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On my recent month in China I stayed at many cheap hotels when I was somewhere with no backpacker hostel.

With the current development boom in China I find you mostly get fairly new hotels that look fancy from a distance but with many things broken or missing. Almost always you'll pay less than the prices on display in the lobby.

I paid between 50 and 70 RMB (CNY) most of the time. One time I paid 100 RMB.

But in my very last hotel in a non-tourist city in Inner Mongolia I visited several hotels all in the hundreds or at least over one hundred. It was dark and below zero and I was tired and on foot. The people at the hotel had already offered me a lower price than the starting price, but it was still a bit high if I didn't want to use the ATM again before crossing the border so I offered a lower price and it was accepted.

In this case the hotel looked fancy and at first the room looked fancy but it had enough problems that I thought I still paid more for it than at other hotels.

But the point of all this is, should I have been bargaining over the price of the hotels the whole time I was in China? Is this what Chinese people do? Is it expected?

I'll be back in China soon so it will be handy to know.

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1 Answer 1

Many prices in China are negotiable.
Whether hotels will negotiate probably depends on local competition and attitude and instructions given to staff.

Over about 15 visits to China I tend to stay either in hostels if backpacking or hotels when in medium+ Chinese cities.

50 to 70 RMB is a reasonably low price - It's what I'd probably expect for a single bed room with shared bathroom.
If its for a room of your own with double bed and desk and internet and bathroom of some sort. Say 1 to 2 star +. then I'd expect more like 120-150 - ...

I stayed in a Shenzhen hotel that was modestly priced for Shenzhen - about 150 RMB. There were cheaper available but in terms of overall value for money and facilities this represented reasonable value for money. I got the price via an internet deal. When I wished to extend my stay no amount of reasoning would convince them to match the internet price - so if you had walked in the door and haggled you would presumably have also been unsuccessful.

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One place I stayed at had Wi-Fi and two had desktop computers. The first of them I paid an extra 20 RMB for, taking the price from 50 to 70. In the second the computer wouldn't work and the lady working couldn't fix it. It was my shabbiest room in China and the price was 60 RMB but in the morning another lady was working and would only give me 10 deposit back from my 100. I guessed there was a 30 RMB charge for the computer. I couldn't argue it. Every room I had in China included a shower. Value for money decreased as I progressed north but was always cheap and up to my (low) standards. –  hippietrail Dec 8 '13 at 13:34
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