Sometimes you just want something other than crisp sheets, aloof concierge staff, processed food in a buffet and classic, annoyingly soft elevator music. Hotels mean a lot of things to different people, and when you’ve traveled a lot they tend to annoy rather than appeal. In Beijing, there are amazing alternatives to hotels. Hostels, B&Bs, home stays, and other options.
Beijing’s hostels are an amazing array of awesomeness. You’ll find hostels that would rival the best hotels in the city in terms of variety, accommodation, cleanliness, and charm. Some of the best hostels are located in old refurbished hutongs, which are excellent local home-style houses that have an excellent vibe and never-ending cuteness. Some of the best hostels in the city are on Nanluoguxiang, just past the 12sqm Bar & Cafe (where the friendly staff will give you directions to Backpacker’s Hostel, or other neighborhood hostels).
Some of the best hotel alternatives are hostels, but there are also homestays in the countrside outside Beijing where you can climb up to sections of the Great Wall that are unrestored and see wildlife and indeed inhale clean, fresh air. Once you’re in Beijing you’ll understand how rare and amazing a resource clean air is. most of these homestays don’t have websites or addresses, and in fact the best way to find them is to troll around on a few forums prior to your visit. Check www.cityweekend.com.cn and www.thebeijinger.com.cn and you’ll be sure to find oodles of forums about hiking trip, overnight stays on the great wall and homestays.