Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Travel Diaries: Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel

I'm back with another Beijing Travel Diaries post! This time, I'm talking all about our hotel - the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel! We booked our trip (airfare and hotel) through Expedia, so we got a bit of a deal on our hotel costs. However, the advertised rate for this hotel is $106/night for a standard room with a queen or two single beds. Breakfast is available daily for an additional fee, but we chose to branch out and be more adventurous with our meals.

Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel Lobby

"Novotel Beijing Peace is ideally located in the city centre at Wangfujing, within walking distance of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and shopping malls. This modern hotel features 402 rooms with broadband & WiFi access, plus free Internet access at the Novotel Mac Corner. Novotel Beijing Peace offers easy access to subway lines and 15-minute walk from Beijing Railway Station. The hotel also features airport transfer service, limousine service and tour desk providing customized city tours." - Novotel

Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel Lobby

After a full 24 hours of travel, we were extremely happy to arrive at our hotel in Beijing. We took a taxi from the airport (PEK) to the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel, which took about 45 minutes and cost us 300 Yuan, or $51 CAD. You can also take the subway, but we decided to just pay for the taxi since we were exhausted and jet lagged. We had printed out our hotel name and address in both English and Mandarin, so it was easy to communicate with our driver. Make sure to also have your hotel's phone number handy in case your driver needs to call for directions.

Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel Room Desk

Once we arrived at the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel, we were greeted by friendly front desk attendants. We were very thankful that there was someone available that spoke English and could help us with our check-in. I had booked a non-smoking room with 1 queen-size bed. Once we got to our room, we quickly realized that this was actually a smoking room - the cigarette smell was strong! I have quite bad allergies, and didn't want to have to be worrying about my breathing the entire trip, so we headed back down to the lobby and requested a change. The only non-smoking rooms that were available were ones with 2 single beds - not exactly ideal for a couple on vacation. However, the language barrier didn't allow for us to negotiate any other rooms, so we made due with what we had. Single beds just mean that there's no other option but to cuddle the entire night - could be worse, right?

Chinese Coke Products
Chinese Coke Products

The hotel was very clean and we were impressed with the daily refreshers. Each day our room received a full clean, and we were surprised to come back to our room at the end of the day to find absolutely everything tidied. This included having our suitcases lined up in a row, our coats hung on hangers in the closest, etc. The hotel also provides two free bottles of water daily. The staff will leave these water bottles in your bathroom, and I highly recommend removing them from the bathroom daily. If you leave the unopened bottles in the bathroom, you won't be getting any new ones the following day. The mini fridge comes fully stocked with Coke products in Chinese cans, beer, chocolates, and water. The water in the fridge is not free, in fact it's highly overpriced! The large bottle of water in our room cost 78 Yuan, and we saw the same bottle in a nearby convenience store for 7 Yuan!

Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel Single Beds

The Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel offers free internet and wifi. You can either plug in your laptop with their internet cable, or log into the hotel's wifi. I found that connecting with the cable provided a faster service, but both options got the job done. I'm so glad that I decided to bring my laptop, as it gave us the freedom to plan out our trips on a day to day basis. We had a general idea of what we wanted to do, but now we were able to look into attractions last minute as well as easily send emails back home. Do note that a lot of websites are banned in China, including Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, and Blogspot, just to name a few. I could access my blog, but writing and editing posts was nearly impossible. I've also heard that as of May 2014 Google and Google Maps are now banned as well. I also had some issues logging in to Hotmail, as it recognized that I was signing in from a foreign location. For Dylan's Hotmail account, he was required to get a text verification, but since we were travelling he didn't have cell service. Luckily, I was able to answer a few security questions to gain access to my account. On my phone, Snapchat was banned but I was able to use Instagram (which I could use to update Facebook and Twitter - sneaky, sneaky!). 

Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel Bedroom

The location of the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel was perfect - we really couldn't have asked for a better location! The hotel is located beside a tea house, which we never checked out (we aren't tea drinkers), but it looked like a friendly place! We were about a 2 minute walk from Wangfujing Street, which is where the snack street is set up nightly. There are also a ton of shops, stalls, a giant mall, and fast food restaurants (McDonalds, KFC). The McDonald's was open 24 hours, which came in very handy during our first few days. We were so jet lagged that we would wake up at 4 am, starving and wanting some comfort food. At first, I was very scared to leave our hotel at night. But I quickly realized that there really wasn't anything to be afraid of - it wasn't like walking downtown Ottawa at 4am! Dylan and I always went out together, which made me feel even safer. During the daytime, we happy to find that our hotel was only a short 5 minute walk to Dongdan Subway Station, which we used multiply times per day. It only cost 2 Yuan (35 cents Canadian) to ride the subway, so we rode it all over Beijing!

Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel Room View
Our view!

I forgot to snap a picture of the hotel pool, but here's a stock photo from the hotel's webstite. Dylan and I only found time to visit the pool once during our stay, but when we went we were actually the only ones there (along with the lifeguard)! There's a glass ceiling over top of the pool, and I enjoyed floating on my back and watching the stars at dusk. While the pool is advertised as being heated, I don't think that it was. It wasn't cold, but it definitely wasn't very warm either. Also, the sauna inside of the changing room is not constantly turned on - probably due to the lack of use. So, you'll need to ask for help from the lifeguard if you want to use the sauna.

Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel Pool

Overall, both Dylan and I were impressed during our stay in the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel! There were a few mix ups with our room, but we didn't really care & didn't let it ruin our trip. We were really happy that there were English speaking staff to help us out during our stay. The location was incredible, you're close to the downtown core and a subway station to get you all over the city. I would definitely recommend checking out the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel if you're planning a trip to Beijing. Try to get a deal on a travel site such as Expedia or iTravel, but you're also able to book directly through Novotel. Hopefully this post is helpful for anyone planning a Beijing trip, or anyone who just loves to read about travel and hotels :) 

Have you traveled to Beijing? Where did you stay during your trip?

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10 comments:

  1. Oh it looks wonderful! I really hope I'll get the chance to go one day. My boyfriend lived in China for a year about 10 years ago, and he always tells me how much things have changed since then, I hope I can convince him to go back at some point!

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    1. Oh wow! My fiance wants to live in China for 6 months-a year, as well as visit other parts of China. I think Hong Kong is next on our list! :)

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  2. How was travelling in China despite the language barrier? I would love to go someday but my husband and I aren't the most experienced travelers so it makes me kind of nervous!


    xo Brianna | Glazed Over

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    1. Since the 2008 Olympics were in Beijing, many of the signs have an English translation! So the language barrier wasn't actually as bad as I expected it to be :) It was actually Dylan and I's first time travelling to somewhere other than a resort/NYC! It was definitely a lot to take on for a first time traveler, but we had a blast :)

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  3. Awesome in depth review!! Ive been to Japan but I'm really wanting to explore more of Asia and China is next on my list! I'll keep this hotel in mind if I ens up visiting Beijing :)

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    1. Thank you! Japan is high on my travel wishlist - where in Japan did you visit?

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  4. Wow the lobby of the hotel looks so fancy! How did you guys figure out where to go without being able to use Google?

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    1. The lobby was magnificent! We were able to use Google while we were there, but we found out that it got banned shortly after we left!

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  5. Hey, honey! What do you think about follow each other via bloglovin? If you want, just follow me there and I'll follow you back! http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3947784

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your lovely comments, I love each and every one! I reply to all comments, but if you need a quicker response tweet me @BeyondBlush11 or email me (beyondblush@hotmail.com).

Laura