodation is rare to find. If travelers stay overnight in the city center, like Lhasa, it’s easily to find comfortable and cozy accommodation with full facility, like Sheraton. If the destination is very remote, then the accommodation may be simple and basic. However, most of these hotels have the local features, such as the stilted building in Longshen Rice Terraces fields.
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