Tolerant Chinese hotels

By Joel Odota Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/20 18:33:40

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

It was just last week when two of my Australian friends paid me an unanticipated visit here in Beijing. As many expats know, some hotels in China are qualified to receive international guests while some are not. So, I did my homework and came out with some popularly priced resorts for my friends. Making a reservation was simple - a night's payment was deducted from my WeChat Pay.

Now here comes the wearisome part of the story. My friends carried their MasterCard and didn't bring cash with them. Their flights were delayed and we couldn't make any withdrawals that night. We got in the taxi to the hotel at about 3 am. I broke out in a sweat along the way because I thought that my guests wouldn't be able to pay for their hotel room.

I called the hotel and the lady sounded really accommodating and asked us to arrive first. Just then we got another follow-up call from them, asking if we needed help spotting the hotel, but of course, this isn't a problem in China with services like Didi.

We were all worn-out when we arrived at the hotel. Explaining our situation to the hotel receptionist was the hardest endeavor for me. The receptionist said my friends' cards wouldn't work, and that's when I thought we were doomed.

I was very straightforward and asked for what I thought was the impossible - giving us until 10 am the same morning to pay the bill. I clearly remember her saying that it was fine for us to check-in and pay later. This just sounded really odd to us all and I doubted  the willingness of the staff to give my guests a room without payment in advance, but the rooms were clean, breakfast was served and everything was good.

It wasn't over. I was unsuccessful in fulfilling our promise of paying by 10 am. I overslept and returned to the hotel at 2 pm. I anticipated that my friends had been kicked out of their room. However, in the lobby, the ladies greeted me with a smile and let me check in on my friends. We set out on the town to withdraw money, but returned without cash due to a bank issue.

After trying a couple of ATMs, the only possibility was to go plead with the hotel again. Guess what? The management patiently considered our situation and gave us another day to straighten things out. 

Sadly, this good-hearted treatment isn't the same for some Chinese tourists in Sweden who were violently thrown out of a hostel in the heart of the country's metropolis, Stockholm, on September 2 over arriving a few hours early. This prejudice conducted by the Swedish police and the hostel managers are inexcusable in China.

Hotels in China are lenient and understanding. The honesty, respect, sense of humor, and compassion exhibited by the tourism business as well as the security forces in China, is unbelievable. Foreign tourists in China enjoy good treatment, ranging from transportation to lodging and therefore feel more comfortable. One might assume that foreigners might be denied an accommodation in a similar situation elsewhere. And my friends are still astonished by that experience which they describe as being totally unworkable in the West.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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