Sometimes you want to get out somewhere and not just stay at home. It might happen for a multiple reasons like bad AC in Beijing apartments, too much sunlight or you might simply just want to change the surroundings. In that case you might consider a staycation somewhere in Beijing or a closer city.
As Beijing got extremely hot and out apartment is just falling apart we decided to take a relaxing staycation in a hotel with a pool. We used Ctrip and Booking.com to look for hotel. If you plan it at least a few days in advance you might get some very pleasant offers.
Hilton Beijing (Sanyuan)
As we were planning last minute, we got a nice offer through HHonors in Hilton Beijing. It is one of the oldest properties in the city, however we did not mind for the rate we got.
When we arrived around 3 pm (we walk around Solana first), after being checked in on the 18th floor we went for a swim. Hilton Beijing’s hardware might not be amazing, but I believe it is still nice to use for pool facilities and Jacuzzi.
The TVs in the rooms are not too big, but still have access to main English-speaking entertaining channels. The bed is comfortable and the curtains are dark enough to have a great night sleep. But talking about the AC – it is cold enough, however, I have to say I have not seen such an old panel for quite a while.
As I work in the hotels I know that there many ways that hotels try to save up a little. Of course, I might have misunderstood, however, I believe that the room amenities were purposely hidden.
The amenities that are in the room are by Peter Thomas Roth, however, the size of them is too small even for one person. As we were two , we could surely feel that it was not enough.
Additionally, we also had a water boiler with cups and tea/coffee provided.
On the scale of 10 I would rate Hilton Beijing around 5 on their hardware.
We had breakfast included in our package (in Beijing nowadays it is quite rare). It is an important part of a staycation for me. First of all, when we asked the breakfast times, one of the staff members said it was until 10. We planned to sleep in but instead we woke up to experience their dining as the night before we went for Korean BBQ. Makan restaurant is not yet open and the other two were empty so we looked for other options.
The Element has a quite nice atmosphere, the food stations are separate from each other and the entire arrangement is nice. The stations offered: pastries, eggs, Chinese breakfast, fruits, juices and dried goods.
So we started from the hot dishes – two poached eggs, bacon, baked beans and toast… It is an extremely unhealthy but delicious breakfast that you can’t mistake about. However, something in this combo was not nice, though the honey boiled ham was delicious.
Pastry station was not as inspiring as the one in Kempinski or Westin, for example, but main breakfast items you still can find – croissants, chocolate roll and fruit danishes. The bread selection is also fine. Although for the jam you only get strawberry and tangerine.
Waffles and pancakes were not too promising so I avoided them but AH took some and we left it on the plate…
I am not a huge fan of Chinese congee. I love dumplings but buns are not my favourites. So Chinese station I also skipped.
The salad station was extremely disappointing, but I still got just some green salad with pickles. I couldn’t understand it how a five star hotel paid so little attention.
Fruits were fine, I mean anywhere you o in China you will always find watermelon and melon, however, at some point the strawberries came on buffet and a line showed up too.
As for the coffee, what I always don’t like during breakfast is that it is served right in the beginning even if you ask for later. I worked in All Day Dining restaurant before and I know that it is challenging. However, I still think it is possible especially when it is not too busy. So my coffee went to waste as it did not taste good (also the presentation is strange… I don’t expect latte art but no spoon and no sous-tasse ehhhh)…
Considering that I still got full on a sandwich, croissant with jam and fruits, I was still happy. I would say that the breakfast rating would be around 6.
Service is always the most difficult thing to rate just due to the fact that one person performs extremely well and another one screws it up. The receptionists upon check in were very friendly, helpful and pleasant.
Restaurant staff members did not know their opening hours, I mean really?
Swimming pool was fully non-verbal communication. The gentleman just passed us the swim hats and did not let us in until we put them on (not sure though if it is hygienic).
So all in all, because of reception guys I would give it a 7.
Overall experience was pleasant, however, I would not pay the full rate for it. Luckily we had a big discount and enjoyed all benefits at a really good package. Otherwise, paying more than RMB500 as booking.com suggest would be a waste.
Total score : 6
Getting out for a staycation is a great thing. It might refresh you and help to destress. I would only suggest to plan it a bit in advance to get better deals and hotels.
Do you like to get away for a bit and have a relax time? How do you spend your days off?