Beijing Friendship HotelLooking for where to stay with kids in Beijing can be daunting, and hotel options overwhelming. There are numerous websites that can help you search, but I thought it was high time to talk about the Beijing hotel I know best. I have called the Friendship Hotel home off and on for 10 years.

It’s in the northwest of Beijing, in Haidian District near Zhongguancun and next to Renmin University. It hails itself as the largest garden-style hotel in Asia. And the name “hotel” is perhaps a bit misleading, as in addition to numerous hotel room buildings and conference halls, there are four courtyard-style apartment complexes. I have always lived in Ya Yuan and enjoyed the quiet and relatively safe environment with kids.
  
Having a playground attached is an added bonus to living in Ya Yuan. Many locals and other foreigners who don’t live at the Friendship Hotel often bring their kids to play. Admittedly the playground is becoming increasingly run-down, but the large area for kids to run around freely and safely is a huge blessing.

The apartments are completely serviced (and often cheaper, when available, than normal hotel rooms). Disclaimer: our two-roomBeijing Friendship Hotel Ya Yuan Garden apartment is paid by my employers. Paying on your own, it’s not cheap, as a one-room apartment can run around $1,500/month. Regular hotel rooms are generally around $100/night minimum. There are often discounts if you look online, however.

There are also restaurants, cafes, a gym, tennis courts and Olympic-sized swimming pool.

There are many much more affordable hotels in the same area. One where my parents have stayed, and comfortably, is the Bianyiju (or Pianyiju) as the Sanyimiao bus stop, just west of Sitongqiao and esat of Suzhou qiao and close to Renmin Univeristy. Only minus there is hotel staff don’t speak English.

 
Jenny Lin is a writer/editor working in Beijing. You can follow her @twinlins or keep up with her cross-cultural familial adventures at http://beijingmom.blogspot.com.