Hotels in China

China’s tourism industry does use a “Star” system to rate facilities and quality (similar to the West)….but don’t put too much stock in them because the system of awarding of stars (surprise!) isn’t immune to bribery…so the number of stars doesn’t necessarily reflect actual quality. I’ve seen hotels swap out 3 star plaques for 5 star plaques once a government official left the hotel.  The motto for pretty much everything in China these days is “Buyer beware”.

Stars & Standards

From my experience, a Chinese 5-star is roughly equivalent to a “western” 4 star hotel, a Chinese 4-star, similar to “western” 3-star etc… Since around 2013, quality of hotel accommodation is becoming more important to Chinese, so they are introducing Chinese “Premium 5 star”. “6-star” and “7-star” hotels (that are more in line with “western” 5 star hotels.)

For a better understanding of the standard for hotels in China to get stars…

The Standard of 5-star China Hotels

  • The hotel function differentiates reasonable, facilities are convenient to use and are safe
  • The decoration must be luxury and the material must be in top quality
  • Having central air-conditioning system, background audio system and the top computer management system
  • Luxury lobby, staff at the reception must master two foreign languages (English is needed)
  • 24 hour Service, 24 hour Exchange Center, Safe Service, Full-time porter (24 hour), Service for Disabled Persons
  • Room with advanced facilities and luxury decoration, 24 hour Room Service
  • Excellent restaurants offering Western and local cuisines
  • Complete entertainment facilities (typically many English TV channels, fast broadband internet, pool, gym and club)

The Standard of 4-star China Hotels

  • The hotel function differentiates reasonable, facilities are convenient to use and are safe
  • The decoration must be a deluxe grade and the material must be in great quality
  • Having central air-conditioning system and the advanced computer management system
  • Deluxe lobby, and at least one staff member at the reception must two foreign languages (English is needed)
  • 24 hour Service, 18 hour Exchange Center, Safe Service, Porter service (18 hour), Service for Disabled Persons
  • Room with advanced facilities and deluxe decoration, 24 hour Room Service
  • Great restaurants offering Western and local cuisines
  • Various entertainment facilities (typically KTV, wifi internet & in-room video games)

The Standard of 3-star China Hotels

  • It needs comfortable living condition
  • It needs various facilities and reasonable room service (typically Chinese food, KTV, wifi internet)

Other than western 5-star luxury hotels (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Ritz Carlton in major cities), Chinese hotels have hard beds.  Get used to them, not much can be done about them. Sometimes double quilting under the sheet can help.

For all hotels, check in is generally after 2:00 p.m. and check out is usually by noon the next day. When checking in, you will need to present your passport and fill in a temporary registration form that the hotel will use to manage your Police registration for you.

Peculiarities

  • Most hotels (other than western 5 star luxury hotels) do not regulate/enforce non-smoking rooms.  Expect that even if you are on a “non-smoking” floor, or in a “non-smoking” room, you will find ashtrays, and the smell of past smoke.  This