Accommodation in China
With the steady development of China tourism industry, the hotels in China continue to develop and mature. Many hotels are being built all the time. When visiting a new county, one of the most important thing is to choose a good accommodation, which will make your journey more perfect. There is no shortage of options to find a satisfactory hotel of different class no matter you are on vacation or on business in China. China provides tourists from all over the world with all kinds of hotels, ranging from luxurious hotels to budget hotels, youth hostels or inns. Usually, a wide range of hotels distribute around airport or railway station for the travelers.
There are star-rated hotels leveled from 5-star to 1-star according to their scale, facility, service quality, etc. Platinum 5-star is the most luxurious one of the highest standard. In the coastal developed areas, generally the total amount and standard of hotels in cities is much more high-level than middle and western parts. Therefore, in the same star rating result, the hotels located in big cities are usually have better facilities and environment than that in small cities or remote places. It even occurs in the same city or district. So pay attention to the reviews of travels before booking. One more thing worth mentioning is that if you choose a hotel less than 3-star, make sure some of the staff could speak English.
As for the price, the hotels in eastern China or big cities and tourist cities are far more expensive than western or small cities and non-tourist cities. In China's public holidays or during peak tourist season, the rates of many hotels will increase in varying degrees, even a lot of hotels are all booked up. So, it usually comes up with the case of virtual-high hotel price, namely relatively higher price but lower service.
Compared with the western countries, besides modern domestic and international chain hotels, there are many featured hotels with unique characters, such as typical Chinese courtyard, or ethnic architecture. While usually in the remote western areas, the hotel facilities and meals are not so good as that in big cities, but full of local characteristics. Be prepared mentally if you're going to explore to these places.
Hotel categories in China:
In recent years, both the established international hotel groups and the emerging domestic hotel groups have expand their business to China. After occupied most of the first-tier cities at the beginning development of China’s hotel industry, international hotel groups has stepped up their pace to move into the second-tier and third – tier cities, such as Marriott, Hilton, shangri-la. To adapt to the development in China, many international hotel groups have introduced their subordinate top hotel brands, mid- range hotel brands and budget hotel brands aiming to meet the different needs of customers at all levels. For example, Hilton has introduced the Waldorf, Conrad and other top hotel brands in recent years and will launch the mid-end hotel brand “Hilton garden” and plans to introduce Hampton Inn, a high-end budget hotel.
It is easy to find an international hotel at all kinds of brands in big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc, as well as in some small cities and famous tourist attractions. Generally, as you travel the further inland and away from the major cities, the standards become very lax among similarly rated properties.
Similar to the West, China National Tourism Administration does use a star system to rate hotels’ facilities and quality. You can take this as your reference to pick out your preferred hotels.
- 5-star or 4-star Hotels – The High End Hotels
These kinds of hotels in China usually provide English-speaking service, similar to those in Western hotels, full facilities are available such as restaurants, swimming pools, health club, coffee shops, conference services, business center, currency exchange, and so on.
Usually a 10 to 20 percent service charge will be added to the price at the high end hotels. Most of the first-class hotels have direct airport limousine. Relatively speaking, international chains tend to provide better service than Chinese-owned ones. Booking in advance and you may get a great chance to have a good discount.
- 3-star or less than 3-star Hotels – Mid-range Hotels
Usually, 3-star hotels or below are included in this range with a lot of options. In some hotels, there are staff who could speak basic English. Some also could provide western and Chinese breakfast. However, many hotels in this category are functional but with old decoration and facilities. So try to look for the new for a better environment and service. To meet the rising demand, many chain hotels and featured youth hostels with modern facilities and unique flavor have been popping up and worth a try.
- Budget Hotels
Budget hotels in China are widely distributed near train and bus stations, as well as along major transportation routes. Besides, most youth hostels, guesthouses, or family inns are also very cheap. Youth hostels are very common in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, where you could meet others and share your rides and stories. In some cases, you have to share bathroom with others, in other cases, you have to share your room with others in a dorm style, which all depend on your budget and individual preference.
Usually travelers will book their hotels in advance, which is not difficult to reserve online or by phone. There are many domestic or international professional websites offering hotel reservation service. You can book your hotel directly from one of these websites with full payment. While reserving via phone may be less effective than network, for the reason that some staff could not speak English very well. Many travel agencies also provide this kind of service, usually with many years experience and information as locals, they know better about hotels and their facilities and service. This is why most traveler will choose booking their hotels through their travel agencies. Just tell your name to the people on the reception desk, and then you can have a good night in your favorite hotel.
In peak tourism seasons, you are strongly recommended to book you hotel in advance for a more reasonable price and wide options. Some hotels are free to cancel your reservation or change check-in date, while some hotels won’t accept any changes or cancellations. Just pay attention.
Check in and Check out
- Check-in time: According to international convention, normally after 12:00am
- Check-out time: According to international convention, normally before 12:00am of the next day
When checking in, passport of foreign travelers are needed for filling out a registration form. A certain amount of refundable deposit will be charged and will be fully returned to you if there is no damage or loss of the room when you check out.
If you check in before 12:00am or check out after 12:00am, an extra fare shall be charged.
- Don't leave money or valuables in your room. Take them out with you or leave them at the receptionist if it is available.
- Bring a transformer to operate your personal electric appliances if needed, because China uses a 220 volt 50 Hz cycle system.
- Western toilets are available in most hotels with toilets paper. While squatting pot may appear in some cases.
- Laundry services are provided by most hotels, especially starred hotels. Outside services are also available.
- Only simple and basic accommodation is available in some minority areas and remote areas. So lower your expectations if you want to discover and explore these places.