Affordable accommodation options in Beijing are much improved of late. There are now plenty of well-run, cheap, well-located hotels and youth hostels – budget travellers no longer have to congregate in soulless suburban dormitories but can stay right in the centre of town. At the cheapest places, you can expect a bed in a clean but cramped dorm, and all the facilities will be communal. Double rooms almost always come with attached bathrooms. All hostels offer a ¥10 discount for international youth hostel members, and can sell you membership cards for ¥60. In three-star places and above, rooms are more spacious, and there are usually facilities such as satellite TV, swimming pools and saunas. Pretty much every hotel has a tour office, a restaurant and a business centre. Luxury hotels are of an international standard and are generally foreign-run and -managed, and sometimes offer discounts of up to seventy percent off-season.

Except at the cheapest places, you should always haggle politely for a room – rack rates are only an indication, and hardly anyone pays those any more. You can often get a worthwhile discount if you book online a few days in advance, or try the airport reservations counter when you arrive.

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