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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:47 am   #1
 
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Beijing hotels and tours?

My parents are going to Beijing later this year for only 2 days and I was trying to find a company that offers tours around the city for them to see the main attractions. Do you have any recommendations on tour companies (and transfers from airport) and also which IHG/PC hotel would be best for them (they need to be close to the main attractions)? I'm PC Platinum fwiw and making reservations under my account for them.

TIA
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:03 am   #2
 
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For tourists, the only really excellently located properties are CP Wangfujing, smack in the middle of Wangfujing shopping street and 20 mins by foot to Tian'anmen, as well as CP Chaoyang U-Town, located in a mall and in the Western bar/restaurant/embassy/corporate headquarter district. Many others are in an ok location to grab a cab, though.

What concerns tours, CP Wangfujing gives easy access to Tianan'men and what's north of it - by foot. Generally, tours are a rip-off and you might be dragged into some "shopping" (that you don't want) and spend more time there than at the sights. Beijing is easily doable on your own. But you might be better of searching the China forum where "experts" may help If time permits, I'll happily help to arrange stuff, too.

Airport transfer, take a taxi, which should be less than 100 CNY to the Wangfujing property. Take the hotel's name card and phone number in Chinese.

BTW, no benefits if you are not staying yourself, otherwise one level upgrade at the U-Town and YMMV (but at least one level) at the Wangfujing property.

Last edited by Chinatrvl; Mar 12, 12 at 6:11 am..
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:39 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by Chinatrvl View Post
For tourists, the only really excellently located properties are CP Wangfujing, smack in the middle of Wangfujing shopping street and 20 mins by foot to Tian'anmen, as well as CP Chaoyang U-Town, located in a mall and in the Western bar/restaurant/embassy/corporate headquarter district. Many others are in an ok location to grab a cab, though.

What concerns tours, CP Wangfujing gives easy access to Tianan'men and what's north of it - by foot. Generally, tours are a rip-off and you might be dragged into some "shopping" (that you don't want) and spend more time there than at the sights. Beijing is easily doable on your own. But you might be better of searching the China forum where "experts" may help If time permits, I'll happily help to arrange stuff, too.

Airport transfer, take a taxi, which should be less than 100 CNY to the Wangfujing property. Take the hotel's name card and phone number in Chinese.

BTW, no benefits if you are not staying yourself, otherwise one level upgrade at the U-Town and YMMV (but at least one level) at the Wangfujing property.

Thanks, Chinatrvl. The only reason I was wondering about tours is because my parents are old and don't want to walk around too much/figure out directions and trains n stuff on their own. I looked around and saw private tours are like $200/2 ppl that covers all the main attractions at your own pace/schedule and bus tours with others are even cheaper (although I'm sure you will have a set schedule set by the tour company in this instance)

Also, if they are planning to take cabs/tours all around and not really walk around, does it make sense to pay almost $100/night extra staying in CP or can they stay at HI/HIX/Park Plaza properties around the city for much less than the CP rate? Thanks
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:57 am   #4
 
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The CP Wangfujing (which I would highly recommend for convenience - it allows going for a stroll in the evening and having dinner at restaurants that have English menus, for example) can be quite cheap using Friends and Family rate. That said, yes, there are other hotels that are cheaper and considering you are planning to take cabs/tours anyway, location doesn't matter that much. HI Temple of Heaven is nice and cheap, HIX Temple of Heaven is even cheaper, but there are no restaurants nearby and the hotel itself doesn't have (a decent) one either. HI Downtown, located in the west, is good and well accessibly. Both HIs are older properties. HI Deshengmen is a new property, easily accessible by road to all sights; there are a few restaurants around the corner, but nothing much else to do by foot.

Tours: I can understand that, but be warned that all the major sights (Forbidden city, Tian'anmen Square, Temple of Heaven) are enormous and require a lot of walking inside; few can be covered by 'golf cabs'. You can rent a car for a day (8 hours, 100 km) for as little as 400 CNY (and hiring a cab for the day may even be cheaper), however, this does not include a tour guide. Whether one needs one is another question...
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Old Mar 12, 12, 7:10 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Chinatrvl View Post
The CP Wangfujing (which I would highly recommend for convenience - it allows going for a stroll in the evening and having dinner at restaurants that have English menus, for example) can be quite cheap using Friends and Family rate. That said, yes, there are other hotels that are cheaper and considering you are planning to take cabs/tours anyway, location doesn't matter that much. HI Temple of Heaven is nice and cheap, HIX Temple of Heaven is even cheaper, but there are no restaurants nearby and the hotel itself doesn't have (a decent) one either. HI Downtown, located in the west, is good and well accessibly. Both HIs are older properties. HI Deshengmen is a new property, easily accessible by road to all sights; there are a few restaurants around the corner, but nothing much else to do by foot.

Tours: I can understand that, but be warned that all the major sights (Forbidden city, Tian'anmen Square, Temple of Heaven) are enormous and require a lot of walking inside; few can be covered by 'golf cabs'. You can rent a car for a day (8 hours, 100 km) for as little as 400 CNY (and hiring a cab for the day may even be cheaper), however, this does not include a tour guide. Whether one needs one is another question...

