About this listing
This is the home of a Canadian-Chinese retired historian couple. We enjoy hosting individuals of similar age and/or interests as ourselves.
Please note: Currently we only cater to English-speaking foreign travelers who cannot speak Chinese very well or need assistance getting around Beijing.
We are located in the heart of Beijing. The house is in one of the few remaining Hutong areas (alleyways) of old Beijing, with courtyard houses. Along the nearby lakeshore it is very scenic and there is a lively nightlife. But once inside the alleys, there is no sound of traffic and the tranquility of traditional life still prevails.
Our home is a 7 minute walk to Prince Gong’s Mansion; a 15 minute walk to Beihai Park; a 30 minute walk to Jingshan Park ("Coal Hill"), where the last Ming Emperor ended his life; a 3 km walk to Yonghegong (Lama Temple); and a 4 km walk to the Palace Museum (Forbidden City) and Tiananmen Square. We have excellent access to public transportation including subway lines 8 (station called Shichahai, 450m from us) and 6 (station called Beihai North, 800m), plus bus lines to many parts of the city.
This is a private home of a Canadian + Chinese couple, with backyard garden (in spring/summer), rooftop deck, kitchen, living room, and laundry room. We have modern comforts including decent bathrooms, hot water, purified drinking water, coffee machine, floor heating, air conditioners, and comfortable mattresses.
We are an English-Chinese bilingual and retired couple who can offer assistance in getting around Beijing. We and our son Ian are happy to show you around the neighborhood, the local bank, post office, swimming place, and the like. We can help you figure out what public transport to take to get to places in Beijing or suggest places to go for buying specific things or having items made.
Our ideal guests are mature English-speaking travelers who are interested in sampling life in Beijing but not wanting to give up some basic comforts. We prefer guests closer to our own age. Young travelers: please check out Backpackingchina, it's a youth hostel in our neighborhood, cheaper and more suitable for you.
We have two short-haired house cats. So people with cat allergies please be forewarned.
This is an ensuite room (i.e., with private bathroom).
This neighborhood is
1.One of the few preserved parts of old Beijing with an interesting history;
2.A tourist destination and scenic spot
(website hidden) original residential area
4.A bar area
Public transport includes subway line 8 (Shichahai station) subway line 6 (Beihai North station), day-time buses (phone number hidden), night-time buses 2, 3, 10, and 21.
Other Things to Note
If you are traveling alone and it’s the first time in Beijing, our son Ian Jacobson who is fully bilingual, can offer the following services:
1.Private tour guide / interpreter assistance for singles or couples who find it a challenge to tackle public transport, restaurants, shopping, business negotiations, and the like without knowledge of Chinese. Fee: $50 per day plus expenses.
2.Small group tours of local culture in old Beijing, which can include the Houhai and Qianhai lakes, Beihai Park, Jingshan Park, Drum Tower, and local restaurants. This is a full day program, and the fee is $80 per group between 4 and 6 persons excluding lunch.
3.Half-day inner-city hike from one corner of the old Beijing city wall and across the city to one of the few remaining city gates. This is a 10km easy walk on flat ground and mostly along green belts that run inside the city. The hike ends with lunch at a local restaurant where Ian will teach you how to order food in Chinese. Fee: $50 per group between 4 and 6 persons excluding lunch.
Ian Jacobson’s contact information can be found at Ppipers.
The following are tourist destinations we recommend. All these are accessible by public transport (or tours). Places with easier access are put in the front. Peking is huge. Long travel time means above 1 hour.
1. Houhai and hutongs: Old Beijing residential area; common people’s lives, lake. This is not crowded, especially in the mornings. An easy walk of about 4km. Right outside of our door.
2. Drum and Bell Towers: Old Beijing monument; cultural relic. Not crowded; RMB20 entrance ticket; less than 10 minutes walk from Gladys Garden.
3. Beihai Park: Oldest royal garden in Beijing; local people’s recreation spot. Not crowded; easy walk; about 15 minutes walk from Gladys Garden.
4. Jingshan Park: Small hill overlooking Forbidden City; weekend singers and dancers gathering place. If you have no time for the Forbidden City, this park offers a bird’s eye view. About 30 minutes walk from Gladys Garden.
5. Forbidden City: Palace Museum; can rent GPS-guided audio set. Very crowded all the time with Chinese tourists. Exhibitions inside charge extra. Go by bus no. 5 or 82.
6. Lama and Confucius Temples: Tibetan Buddhist temple; Confucius Temple is less crowded; nice little private museum Songtang close-by. Can go by bus or walk 3km.
7. Ancient Observatory: Star-gazing equipment designed by Chinese and Jesuit priests on top of a Chinese tower. Not crowded. Easy to get to by subway.
8. Ming City Wall Park: Remnant of a once magnificent city wall; nice little walk in the city. Not crowded, 10 minutes walk from the Ancient Observatory.
9. Zhihuasi Monastery: Ming dyn. Quiet little Buddhist temple, marvelous sculptures, Buddhist music. Not crowded. Can be reached fairly easily by subway.
10. Temple of Heaven: Sample of Chinese ancient architecture; large green grounds. Not crowded. Can be reached fairly easily by bus or subway. Close to the Pearl Market; the Museum of Ancient Chinese Architecture.
11. Great Wall at Mutianyu: Day trip with English guided tour groups. This is not crowded. Takes 2 hours to drive out there, therefore it makes sense to join an English guided tour, either a hiking one or a sight-seeing one. Pick up close to home.
12. Great Wall at Badaling: Most visited part of the Wall by Chinese tourists. Easier to get to by bus and hence cheaper.
13. Great Wall at Jinshanling: Unrestored part of the Wall, spectacular hiking trail. Best way to get there is to join an English-guided tour.
