Since I needed good Internet access for my online class on Saturday I checked out of my hostel and into the Novotel Xi in Beijing.
I was looking forward to the nice decor, cable news and a splendid bathroom. I booked an economy room. The decor was modern and sleek. I did get CNN news, Channel News Asia and a cable station, which showed a marathon of Sherlock episodes. Yet there was no BBC? That’s disappointing. I’d expect the low cost IBIS not to have BBC, but Novotel’s a better brand and BBC is somewhat standard.
The location was excellent. It’s a good 15 minute walk to Tiananmen Square and a subway entrance is right outside the front door. There’s also a bus stop with frequent buses to take you Tiananmen and beyond. The bakery is good with croissants and pastries almost half the price of Starbucks and just as good. Those are the pluses.
The big drawback for me was that the Internet did not work for my class. Though I could surf most sites, the download for an update for the class software took over 2 and a half hours to download. No one in the hotel could help with that. It should take 10 minutes to download. Shame on you, Novotel. I thought you served business guests. Such conference software is not that new.
At 12:30am I longed for a good night’s sleep yet the rock hard mattress had other ideas. While the bed at the hostel I stayed in the previous night was comfortable, the Novotel’s bed was a form of punishment. I know the Chinese like beds similar to the brick ones their ancestors invented, but international guests don’t. Why not offer some rooms with bedding that international guests prefer and assign rooms as best you can accordingly? If I didn’t need the Internet, I could overlook that problem and stay again, but the bed was awful. I barely slept a wink.