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BUDGET CHAIN HOTELS IN CHINA

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Dec 30th, 2009, 04:10 AM
  #1
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BUDGET CHAIN HOTELS IN CHINA

From an article in the Wall Street Journal, which says that many foreigners do not know about these low-priced hotels; here are two of their English-language sites:



http://www.jinjianginns.com/en/Default.aspx


http://www.998.com/eng/index.aspx

Here is the link to the article; not sure how long it will be accessible:


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...836315276.html
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Dec 30th, 2009, 07:47 AM
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why are you looking at budget places?? you??
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Dec 30th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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thanks for the links.. good info for many people
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Dec 30th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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ISSUE OF SMOKING. In Shanghai, budget hotel rates are around US$40 a night. Rooms are clean; they serve limited Chinese breakfast. If you are very sensitive to smoking, my advice is to stay away from it. They do have non smoking rooms but sometimes masked over with some fragrant spray. I myself can live with that. What I can't live with is when my next room neighbor starts smoking and my room is immediately contaminated with smoke. Unless this hotel has a non smoking floor, stay away from it if you are very sensitive to smoke. Even with non smoking floor, sometimes Chinese do not observe the rule especially in a Chinese run hotel where enforcement is slack. By the way, my comments apply to most Chinese run non budget hotels.
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Dec 30th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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EK -- When business was slow, my DS designed a couple of the Jinjiang Inns with pretty lobbies that I visited. They are budget for a reason, small rooms, thin walls, rockhard beds, coarse bedding, tiny bathrooms, sandpaper towels, barebones amenities, unprofessional management ...... guess it beats camping in a park.
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Dec 30th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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Oh, dear---one step up from camping in a park??!! With tobacco fumes permeating the shiny bedcovers!

I will camp out at the Meridien. I just thought is might be interesting to people on a budget..
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Dec 30th, 2009, 09:41 PM
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Stan Sesser's articles are rarely well-informed or inspirational, and if people would only use search facility for this site helpfully offered by Fodor's they would discover there's nothing novel in his rather incomplete account of economy (jingji) hotels at all, which have been around for some years. They've even been covered before in other newspapers, as well as discussed on other travel sites, mailing lists, etc.

With a little used of the search box above, as far back as May 15 this year you could have found these remarks:

But if you just want a clean room, wooden floor, shower cubicle only, few (maybe only CCTV9 in English) foreign TV channels, cheerful pastel colours, free (or very cheap indeed) Internet, and breakfast for ¥10–15, at about half what you are willing to pay, there are myriad 'jingji' or economy hotels aimed at small businessmen, for ¥200 to ¥300. Try Googling Hanting Hotels, Joy Inn, 7Days, Jinjiang Inn, Home Inn for assorted locations, some very central indeed.

On March 12 you would have four this:

So for many, then, a place to lay the head that's clean and quiet, with reliable hot water, etc., and preferably something resembling a Western breakfast, is all they need. And when it can be had for $40 as opposed to the $200 it can cost to get into the better hotels, it seems a sane choice. Who needs 'service' when that service usually doesn't really know what it's doing? For many the ideal hotel is the new class of jingji (economy) hotels with fixed rates ¥200-300 (US$30-40) which can be booked ahead for exactly the same price as you would get over the counter. Some are purpose-built and some are total refurbishments of older, incompetently run hotels. Typically they feature bright, pastel colours, have a glass shower cubicle rather than a bath, and essentially all the basic amenities without fuss, including (usually) breakfast, and free (or very cheap) wireless or Ethernet broadband in-room; free computer access in the lobbies. There's a Hotel 268 that will put you up for precisely that (¥268) on the same street as The Peninsula. This won't do if you think you're going to lounge around in bathrobes for part of the morning enjoying the (smog-laden) view from your super-king-size bed (with huge thread-count linen) enjoying a room service breakfast with eggs cooked in precisely the way you want, before taking a trip to the spa (and what an incredible waste of time in Beijing that would be). But if you want to be up and out and beating the crowds into the Forbidden City, returning for a quick shower before tackling a tasty dinner with the locals somewhere and then getting some well-earned sleep; these are the places to stay.

Further back on Jan 24 you would have found this:

If you want to consider this kind of hotel, then look around the Web for Jinjiang Inn, Joy Inn (a good one close to Chongwen Men metro just east of Tian'an Men Square), the Hanting Jiudian (I like the one in Tonglin Ge Lu, not far from Changchun Jie metro), Shindom (the Da Zha Lan one is well-positioned, and there's another quiet one just north of Taoran Ting Park, although that's awkward for public transport, but there's an excellent vegetarian restaurant close by).

