Management's response to the last review is a great example of why you don't have guests posting anything critical about this property. Management not only gets very defensive, but because this is not an anonymous process (the way it would be for a hotel), disparaging remarks are made about the guests in order to discredit the review. It's too bad the owner felt he had to resort to these tactics, because the review had only positive things to say about him and his wife.
I stayed in the same apartment with the previous reviewer (separate bedrooms), and had not planned to write a review. The friend I stayed with - and who arranged the rental - is very widely traveled and leads tours. Her comments reflected what we both thought so there didn't seem to be a need to repeat them. However, since owner Todd felt the need to attack me personally by claiming I made certain statements, I will respond.
I spent a total of about 10 minutes with Todd and I certainly did not say I was worth "millions". That is a complete fabrication. I told his wife that I own a few apartments which I fix up and rent - so I know a few things about fixups and about rentals. I was trying to be helpful by giving suggestions as to how the hot water problem in the apartment could be fixed.
As my friend mentioned, the bathroom sink had no hot water - both taps have only cold water. Owner Mei said this was the first she had heard of it - strange, as they've apparently owned the place for a year. Luckily, the shower had hot water though it had to run for about 5 minutes to get warm. When one took a shower there was water everywhere because the shower curtain was not really a barrier and there is no shower stall. The shower head was hand held and the nozzle broke off from the hose when my friend tried to move it. It was a cheap plastic thing, and though my friend wanted to pay for the replacement, I felt that was management's responsibility.
The apartment generally was stark, to say the least. There are a few basic pieces of furniture, and the furniture in the living room is cheap and uncomfortable. The sofa - hard as a rock! There really is no place to sit comfortably. As a tourist I like to have a place to come back to and relax in - whether during the day or early evening. This apartment is neither cozy nor inviting - not something you look forward to coming back to at the end of the day.
There is the kitchen but it is not functional - no stove, fridge, or dishes. Management says there is a communal fridge but the general rule of thumb in apartment rentals, or even hotel rooms, is that you have your own fridge. When we stayed you could not even fix yourself a cup of coffee - though apparently this has been rectified.
Regarding lack of basics like a towel: Todd says: "We could of course offer a more comprehensive set of toiletries but that would mean price increases". No one expects a range of toiletries but in a rental I do expect a towel and a bar of soap without having to ask for it. It was late in the evening when I realized there were not enough blankets. Because of the cold, I ended up taking the sheets off the bunk beds to use as covers. There was a computer and I did watch the one and only movie on it the first night but could not get it working the other nights. As far as I could make out there wasn't much on it - but then I'm not very computer savvy.
I'm happy to see that our comments have already incurred some improvements in the apartment because I felt the place has a lot of potential.
Because of that, I didn't mind the apartments despite the problems because I'm very easy-going when it comes to most things. Would I recommend it? Absolutely not. If you're going to a place like Xian and want to relax after a day of sightseeing this is not the place. There is absolutely nothing to do here except sleep. The location may be good but cabs are very cheap so you don't have to be staying within the city walls to enjoy Xian. Personally, I would spend the 100 Yuan more (about 16 to 17 American dollars) and get a place that is more comfortable.
To be very clear about the price (because Todd keeps saying what a great deal this is) - it is not 150 RMB per night for the apartment but 150 RMB per person per night (about $53.00 CDN for us) . For the amenities offered that's a decent price but it's not a great price. My friend and I have rented apartments in many locations, both in the US and Europe and by way of comparison, I stayed in a 2 bedroom rental apartment in Orlando (10 minutes from Disney World) this year for $42 per night for the entire apartment. It was beautifully furnished with a big flat -screen TV, very comfortable couches, a beautiful dining room, 2 en-suite bathrooms with a Roman whirlpool tub in the Master bathroom, and a completely equipped kitchen with everything from cutlery to a blender. THAT was a good price and not an unusual one in North America.
I booked this place after seeing the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor. I knew staying in a private apartment would not match up to the 4 star hotels we had previously been staying in during a business trip to China but I'm OK with that. I've traveled on a shoestring budget all over the world and have stayed in all sorts of budget style-lodging. My friend is not fussy either but we both found problems with this place and I think in fairness to people using this board - those problems need to be reported as well.
