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Beijing - China

For easy access to all of Beijing's attractions, shops, and restaurants, consider staying in the city's eastern district, Chao Yang, or central district, Dong Cheng. On the other hand, hotels in the northeast of the city, near the airport, are best for those with early flights or for those wishing to avoid the insane Beijing traffic during rush hour.

Northeast Third Ring Road—You will find a number of four- and five-star hotels here owing to the area's proximity to downtown, the airport and accessible transportation. Mainly geared for the affluent business traveller, the hotels are comfortable although a little pricey. The Kempinski Hotel, the Great Wall Sheraton and the Hilton are perennial favourites.

Hai Dian—Located far from downtown, this district offers an abundance of small and modest Chinese hotels and guesthouses. A major exception to this trend is the impressive Shangri-La Hotel—an oasis of five-star luxury, catering to the employees of high-tech companies setting up shop in the district.

Jian Guo Men Wai/Ri Tan—Not surprisingly, there are many hotels located close to the embassy and commercial areas of this district. Many are business hotels with the massive China World Hotel dominating the skyline. More than just a hotel, the China World is like a self-contained city in its own right, offering almost every convenience imaginable. There are office towers, residential high-rises, a shopping mall and an ice-skating rink. Alternatively, those craving VIP pampering, might prefer to check into the exclusive St. Regis boutique hotel. Wang Fu Jing—The upscale traveller and anyone looking for a little self-indulgence will enjoy the luxury hotels in this area. The five-star Palace Hotel has a tres chic shopping mall, which includes Chanel, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo. Being close to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, many hotels in the area also cater to the tourist trade—such as the slightly more affordable Crowne Plaza Beijing and the Peace Hotel.

Near the airport—The Holiday Inn Lido is a popular choice for vacationing families. This expatriate enclave is much more than a mere hotel. You will find a bank, business centre, European bakery and delicatessen, a Western-style supermarket and drugstore, plus a Starbucks restaurant. Child-friendly, the Lido also offers Sunday brunch fun-time activities for the kids. With all these amenities at hand, some would argue there is really no need to venture into the city!

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