Because I have to tell courts about my non-availability 6 months in advance, I have to plan holidays well ahead so it's now time to consider next summers holiday, which with the two remaining teenagers who want to join us, decided will be China... staying in Shanghai and Beijing for a week each.
Now, I am proper excited at this one as I've been aching to go to China most of my life, and though this won't quite be the trip I've long dreamt of (my dream is a 3 month guided tour around the major cities and historical sites) this 2-week trip will hopefully give both me a my wife a taster to whet our appetite to invest in a bigger exploration in the future. My plan is to stay centrally both cities, I'm not hiring a car and as a family we are all happy to use the subways. We are planning to do 3 days out and about as family in each location with guides and then leave the teens to decide whether they want to join us in other days or just "hang out" as 'tis the millennial phraseology!
SHANGHAI... Most likely redeeming Marriott points, there are lots of options here. The only one we can't choose is the JW at Tomorrow Sq as my wife has a thing about heights and that hotel starting at the 32nd floor would make her ill. An exec lounge is a must, teenagers love being able to pop in and out of it to get stuff, or just get out of each others way. We are planning to visit Yu Garden, the Bund and Shanghai Disney (teens still love the mouse!), but there must be much more to see. We are also planning to have a guide for a couple of days, can anyone recommend one?
BEIJING... In terms of location, this ones easier, the Cat3 Renaissance Wangfujing appears to be far better located than either the JW or the City Wall Marriott, so I think we will be staying there, but I'm happy to consider any other suggestions. We intend to visit the Great Wall so can anyone recommend a good day-visit wall tour from Beijing? Whilst in Beijing we would intend to visit the Forbidden Palace and Tianamen Sq, but does anyone have other suggestions? Again we intend to use a local private guide for a couple of days, can anyone recommend one?
SO, Summer in China... tell me everything you know
I recommend the Marriott Shanghai City Centre. It is located right next to Peoples Square. Easy walking on the pedestrian street for shopping and restaurants, and just walk a little further and you are at the Bund. Just around the corner from the hotel is the #2 subway line entrance. You can get to so many places from there. Download MetroMan app for your phone and you can get all the China (and lots of other countries) subway guides with point to point routing in English. The hotel has a great Executive lounge upstairs with a commanding view. I have stayed there a few times recently and the staff is top notch.
I only stayed one time in Beijing and I cannot recall which property it was at but I had my family with me for that one. My recommendation is to have the hotel arrange a Great Wall tour a little further outside the Beijing tourist spot of the wall. We had kilometers of the Wall to ourselves and a much better experience than being pressed shoulder to shoulder with all the other tourists.
China in the summer is a lot like South Florida in the summer, very humid and very hot if you have ever been there, you will know what I mean. If you have any China questions, just message me, I have going there for 24 years and spend about 18 - 20 weeks a year there now on business.
Yes, thanks for that, I had narrowed it down to the City Centre Marriott, the Renaissance Yu Garden and, this morning, having discovered the City Centre Courtyard is a Cat1 with a lounge (Courtyards with exec lounges, who knew?) and running at only 90k for our 2 rooms for a week the City Centre Courtyard. With teenagers in tow, next to a subway and a cost of only 90k points for the 2 rooms for a week stay, as against 240k at the Marriott and Renaissance, my mind is rapidly turning towards the CY...
THe MetroMan app sounds like a great idea and I'll download that, are the Shanghai and Beijing subway systems on wifi?
I didn't think about the stretch of wall, of course, that would be a way to avoid crowds, thanks!
And, yes, as you seem to have guessed, with my kids fans of the mouse I have indeed suffered the Orlando heat in August. In fact I grew to quite like it, though I'm aware sweaty city heat will probably make quite a noxious brew on the subway...
I've stayed at the Beijing Marriott Hotel Northeast and the Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall.
The former is a big tower and so you could get some nice views from the lounge and possibly your room. I had an awesome view from my bathtub with floor to ceiling windows. God help the people with the view from the other direction. But, the only reason I stayed there is the proximity to the US Embassy and presumably you won't be going there so there's not much point in that.
The City Wall location was a little better. I think we walked a block or two to get to the subway in order to visit Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, etc... Watch out for huge crowds in any mass transit. Of course, we went during Golden Week or something so it was horribly crowded everywhere. We booked a tour through the hotel that took us to the Great Wall, by some of the Olympic venues, and a jade factory/store. It was operated by GrayLine I think and the guide was really good. He also offered those that were interested an extra side trip to some sort of back alley high end knock-off goods shops where you have to know someone to be able to find the place and get in. The part of the Wall we went to was Mutianyu I think. It's a bit further out and a lot less crowded. And, there is a cable car you can ride up to get to the wall and if you are feeling adventurous there is some sort of luge type thing you can ride on the way down.
