Functional rather than fancy, the Day's Inn is about as close as it's possible to get to the Forbidden City without staying in the palace itself, and though guest rooms are tiny, they are definitely inexpensive and relatively comfortable. Built in an unfussy style with the slightest of architectural nods toward the city's classic courtyard houses, it does feature such alluring touches as its grey-brick walls inlaid with traditional carvings of chrysanthemums (the Chinese
national flower). Beware of booking the cheaper basement rooms unless you can live without a window. If you have time, visit the Worker's Cultural Palace next door, laid out like the Forbidden City but on a smaller scale and without the crowds.