Starting with the positives: Todd is extremely easy to book with. He answers all queries immediately and is friendly and helpful. Both he and wife Mei are lovely people in person with Mei coming to pick you up from the Melody Hotel if you decide to take the shuttle bus into town (rather than pay the 800 RMB taxi fare).
It's approximately a 10 to 15 minute walk through the Muslim quarter to get to the apartment - which is OK because it's a fascinating introduction to Xian.
The location of the apartment is very central (inside the walls of Xian) and I'll assume the price is good for the location. At the time we were there, a lot of hotels were offering bargain rates but I did not take the time to compare what they offered and where they were located.
Mei is very helpful in booking excursions through her self-owned travel company and I'll comment more on that later. Free Internet was a plus - though also available at several of the hotels we stayed at.
Negatives: tI understand there here are several apartments and we stayed in #503. It has 2 bedrooms with a Queen in one and bunk beds and a single in the other. I've stayed in many Bed & Breakfasts and Gasthouses (in Europe and America) which were charming and/or had some effort in looking nice but the decor and ambience of this place can only be described as austere. No effort whatsoever has gone into the decor which is about as basic as can be. There are no rugs on the floor (and by October Xian is very cold at night), no pictures on the walls, no fridge in the kitchen, no night lamps by the beds as well as very dim lighting in the bedrooms (which means you have to get up, cross the cold floor to turn off the light and get back to bed in the dark). There is a dead tree stump in a pot in the corner if that counts as decor.
No bath towels, wash cloths or soap were provided, though a couple of thin towels ans soap were given to us when we asked. There was no TV, and the couches were as hard and uncomfortable as concrete benches. Since the only decent light was in the living room, we had to take all the pillows and covers from the bed to put on the couch so one could actually lay on the couch to read. The beds are also rock hard but that seems to be the norm for China and it got very cold at night.
Bathroom: the only mirror in the apartment was in the bathroom and because the shower is not raised or cordoned off, except with a plastic shower curtain, the floor tends to get flooded when one takes a shower. You cannot put toilet paper in the toilet (which takes some getting used to) and everything in the apartment is cheaply constructed. This is not the fault of the owners but it's typical of Chinese construction. Because the plumbing is messed up there is no hot water in the bathroom sink. In the morning I'd wash my face in the kitchen. The shower head snapped off (because it was made of cheap plastic) and one can already see moldings peeling off, etc.
I'm not sure why there is a kitchen because there are no cooking facilities whatsoever (and no fridge as previously mentioned); no dishes either except some cups. As I said, my friend is not a fussy person and neither am I, but this was not a place we looked forward to coming home to. You couldn't even make coffee in the morning.
The Tours: as stated, Mei has her own travel business and books tours. I would recommend comparing prices with other local agencies before you book. We paid her 400 RMB Per person (800 total) for the Terra-cotta Warrior tour - of which the driver and guide got a total of 250 RMB. Lunch and admission were also included. We were driven to the Warriors in a car with very little legroom in the backseat - we are both tall and were extremely cramped in the car. Our guide was a lovely girl but her English was much weaker than some of the other guides we were hearing around us. I'm a big history buff and knew something about the terra-cotta warriors but found it almost impossible to ask her questions about the excavations and the restoration of the Warriors because our communication was so limited. As I said, we saw other groups with guides who spoke better English and who came in a comfortable coach and paid much less.
We did like the Tang Dynasty show and booked it with Mei.
I know people are giving this place "over the top" reviews but we talked to another couple who were staying there at the same time and had the same criticisms we did. That does not mean we did not like the hosts or had a terrible time. As I said, the hosts are wonderful people and I think if some of the issues above are addressed it could be a good rental apartment. I mean, how hard can it be to put in some bedside lamps and a coffee maker??
This was our last stop in China and I was quite sick with a terrible cold and flu the morning we left. I know it was partly due to the cold nights in the apartment. I have never been so happy to leave the place and head home - and this comes from someone who is crazy about traveling!
I can't say enough good things about this place! My husband and I, along with two friends, spent two days/one night here in October.
