Hotels are opening across China with alarming frequency meaning there is no shortage of accommodation, even in peak season. There is a good range of hotels from budget to luxury. International-standard hotels can be found in cities throughout China, many of them joint ventures managed by international hotel chains. That, and the expansion of high-end Far East groups, has helped raise standards to the point where top hotels more than match the quality of other Asian destinations. Star ratings for domestically-run hotels can be somewhat generous.
Overall hotels are of a reasonable standard and good value for money, but those in major cities in the east are much more expensive. Facilities generally include restaurants, coffee shops, bars, swimming pools and massage rooms. Some include executive floors and lounges, spas, shopping and business malls, banks and post offices.
Growth in tourism has been coupled with a concurrent proliferation of hotel properties in China. New hotels are founded almost everyday. By the end of 2005, China's star-level hotels totaled nearly 13,000, a nearly 19% increase over the previous year. These hotels account for nearly 1.4 million rooms. Visitors can find a variety of lodging options including vacation resorts, spa hotels, auto courts, youth hostels, and hotels that cater to business travelers. There are many well-known international chains represented in China. Among those are Hyatt, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Four Seasons, Hilton, Leeds, Marriott, Intercontinental, ACK, Shangri-La and Kempinski.
A fast-growing sector, boutique hotels are springing up across China, from city locations to tourist towns and rural settings near major attractions or tourist centres. They range from stylish properties in local architectural style to luxurious havens of tranquillity, some with spas.
Another burgeoning phenomenon, these self-contained properties are proliferating in major leisure destinations such as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jiuzhaigou, as part of golf complexes, beside hot springs, and in beach resorts like Sanya.
For all hotels, check in is generally after 2:00 p.m. and check out is usually by noon the next day. When checking in, you will need to present your passport and fill in a form. The hotels also normally require a small amount of deposit.
Later check out can be arranged. Check out will usually take some time as the hotel will check the room and perform a few administrative tasks. When checking out, the hotel will return the deposit you have paid if there is no damage or loss in your room and charge you for any additional services used (room service, phone, etc). We advise that you contact the hotel or your agent if you need an early check-in or a late check-out, as it may incur an extra fee. It is wise to bring your hotel/room card with you when you leave the hotel. It contains the telephone number and address printed in both Chinese and English and could greatly facilitate your return to the hotel.
Grading: Accommodation is rated from 1 to 5 stars.
hotels: Five-Star hotelsare usually palatial with huge lobbies, their standards not quite matching the best of Paris or New Year, but very close. Service should be better than the four-star hotels described above. See Top hotels section below. There are many hotels of five-star international standard, just as good as hotels in Washington or Ottawa except for the standard of English. Some hotels have:
- Their own fleets of Mercedes limousines of Toyota vans that make regular runs to the airport or city center.
- Executive floors with concierges & free continental breakfasts; best western food and probably the best Chinese food in town, and the most luxurious breakfast buffets.
- Many have magnificent ball rooms and lobbies and cater to foreign business people on expense accounts.
- luxurious and spacious sound-proof rooms, low-noise toilets, and hair dryers. They should have guests and service elevators, background music, health club, swimming pool, sauna, business center, greenhouse, 24-hour doorman, reservations accepted through fax/telex, 24-hour room service, and onward reservations in China for guests. A guest reception and assistant manager should be available in the lobby 24 hours a day. Laundry should be returned by next day.
- The restaurants in four-star hotels should provide two kinds of Chinese food with the last order no earlier than 9pm.
- Bar service should be available to one am. There should be a 24-hur coffee shop and a breakfast and dinner buffet.
- A clinic should be on-site.
- A business center with photocopying, typing and translation services should be available, as should a ticketing agency with city tours and babysitting services.
hotels must have
- at least well-decorated guest rooms with dressing table, desk, drawers and closet; carpet or wood floor; telephones in every room with international direct dial(IDD); mini-bar and refrigerator; color television sets, in-house movies, music; writing materials; sun-proof curtains; and bed turn-down service.
- They must have single rooms and suites, western and Chinese dining rooms(with English-speaking attendants, and the last order no earlier than 8:30pm), 16-hour coffee shop, banquet hall or function room, buffet breakfast and bar service(until midnight), and 18-hour room service.
- They must also have elevator service, washroom, equipment and service for disabled people, disco or karaoke, foreign exchange, safe deposit boxes, store, camera film developing, fax and telex service, luggage storage, 24-hour laundry and dry-cleaning, wake-up calls, shoe polishing, and taxis.
- They should be able to mend articles of everyday use for guests.
- They should accept major credit cards.
- They must have an emergency electricity supply for public areas, medical services, 16-hour a day doorman, and message service, guest reception, and managers on call. An assistant manager should be in the lobby 18 hours and railroad timetables available.
- China Daily and China Tourism News should be on sale(or free).
hotels: Two-Star hotels must have at least 20 guest rooms, 95% with private baths, 50% with telephones, and 16 hours of cold and hot running water, Western and Chinese breakfast must be offered.
One-Star hotels: One-Star hotels must have air-conditioning, coffee shop, dining room, and at least 20 guest rooms, cleaned daily. Of course, 75% must have private baths. They must have central heating, a lobby with information and reception desk, postal service, and 12-hour a day cold and hot running water.
Hotel rates in China vary based on the quality and location of the lodging and the time of the year it is booked. In general, budget hotels (below three-star) cost about USD12-USD25 per standard room/night. Three-star hotels cost about USD25-USD50 per standard room/night while the four or five-star luxury hotels cost USD50-USD75 or even much higher per standard room/night. Accommodations are more luxurious in the large and thriving cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Xian and Shenzhen. Fewer luxury hotels can be found in smaller cities or remote areas. However, there are plenty of economical or standard hotels away from the larger cities that are clean, comfortable and safe.
Tip: A child under 12 years old, if sharing a room with his parents and not occupying an extra bed, only needs to pay 50% for the breakfast charge; if occupying an extra bed, a child needs to pay for the extra beds as well. For a child under 2 years, a baby cot will be provided by the hotel free of charge and the breakfasts are usually free; Children older than 12 years will be charged as adults. The rules may vary in different hotels. If any surcharges occur, they must be paid directly to the hotel.
These are found in most tourist centres and provide cheaper accommodation for budget travellers. Standards range from poor to adequate.
Good progress has been made in the construction of a network of hostels, covering, in particular, Beijing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Shanghai and Yunnan.
China Tourism Hotel Association
9A Jianguomennei Avenue, Beijing 100740, People's Republic of China
Tel: (10) 6520 1441.
Website: www.ctha.com.cn, in Chinese only
China Hotel Association
25 Yuetan Beijie, Xicheng District, Beijing 100834, People's Republic of China
Tel: (10) 6839 1448.
Website: www.ch-ra.com, in Chinese only
YHA China (Information on Youth Hostels)
Room 204, 463 Huangpu Dadao Xi, Guangzhou 510630, People's Republic of China
Tel: (20) 8751 3731.
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