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#trending: Would you pay up to S$120 for bed in stairwell? Beijing hotel says there's demand for simple rooms

BEIJING, CHINA — A hotel in Beijing, China recently refurnished the hotel’s stairwell into rooms built for the needs of “specific” guests, charging up to S$120 for the stay.

Although the rooms typically sold for 100 to 200 yuan (S$19 to S$36) a night, the price could potentially increase up to 650 yuan (S$122) during busier travelling periods, Chinese publication The Paper reported.

The hotel’s unconventional exploits have been met by mostly negative reactions from online users when news of such a room type was shared on Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo. 

One Weibo user lamented the living conditions in Beijing, writing: “Isn’t this normal in Beijing? Many people are familiar with these conditions, just look at the rental prices.”

Another user who was commenting about the cramped conditions of the rooms remarked: “Even a one-night stay in the detention centre is better than this.” 

Someone quipped that maybe “the six square metres includes the stairs”.

However, concerns about the room’s fire safety standards have led to reports being made to the fire department, prompting an inspection last Sunday. This led to the rooms being cordoned off after failing safety standards such as the absence of a smoke alarm and subpar fire-proofing measures.

RESTROOM RESIDENCY

Tiny accommodations are not new in China. Earlier this year, a hotel in Zhengzhou, China, went viral online for its cosy setting, offering guests a toilet bowl as a bedside furnishing.

The hotel’s 8-sqm room is slightly more affordable at 62 yuan a night, Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. 

A video, uploaded by a blogger on video platform Billibilli in January, shows him waking up and washing his face in the sink conveniently placed beside the bed, and later proceeding to read a book on the closed toilet bowl. 

He then gives viewers a tour of the room’s amenities, saying: “Most importantly, the room has a bed and toilet.

“However, the bed is too close to the toilet. The smell is quite ‘subtle’.”

Viewers seemed less than impressed with the room’s setup, with some comparing the design to that of a prison cell. 

Comparing the cost with that of renting a proper apartment, one online user wrote: “Why do some people choose to live in such a small room with a toilet near the bed? It’s depressing.”

Despite the negative online sentiments, the hotel owner had told the media there that the compact rooms were in high demand, adding that guests were often made up of patients and their relatives from a nearby health centre and students preparing for tests, SCMP reported.

COOPED UP IN A ‘COFFIN’

Elsewhere in Shanghai, China, a one-bedroom loft measuring just 5 sqm, which was reportedly going for 1,600 yuan (S$305) a month, had also sparked a debate over its “extreme” conditions.

In a 50-second video posted by the account “Star Video” (星视频) on Weibo, a man believed to be the tenant gives viewers a tour of the micro flat, describing the various features of the apartment such as the sleeping, laundry and bathroom spaces while labelling the apartment’s interior designer a “genius”.

At the end of the video, the man asked viewers: “What do you all think?”

Since it was posted on May 22, the video has attracted more than 679,000 views and 3,933 likes as of Thursday afternoon.

Many online users were appalled by the apartment’s lack of space, with some calling it “suffocating” and “depressing”, even likening the flat to a “coffin”. 

Looking on the brighter side of things, one viewer said this: “It’d be more convenient… because you can reach everything just by lying on the bed.”

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