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Fire department seals off 'hotel rooms' in stairwell

By Yan Dongjie | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-27 09:54

The Fire and Rescue Department of Chaoyang district in Beijing sealed off three "staircase rooms" in a hotel, after netizens posted that a 6-square-meter space in the stairwell of a hotel was being offered during the National Day holiday for 680 yuan ($93) a night.

The hotel that sold these "staircase rooms" is a GreenTree Inn Hotel near the Children's Hospital affiliated with the Capital Institute of Pediatrics. The hotel's operating manager surnamed Xiao said that three such rooms have been in use since July.

"This hotel is right next to the hospital, so there is a high demand for accommodation. The room rates are usually between 100 yuan and 200 yuan per night, and during the National Day period, they are 300 yuan per night," Xiao said.

Most guests are parents who accompany their children at the hospital, so they are usually not fussy about accommodation.

The three areas in the stairwell had previously been used for storage and were only turned into rooms due to high demand for low-priced rooms, she said.

Xiao stated that there were indeed booking websites showing the price for the stairwell rooms at 680 yuan per night during the National Day period, but "this was not set by the hotel, and the hotel has already lodged a complaint with the platform".

Yang Yang, captain of the Jianguomen brigade of the Chaoyang District Fire and Rescue Detachment, said that they had previously discovered hidden dangers in the hotel, according to Beijing News.

"This room type does not have a smoke alarm system installed, and the decoration materials do not meet the national requirements for fire resistance, therefore they should not be used as rental rooms," he said.

On Sunday, officers from the fire brigade visited the hotel again to inspect the room conditions and requested rectification measures, including moving items and cutting off water and electricity.

On Monday, law enforcement officers arrived to temporarily seal the rooms.

"We will continue to follow up on the rectification of the hidden dangers," said Yang.

The rooms have been removed from all booking platforms.

This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays are combined, and there are a total of eight days off from Sept 29 to Oct 6.

According to data from travel company Trip.com Group, as of Sept 15, domestic flight bookings for the National Day holiday were 20 percent higher than for the same period in 2019. Hotel bookings in popular cities for the National Day holiday have increased fivefold compared to the same period in 2019.

Data from Lvmama, a travel website, shows that as of Sept 13, the number of people set to travel during the National Day holiday has increased by 230 percent compared with the same period last year, and long-haul trips accounted for nearly 60 percent.

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