So poorly are China Expat personnel paid that needs must and thriftiness a requirement. Cast out into the wintery streets of Shanghai on a research mission last week, when hotel accommodation was enquired about and methods of transportation asked for, we were given signposts to a bench at People's Park and told to cycle all the way from Beijing – “It’ll be interesting and you can see how the other half live”.
Well, we managed to stow away on a China Eastern flight by pretending to look like George Clooney, but the accommodation remained a problem. China Expat is always of the opinion that hotel rates are relevant to the price of beer, and too-expensive rooms cut down on Tsingtao and Tiger beer consumption possibilities.
So it was with delight that we came across the Shanghai Mingtown Youth Hostel, tucked just behind the JW Marriott on Nanjing Xi Lu right slap bang on Tomorrow Square in the heart of the city. The entrance opens up into a neat little courtyard reception area, then through a corridor and
opens up into a palatial classical Chinese garden, fish ponds and a really neat bar. Looking rather more like an upmarket lounge bar at Xintiandi, Mingtown offers both a great place to hang out and drink large bottles of beer for RMB8 a time, a large screen TV, free internet and cosy well cushioned settees for oogling Eastern European female students from. As for the room rates, it is indeed RMB33 a night for a seven bed dormitory, while for those of you with executive budgets, RMB180 will secure you a single room all to yourself.
We spent our RMB33 on another three bottles of beer and crashed out on the sofa for free, but for those of you who want (a) A cheap yet stylish drinking bar and (b) cheap accommodation in Shanghai, Mingtown is without doubt the place to head for. You can call them at (021) 63277766 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be running a full issue of the magazine on China’s Youth Hostels later next year, so if you have any recommendations please pass them on.