Few districts in Beijing are as centrally located for tourists as Dongcheng, which contains not just the Forbidden City, but also Tiananmen Square and major museums. The neighborhood also offers a diverse selection of accommodations, from posh, upscale hotels to reasonably priced international chain lodgings. Some of these hotels are on conventional streets, while others are situated in Beijing’s medieval alleys.
Day’s Inn Forbidden City
Labeled “one of the best hotel deals in the city” by Fodor’s, the Day’s Inn Forbidden City offers clean, comfortable rooms at reasonable prices, and all only a few minutes walk from the Forbidden City. The 160 rooms are decorated in a contemporary style in keeping with the Day’s Inn chain, but guests should avoid the windowless rooms on the lower levels of the hotel. Amenities are limited to a business center and a western-style restaurant that Fodor’s described as merely “average.”
The upscale Emperor sits on a shady street only a few minutes walk from the Forbidden City, in the middle of a row of temples and houses. The hotel’s traditional brick facade belies its chic, modern interior. Guest rooms have a Euro-modern decor and include features such as flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi access and butler service. The roof-top bar boasts striking views of the Forbidden City, while the hotel’s restaurant rounds out this cutting edge picture by serving modern fusion versions of traditional Chinese fare.
Hotel Cote Cour
Both a Fodor’s Choice and a New York Times Travel Pick, the Cote Cour was described by Conde Nast Traveller as “Beijing’s sleekest boutique hotel.” The 14 rooms present a combination of traditional Chinese and Western contemporary styles, creating what Frommer’s labeled a “charming boutique experience.” As a fine example of a mid-range Beijing courtyard hotel, the Cote Cour has a central garden for peaceful relaxation and a roof-top terrace with views of the surrounding hutongs, or Beijing’s narrow, historic alleyways.
Lusong Yuan Binguan
The Lusong Yuan is set on one of the hutongs of Beijing, in what was the house of a general serving the Qing Dynasty. Now a courtyard hotel with “Very Highly Recommended” marks from Frommer’s, the Lusong Yuan offers its guests offers traditionally-styled rooms with fixtures such as faux, old-fashioned rotary phones and Chinese wall lamps. The hotel also houses a tea house with stone floors and furnished with Ming-style chairs. Visitors should avoid the stuffy, budget dormitory rooms in the hotel’s basement unless they are on a tight budget, and instead try to stay in one of the rooms opening directly onto a garden courtyard.
Sources: Fodor’s; Frommer’s; New York Times Travel; Conde Nast Traveller