Beijing is a big city, one that requires a decent amount of footwork. That being said, after long days of navigating China’s big-shouldered capital, your home away from home should be extra comfortable. Dining out and transportation can be very economical; it might be worthwhile to budget a bit more for accommodation.

When planning your trip, select the sites that interest you most, figure out transportation to get there, and then determine which neighborhood would be most central to those sites. This can help to cut down on travel time, and with a wide range of options, there will be a suitable hotel no matter what kind of Beijing experience you’re looking for. Here’s a selection of the best accommodation options in Beijing’s most popular neighborhoods.

Author’s note: You may notice we haven’t included any Airbnbs in this guide. While Airbnb is alive and well in Beijing, there are occasional restrictions for using the platform. Some hosts will specify that they cannot host foreigners as they do not have the proper qualifications. Also, if there is a significant government meeting going on in a city, the usage of Airbnb may be blocked. So you’d be better off booking a more official option.

Hotels

Photo: The Orchid Hotel/Facebook

Orchid Hotel — With 10 compact rooms in a well-preserved hutong, this is one of Beijing’s most intimate accommodation experiences. Located in the visitor-friendly Gulou neighborhood, you’re in the heart of a fun pedestrian area with easy access to the rest of the city. For an added perk, the city’s best bakery, the Bake Shop, delivers its goodies directly to the Orchid. The sea salt chocolate chip cookies are a nice treat after a day of exploring.

Courtyard 7 — This hotel is located in a 300-year-old courtyard that’s decked out in a Ming dynasty motif — think delicately carved furniture, embroidered silk bedding, and red lanterns aglow in the open atrium. The rooms are modest in size, as is expected for such a central location close to the Nanluoguxiang area, a bustling pedestrian street popular with tourists and young locals. Thankfully, the spacious courtyard provides a space to relax and unwind. Kick back in a wicker chair and enjoy the chatter of songbirds.

Vue Hotel Houhai Beijing — The Vue Hotel is a relatively new hotel that opened in the spring of 2018. It is a stone’s throw from Houhai, where locals and visitors enjoy paddle boat rides and strolls around the lake, one of the few bodies of water in Beijing. At night, the streets bordering the pond turn into multi-colored, neon-lit affairs as bumping rock-and-roll vies for the attention of passerby. On the hotel property, the ambiance remains tranquil. The private outdoor space and roof deck hot tub are good places to soak it all in. At 80 rooms, it is small enough to offer excellent service and big enough to have its own on-site restaurant. The Pink Rabbit, helmed by a Barcelona-born chef, is definitely worth a visit for a meal or nightcap.

Luxury Hotels

Photo: NUO Hotel Beijing/Facebook

NUO Hotel — This hotel is the flagship location of a new luxury travel brand and offers something different from other accommodations. Combining international five-star standards and pride in Chinese culture, NUO Hotel is at the forefront of China’s developing travel industry. Entering the lobby, one cannot help to stop and marvel at the super-sized porcelain vases in the style most popular in the Ming Dynasty. Throughout the hotel are fun and surprising touches of the hotel’s signature aesthetic “Modern Ming.” Lastly, popular on-site restaurant N’Joy offers dishes made from its own organic farm, a rarity for Beijing.

Bvlgari Hotel — Opened in September 2017, this relatively new property is one of six Bvlgari hotels globally. Sleekly luxurious, the hotel has two central themes that are weaved throughout each minute detail — art and nature. Surrounded by sculptured gardens, guests are able to enjoy a resort-style respite and still benefit from a central location in the embassy district.

The Opposite House — Located in the central and trendy Sanlitun district, The Opposite House is a culturally conscious hotel. A brightly lit emerald green exterior pulls in visitors to a cavernous atrium with exhibits featuring local and international artists; installations rotate quarterly. Moderately sized at 99 rooms, there’s an on-site restaurant with modern interpretations of Pekinese dishes, as well as a spacious first-floor café.

Four Seasons — This option is located in a residential area with quiet streets, yet it’s close enough to popular sites for visitors. The feel of the hotel is contemporary with a traditional Chinese twist. Entering the expansive atrium, one’s gaze is drawn upwards by enormous calligraphy works draped behind the reception desk. As one would expect from this tier of luxury accommodation, amenities are comprehensive and don’t disappoint.

Photo: Rosewood Beijing/Facebook

Rosewood Beijing — Located near the iconic CCTV tower, the Rosewood Hotel is in Beijing’s central business district, which has easy access to subway transportation. One might assume it is a business-traveler hotel — it’s not. This is a chic and stylish ultra-luxury art hotel that just happens to be located in downtown. Amenity highlights include a luxe indoor pool, diverse dining options, and one of Beijing’s swankiest whiskey and wine bars, called Mei.

Hostels

Peking Yard Hostel — This hostel is located in a century-old courtyard on a quiet hutong lane, one of the many narrow alleys that have defined Beijing’s layout for the past 800 years. Tidy double rooms open onto a well-kept interior patio with ample plant life; the space is a great place to unwind after a day of touring. En suite showers and a rooftop garden make this budget-friendly option a cut above similarly priced options.

161 Lama Temple Courtyard Hotel — A super central location with efficient rooms done up in a traditional Chinese style. Sturdy wooden beams throughout the property are painted in deep red and lend an air of history to the modern facilities. The staff is friendly, helpful, and speaks excellent English.

The Red Lantern House — This option stands out for offering Western-style breakfasts, which is not easy to come across in Beijing. The rooms are basic, but linens are clean and crisp. Ample communal space provides opportunities for guests to spread out and socialize. There is a rooftop deck, a courtyard in front of the property, and a large lobby done up in classical woodwork and red paper lanterns.