If you are looking for something fancy or sterile, you need to look further. This is just an ordinary household in an ordinary Hutong neighborhood of ordinary people. Beijing has the reputation of being polluted and dusty. All the houses are surrounding a garden with plants, it can never be as dust free as a well sealed room in a modern hotel or a service apartment.
If you want to experience the modern skyscraper side of Beijing, you need to look further. This is the old part of the city where it's relatively flat and raw.
I try to be the kind of host I would like to meet when I travel. And it would be highly valued if you read my descriptions, study the photos I post and take my strict cancellation policy into consideration. I want this to be a happy experience for both of us. Miscommunication and misunderstanding is the last thing I want to deal with. When I accept your reservation ( and I have never cancelled on guests once the reservation is accepted), I will honor my end of the agreement. And it's only natural I would expect the same. But if there is an emergency, I can be quite agreeable to give you full refund.
Born and raised in Beijing. The courtyard has been my family property for 4 generations ever since my great grandmother bought it in 1948. This is one complete property. It's not some walls surrounding a room in an already tiny area to create a so called "yard". Your only neighbors will be my family and other guests. That's why it's very safe and peaceful.
If you want to experience a most genuine Beijing, I can assure you life doesn't get more real than here. It's like stepping back in time to walk around in the neighborhood to explore the intervened alley ways.
It is a well balanced location: about 1 mile west of the Sanlitun/workers' stadium district where modern shopping malls and hottest clubs are. about 1 mile east of Hou Hai/Nan Luo Gu Xiang/Drum Tower area where traces of an old Beijing has got a contemporary touch.
If you want to stay in a neighborhood where the moment you step out of the door, you are already rubbing shoulders with tourists, that's NOT the place.
If you need, I can walk around with you as an introduction to my neighborhood. The super market, banks, post office, ticket agencies, bus stations and subway stations will be pointed out to you so you can immediately get a vibe of living a local life.
Immediately after a reservation is finalized, I am happy to communicate with you regarding your itinerary in Beijing: sites, restaurants, on/off the beaten path. I can help you find reliable drivers/tour guides.
There are 3 decent western bakeries within 10 minutes walking distance. If you want to stay in, instant coffee and coffee beans are provided with complimentary cookies/desserts. I want to create a non-business like atmosphere. So it's on the house.
There is a microbrewery tap room 2-5 minutes walking distance from my place in the same alley way. But if you prefer some cold local Beijing beer in the yard, you can always grab a bottle from the fridge. And again, it's on the house.
If you want to enjoy the private dining in the yard, my help can cook a Chinese meal for you. Of course, you will need to do your own shopping in the nearby wet market to pick up your veggies/meat.
There are so many restaurants nearby that serve different flavors of cuisines from all over China. You can either go there to enjoy the dinning experience or ask for a take away and have it here in the yard on warmer days.
If you want dumplings/steamed buns for breakfast, please let me know in advance.
Before I accept your reservation request, I would like to know a little bit about you. I am not going to accept your request if your profile is empty with just a name.
After your reservation request is accepted, I will e-mail you my own Beijing survival guide. Please read it carefully and tread with caution when you are in Beijing. This will prevent you from getting scammed.
There are only 3 of us living on such a huge private property (20 rooms on a land of 480 square meters/5160 square feet). That's why we have spare houses for guests.
THIS IS NOT A HOTEL. There won't be annoying hidden (website hidden), tea, coffee, snacks are on the house. But because THIS IS NOT A HOTEL, I am not your concierge or receptionist either. Mutual respect + adequate consideration is a must.
If you want
1. a relaxing place to stay in an authentic traditional neighborhood where daily life unfolds
2. English speaking hosts who can answer your questions
3. a well compiled kit with survival guide, neighborhood restaurants list, detailed instructions on how to get to major touristy sites, etc
4. restaurants and shops that don't charge rip-off foreign tourist prices
5. Freedom to mingle with hosts/other guests or to retreat to the privacy of your own space
6. 24 hour excess to complimentary snacks, tea, coffee, etc.
7. outdoor space for kids to play
very likely, you will enjoy staying here.
If you love
1. getting pampered in fancy hotels
2. residing in the middle of noisy, dazzling night life
3. feeling a part of an expat community
4. a Disneyland version of Beijing catering to western tourists
most definitely, you will NOT enjoy staying here.
I try to be the kind of host I would love to meet when I travel. I am happy to help you work out an itinerary whether you want a slow-paced trip or a action-packed one.
All guests can have a local mobile. It's great feeling to know you always have somebody to call when you need a bailout. ATTENTION: My phone will be off between 11:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.
Answers to most frequent questions:
1. All the reservations need to be made on airbnb. Airbnb cancellation policy should be respected. Please finalize your trip before you make reservation.
2. The name of my neighborhood is Dong Si. One of the earliest populated neighborhood in the city center. It is a very safe area. Actually, Beijing is a relatively safe city. The nearest subway stations are Dong Si Shi Tiao (LINE2) on the east and Zhang Zi Zhong Lu (LINE5) on the west. It's a 5- 10 minutes walking distance.
3. The answer to "I am/my friend is in Beijing, can we come over to have a look" is a most definite NO. If you are still suspicious after checking out heaps of photos I post here and over 400 reviews my guests have written, I know it is not going to be a pleasant hosting experience for me.
4. If you want to visit most of the major sites in Beijing, you will need 3 full days at least. A couple of days stay in Beijing is way too short.
5. There are different parts of the Great Wall that are open to tourists. They are between 1 and 4 hours drive from the city center. So my place is DEFINITELY NOT near the Great Wall.
6. Beijing is a huge city that spreads out (over 30 million population) with touristy sites in different parts of the city. So my place is DEFINITELY NOT close to all the sites. But from my place, most of the sites can be easily reached on foot or by subway.
7. I can help you hire car/driver for airport pick-up/drop off or trip to the sites.I make sure the drivers I work with don't make annoying stops at touristy shops.
8. My pleasure to help you book tickets to different performances (acrobatics, martial arts, Peking Opera, National Opera House etc.). They are normally much cheaper on Chinese websites.
9. You don't really need tour guides. Most people don't speak good English here in Beijing. But majority of them are friendly to foreign tourists and are quite willing to help. But if you do want a tour guide, I can recommend some to you.
10. All the rooms have air-conditioners, big electric heaters and boilers for shower. AND they are in GOOD WORKING CONDITION.
11. Each house has its own private bathroom. You don't need to share with us or other guests.
12. I can teach you all the bargaining tricks and how to make most of your shopping money. BUT...and this is a big BUT... please don't bargain with me. I really don't like it.
13. This is a private residence after all. If you hire a tour guide/driver on the Internet, please don't tell him/her my gate code or have them inside my yard. It happened before that some tour guide started harassing other guests trying to sell their service. Besides, it's not safe for me or other guests when there is some random stranger who has access to the gate code (which we update on a regular basis)
14. The check in time is 2 p.m. You can arrive earlier and leave your bags here. But there is a chance your room won't be ready. If there is no guest on the previous night, you will have no problem getting into the room.
15. If your flight/train arrives between midnight and 6 a.m., and your reservation only starts from 2 p.m. of the day, PLEASE arrive at my place after 8:00 a.m. Most guests will be sleeping early in the morning. I don't want to wake them up.