The hostel is actually a bunch of apartments in an ordinary looking building - so there's no big sign advertising that you've arrived at the Hq Hostel. Hubby and I were split on the apartment building concept: I loved the security of being in a private building (you needed an access code to get into the building then a key for your apartment and/or room), but he felt like he was invading the privacy of other occupants, both residential and commercial. We did get a few stares in the elevators, but then again we also got stares everywhere else we went in China... on the bus, in major cities, while dining in restaurants...
It's a bit tricky to find the apartment building that Hq is located in, since you have to walk down a side street that feels more like an alleyway to nowhere. If you're coming from the airport, I highly recommend using the airport pickup service that the Hq owners can arrange for you. Though a bit pricier than a regular cab ride, you will find somebody waiting for you at the airport with your name on a sign and he will bring you to the exact location where you will be met by one of the owners and escorted to your apartment. If you're arriving via train, the hostel provides free pick-up from the station. When it comes to returning to the airport, there's no need to arrange through the hostel; any cab can take you there and it's about a 45-minute ride.
We rented out an entire apartment, which included two HUGE bedrooms (each with its own balcony), a living room with computer & free internet access, a dining room, a full kitchen, and a large bathroom. One of the bedrooms could have slept 4 people - it had a king size bed, and a set of bunk beds. Plus there was a sitting area on the balcony. The second bedroom also had a large bed and balcony but no bunks. Both beds were pretty firm (not sure about the bunks since they went unused), but that seemed to be the standard everywhere we stayed in China.
The rest of the apartment was very nice - clean and spacious, and we weren't tripping over our suitcases or each other during our stay here as we did in some of our other accommodations during our trip. The free internet access was awesome - it gave us a chance to catch up on current events and send out some long overdue emails to family & friends back home! Plus there was a pretty hefty collection of music on the computer to keep us entertained. The living room also had a TV though we never used it. As for the bathroom, our shower took a while to heat up and the water pressure wasn't the greatest but it was enough to get the job done.
Located just a couple blocks from the Muslim Quarter, you will find all sorts of shopping and dining options within walking distance. The Bell and Drum Towers are also just a short walk away, as well as a large shopping mall and the DeFaChang Dumpling Restaurant. While in the Muslim quarter, don't be afraid to try something new! We were immediately hooked on the round, orange-colored persimmon cakes that were filled with kiwi, brown sugar, or other sweet goodness and cost just 1 RMB at the street vendors. If you walk all the way to the other end of the main street that runs through the Muslim Quarter, you will find small shops selling everything from handbags to sporting goods to paintings and local crafts. Just be prepared to haggle over the prices, that's part of the fun!
If you're like most people, the main reason you plan to visit Xi'an is to see the Terracotta Warriors. You can arrange a private tour through the hostel, or you can be a bit adventurous and take the public bus which brings you right to the attraction's parking lot. Unless you plan on walking a lot, take a cab to the bus station for about 20 RMB. The bus to/from the Terracotta Warriors site is about 8 RMB ($1!) per person, each way.
I've saved the best for last: The thing that sets the Hq Hostel apart from any other place we've stayed at is the personalized attention by the owners, Mei and Todd. Upon arrival by cab, Mei greeted us and brought us up to our apartment to get settled in. We then went down to her apartment to take care of registration and payment details. Mei gave us a map of the city, pointed out some places to visit, answered every question we had regarding how to get where (including which bus to take to/from the Terracotta Warriors). If you need to take a cab somewhere, Mei can write down the name of the place in Chinese so you can give it to your driver. Similarly, she had pre-printed cards with the hostel's address on it so it was easy for a cabbie to bring you back. When our plans to take an overnight train to Shanghai were foiled due to no availability, Mei was an invaluable resource in helping us to purchase airline tickets. She accompanied us to an airline ticketing agent just down the street from the hostel and was able to assist with a smooth transaction, since the agents spoke very little English.
Some advice for potential guests:
1) This is not the place for you if you like being rowdy late at night, and sleeping in the next morning. There are people who live here year-round and they may be your neighbors, so be considerate. Also, the apartment next to ours was undergoing construction that started around 8 a.m. and a nearby school had morning exercises (complete with music and an instructor shouting commands) that started around 7:30 a.m. Luckily we were up early anyways.
