human behavior

Beijing Happy

Posted in Foreign Impressions, Travel by humanb on March 14, 2012

My husband and I went on something of a whirlwind holiday last year.  Over four weeks, we travelled to 10+ cities. This was a new form of travel for me. Whenever I’d travelled before, I’d gone to one place and squatted for at least two months. How else could you come to know a place, its rhythm, the priorities and perspectives of its people?

Well, as it turns out, it doesn’t take all that long to get a sense of a place. And there’s something to be said for first impressions. 

The Itinerary:

Beijing – Paris – Munich – Budapest – Bucharest – Istanbul – Israel 

I’m neither a tour guide nor an historian, so if you want to understand these cities properly, buy a travel book. Or Google them.  Or better yet – visit them and squat for two months.

These are just some of the images that struck me – that helped to shape my first impressions. I think they speak for themselves.

*    *    *    *    *    *

BEIJING, China

For the duration of our five day visit, we stayed at a quaint hotel in one of Beijing’s traditional hutongs. It’s called the The Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel.

Hotel names don’t get more awesome than that.

Within the birdcage (pictured above) lives a talking parrot. He speaks Mandarin (of course), and his vocabulary is limited to one word: the traditional Mandarin greeting for hello: ni hao. If you don’t learn the salutation from him, you’ll learn it from the hotel staff who never falter in offering guests a warm smile and a “Ni hao!” in greeting.

Good luck getting the parrot to say it when you want him to though.

 Beyond the parrot and past reception, the internal hallways of the hotel are charming.

And open on to a central courtyard of serenity and light.

The stairways boast elegant details.

And traditional art adorns the walls.

Our actual hotel room was tiny, but cozy, with unequivocally Old World Chinese style.

The allure of the physical space is matched by the deliciousness of the breakfast buffet!

Every morning they serve a mixture of Western and traditional fare.

And while I didn’t recognise most of the Chinese dishes, I found myself enjoying them more.

With its physical charms and its yummy food, you’re guaranteed a double happy at this fabulous hotel.

It’s ranked 4th on TripAdvisor of 3,790 hotels in Beijing for a reason.

Next up: Stepping out of the Double Happiness into the hutong!

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