I have a two week adventure coming up for May in Beijing, China. I'm looking at the Marriott properties and have zoned in on two...but would appreciate any info on different properties, as well.
Right now, I'm thinking about the Beijing Marriott Hotel Northeast and the Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall. My stay will be a cash stay, not a points stay. Is there a strong chance for a suite upgrade for a Plat. Premier member? I will not be renting a car. Is public transportation convenient to either property? How about local dining?
Any and all thoughts appreciated.
I stayed at the City Wall for two nights last summer. Quick trip before heading on to Jiangmen and Hong Kong. The hotel is very nice. I've stayed 1300 nights at Marriott and seen a few, this one is great. We flew in late night, had a guide and driver for one day and then flew out the next day. I can't speak to local food or shopping. The City Wall (not to be confused with the Great Wall) is still a historic area and very cool. We walked a couple of blocks to a really cool part of the Wall with gates and guard towers. Very worthwhile. Breakfast in the concierge lounge was great.
Not on your list but I stayed at the JW Marriott and it was very nice. I was not upgraded but had a nice room. It has a CL and they cook eggs to order for breakfast. If you choose, you can eat breakfast in the restaurant for free as a platinum. There is a small shopping center right across the street. The CL had enough food in the evening that might be adequate for some evenings.
While I was there about 2 years ago, I hired a car, driver and guide for about $200/day for all. Some entrances were also covered.
I wanted to see the Terra Cotta Warriors and did a day trip. I arranged for a car to take me to the airport for an early flight, was picked up by a guide with a car and driver. I had a private tour of Xian and saw the warriors. The guide took me back to the airport, flew back to Beijing and was picked up and taken back to my hotel. I felt that I had adequate time to see what was there and didn't have to pack and unpack and all that. It was a long day but I liked how it worked out.
painedplatinum, I aggree Californian a great hotel to stay is the JW.
The government says that most Chinese speak good English. They used to start English in junior high and now it is in kindergarten. It should continue to get better. The government want all the people to speak English really well and are pushing it.
I didn't find this. My guide in Xian spoke as though she was an American, one of my guides in Beijing didn't speak clear and I had a lot of difficulty in understanding him. I got another and he was really good. In going to shops and restaurants, some spoke English and some didn't. In cases where they didn't, they would have a picture for you to point to what you want. I used the Marriott cc to pay.
I am sure that you know about being careful drinking the water and eating the food.
I read a lot before my trip and I know a Chinese National who helped me.
You can't trust bottled water to be safe. Sometimes they just put tap water in and seal it. You must know brands that are safe and make sure that you take the cap off. I purchased Evian at the airport since it was the only brand that I knew and then picked up enough water from the CL to last during the day. Pretty much everything at a Marriott is safe. I did not eat salad as a precaution even there.
Eggs are not always refrigerated and might be bad. Dairy is not always pasteurized. When I was there right after the tsunami, there were warnings that seafood was probably radio active since they get theirs from Japanese waters.
The people who live there don't eat any vegetables that are not really cooked to the point of no flavor. They also over cook every thing else to be safe.
I was walking some side streets and there was a small restaurant about the size of a garage. Along side it was a narrow alley where they had a large tub of water and they would take dirty dishes and swish them in the tub and consider them clean.
There are Starbucks there and I trusted them. I ate at Marriotts for most of my food. I had read Tripadvisor and some people ventured out and enjoyed it and others talked about getting sick whenever they ate at locals and did not get sick eating at Marriotts.
The problem is the brands that you will see will probably be unknown to you. That is why I choose Avian at the airport. Ordinarily I would choose a less expensive. Again, once there, stock up in the CL.
If you do decide to get a car, driver and guide, I would suggest that you shop around before you get there. I found that for the same tour, arrangements made at the hotel were about 4 times as much. On the other hand, there are many that can't be trusted. I dealt with a large well known travel agency, got prices and made arrangements before I left home and even then had some problems on payment after I got there since I had to make some changes when a flight was canceled.
I've stayed at both the hotels you mentioned as well as the Renaissance near the Northeast. I was only Silver at the time, so I can't speak to the upgrades.
I typically stay at the Northeast when visiting the Embassy because it's convenient to there. The City Wall is more centralized and you are about a block away from a subway stop and from there it's only a stop or 2 to get to Tienanmen Square and The Forbidden City.
I probably liked the room at the Northeast a little better. It seemed newer and more modern. The bathroom had a big giant window and the tub was situated so that you could sit in the bath and watch the sun rise or set (I forget which) which was pretty cool. Of course, I think there is also an office building right next door, so that could effect your enjoyment of the view if you are shy. There is, of course, a blind you can close for your modesty.
I think the food at the lounge was a little better at the City Wall. It is also not too far from the tourist food street if you want to go eat some moths or scorpions or something.
The Northeast has a fair variety of restaurants not too far away. It depends on what you are looking for, I guess. Since I live in China, when I go to Beijing I am looking for good western food that I can't get normally and it's more abundant near the Northeast.
There is a "Ladies' street" right by the embassy if there are any women in your party looking to shop. There are probably better places though.
I wouldn't count on most people being able to speak English if I were you. If you have a smart phone, look for an app called Taxi Book which can help some.
Just got back from our stay at Beijing.
We stayed at the City Wall, a huge place. Great location, close to railway station and not far from the usual tourist bits. They do tours from the hotel if you were interested. We are Plat holders and as soon as we went to the check in desk they took us straight up to the executive lounge to check in - very nice lounge with happy hour from 5.30 to 9.30 (all free as you would expect). We were given a really nice room, very modern.
Has pool and spa albeit very quiet - we did not eat at the restaurant, making use of the Exec Lounge instead. Some of the rooms overlook the railway track you do get the odd honk from a train but nothing too inconvenient. We thought it was a nice hotel and would it 4 out of 5. I see you were planning to use public transport - all I can say is Best of Luck it is a nightmare, lots of queues and lots of buses - traffic is very busy - taxis' are very cheap but getting across town can take a while.
Just as an alternative we also stayed at the Renaissance Beijing Chaoyang Hotel. Only there one night but were upgraded to a suite - a much better hotel than the City Wall, quieter and the service and food was exceptional - however the hotel is a little bit out from the centre but a lovely place.
If you need any more info let me know - we had a great time and very enjoyable - Regards Andy