2) At the time of our stay, the Hq Hostel only accepted cash. If you actually find someplace that accepts credit cards, make sure you have your PIN number available, as it is required for some credit card transactions. Otherwise, be prepared to pay for everything - including airline tickets!!! - in CASH.
3) As with most other places in China, flushing toilet paper down the loo at Hq Hostel is a no-no since the old pipes clog easily. There is a covered trash bin in the bathroom for your use.
We had a wonderful time in Xi'an, and returning back to our apartment at the Hq Hostel after each outing felt a lot like returning home. Though we never met Todd (the co-owner), Mei was an awesome resource and made our stay that much better. My only regret about staying here, is that we couldn't stay longer!
I booked this hostel directly through the website.
I arranged a free pick up from the train station which was fantastic as exiting the station was a bit crazy and seeing a sign with my name was a big relief. The process for the pick up was a little strange. The man with the sign with my name took me to a cab which then drove me to just near the hostel, where Mai got in the cab with me to direct the cab the last little bit. I paid for the cab which was deducted from my bill.
I stayed in a double room. As others have mentioned, this is not a typical hostel but rather a collection of rooms in separate appartments. As a solo traveller I was a little dissappointed that there wasn't a central common area and so I didn't get to meet other travellers at the hostel.
In the appartment I stayed in there were two double rooms and a shared lounge, kitchen and bathroom. For one of the nights there was someone staying in the other room but the other time I had it to myself. The bathroom was OK but not great.
There was free internet which I utilised a lot. Mei allows guests to us her washing machine for 10Y and there is free filtered water in the kitchen.
Mei was very helpful during my stay and also arranged an airport transfer for 180Y which was helpful as she made sure I got to the correct terminal.
The best thing about the hotel is the location which is almost in the Muslim Quarter and a short wal to most of the attractions within the city walls.
Although the hostel is down a lane, I had no trouble with taxi's finding it if I had the hostel card with me and they would drop me at the end of the lane and I'd walk in.
The location couldn't be better - literally on the edge of the Muslim quarter, which is fascinating. Mei was very helpful with advice on getting around, which meant I felt happy to use local buses - saving money and adding to the overall experience. As other reviewers have explained, it is actually a number of apartments rather than a traditional hostel. When I was there the other bedroom in my apartment was unoccupied, which meant I had a 2 bedroom apartment with bathroom, kitchen and lounge, all to myself. That also included free internet on a fast PC/connection. There was also an extensive music library on the PC. After a few months on the road it was a fantastic place to chill out for a few days. The only area which was not up to scratch was the cleanliness - the bathroom was really quite grubby and there was quite a thick layer of dust on tables, TV screen etc. Not enough to put me off though - I have still given it full marks!
I just spent two nights in one of the 2 bedroom apartments at hg hostel, and I recommend it very highly. This was really an excellent place for my family of four, including 4 and 6 year old boys. Considering the extra set of bunk beds in the kids' room, it could have easily accommodated two more kids.
It was very centrally located near the Muslim quarter and other main attractions, transportation was arranged on request, and they can also arrange tours for you. Mei also lets you use her washing machine for about $2/load (including detergent). I was given a cell phone with our apartment rental so I could call Mei if we ran into any problems in town. Mei's husband was out of town for our visit, but Mei is a saint. She went way above and beyond the call of duty for my family. The only shortcoming to the apartment is that it does not have a fridge or functioning kitchen (though there's an eating area and water). But Mei let us put the things we purchased for breakfast in her fridge, and never lost her eternal smile when I picked it up at 7:30 am (please don't do this to her). Couldn't have asked for much more than this, particularly at such bargain rates.
Our family of four stayed here for two nights and had an excellent experience. This is the perfect place for a family because it's really more of an apartment then a hostel. What Mei and Todd have done is they own two apartments in a building and set one bedroom up in their apartment with beds and then the other apartment has a queen size bed in the master bedroom and a double bed and a set of bunk beds in the other room along with a family room (no tv yet), bathroom and mini-kitchen.
