Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Do you get checked by the hotel staff in China?

Do you get checked by the hotel staff in China?

May 22nd, 2002, 05:52 AM
Posts: n/a
Do you get checked by the hotel staff in China?

I read from some local Mainland Chinese websites/forums that quite a few posters were requested to show their marriage certificate to the receptionists when they (a couple) checked in. The messages were posted very recently so I wonder if this is indeed the case.

Also, most of the hotels say that the number of people is limited to 2 persons per room. Is this rule strictly enforced? I am going to Shanghai and Beijing with 3 friends and we don't have a large budget. We (all girls) plan to share a twin room at a 5-stars hotel, will that be a problem? We have never been to those cities before so we want to stay at some "touristy" and safe places downtown.
May 22nd, 2002, 06:28 AM
Posts: n/a
I can't speak to the three people in a two-person room (although I would guess that you will just have to pay extra for the third person and have seen this in a number of places in China), but if you are planning on staying at a 4 or 5 star place in Shanghai, I can't imagine that they would ask you for any kind of proof of identification or "coupleship" other than a passport (which they will ask for). I was in Beijing last summer with my husband and we were never asked for anything like that and Shanghai is even more used to tourists.

Good luck.

May 22nd, 2002, 08:21 AM
Peter N-H
Posts: n/a
Chinese and foreigners are treated very differently in China. Chinese of the opposite sex wanting to share an hotel room will be required to demonstrate that they are married, or have some kind of kinship. Or, of course, they can bribe themselves out of the difficulty and the hotel takes the risk of simply registering one person as occupying the room, hoping there won't be a police check.

But right from the early days of China tourism foreigners have been able to buy one bed in a twin and find that someone of the opposite sex has bought the other, and most dormitory rooms have been mixed.

Foreigners who wish to share an hotel room with Chinese nationals will encounter particular difficulties in most parts of China, as so sometimes may anyone not of Chinese descent who wishes to share a room with someone who is, even if that person is a foreign passport holder. Look Chinese, and that makes you a Chinese. Such is the discrimination against foreigners and particularly against Chinese women who sleep with foreign males that marriage certificates may sometimes be requested in these cases.

Needless to say with these rules, there's an active market in fake marriage documentation, which hotels will never scrutinise too carefully if they anyway have empty rooms.

In some parts of China, however (notably Yunnan), 'the mountains are high and the emperor is far away' and nobody bothers much about any of this.

With more upmarket hotels, the question is not whether they hold four or five of the (entirely meaningless) Chinese stars, but mainly whether they are Sino-foreign joint-venture hotels with familiar names, attempting to run themselves against large odds something in the way their namesakes operate elsewhere. But even here security guards may stop Chinese females from heading towards guest room areas, and I've seen many a reception desk row as someone of Chinese descent possibly making a first trip to China protests furiously against this impertinence.

All of which is to make the point that things are different for mainland Chinese, and a little different for those of Chinese descent, than they are for (other) foreigners--the visible minority in China, if you like. And this runs to all perceptions of travel there, and not just to hotel rooms.

You may indeed come across difficulties in putting four people in a twin room, although all hotels have the provision to provide extra beds. At 'three star' level, and sometimes at 'four star', if the hotel is entirely Chinese owned and run, there are often four-bed rooms available, or triple rooms to which a bed can be added. Expect at the very least if you stay at a higher level that you'll be charged two times the 'extra bed' price, even if no beds are actually added.

Peter N-H
May 22nd, 2002, 10:11 AM
Posts: n/a
Hi Melissa,
My husband (white) and I (Asian) were in Beijing last Nov, and had not encountered any questioning by the "5 star" non-western chain hotel(like Peter said- the Chinese "star" systme is not exactly the same as, say the western star standard). Perhaps I obviously didn't look local, even I could speak a little Mandarin. I can't comment on Shanghai since I haven't been there recently, but there are many hotels in central Beijing area that are reasonably priced, so you should be able to find something. You can probably search past postings or ask more specific questions regarding hotels. As for safety, in my opinion, most places are relatively safe, I would be more concerned in things like pick pockets, scams to trick you in buying "Chinese paintings & goods", and people harassing you to buy souvenirs. Have a good trip!
May 24th, 2002, 10:15 AM
Posts: n/a
My boyfriend and I are travelling to Beijing and Xian this June. We are both American, but he is of Chinese descent, and I am Filipino but look Chinese. Will we have problems checking into a hotel?
May 24th, 2002, 01:19 PM
Posts: n/a

I'm an American of Chinese descent and my husband is caucasion, we had no problems checking into any hotels and were never asked for anything more than a passport. The hotel staff can tell if you are foreign (regardless of descent) or mainland Chinese and treat you accordingly. It's true that the hotel is supposed to ask for proof of marriage when the situation involves mainland Chinese, but even then, I've seen many cases where they've turned a blind eye. It just depends on whether they are willing to bear the risk of being fined.

Now that we've clarified the marriage situation, did you know that they can search through your luggage without your permission? This has happened to several "middle eastern" looking friends of mine especially post 9/11.
Jun 2nd, 2002, 05:10 PM
Posts: n/a
We just returned from a 21 day trip to China. No questions asked about marriage license etc. We had two woman traveling together in our group, they had no problems at the hotels.
Aug 28th, 2002, 12:57 PM
Posts: n/a
We spent three weeks in China, staying at 5 star hotels at each stop. In Beijing at the Kempinski they had security people walking the lobby, and uniformed security at the lift. No one went up without a good looking over. No problems at all, e......xcept cashing travelers checks. The two signatures must be EXACT. Two places used a magnifying glass on the signatures. I don't know about everyone else, but my signature is not EXACT every time. One time I had to sign the check 6 times before they would take it. So if you are using travelers checks, make the original purchase signature a good one, one that you can duplicate exactly.
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jun 9th, 2011 02:38 AM
Feb 20th, 2010 01:14 PM
May 18th, 2007 05:03 PM
Jul 20th, 2006 07:44 AM
Sep 2nd, 2001 11:08 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:22 PM.