Tips on hotel bookings in China

Plan your China tour? How to choose a hotel in China is very important in the course of preparation for your China trip. Here are some useful tips for your China hotel bookings for your reference.

China hotel star Rating system

For the past 20 years, the Chinese government has gradually established a fairly effective hotel star rating system which has classified all qualified hotels in China into five categories – Five Star, Four Star, Three Star, Two Star and One Star ( or youth hostels). The higher level of a hotel’s star rating system, the better service and high rates you will expect. But The number of stars of a hotel may not necessarily match its service level.

5 Star Hotel
the 5 star hotels in China will offer you a good night stay with full range of modern room facilities. But the hotel rates are also very expensive usually ranging from USD100 to USD500 per room per night.

4 Star Hotel
You will feel very comfortable for most of the 4-star hotels in China. but some 4 star hotels are far below your expectation and you would like to stay in a clean and cozy three star hotel.

3 Star Hotel
There is a big difference between the quality among the three star hotels in China. The three star hotel rating is decided by the local governments with strong local protectionism. Some of the three star hotels are clean and comfortable; some are just rundown and shabby. Most of the three star hotels have no websites which make it quite difficult to book online.

2 Star Hotel
Strangely enough, 2 star hotels have comfortable facilities comparable to some 3-stars. But the problem for many 2 star hotels is that very few staffers can speak English. So if you are able to manage it, you may get some good rates.

One Star or Youth Hostel
Youth hostels are getting very popular in China. Low rates with simple and basic facilities. The rooms are clean and safe too. The staffers are always helpful and resourceful. Most of the staffers at youth hostels can speak English.

Non-star hotels in China

Not all the hotels in China are interested in the official hotel rating system. Furthermore, these non-star hotels are not forced to take part in the stars accreditation. Some hotel chains have their own hotel rating systems and hotel branding. So you are not necessary to book a star rated hotel in China.

Foreign management hotels or domestic management hotels?

In terms of hotel management, all the hotels in China fall into two categories – foreign management (hotel chains) and domestic management(hotel chains or independent hotel). So which is better?

There are many foreign management hotels in China including Hyatt, Starwood, Sheraton, Westin, Six Continents and etc. We also have a few famous domestic management hotels chains like Jinjiang Hotels Chains. There are also huge number of independent hotels in China.

Basically the domestic management hotels offer better prices than foreign management hotels. But the foreign management hotels have the upper hand in terms of service and efficiency. Choosing a foreign or domestic hotel is largely decided by the location, rates and your personal interest.



A room at a foreign management five star hotel


Luxury hotels or express inns?
Stay in a hotel or an express hotels or inns? In the past 10 years, express hotels or inns are mushrooming everywhere in China. Some express hotels have beaten the old and traditional 3 and even 4 star hotels in terms of service and locations.

Some famous express hotel chains like Hanting, Hotel Inns have been on the stock markets in the States. They have proliferated in all China with increasingly bigger market share. These clean and trendy express hotels have two strong points – multi locations in one city and convenient use of free internet and etc.

For luxury, keep your stay at hotels; for easy-going and money-saving, choose an express hotel at your ideal location in a city.

A room at a cozy express hotel
Boutique Hotels
Apart from chain hotels, independent hotel and express hotels foreign or domestic, boutique hotels may be the great alternatives for romantic getaways for couples or families seeking hotels of a more distinctive theme.

Many boutique hotels have fewer rooms but offer more value added services. Your choice of hotel really depends on what you want out of your holiday.

China hotels online booking

Empowered by the internet, you can act as an individual travel agent on your own, surfing the hotel information, choosing and booking your ideal hotels online by yourself.

There are many hotel companies online offering competitive rates with a wide range of hotels including Expedia, Travelocity, and etc.

China hotels direct booking

You may also surf the location and hotel phone number of the hotel you are going to book. Then contact the hotel directly by phone or email.

China hotels booking through travel agents

You also keep your tradition of turning to your local travel agent or hotel agent for hotel booking.

How to evaluate a hotel?

When you are going to book a hotel in China, please consider the following points:

Early Booking

early booking would offer you more options and the best hotel rates possible.

Promotion Offers

 Some hotels or hotel companies have special deals for hotel bookings. Make sure to check these such as Free Breakfast and Free Upgrades.

Check out the freebies like free continental breakfast, in-room coffee, shuttle service and an on-site pool and workout center, which can add up to big vacation savings.


Well located Hotel prices tend to rise. So as you move further away from the center of the city,  you can enjoy discounted hotel rates for the same level of hotels if you are willing to take some public transport, taxi, or walk.
Useful hotel booking related links

Any questions, just drop a line.

3 thoughts on “Tips on hotel bookings in China

  1. i have a question, i thought that some hotels needed a permission from the government to lodge foreigners, is it true?

  2. Hello Tracy,

    Yes, basically, all hotels, inns or even homestays much have permission from the local government ( Public security bureau ) if they want to receive foreigners. The reason for this policy, for my understanding, is mainly for safety and necessary conditions for receiving foreigners.

  3. I have a Question. Booking a hotel thought a Travel agent make me some discount? Amazing post great tips thanks for sharing with us. keep it up.

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