I stayed at this hotel closed to seven times in the past 10 years when I visit Beijing. The most recent stay was three nights in early June 2011.
This hotel was a popular choice when Chinese officials host overseas guests. It could have been state-own in the past, thus the counter service reflects relatively of that level, the service standard is at time rude, even to the staff of the host organisation that did the booking. It is typical and do not expect drastic improvement. To me a decade has passed and the service standard remains relatively unchanged. Fortunately too, is that tipping is not expected.
I observed that the hotel is ageing and although it is building a new wing, not sure how existing rooms would be make new. The rooms are quite spacey, probably because it was built in the 70s and space was not an issue, ceiling was relatively tall, although lighting is generally not satisfactory for reading and working. During my last three stays, I also noticed that security of the hotel has dropped a little, allowing "special service" cards with images of western ladies to be pushed through the door. But good thing is that there was no knocking on the door yet.
There are several plus points of staying this hotel: the breakfast is quite good in terms of selection of both Chinese and Western dishes, including fruits. In fact, guests could pick up fresh fruits (usually apples, pears and peaches) outside the lift area for the floor they stayed - but that also depends on one's luck (and timing).
The other major plus point of this hotel is its location to Xidan shopping area; a major bookstore (XinHua); a small hutung residential area (just opposite the hotel) and it is almost next to a underground station that connect you to different part of the city and places of attractions.
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