China has no shortage of hotels for travelers, and the quality can vary greatly. Every major city in the country has at least one international 5-star hotel as well as numerous affordable and backpacker-friendly establishments. Over the past several years, a few domestic chain hotels have also cropped up around China, providing visitors with a convenient and affordable alternative.
The major domestic chains in China include Home Inn, Motel 168, and 7 Days Inn. These chains were opened in 2002, 2003 and 2005, respectively, and continue to expand into cities of all sizes. They primarily cater to independent travelers and small-business travelers. The average rate for a standard room in these hotels is less than 200 RMB, or close to US$30, and varies depending on the city. All of the chain hotels are consistent in the quality of their accommodations and the amenities they provide, however, customer service may vary depending on the employees.
Home Inn is one of the largest chain hotels in China, and can be found in almost every city. The allure of this budget accommodation is that it offers a secure, comfortable room and provides free in-room Internet access. As of June 30, 2010, Home Inn operates 674 hotels in 126 cities.
Motel 168 operates more than 300 hotels in 50 cities across China. The brand also includes Motel 268. The number in the name of the hotel originated from the standard room price. In April, the company signed a deal with Expedia to allow travelers easier access to reservations.
Founded in Guangzhou, 7 Days Inn claims to be the second largest economy hotel chain in China with 399 hotels in operation and another 147 under construction. Like Home Inn and Motel 168, 7 Days Inn offers free in-room Internet access.
All of these hotels are quiet and comfortable, and most are located in areas that are easily accessible by public transportation. Unfortunately, reservation pages for Home Inn and Motel 168 are in Chinese and the English pages are for investor information. Travelers should not expect the staff of these three establishments to speak English.