Our last night in Beijing at the CITIC Hotel near Beijing Airport

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Our last night in Beijing at the CITIC Hotel near Beijing Airport

We were a bit worried as our Grand China flight from Guilin touched down at Beijing Airport because unlike other journeys there would be know guide waiting to collect us. However I had asked our tour operator to give us directions and although none came by email that morning we were very relieved to see a man standing with our name as we came out into the arrivals lounge. He was a bell boy from the hotel and while he spoke little English he indicated some nearby seats and said that the free shuttle to the hotel would be there in about 20 minutes.

When I booked the final night, just a stopover on the way from Guilin back to the UK I booked at the rather unusual sounding Sino Swiss Hotel. It had a pool and 4 stars as well as critically being close to the airport. However somewhere along the line it had changed its name to CITIC hotel as the sign on the shuttle bus indicated – ‘formerly known as Sino Swiss Hotel’. The bell boy helped us with our luggage and we set of off to our final hotel.

The CITIC hotel was surprisingly good. It had a slightly dated feel to it (although the furniture looked pretty new) but the facilities were probably some of the best we had in China.

The range of restaurants was excellent with a Chinese, Japanese, Swiss (!) and even a Mongolian restaurant (in on original Yurt tent inside the hotel!). It also had a pool, health club, bar (with karaoke), business centre, cafe and a good range of shops.

The staff were also better at English than most hotels we’d been at, probably a function of being close to the airport. We were thoroughly ‘chinesed out’ so ate at the Swiss restaurant. The food was good although the service was a little surly!

The rooms were clean and a good size although looking out of the window it was a little disconcerting to see the nearby buildings appeared to be part of the landing strip with red lights running down across the skyline to help the aircraft in!