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 upstairs bedroom, with shared bathroom (shared with up to two other guests). It is a loft-like bedroom, quite spacious that sleeps two. But the two beds cannot be put together.
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.
Great house in a fantastic location ideal for exploring... Very clean and tidy and they were great hosts too with plenty of help if needed getting around
I came here with great curiosity, wondering how a dwelling between two lakes could exist in the centre of Beijing. But all my hopes and expectations were completely surpassed, for everything I could have wanted in a b’n’b is here: an interesting neighbourhood, just 250 paces but completely remote from the noisy tourist area by the lakes.
Gladys’ Garden is the tops in every respect: well-appointed rooms in a completely quiet environment day and night, yet close to a bustling tourist area and ordinary Chinese and other restaurants. The great self-service breakfast arrangements are a joy, providing every breakfast food I could wish for, featuring fresh fruit salad, home-made bread, banana bread and delicious cookies, an ancient toaster that still surprisingly works, a temperamental coffee machine that dispenses real fresh ground coffee, all manner of cereals and an endless supply of eggs, bananas, etc.
David and Yang Zhi offer a generous welcome, with Yang Zhi always ready to give touristic advice and help iron out difficulties. Most highly recommended, also in terms of value for money. My one regret is not having played enough with their lovely little cat Frankie!
David and Yang Zhi are wonderful hosts. We had an excellent stay for 6 days at their home. Great guestrooms and facilities in a quiet central Hutong.
We really enjoyed our stay with David and Yang; as soon as we arrived they made us feel welcome and relaxed. Gladys Gardens really did become a oasis after a busy day's sightseeing in Beijing!
The neighborhood was quiet, room clean and general atmosphere peaceful and friendly.
Thank you to David and Yang for your intellectual evening conversations and Yang's amazing banana bread and cookies in the morning!
We had a wonderful stay at David and Yang. The nicest place ever in my AirBnb experience.
The house is exactly what is presented on the site. The location is ideal : living in a hutong is like being in a village, which is very nice considering the turmoil of Beijing ! Also, close to nature with all the lakes and parks around makes it refreshing while the subway makes it easy to reach any part of the city in no time.
Now, David and Yang are perfect hosts and MORE than that : no feeling of business at Gladys Garden. The whole organization of "domestic life" aims at making the guests happy, confortable and relax. David and Yang have a great sense of human relationship, which on top of all that was said above, makes a stay in their house unforgettable.
I wish I can go again to Beijing, not only because I loved the town but also because it would be so nice to be able to spend more time with them.
When we arrived to the Gladys Garden we were surprised to see such a large spacious place in a small Hutong. On top of this, the other pleasant surprise was cats, living inside the premises - we actually like cats and one of David and Yangzhi's cat is very active and funny. The house is well-maintained and located very close to the subway station. The nearby area is full of people every evening, there are bars alongside the lake, but amazingly there's no noise can be heard in the house. David and Yangzhi are very welcoming and can provide a lot of information on the local points of interest. We feel very thankful to them all (including cats)!
A confortable room in a clean and quiete house. Good shower
The presence of the hosts ,the discussions, info and advices. A nice house spirit!
The excellent home made breakfast.
The use of the bicycles.
The garden and the terasse
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