Great info, Thanks a ton. They are not "golf cab" old where they will have issues walking and exploring the attractions (although the less the better in getting to the attractions), but they definitely are not "travel-savvy" where they can figure out trains/subway stops and such to navigate around the city. Basically, they rather spend $100-$200 extra for convenience and piece of mind than having to figure out which train/bus to catch and seek directions. I'll see what they need and go from there. I'm sure they'll need a tour guide, so maybe that's something they can find at the local attractions. Thanks again!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 8:08 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by tsmith12 View Post
[...] I'm sure they'll need a tour guide, so maybe that's something they can find at the local attractions. Thanks again!
Beware of crooks...

CP Wangfujing is in such a good location that you need neither cabs nor public transport to the Forbidden City/Tian'anmen. Easy, enjoyable walk. Just sayin'
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Old Mar 12, 12, 11:42 am   #7
 
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Just returned from a few days in Beijing so figured I would share some observations. Can't speak to the hotel as I am mainly a Starwood guy, but anyway:

As mentioned above, just take a taxi from the airport and have the hotel name/phone (in chinese) ready to show the driver. Car service will cost 5-7x the taxi rate. The taxi line may look huge but it moves fast.

Don't underestimate how massive Beijing is and how long it can take to get around during busy times! Taxis can also be very difficult to get during busy times and in certain areas.

You can hire a local guide for ~$65/day to show you the sights, give you history, order at restaurants, bargain, and catch cabs. Check out The Points Guy recent blog on Beijing for more details. We used the his guide Jenny and had a great experience.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 8:03 pm   #8
 
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Smile Used Dragon Delight Tours

My husband and I stayed at the Crown Plaza Wangfujing on point breaks and loved it. My husband is a platinum member and they treated us like royal guests. We booked the cheapest at 5000 points a night and they upgraded us to club with full breakfast. The room was ultra modern with flat screen tv and had more English stations then we got in Australia. Now we are in our early sixties and have travelled a lot but had limited time in Beijing. We were there for 6 days which included going to Xian to see the Terra Cotta soldiers. Dragon Delight did all our trip in China with pick up at the airport to taking us to all the big tourist stops. We never would have seen all that we saw without our guide. Now we didn't find the fees that high and the trip went wonderfully. If your parents can get to Xian as well I would highly recomend it. We stayed at the Tang Paradise Hotel which backs onto a huge park that is just beautiful. The night time show with lights was out of this world.
This was booked by the tour guide and it was all superb. The airline lost our one bag we took to Xian and the tour guide took care of it all. We had never been on such an organized tour as we normally do all our own and love driving or taking the local transportation. This wouldn't have worked in China with our limited time. We booked everything by internet and it worked beautifully. Hope they have a great time.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 2:56 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHX_SOUS View Post
Just returned from a few days in Beijing so figured I would share some observations. Can't speak to the hotel as I am mainly a Starwood guy, but anyway:

As mentioned above, just take a taxi from the airport and have the hotel name/phone (in chinese) ready to show the driver. Car service will cost 5-7x the taxi rate. The taxi line may look huge but it moves fast.

Don't underestimate how massive Beijing is and how long it can take to get around during busy times! Taxis can also be very difficult to get during busy times and in certain areas.

You can hire a local guide for ~$65/day to show you the sights, give you history, order at restaurants, bargain, and catch cabs. Check out The Points Guy recent blog on Beijing for more details. We used the his guide Jenny and had a great experience.
Thanks. Did Jenny meet you at the hotel and accompanied you to the sights or did you get to to the sights by yourself and meet her there?
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Old Mar 13, 12, 2:59 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by slovak1 View Post
My husband and I stayed at the Crown Plaza Wangfujing on point breaks and loved it. My husband is a platinum member and they treated us like royal guests. We booked the cheapest at 5000 points a night and they upgraded us to club with full breakfast. The room was ultra modern with flat screen tv and had more English stations then we got in Australia. Now we are in our early sixties and have travelled a lot but had limited time in Beijing. We were there for 6 days which included going to Xian to see the Terra Cotta soldiers. Dragon Delight did all our trip in China with pick up at the airport to taking us to all the big tourist stops. We never would have seen all that we saw without our guide. Now we didn't find the fees that high and the trip went wonderfully. If your parents can get to Xian as well I would highly recomend it. We stayed at the Tang Paradise Hotel which backs onto a huge park that is just beautiful. The night time show with lights was out of this world.
This was booked by the tour guide and it was all superb. The airline lost our one bag we took to Xian and the tour guide took care of it all. We had never been on such an organized tour as we normally do all our own and love driving or taking the local transportation. This wouldn't have worked in China with our limited time. We booked everything by internet and it worked beautifully. Hope they have a great time.
Thanks Slovak. I was thinking of booking 2 nights for them at CP Wangfujing and it's great to hear they took care of Platinum members. (I hope they can afford my Platinum status benefits to my parents) Now if only they had a PB deal again, I'd book the rooms in a heartbeat.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 8:05 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by tsmith12 View Post
Thanks Slovak. I was thinking of booking 2 nights for them at CP Wangfujing and it's great to hear they took care of Platinum members. (I hope they can afford my Platinum status benefits to my parents) Now if only they had a PB deal again, I'd book the rooms in a heartbeat.
Would be highly unusual. As others have said, BJ is vast, and location therefore becomes important, since it can take a couple of hours to cross town in traffic. As such wangfujing is pretty good. But it is a reasonable walk (>1 mile) to Tiananmen and Forbidden City. However, even cabs can't take you right up 'to the door' as it were. And even once there, there is a fair amount of walking to be done.

Hope your parents have a good trip.

tb

PS as others have mentioned, the china forum is a particularly friendly place to ask questions. However, advice does tend to veer against organised tours and more 'diy tourism' (with excellent tips).
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