We stayed in a great hotel in Beijing that I would definitely recommend. The Orchid is a little different than the hotels we usually stay in, but in a good way. The hotel only has ten rooms and the owner, Joel, is super helpful if you need restaurant suggestions or anything at all, really. And he’s Canadian!
We had a driver from the hotel pick us up at the airport, which was an excellent idea because I don’t know if we would have been able to find it in the dark after a 13-hour flight. From the main street, you turn on to Baochao Hutong (pictured above) until you reach Mr. Shi’s Dumplings. There’s a very tiny alley on the left and it looks daunting, but a wonderful hotel awaits.
I don’t usually wax poetic about hotels, but staying in a hutong hotel was a fun experience. I loved the location of the The Orchid, because you get such a cool little slice of Beijing daily life. There are grandmothers hanging up their laundry, children going to school, old men sitting around playing card games, street vendors selling jianbing, and lots of people going about their everyday lives.
The first clue that you are near The Orchid is Mr. Shi’s Dumplings.
And Mr. Shi has yummy dumplings! Mike liked the boiled ones, but the crispy fried ones were the best. You get a whole plate of them for about $3.50 CAD. AMAZING.
The alley leading to the hotel. Sometimes filled with restaurant workers.
Hard to find, but worth it!
The lobby, which also doubles as a bar.
The courtyard. Most of the rooms are on the ground floor, facing this courtyard, but our room was on the second floor.
Such a pretty garden.
We stayed in the Yang room, which had its own private balcony.
The balcony had a lovely view of the Bell Tower.
Doing some work from the balcony. The internet was a bit iffy, but the best part was that it was already routed through a VPN, so we could access Twitter and Facebook and Wikipedia and everything else that’s blocked in China.
Facing our room and balcony from the other side.
The breakfasts were Western-ish but very tasty. My favourite was the local cheese — yes, local Beijing cheese! There’s a place called Le Fromager de Pekin making French cheese in Beijing, and it’s good.
The bed, which I had already sat on, so it’s kind of wrinkly.
The rooms all have Apple TV, which is pretty nifty. And yes, that’s my awesome Rilakkuma carry-on bag.
The shower, if that kind of thing is important to you. I kind of felt like Charlotte from the Sex in the City movie in the shower, trying not to swallow the water. You’re not supposed to drink the water, but I don’t actually think it’s that dire.
A view of the Bell Tower at night from the balcony.
Next time I’m in Beijing, I would stay at The Orchid again. I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels, but I don’t think I’ve ever written an entire entry about any of them.
In my next entry: The Forbidden City and some other touristy stuff. Plus, this non-vegetarian eats Peking Duck!