Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An American's Recommendations in Beijing

Beijing Hotel Recommendations

Loong Palace Hotel and Resort – Large, luxurious hotel with large rooms and several restaurants. On the northern edge of Beijing near the 5th ring which can be a long distance from tourist areas downtown. Relatively close to the Badaling portion of the Great Wall. Slow internet connection. Has normal amenities plus a bowling alley. Free breakfast that is very good. The hotel disables the AT&T calling card access number in China to try to get you to pay for their expensive international phone service.

Beijing Hilton – I have not stayed there myself but a friend says it is great and I hope to try it on next trip to Beijing. This is within walking distance of the Hard Rock Café in Beijing.

(added May 31, 2007) I've spent two nights in the Hilton and it is very nice. The staff has been great and there is live music. As a Hilton Honors Gold member I get a free breakfast. The internet has been good, especially early in the morning. The American restaurant has steak but it is expensive.

Shangri-LaNorthwest Beijing near the 3rd ring and close to the Summer Palace. Just feels luxurious and has great service. Even the bathroom mirror was heated to keep it from fogging up. Rooms are smaller than the Loong Palace Hotel and Resort but the internet is faster. Nice walking area in nearby park along a canal behind the hotel. The canal goes all the way to the Summer Palace. The only option for breakfast is a wonderful breakfast buffet for 197 RMB. Near the Beijing zoo. Has a relaxing walking path around a hotel garden.

(added 5/26/2007) I have been told you can get breakfast for half price if you join the Shnagri-La frequent stay program.

Crowne Plaza Parkview Wuzhou – A very nice hotel on the north side of Beijing near the site of the construction of the Olympic Stadium. The breakfast buffet was 143 RMB but it was possible to order from the menu. I had good success with the internet connection. Several restaurant choices including Brazilian cuisine.

InterContinental – A luxury hotel near the financial district. I have not stayed there but my friends have and enjoyed it. They also reported a fast internet connection. Breakfast buffet was wonderful but over 300 RMB.

Chinese Food for Westerners in Beijing

Southern Beauty – An elegant Sichuan restaurant on the 3rd floor of the Pacific Century Plaza. Kung Pao Chicken made with cashews.

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant (Wangfujing Branch) - Very nice, mult-story restaurant with good service. We were able to get in on a weeknight without a reservation. There are several branches under the same chain.

Western Food for When You’re Really Tired of Chinese Food in Beijing

Peter’s Tex Mex – More than just Tex Mex. Also has steaks, burgers, apple pie, and milkshakes.

Hard Rock Café – I had a very good slab of pork ribs. A Chinese band was playing American top-40 hits from the 70’s and 80’s.

Outback Steakhouse – I had nice rib eye. In the Beijing Hotel near the famous Wang Fu Jing shopping district

TGI Friday’s – Good American food and if I remember right it is close to the InterContinental.

Cell Phone Service

GSM phones will work but you will have to get a SIM card to have a local phone number in China. SIM cards are sold in baggage claim at the Beijing airport.

CDMA phone service is relatively new. in China. My Verizon phone worked great calls to my cell would forward to China. However, you had to get Verizon customer service to turn on international roaming before you leave the US. My cell phone service cost $1.29 per minute in international roaming charges. Incidentally, this cell phone international roaming was cheaper than the Loong Palace's international dialing with better sound quality.

English Language Church Services

Beijing International Christian Fellowship – 3000 members, 70 nationalities, and 10 languages with English being the biggest service. Must have a foreign passport to enter. The congregation meets in the auditorium at the 21st Century Hotel. The 11:30 am Sunday service features a different speaker each week and contemporary Christian music. See also Beijing International Christian Fellowship.

Beijing Haidian Christian Church – Recently started an English language service at noon on Sundays


Beijing Chas said...

A nice list of hotels and reviews you have there. Is any one of these a personal preference?

phils_folderol said...

Since I have Diamond status in HHonors, I generally tried to stay at the Hilton. I got a free Western breakfast there. It had great walking distance access to Western food which was important to me. All in all, I'd say it was my favorite.

From a pure luxury point of view, I think I liked the Shangri-La best. However, I did not find there was much Western food close by other than KFC. I could not get a free breakfast there and a Western breakfast was very expensive.

The Crowne Plaza was very nice but I could not get a free breakfast.

I never stayed at the Intercontinental but I ate there a couple of times and it appeared to be very nice.