English-speaking staff at New Otani?

Jan 31st, 2005, 10:14 AM
  #1  
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English-speaking staff at New Otani?

My mom, who has never left the US, has finally plucked up the courage to go to China with some old friends. Their itinerary includes five nights at the New Otani hotel in Beijing.

Having read that the New Otani is orientated towards Japanese businesspeople, and finding that their website is essentially Japanese-only except for the bare essentials, I'm a bit concerned that the staff won't be fluent in English. I really want her to have a good time on her first trip so she can feel more confident about travelling in the future. Several of you have stayed there -- what was your experience?
jasher is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 03:22 AM
  #2  
 
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I had lunch at the New Otani last week...I was with a Japanese client.
The hotel is currently under major renovations. We didn't hear a sound while we were there, but the entire building is draped in scaffolding and green mesh. Taxis can't get to the front door...you have to walk through a construction walkway.

I didn't find the English as up to speed by their concierge as other hotels of the same caliber. I speak better than average Mandarin and simple Japanese, and relied on those.

If her needs are simple, don't worry. But if she is going to be making repeated and complex requests, it could be frustrating.
Bchen is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 05:08 AM
  #3  
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Bchen, thanks so much for your reply. My mom's requests are likely to be things like arranging taxis to particular shops and sites of interest, or arranging a guided half-day tour to the hutongs. Would these be considered complex?

Neither she nor her friends speak Japanese or Mandarin, though a couple of her friends speak a little Cantonese.
jasher is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 02:56 PM
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NO, those are simple requests. It is best to have concierge write down the names of the places she wants to go on a card,(in Characters) and to always bring a card of the hotel with her so she can get back. Remind your Mom to speak slow and simple English so she can be understood.

For the Hutong tour, just give them the number listed below and aks them to call. I don't know if the person answering the phone speaks English, but the tour at 2PM has someone who does.

Do take a HUTONG tour. These are organized and legitimate pedicab driven tours through the old alleys of Beijing. At about 180 Yuan per person (pricey!), departing at 2Pm each day, it includes the ride through the hutongs, admission to the bell tower, someone's home, and to Prince Gong's Mansion and a guide. Call for reservation and they will tell you what time to be there 6615-9097 6400-2787. There are several non-legit hutong operators, all with official looking vests and pedicabs and brochures. Official ones are 500meters to the west of the north gate of beihai park. Make sure you only pay the woman who has your name and reservation on the clipboard. I would also recommend just wandering around on foot afterwards, as it is the best way to see Beijing and get a feel for the city's residents.

Bchen is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 08:43 AM
  #5  
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Thanks so much -- I'll pass along the information about the Hutong tours.
jasher is offline  

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