The Jinjiang Inn near Pudong Airport in Shanghai got a mention here as far back as June 07.

I merely mention all this so that readers can be better informed both on 'jingji' hotels and on just how much information there is lurking on this site for those who can be bothered to look for it. I've stayed in these types hotels in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, and done detailed inspections of dozens of others. They vary in quality, but for some they represent the perfect choice: basic but with all the amenities you need if you're actually planning to be out seeing sights all day; free (or very cheap) wi-fi; cheap, and safely bookable in advance for the same price you'll pay over the counter. And there are many more chains and branches than mentioned here, some putting you bang in the centre of Beijing, for much less money and a higher standard than you'll pay for most non-chain Chinese hotels.

No good idea goes uncopied in China and any successful business idea produces 'me too' copycats in record time. Some of the chains are thus avoidable, and high traffic does tend to wear out Chinese hotels of all kinds pretty fast. In some cases the rooms at the cheapest rates have no windows, or there may be only a very small number of these and which may be permanently booked out, whereas the majority of the stock is at a higher, but still economical rate.

Over the longer term, as margins are reduced by increased competition, the question will be whether standards at the better chains are maintained and money invested in maintenance, unlike at every other sort of Chinese-run hotel.

Peter N-H
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Dec 31st, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Peter I am sorry if I offended you by posting this WSJ article. I can assure you that I had the best intentions. I am not interested in these hotels for myself but thought others might find the article helpful. Your comments are most interesting but I do not think I should be blasted for adding some info on this forum.
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Dec 31st, 2009, 08:44 AM
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ekscrunchy There is absolutely nothing wrong for you to bring to the attentions of this forum about budget chain hotels in China. Discussions of pros and cons of a budget hotel are good so that a potential customer can be fully informed to make a decision. Keep on doing what you did !!
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Dec 31st, 2009, 10:24 AM
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I find this confusing. I stayed at the Grand Lijiang hotel in Oct and Nov (and 11 yrs ago too for more money) for about $45. It is four star and you could not find a more perfect hotel. The big cities are of course, more expensive, but I think mid-size cities need not have the discomfort to realize an attractive rate. I stayed in a new hotel in Chengdu that was a dupicate of a Novotel style for about $50 and could have happily stayed a month there.
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Dec 31st, 2009, 10:53 AM
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It has long been true right across China that comfortable lodging at least playing at being four-star (without being able to deliver the service) has been widely available even in very small towns indeed. It's merely necessary to shake off the largely counter-productive desire to book everything ahead, show up in said town, and simply look around for the newest property. This will typically be cheaper than anything listed in guide books (especially if listed for a few editions), friendlier, and less worn-out. ¥250 to ¥350 or even less are commonplace after showing up at reception and bargaining on the spot.

But the jingji hotel chains have introduced a reliable, functional, practical hotel room for small businessmen in big cities, at low rates that do not require bargaining (and indeed cannot be bargained) and thus that can be booked in advance over the phone or web. They all operate membership schemes intended to inspire loyalty, in which a modest membership fee provides a fixed discount on all bookings and is quickly recouped.

While not targeting foreign travellers, and not to be found in smaller towns with no significant business traffic, these places may well suit some travellers not looking to pay absurdly high Western prices for luxury hotel products that rarely quite live up to the standards such sums would buy in the developed world, but prices relevant to the local economy, making the overall cost of a trip more realistic and affordable, and avoiding payment for luxuries some may consider unnecessary or irrelevant to China travel.

Peter N-H
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Dec 31st, 2009, 12:35 PM
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I note the quote from the above post:

looking to pay absurdly high Western prices for luxury hotel products that rarely quite live up to the standards such sums would buy in the developed world,


Somehow, Beth and I managed to stay in three pre-booked hotels in Shanghai and Beijing, the Rui Jin, Beijing Westin and Grand Meridien while paying about 1/3 to 1/2 what these hotels wouyld have cost in the US or Europe. assuming that the US and Europe are part of the "developed world", this suggests that PHH's comments are not universally accepted. Again, i agree with PNH that it's not personal, merely the facts.
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Jan 1st, 2010, 01:32 AM
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Just for the record, I'm right now typing from my room at the Greentree Inn in Chengdu. Very nice hotel with modern and non-leaking bathroom, good heater, free internet - including an ethernet port in the bathroom - and nicely located in city center.

I think we're getting a discount of 20% off, but even their advertised price is only 198RMB. Not bad for a major Chinese city.

They have locations all over China.
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Jan 1st, 2010, 03:55 AM
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rkkwan, how did you book it? Thanks.
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Jan 1st, 2010, 05:43 AM
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sdtravels - I didn't book the room. The representative from the non-profit organization we're traveling with booked it for us.
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