on August 19, 2006
The best thing about the Crowne Plaza Beijing is its Wangfujing location in the heart of Beijing. The Wangfujing area has lots of shopping and serious nighttime street-food action, and is a 20-minute walk from the Forbidden City. Except during rush-hour traffic, most attractions are a short cab ride away. And at about $92 per night (after taxes), it is a pretty darn good deal. The rooms are a bit small but comfortable. They were decorated in the currently popular dark wood brushed metal and glass look for a modern sleek look. The beds were comfortable, if very firm. The one afternoon we stayed in we got a visit to confirm that our room had been cleaned to our satisfaction.The concierges are all proficient English speakers and very helpful in making recommendations, writing instructions for cab drivers, and making dinner reservations and arrangements for shows. We paid the same that we would have at the box office, and when there, we were met by someone employed by the hotel (not uniformed, so I was a bit leery at first) who arranged for us to get seated before everyone else in our seat type. “Michael” was especially helpful and friendly.Unfortunately, the English proficiency did not extend to the front-desk staff. Upon check in, I could not get them to understand that I had already paid for the entire stay ahead of time through Orbitz, and they insisted I needed to pay for the first night and would settle up the remaining nights at check-out. After such a long flight, I decided to take it up with them at check-out or with American Express back home. While the person checking us out noticed the error before I had a chance to mention it, I have not seen the promised credit hit my card. I’ve taken the matter up with American Express. So no harm, no foul. Other amenities included a business center where you can access the Internet ($0.33 per minute) and money exchange.The spa is rather aggressive in recruiting customers. On our first night we pressed the wrong button and wound up with two masseuses helping us with our bags and leaving us at our room with their cards. I found a better deal half a block away.Overall, a great value for the money, centrally located, and well appointed. Just double-check the bill. I would stay there again.
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