Beijing, Hotel Review Redux

I’ve just wrapped up another week in Beijing, visiting my awesome team, and eating endlessly. Chinese food in China is significantly different from Chinese food in the US, as you would expect, and frankly although I sound like a snob for saying it, it’s better. I’m a big fan of the eggplant dish they serve here.

My hotel room has a scale in it. This, has only served to make me repentant the next day. It has not, of course, modified any of my eating habits.

With that, I give you a hotel review of the Somerset Hotel in ZhongGuanCun, Beijing.

First off, I’m not entirely sure why, but I ended up with a two bedroom apartment (rather than a one-bedroom). This room is bigger than my first and second apartments, probably some 800 square feet, and comes complete with a real kitchen (there is no “-ette”, it’s a real kitchen and if I wanted to make a Thanksgiving Dinner I could do it between the oven and 3-burner stove).

I could then serve it at my dining room table for six, and then we could retire in the living room on the couches with my view of the city.

In short: big, and overkill for just my needs, but has been crazy comfortable.

There is a washer/dryer (single machine, does both things sorta well) and breakfast is provided on the 5th floor each morning. There is a gym, and a minimart, but no restaurant on site; if you want food at night then hit the Carrefour hypermarket that’s about 1km away and shop to your heart’s content. You can get local (very, very local) or you can browse the imported aisles if you need your French wine or Italian pasta.

In short: great for a longer stay and if you don’t have dinner plans every night (short of one Peking Duck night – and there’s a great restaurant for that 3 blocks away – that’s described my experience).

PS – they have all kinds of toiletries that they simply provide: toothbrush packs with toothpaste (presealed in plastic), conditioning shampoo, body lotion, and of course soap. They also have cotton swabs (also prepacked in plastic) and laundry detergent (ditto) and shoeshine cloths. But good luck finding a razor, or deodorant (this time I remembered mine, but if you forget yours, hit the aforementioned Carrefour).

Tweets from China

Surreal moment: Watching “The Countess from Hong Kong” looking out my window at the “Silicon Valley” of Beijing. BTW: awful movie.

The reality that your options for TV include the umpteenth review of the recent plane crash, “Freaky Friday” (the newer version), or soap operas in a language you do not understand (and the subtitles do not help).

There is a horrible, horrible movie out there called “Painkiller Jane”. Do not watch it. Life is precious.

China is a lot like Italy: they want you to eat their wonderful food to excess, they are gracious hosts, there are a million dialects, there is rich and comprehensive history, and five days is not enough.

You do not miss the freedom of your ability to blather inanities into the ethersphere until it is taken away from you. #notweetsfromChina

Graceful moment: walking out of a traditional Chinese restaurant, full of glorious cuisine, in the warm hearty atmosphere of my team, and missing a step and sprawling on the floor. #spriainedankle

MSN has come up with the top 50 countries to grow old in. The top 25 are all countries with socialized medicine and progressive education. #notacoincidence

Insomniacs tell themselves they will catch up on sleep as soon as they get the chance. When a business trip and insomnia collide, you feel like the Powers That Be are fucking with you. I felt like somehow jet lag would work for me this trip. I was wrong.

No one need fear a society in which you can leave your bike unattended, and unlocked, just outside your office building. For nine hours.

When you have to make six plane trips in fourteen days, 24/7 news coverage of a plane crash and a copilot with suicidal tendencies is no comfort.

It’s rare that I ascribe to the wisdom of Angelina Jolie, but she does have a point: we have an excess of news, but a dearth of action based on it.