While doing a search to remember the names I just realized ALL of the Marriott's in Beijing are below Cat 5. Holy cow!
Golden week - oh yeah, gotta miss that! I think the 2016 Golden week just finished... So, yes, I will certainly avoid that!
As a Brit I have no plans to visit the Beijing US embassy, thanks... but your remark adds to the repository of knowledge on this site, I've gotten many surprising nuggets idly reading threads about areas I want to go to, so I'm sure someone will find that useful. But for me the Northeast Marriotts proximity to the US embassy doesn't change my view on location, I'm still favouring the Renaissance Wangfujing!
As you say, Chinese redemptions are still cheap. Since categories are based on redemption activity and the vast majority of points are earned and spent in the US (with European cities being a favourite redemption trip for US nationals) this leaves China very cheap to redeem. If I decide on the Shanghai City Centre Courtyard (with its exec lounge) and the Beijing Renaissance Wangfujing I will pay 135,000 points per room (saving ~$2,000 per room) for 2 weeks at city-centre full-service hotels. As you say, Holy Cow!
Welcome back, ramoneur, great to see you. Where have you been? Searching for a non-US/UK/Canada Marriott credit card?
I saw you added a quick review on the lounge at the Beijing CY and from previous contributions know you travel widely so I was hoping you could give me your opinions on a forthcoming China trip I'm taking with my teenagers.
I'm planning to redeem at the Beijing Renaissance Wangfujing, the Xian Sheraton North, the Shanghai Central Courtyard and finishing off at either the JW Changfeng Park or the Renaissance Pudong. All are excellent redemptions at Cats 1, 2 or 3. Do you have any experience of these, or their lounges (what can I say, the teens love the lounges and are planning far more down-time than us!).
Thankyou in anticipation, and welcome back!
I am taking my partner to visit China for a month this December. We will visit Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xi'an, Chengdu, Beijing. In Shanghai, I booked JW Changfeng Park with points, but switched to Park Hyatt (just want my partner to be amazed by the height of the hotel ). I've heard that food at JW Changfeng Park is not as good as Renaissance Yu ( another option I considered). Changfeng Park is also a little bit far from the places you want to visit. I would stay in Renaissance Yu if I want to use points.
Xi'an, I booked the Westin, which is at a nice location. That hotel owns a historical museum, it is supposed to be one of the best museum in that area. The museum is free if stay in the hotel.
Beijing, I will stay 5 nights in JW beijing. It's a little bit far from Wangfujing and Tiananmen, compared to other Marriott hotels. But it's in a nice business center and it has nice food and nice points value (60000 points for 5 nights, and if I chose to pay cash, it would be over $1300) . The famous metro #1 is 0.6 Km from the hotel. Should be quite convenient to reach the places we want to go (avoid busy hours).
Another thing, if you book ahead, hotels could be cheap, you may find it make more sense to just pay by cash instead of a lot of points.
Well, thanks for that, it gives me another view on these hotels.
For for me a key point is that I'm not driving, so a central location or ease of access to subways are vital. I've pretty much made up my mind in most of the hotels but wanted some input from those that had stayed just in case they were clunkers.
The Renaissance Wangfujing is very central, but I accept that Beijing is a sprawling city and so proximity to the subway is also an important factor. It seems to have that.
We are taking the train from Beijing to Xian and after 2 days there onto Shanghai so ease of access to Xian station is very important. The Xian Sheraton North is sat on top of a subway station directly linked to the railway. Although, like the Westin, it's not in the city walls it is an easy subway journey in. Of course the Westin is next to the Big Goose but it's pricey, both in cash and points.
Shanghai CY has become an easy choice, a Cat1 thats a full service, near to a 3-line subway station that basically can take us anywhere around that vast metropolis. We are staying 5 nights in the city centre using a local guide but it is the last stay, for a bit of R&R, that I'm still struggling with. No need to be in the city then. Just a very comfortable hotel in a good spot. The JW Changfeng is next to the Park, as is the Renaissance Pudong, hence why I shortlisted these two.
So really I'm looking for anyone with experience of these places now. Although I am curious, while I understand why you decided against the JW Changfeng why, if you wanted a big tower did you opt for the Hyatt instead of the JW Tomorrow Sq, I thought that was the tallest hotel in Shanghai...