Expat Reviews

Lane Bridge By Trish MacNeill on 12 March 2015

My family and I moved to Lane Bridge (105-101 in July 2014 mainly due to its vicinity to WAB where my children were going to school. We had to break our lease and moved out last week to go to another compound, for various reasons-many maintenance issues which meant we could not enjoy peace in our home but mainly because our floor heating was faulty and cost prohibitive to run. In a cold Beijing Winter, heating is very important.
The summary of Lane Bridge is correct. The location is great and the grounds are nice and well maintained. Houses are a bit more modern than many other compounds but vary greatly in style and level of upgrades and heating etc. Management is mediocre and the club facilities are extremely poor.
The gym equipment is outdated, the gym smells musty, has no ventilation or air purifiers and is not enticing to work out in. The pool is ok but the change room and showers are old and due for an upgrade. There are some yoga/exercise classes run by external providers but the club house does nothing to promote or advertise these. If you were to ask at the front desk whether anything is offered they would tell you no. You will only find out this by meeting other people in the compound or through your social network at school etc. As a newcomer, generally you don't know anyone so it can take you a while to work out.
Houses vary greatly and whether you get a good one depends largely on your individual landlord. So choose wisely and get references where you can. Houses generally have a lot of little maintenance issues. This is common everywhere. Not just in Lane Bridge. This can be challenging as very few of the management staff speak English and the maintenance staff do not. When a problem is attended to you are often left wondering what they have done to fix it as a lot is lost in translation. Fixes are often a band aid fix or quite literally with tape or a glue gun, rather than really fixing the problem which means the problem often reoccurs.
All utilities on a prepaid system which quite confusing and I found the system difficult to manage. Due to the floor heating issues I was often running out of electricity and getting cut off. There is supposed to be a notification system where the club house calls you when the level gets low, but more often than not they would forget to call. This left me with no power several times until I could work out my usage based on past data and then managing it by manually checking my meter on a regular basis (weekly, and sometimes daily) and keeping a record in a book.
In summary, due to our very regular maintenance issue we had to leave our house but chose to move to another compound where the club house facilities and management are much better. This means the children and us have better access to cafe, restaurant, general store, post office, restaurants, indoor and outdoor pool, beauty salon, bar, all within the compound and all which Lane Bridge sadly lack.

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Central Park By Kate on 05 November 2014

We have lived at Central Park for nearly three years and have loved it. Great location, lovely big apartments (especially in Phase 1), good outdoor space and extremely convenient for shopping, cafes and restaurants. Very safe for kids. Perhaps better for little children than older ones, but we still wouldn't live anywhere else in Beijing.

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Sanlitun SOHO By Michael Levy on 22 August 2014

My family has lived in Sanlitun SOHO for 7 months. The location is excellent, but the building quality is quite poor. In addition, there is constant renovation construction since so many of the owners use these apartments as second homes. We have had extraordinarily loud construction going on for all seven months, often late into the evening. The building management does nothing to help. If you don't mind a lot of noise and want a great location, this is a good choice. But if you want any sort of peace in your home, look elsewhere.

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Sanlitun SOHO By ED on 14 July 2014

Location:
Centrally located with easy access to Beijing's largest area of restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

Access:
10min walk from next subway station, well known by taxi drivers, hard to get a taxi from Sanlitun SOHO during rush hours.

Building / Apartment:
Modern apartments, good insulation / AC / heating, friendly and helpful reception staff. Do not expect high quality standard of sanitation systems / kitchen / wall painting.

Access to parks / Facilities:
No park nearby, for outdoor activities need to travel outside Beijing during weekends. Good gym a the complex with convenient opening hours. Maintenance of the gym is ok (sometimes run out of towels).

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Chateau Regalia By Stephen Cowan on 09 July 2014

Great location. Very close to local shopping; DD's Market, Mann Coffee, Angry Burger and New York Pizza to name a few. Also Hairdresser, Dry cleaning and a number of other shops which come in handy from time to time. Security guards at the gate are very helpful and generally have no problem getting a cab to go to work. The management office try b=very hard to communicate even though their English is limited (like my mandarin). Chateau Regalia comes highly recommended.

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Eurovillage By JD on 09 July 2014

Good location, next to Pinnacle Plaza. Mostly family oriented, so would recommend to those with kids/family. Overall construction seems good, and was the best of the units that I checked out in the Shunyi area.

Clubhouse is decent, but could have nicer gym equipment.