14. Summer Palace: Qing dyn. Royal garden, very popular with Chinese tourists. Pretty crowded. Fairly easy to reach by subway.
15. Olympic Forest Park: New man-made forest park; good for easy hiking. Not crowded. Very easy to get to by subway line 8.
16. Fragrant Hills: Peking residents’ “mountain climbing” park. Fairly crowded during holidays; takes over one hour to get there by bus.
Botanical Garden: Botanical garden + Monastery of Sleeping Buddha + small mountain valley with a spring; nice picnic spot. Takes over one hour to get there by bus.
798 Art District : Modern art districts with galleries, studios, and shops. Not crowded, can reach by bus but complicated. Best go by taxi.
Please note: Smoking is not allowed in any room except the kitchen or outside of the house.
Please note: Please do not flush personal hygiene items down the toilet. Our sewer system can't cope.
•Common areas are:
the master bathroom downstairs
the bathroom upstairs (shared by two or three residents) - this may be used "in a pinch" by other guests;
the living room/dining room;
the laundry room;
the study downstairs (for borrowing novels or use of hosts' computers and printer on request)
Please feel free to use the living room at any time. We often watch TV in the evening, but except for a very few programs, we generally prefer conversation with our guests.
Breakfast from 8AM to 10:30AM. Basic breakfast supplies (coffee, cereal, eggs, milk, etc.) are supplied by the host. Please speak up if you need anything.
You are welcome to any fruit, cake, chocolates, coffee, tea, and beer when available in the house.
Unless requested otherwise, guest rooms are cleaned after guests leave. Bed linen and towels can be changed whenever necessary or on request.
There is a washing machine in our laundry room. No dryer. Clothes are hung up either outside or in the laundry room to dry. You may operate the washing machine yourself or have your laundry done by us. Laundry detergent is provided.
For the safety of everyone living in the house, at night residents should keep doors locked and all open windows screened. We are not responsible for any burglaries that occur because of doors and windows left open at night.
We normally own one or two cats, so if the resident has a cat allergy, this is a problem. Residents may not keep their own animals on the premises.
Had a great time in Beijing! David and Yang Zhi were very nice, welcoming and helpful. The room was perfect. Quiet, comfortable and the location is just great. I can recommend anybody to stay here, especially if you're traveling by yourself.
Great house, awesome food and enjoyable evening company, recommendations: swimming with yang zhi in the morning and talking shop with David :)
Thank you David and Yang Zhi. Staying with you for my week in Beijing was truly a treat!
Your house was quiet and within walking (and subway) access of many city treasures. This ability to walk through the city thoroughly improved my understanding and appreciation of the city and your neighborhood. I felt very safe in Xicheng due to the good lightning, cleanliness, and presence of people throughout the day (~5AM - midnight).
Thank you for the supportive environment you provided as hosts. Your house and my room were very clean and well-maintained. The directions to your house, and everywhere else that you directed me, were clear and easy to follow. The bed was excellent, flat and firm, allowing me to sleep incredibly well. I couldn’t help but partake of the wonderful fruit salad and tea every morning; enjoying breakfast while over-looking your garden was a very pleasing way to awaken. Interacting with intelligent and interesting people is always a joy. Thank you for sharing all of this.
David und Yang Zhi are wonderful hosts. Very welcoming, helpful, and generous. Always ready for a good conversation. Laid back and relaxed. My stay at their house has been perfect. The house is nice and perfectly located in a charming hutong, just a few walking minutes from a very lively area with bars, restaurants and shops. My room was clean and comfortable. The kitchen is there for everyone to use. Home made bread and cookies, eggs, fruit salad, cereals and tea are always available at no charge which I find exceptionally generous. Thanks for this wonderful stay David and Yang Zhi!
Merci à David et Yang Zhi
The direction to reach Gladys Garden from the airport by public transportation were easy to follow and the place easy to find. Gladys Garden is very well located to visit dowtown Beijing, it is a quite island in the middle of a lively city. My room was very comfortable and the house very nice. In addition you may enjoy a small garden (quite a treat in Beijing) to relax. David and Yang Zhi are perfect host, every thing is easy going. I wish I had more time to talk more at length with David in the kitchen also denoted as the "Philosophical department" , as we are two old men time is needed to share between us our life long experiences.
David and Yang Zhi were the kindest and most welcoming of hosts (as always!). My friend and I have stayed with them several times while in Beijing for work and always look forward to it. I have reviewed their place before (see previous reviews) and already raved about their lovely and peaceful house, comfortable and clean rooms, and the wonderful "beijing buzz' of the surrounding hutong neighborhood. Thanks so much, David and Yang Zhi, and we look forward to seeing you again in a few weeks!
A Casa é difícil de achar no Primeiro momento mas vale muito a pena. É uma casa grande, bonita, limpa. O quarto que fiquei é bem grande. Acomoda perfeitamente duas pessoas.
Você tem direito de comer o que quiser no café da manhã. Tem cereais, chá, pão (feito pela dona da casa), bolo de banana feito por ela tb, ovos, manteiga, leite, café...
O local em volta tem dois lagos que se encontram que são bem bonitos e - apenas 2 min andando a rua em volta tem muitos bares e é bem movimenta a (website hidden) casa tem 2 gatos deles e alguns outros que visitam o jardim. Tem um terraço que tb é gostoso de ir.
Os Anfitriões são bem receptivos. Realmente recomendo.
Tem duas estações de metrô que dá pra usar, Shichahai que fica a uns 8 min andando e a Beihai Norte que fica a uns 15 min andando.
É numa área típica de hutong ande há até tour para ver isso.
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