Courtyard 7 sits in a quiet alley that dissects trendy Nanluogu Xiang, a cobbled tourist street of bohemian boutiques, coffee shops and bars. Though tricky for taxis (keep the hotel’s phone number handy), the immediate area is easy to explore by foot: head east for lattes, cocktails and Mao kitsch, west for traditional snack vendors and chess-playing locals. Both Houhai Lake and the historic Drum and Bell Towers are within easy reach, and the north gate of the Forbidden City is a 25 minute walk south-west.
Rooms are dominated by grand, rosewood-framed beds (sometimes at the expense of hanging space) girdled with silk drapes and rolled pillows. A turn-down service reveals which way you’re supposed to lie, but be warned: mattresses are on the concrete side of firm. Understated mod-cons include wall-mounted LCD TVs, tea and coffee facilities and retro-fitted under-floor heating. Terracotta-tiled bathrooms eschew Chinese tradition altogether, which means sit-down toilets and rainforest showers, though water pressure can be unpredictable. The larger “wing houses”, with handsome private porches, are the pick of the rooms.
You’re free to wander the courtyard paths and park up at any of the outdoor tables for an afternoon Tsingtao or game of chequers. The restaurant patio is a pleasant spot for evening drinks. WiFi access is available for free in the restaurant.
Eating and drinking
A decent buffet breakfast is included in the room price, starring cooked to order eggs and fresh coffee. Both Chinese and French style dishes are available in the restaurant for lunch and dinner.
The hotel rents bicycles to guests which is a smart way to see the sights – Beijing is flat, most roads have cycle lanes and bike theft is rare.
Whether you need an extra bed or a heads-up for good Peking duck, you’ll find the staff unfailingly eager to please, though as with any Chinese-operated hotel, English can be an issue depending on who’s on duty.
Who stays there
Adventurous holidaymakers (European and some Chinese), Chinese businesspeople.
- High-Speed Internet
- Culture vultures
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Historic building and gardens
- Vibrant local neighbourhood easily explored by foot
- Wi-Fi and breakfast included
- Difficult for taxis to get to the door
- Not very convenient for subway