Accommodation in China

Within the recent years of booming Chinese tourism, hotels and tourist accommodations have made great progress in terms of quality and availability. Many international hotel brands, such as Hyatt, Sheraton, Kempinski, Marriott, Shangri-La, Hilton, Four Seasons, Holiday, and more have expanded their chains to the major cities in China.

Generally, hotels are very easy to reserve by phone, email, or the web. International hotel chains and other higher-end facilities in major cities will often have English-speaking services, but smaller hotels and hotels in lesser-developed areas might run into some communication issues. Travel agents or reservation services can usually conveniently arrange for accommodation and make the necessary confirmations before.

As with Western hotels, there are non-smoking rooms available for the vast majority of facilities, but room sharing among guests may vary between hotels, and checking in beforehand is always recommended in this case. When travelling with children, hotels usually provide a baby cot and breakfast free of charge for children under 2 years of age, whereas children above the age of 12 are considered adults. Adding extra beds to a room will cost extra fees, depending on the hotel.

The common time to check in is after 2 pm and before noon for check out. For earlier or later times, contacting the hotel or a travel agent is advised. A passport is needed for check in, but local tour guides will help with the process. There may be longer times for check out, as the hotel may need to inspect the room before your departure.

Hotel Guide and Star Ratings in China

The China National Tourism Administration assesses and approves hotel star ratings, from one, two, three, four, five, and platinum five star ratings. This may differ from other country’s star ratings, as there is no international system; according to some visitors, a five star hotel in China is equivalent to four star in other countries. For the best service and facilities similar to outside of the country, the international hotel brands such as Sheraton and Hyatt are likely more consistent.

As with any hotel system in the rest of the world, the availability of services within the hotel corresponds to the star rating. Lower star hotels are less likely to have English-speaking staff and technology readily available, which may be important to consider when planning a trip. Generally, basic services such as laundry, hot water, electricity, and western-style toilets will be available in all but the most remove accommodations in the country.

Whenever staying at a hotel, please consider these two tips:

1.The tap water in China is not drinkable, nor is the water in the showers. The majority of hotels will offer a water heater to boil water, as well as complementary bottled water for drinking purposes. Some rooms have a thermos containing boiled drinkable water, which can be refilled by asking the staff.

2.A very common complaint is the hardness of the mattresses; Chinese people often prefer harder mattresses in comparison due to traditional beliefs. Although softer style beds are available, especially in international brands, you can always ask the room staff to put some blankets over your mattress if you are uncomfortable with the bedding.