When I go to Beijing, I usually stay at south of Qianmen Square. Tucked away in the hutong alleyways, and hence hard to find the first time you try, this hostel offers lots of local color and convenience. I’ve stayed in the dorm rooms which are spartan, but comfortable and afford a traveler the chance to swap stories with others and I’ve shared rooms with friends. Last weekend two friends and I shared a triple.
The rooms are clean and decorated above the level of the usual 2 star hotel. The bathrooms are clean and basic, though the shower is built so that it’s easy for water to flow out on to the bathroom floor. That’s more of a problem for the staff than the traveler. The towels have seen better days, but for this price you can make do or bring your own.
The restaurant offers an expensive breakfast, but other meals are priced reasonably and taste good. There are plenty of restaurants up the street and the front desk recommended a good, inexpensive place for Peking duck.
Across the way from the hotel is a salon, where I got a good hair cut for 80 rmb and places to rent bikes, buy souvenirs.
The tour desk will book trips to the Great Wall at a reasonable rate as well as other day trips. They’ll also get you train or plane tickets.
The cafe downstairs has good drinks, a pool table and a nice atmosphere for chilling out.
The desk staff can range from cheery to grumpy, but for the most part they’re friendly. On the whole, it’s a good value and comfortable option that gives both convenience and a real Chinese feel.