One of the first things I think you’ll need to know when moving to China is where you’re going to stay once you get here. If you’re coming with a large international company, they’ll likely take care of booking this for you. If you’re contracting or working for a Chinese company, you may have to negotiate this part for yourself. Here is an outline of basic housing options in Shenyang that are most commonly used by expats and foreigners.
2. Serviced Apartments
3. Gated Communities & Apartment Complexes
The easiest and most popular option for short-term housing are the large international hotels. Shenyang has several options for international hotel chains and there are several more under construction right now. All are well-located near restaurants and shopping, and are well-known by most taxi drivers. These have at least a few English-speaking staff (although you shouldn’t expect many workers to speak English. Or to speak it well. This is still China.)
When moving to China, most people start out at one of the hotels for a few weeks until they settle on long-term housing. Even if you’ve already picked out your future apartment (on a look-and-see visit, maybe), you’ll still likely want to arrange a hotel stay to give you time to get settled and set up house. Remember it will take a minimum of 5 weeks and could be up to 8-10 weeks for an air shipment to get through customs and be delivered.
The international hotels can also be a good option for long-term housing as well. They have full-size serviced apartments. Many singles and couples without children like this option because meals are easy and having a dedicated staff can be very helpful. Currently, the serviced hotel apartments are around 20,000 RMB per month which is slightly negotiable based on the services you choose.
Pros of hotel living:
- Housekeeping & Laundry Services
- In-house Fitness facilities (several have pools)
- In-house Restaurants & Room Service
- Breakfast Included (Some also include a VIP happy hour that supplies a light dinner as well.)
- Concierge & English-speaking staff can be helpful for translations and helping you around the city
- Fully furnished including linens & bedding
Cons of hotel living:
- Smaller square footage
- Most have small kitchens which can make it a little harder to cook your own meals.
- Less privacy
- Most expensive option
- Very little space & freedom for personalizing your home with furniture and decorations
- Revolving “neighbors” who come and go often
The most-popular international hotels in Shenyang are:
Crowne Plaza (There are two Crowne Plaza hotels in Shenyang. The one near Zhong Shan Park is the better location. It used to be known as the Intercontinental Hotel.)
Lexington Plaza Rich Gate
The Double-Tree by Hilton and a new Hyatt hotel are currently under construction as well.
2. Serviced Apartments:
Another very good option for both short- or long-term housing that has recently become available in Shenyang is the serviced apartment. It is sort of a combination of a hotel and apartment. The only one I’m currently aware of in Shenyang is Somerset Serviced Residences.
They are located at Taiyuan Jie which is a busy shopping street surrounded by restaurants and malls. Somerset is a building of fully furnished one, two, or three-bedroom apartments. It offers the convenience of a hotel, including maid service, breakfast, and a fantastic fitness facility with the space of an apartment. They do tend to be smaller than apartments at the gated communities but they do have a fully equipped (albeit small) kitchen and English-speaking staff. This is in a very crowded area of town which may not be appealing to those with children and sometimes makes it difficult to find a taxi (although the new Shenyang subway is only a short walk). They can be booked for a short stay by the night or you can arrange for a long-term lease. They are also in the neighborhood of 20,000 RMB per month.
3. Gated Community – Apartment Complex
The last option is a gated community. These are the most common for families and for expats who will be in Shenyang for a year or longer. I’ll give you a tour of our place and a list the most common complexes in this post.
What sort of questions do you have about the housing in China? If you’re already an expat here, where have you lived and what was your experience?