United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
ANA First Square Class Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite and Business Class Lounges Tokyo Narita (NRT)
ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing
IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel
Air China First Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
BGS Premier Business Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Business Traveler’s Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Lufthansa A380 First Class Beijing to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Frankfurt to New York JFK
United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco
Now, the most unglamorous part of my trip.
I had a roughly 14-hour layover in Beijing, and I contemplated taking the time to go into the city but ultimately decided against it since I’d mostly just be there during night hours and have to leave for the airport around 7am or 8am the next morning. So I looked up airport hotels and found the IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel, which was pretty darn cheap (~$30 for the night) and seemed convenient enough.
The hotel offers a free shuttle service from the airport, but the shuttle doesn’t pick up from Terminal 3, which is where most international arrivals/departures take place. So to get to the hotel using this free shuttle, you need to go through immigration, catch the train to the exit/baggage claim of Terminal 3, take the free shuttle bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 (go out of exit #5 and there should be a post that says free shuttle bus between terminals), go to the arrivals floor of Terminal 2 (i.e. go down a level to the first floor), have someone call the IBIS Hotel (a nice woman working for a different hotel desk called for me), exit Terminal 2 (use exit 11) and walk across the street to the parking garage, and wait for the shuttle inside the parking lot. Or maybe it would’ve been easier to just catch a cab (if you’re doing this, make sure you have the hotel name and address written in Chinese!).
While waiting for the shuttle bus, I ended up asking a security guard-looking person if I was waiting at the right place to take the shuttle to the IBIS. And, well, I’ve heard Beijing accents before, but I found this guy to be nearly incomprehensible, which was unfortunate as the shuttle wasn’t going to come for 15 minutes or so and he started asking me questions in Mandarin and I couldn’t really understand him most of the time so I just kinda stared at him blankly and I think he thought I was dumb (well, I understood enough that when some other guy started talking to him, they started talking about me and the other guy asked, “is he Korean?”, and the security guy said something along the lines of, “no, he’s American but just really stupid because even when I talk really slowly to him he doesn’t understand anything”).
Anyway, the shuttle eventually came, and it was a short ride to the hotel. The check-in agent at the hotel was friendly enough and spoke good English and sent me up to my room after making a reservation for the shuttle bus to the airport the next morning.
This hotel isn’t great, but I’ve stayed in worse places for $30 a night. Although the hallway smelled like smoke and was a bit sad, the room was clean and spartan. Make sure to bring ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper (well, you should always bring ear plugs when you travel…) because you can hear some planes taking off and the walls are thin. The bed was large and a bit hard, but I slept fine for a couple of hours. There’s no wifi in the rooms, though, so if you need wifi, you need to go down to the lobby, but the wifi there is slow.
I’d probably stay there again if I had an overnight layover in Beijing, but you shouldn’t expect much from this hotel.