We rented out the full apartment for $70 USD a night. Each of the bedrooms has a lock on it so you can just rent the master bedroom or have just a bed in the second bedrom or rent out that whole bedroom. I'm squeamish about sharing bathrooms with strangers so opted for both bedrooms. The kitchen has no appliances now except for a water dispenser but I think they will be adding a coffeepot and a toaster. The whole place was new and spotlessly clean.
Mei and Todd are newlyweds from China (Mei) and New Zealand (Todd) who were extremely helpful in helping us figure out how to get around Xi'an and arranging transportation and dinner reservations. They also arranged our sleeper train tickets ahead of time and offer tours.
The location couldn't be better. We were literally a five minute walk from the Muslim quarter and a fifteen minute walk from the drum and bell tower.
The guys have been so helpful when helping me book train tickets. Like nothing I've ever had so far. Great place.
We stayed at Todd and Mei's place for four days during our visit to Xi'an. From the outset they were both warm and friendly, with Mei happy to meet us when we arrived off the airport bus and guide us back to their place. They both have great knowledge of the area and nothing was too much trouble. We couldn't have asked for better hosts.
The hostel itself is in a nice apartment block with dorm rooms and a separate double room which has plenty of space. The place has a nice cosy feel to it and feels more like a homestay which suited us fine.
We would definitely recommend the Hq Hostel to anyone visiting Xi'an, it's nice and close to the Muslim Quarter and Drum Tower, with buses to the other major attractions (Terracotta warriors, Mausoleum of Qinshihuang and Han Yang Ling Tomb) close by too.
- If you take bus #4 to the Han Yang Ling Tomb you 'might' find that it won't return you back to the Xi'an stop you started from, instead it will drop you off at a bus interchange where you need to catch bus 600 to get back. It won't cost any more than the outward journey.
- There's an excellent local restaurant just round the corner from the apartment (across from the Muslim Quarter). They don't speak very much English at all but were very friendly, with great food at great value. Armed with a selection of words written by Mei we were able to order meals every night we were there and really enjoyed eating amongst the tables full of locals.
- The Muslim Quarter has loads of shops and a large market area (get your bargaining fix there), with some really nice food cooked streetside which is worth a try.
- The airport bus will drop you off outside the Melody Hotel (across from the bell tower) for 26 Yuan/RMB. It picks up from there for the return journey every hour on the hour and takes about 45 minutes. It's an easy ten minute walk from the hostel.
My friend and I stayed at the Hq for two nights as a side trip from Beijing. We booked the only double room which had ample space for the two of us and our bags. As we were the only ones there at the time (November), we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Mai was extremely helpful, responding to our emails promptly, meeting us at the train station, assisting us in booking a plane ticket back to Beijing and getting us a driver to take us to the Terracotta Warriors. The Hq is close to the Muslim quarter and the Drum Tower and I hear that the bicycle ride on the wall around the city is fun, though we didn't do it. I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Xi'an whether it be for a day or a week.
This hostel was the perfect budget choice for my husband, myself and our four children (aged 11 to 16) on our recent trip to Xian. We organized our accommodation with Mai and Todd directly using their very informative web site. They answered our emails promptly and offered plenty of good advise. Mai picked us up from the railway station (free of charge) and took us to the hostel, explaining the bus system and showing us the sights on the way. Our room was clean and comfortable and their cozy hostel was within walking distance of most of the main tourist attractions. Armed with a map and directions supplied by Mai and Todd, we spent a most enjoyable day exploring Xian even though we got drenched by a rain storm whilst bicycling around the city wall! Back at the hostel Mai and Todd turned on all the heaters so that we could dry our clothes and suggested a near by shop, at which we all bought new jeans for $5 a pair so that we had something to wear to dinner that night. The next day our hosts gave us perfect directions to catch local buses to see the Terracotta Warriors(in total costing 8 yuan each). We would warmly recommend this hostel to any looking for budget accommodation in Xian
very nice days in this BandB owned by Todd, a kiwi and his wife....near muslim quarter, very center..very good
go there, and it's cheap
There are bigger hostels in Xi'An and probably slightly cheaper ones, but there can not be a better hostel than HQ. I stumbled across it when looking for somewhere to watch the rugby world cup final. I liked what i saw and decided to move from where i was staying at the shuyuan (which was fine) and spend three fantastic nights. The hospitality shown by Todd and Mei was first class; nothing was too much trouble for them, from helping with train tickets to advising me on an itinery and even inviting me out for a fantastic hotpot. It was a shame to leave in the end. I would throughly recommend this place to anyone.
