Hotels in this region are improving every year, and most major cities now have a range of international brands. Don't expect to find luxury in smaller cities, where mid-range yet still comfortable lodgings are more the norm. English-speaking staff can be thin on the ground at cheaper Chinese-run hotels. Most places these days accept credit cards, and you'll get better rates if you book in advance. Chinese hotels are easy to book, often without prepaying, through the English-language Chinese website www.ctrip.com. Although other international hotel booking websites list China properties, bookings often disappear when made through anything other than Ctrip.

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