We had originally planned to go into Beijing as we had a six-hour layover, though we would have preferred to stay for longer. So we couldn’t believe our luck when we showed up at the counter of Air China in Tokyo and were advised that our flight from Beijing to Chiang Mai was cancelled and there wasn’t another one for 3 days. They apologized and offered to pay for accommodation and food for 3 days. If only we remembered that there is no such thing as a free meal…
Once in Beijing, we approached the counter of Air China to find out about our hotel arrangements. The lady at the counter murmured something and pointed to a bellboy instructing us to go with him. No details asked. I’m sure she gave out a muffled evil laugh as we walked away.
Travel tip: If you ever find yourself in Beijing and need a free hotel, go to the Air China check in desk and you will see the bellboy for the Golden Phoenix Hotel. Hop on the free shuttle bus and check in when you arrive at the hotel. You will be given a dirty room that stinks of smoke. If you complain about it, a cleaning lady will come in and whisk away the ashtray for you. You may complain further about the visible dirt particles on the carpet that you can move around with your foot, or the rusty airplane toy under the bed your child wants to play with. This may prompt them to give you a slightly better room. However, if you ask for towels or toilet paper you are better off stealing them from one of the cleaning carts when the housekeeping lady isn’t looking. Don’t expect the beds to be made or the room cleaned throughout the duration of your stay, no matter how long. The cuisine is interesting. If you like fried chicken and white rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then you will be in heaven. If you fancy something more your alternative is to hop on the shuttle bus and eat at the airport. Please note, if you are a solo traveller you will have to share a room with a stranger who also had a cancelled flight….. don’t believe me or are you further intrigued; I promise you will laugh and enjoy reading the first 3 reviews on Tripadvisor.
Golden Phoenix … not for people with high blood pressure!