I ran into Todd, one of the owners, on the street while wandering around Xi'an and it turned out to be the best stroke of luck I had in that city. The place was comfortable and the atmosphere friendly, unlike a lot of big hostels. Mei, the other owner, even helped to book my plane ticket to Shanghai.
The location of the hostel is also convenient--right in the center of town, near the Bell Tower--so it's pretty easy to get around. The Muslim quarter and Drum Tower are also well within easy walking distance.
If i were to travel to Xi'an again I would definitely stay here. I've already recommended it to a few peole that i've met in my travels elsewhere in China.
As Mei and Todd say on their web site "like staying at your mates" this combined with the their knowledge of Xi'an and laid back atmophere makes The HQ lodge the place in Xi'an to stay for me. Check out the tours on offer, and Todd thanks for the info about the hotpot restaurant. I count myself as a mate and will be back.
For a chance to see the best of Xi'an withour putting yourself at the mercy of tours organized to sell souvenirs, and a ultra-friendly stay in a small home-like guesthouse, try HQ Hostel Xi'an. Todd and Mei were our key to the place--even tracked down the best places to try some local diahes we were eager to sample.
Give them some warning and they'll organize transport and bilingual Mei will guide you personally. Superlative service! Great people.
Tip: Book early and ask for the (only) double room.
Ian and Jane
What more can be said about how nice this place is to stay? I felt so relaxed and welcome here and it was also very clean. It is in a great location and the owners are very happy to help with local information and with the planning of sightseeing trips. A real home from home.
Mei and Todd are awesome. Their cosy wee hostel is delightful. The hostel is only a few months old, so everything is clean and tidy. Mei, especially, is so helpful and friendly, and an excellent cook. She is more than happy to share all her local knowledge and teach you some basic Chinese. She is a SUPERSTAR! The hostel is located really central to everything (Muslim Quarter, ATM, bus stops, Drum/Bell Tower, airport shuttle drop off etc). It is good value for money (especially the double room) and has a relaxed atmosphere. We would definately come back, and even stayed an extra night.
Very good place. Todd and Mey are very very nice. We enjoy the time spent with them. Very good english and always free for us. I was like home. Anthony
I couldn't sleep well in this hostel, it was a problem with mosquitos .Air conditioned?Just in my dreams.Very expensive.For me it was the first visit in Xi'an and the last.
great little hostel in Xi'an, at the end of each day i felt like i was going back to my apratment. Todd and Mei were really really helpful espeically in a country where pretty much noone speaks English!
Highly recommend to stay there, you will get one on one outstanding service. thanks guys!
HQ hostel is an odd, but very enjoyable hostel. Todd (a Kiwi) personally came down to the manic train station to guide us back to the hostel in a taxi. On the 5th floor of an apartment block just opposite the Muslim Quarter the hostel is more like staying with mates than a traditional backpacker hostel. We especially appreciated the use of the kitchen (free) and washing machine (10RMB). Todd and Mei were great hosts - neither intrusive nor elusive - they were there when needed and had good local knowledge. The one double room available is large and comfortable, the only drawback being no air-con. As the weather was terrible when we were there this was not an issue. Due to the terrible weather we had time to kill. The free internet and Todd's vast selection of DVD's were a nice touch, and made this much more bearable.
I stayed here for 1 night in June. The hostel is brand new, and is definitely more of an apartment feel than a hostel. Very clean, the private bedroom is very large, free internet access, and great location- walking distance to the markets and Muslim Quarter. The owners were friendly, and I would definitely recommend staying here!
We all had good experience in this hostel. Although it is small, it is very clean and the owners were very helpful. great location!