My wife and I will be travelling to Beijing in early Feb. 2009 and I'm debating between these two hostels. I will be booking a double bed private ensuite for about a week. Downtown Backpackers hostel is about $14 US dollars cheaper per night than Red Lantern and includes breakfast along with free aiport pickup with a reservation of 4 consecutive nights or longer, much more bang for your buck. However, Red Lantern looks much nicer in pics, is located in the best preserved Hutong area of Beijing and seems to be more of an authentic experience.
We'll be budget travelling throughout Southeast Asia and Beijing is our first stop from Los Angeles. I'm only considering a bit pricier hostels (Red Lantern) since it will be our very first stop. I would love to save the money and stay at Downtown Backpackers but I don't want to regret not staying at Red Lantern House.
Can any of you out there that have stayed at either of these two give me the pros and cons? Location, security, cleanliness, etc.? I've read many reviews but need some last convincing words from fellow travellers. Please help!Thanks.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 26, 2008, at 10:45 PM by GlobeTrekr ]
I stayed didn't stay in the Red Lantern as it was full throughout my time in Bejiing but friends of mine did and said it was excellent. They had also stayed at the Leo hostel where I was and it was great for meeting people of all ages but I believe the Red Lantern was better for comfort.
Hope this helps and enjoy Bejiing, there's so much to see and do, you'll love it!!
Please try and go to more than just Badaling when visiting the Great Wall as it's much too touristy and you tend to get caught having to stop at silly factories for shopping! Also, when you are actually shopping, HAGGLE, HAGGLE, HAGGLE. I did not come across any crime against tourists during all my time in China but if you overpay then it is your own fault. It is their duty to try and get as much out of you but don't be afraid to haggle right down in the markets as they won't sell it to you if they're not making a profit
I stayed at RL (#17) twice just prior to the Olympics... it was more expensive (although cheaper than something you would get in Australia) and the rooms were smallish, but they were very clean and the hotel very well run. RL #17 has a great outdoor area which is quiet and peaceful, where many people sat taking advantage of the free wifi access, although it maybe alittle cold in Feb to do that? Even at the price, I would stay there again... public buses into the centre were just around the corner and the metro was a 10 min walk away... if you have any other questions, I'm happy to help where possible...
Thank you all for your help and input. I ended up going with Dowtown Backpackers hostel with free daily breakfast, free airport pickup and quite a bit cheaper than Red Lantern House. I figured if we stay in Beijing longer than four nights then we'll go stay at Red Lantern House. Thanks again and happy travels.