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Victoria Garden By CR on 27 April 2014

After 1,5 year I am still happy with the apartment and esp. the terraces where we can sit outside! Two main negative points:
1. the swimming pool is still not in use (was promised to be fixed before end 2012, what a joke!)
2. the room for the bikes is a disaster! I prefer to take my bike upstairs instead of finding my bike piled up by other bikes!
Overall, it is OK to live here. The VG is well located, close to restaurants and Jenny Lou. It is very green in a calm area.

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Le Leman Lake By MW on 17 April 2014

Neighborhood generally maintained well. Many homes are in disrepair. New management company isn't much better than the old management company. Getting the management office to help with repairs in the house is difficult. Because of poor wiring in the homes, expect to replace all light bulbs in your house every couple months and for the occasional explosion.
The best part about this neighborhood is its proximity to River Garden.

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River Garden Villas By Pife on 12 April 2014

We have been at RGV for almost a year now. The staff and guards are all very gracious and friendly. It is a good compound for families. There is an indoor and outdoor pool which is great but I will say the indoor pool by spring is in need of a good cleaning. The playground at the club house is also due for some maintenance. They do have an indoor play area which is really suited for young kids and is on the small side compared to other compounds. This is something that should be changed as there are a lot of children here who in the colder months/bad air days, would benefit from a larger more interesting play room. The layout of the homes is well suited to families with young kids as the bedrooms are largely on the same floor. This is an older compound and it is starting to show. That said our family has been blessed to be hear and we have met many wonderful people here. We do not regret our choice. The location is ideal for families with children at ISB or BSB. Shopping is also close by and the metro is about a 15-20 min walk.

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Central Park By Tom L on 11 April 2014

Central Park is a great expat community, especially for families with small children. Families with older kids tend to move out to near the international schools, so Central Park has more younger families and a number of good preschools have sprung up within walking distance. The restaurant scene is good with cuisine from around the world at your fingertips--but singles looking for an active nightlife and bars open late might want to opt for one of the complexes near Sanlituan. Aside from nightlife, close proximity to Guomao, The Place, Parkview Green, and Ritan Park are all strong pluses. The expat profile is a mix of Europeans, Americans, Australians, Japanese, and Southeast Asians, with Germans and Brits (seemingly?) being the most well represented. Overall we are pleased with Central Park and would recommend it as a good option for anyone who can afford it.

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Lane Bridge By JH on 08 April 2014

We moved in in August 2013 and enjoy living here. Very convenient to shops, schools and CBD. The management staff speaks English and is very helpful. Maintenance of the grounds is good and security is strict.

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Lane Bridge By Wilbur on 04 April 2014

We rented this house in August 2013. We love living here. It is quite convenient to go to CBD area (about 30 min in the morning rush hour, by car). Very close to Wang Jing area where there are plenty of eating options. There is a Jenny Lou and some local market just outside the west gate of the complex so very easy to get your daily staff. Very close to international schools (WAB and Harrow), so our kid will not spend too much time fighting traffic to and from school everyday (this is a great plus for us!)
Staffs are quite friendly and helpful. Security guards are very responsbile so it makes you feel safe living here. We love our south-facing house, as it is very warm in the sunny winter days. The only thing that can be better is that the gym can be updated with newer equipment.

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Boya Garden By CO on 03 April 2014

No hidden surprises here! Great place. Apartments are quiet and the views are amazing.
Great location. Walking distance to Chaoyang Park and Jenny Lou's and really close to Solana's, CBD and Sanlitun. Highly recommend Lihong for GREAT service (and patience)!

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Upper East Side By M. Tiong on 03 April 2014

Not a bad place in terms of convenience to services/amenities, but can take a lot of adjustment if you don't speak Mandarin or are not used to locally managed apartment complexes. Issues such as water, electricity, maintenance etc are all more of a hassle at UES as compared to, for example,a Park Avenue/Central Park.

Therefore, probably best for those that have already lived for a while in Beijing, or whose Mandarin is good enough to communicate with the Management office.

Pluses - convenient to cafes, restaurants, Jenny Lou's, local shopping mart opposite, walking distance to Indigo shopping centre (15min), Si-de Park (20min walk), etc. Not too difficult to get taxis outside the complex. A Citibank is outside the main entrance. Beanstalk primary school is behind the complex.

Minuses - little english is spoken, maintenance is slow and sporadic, grounds are not as well lit at night as they could be. Electricity failures occasionally happen in some of the blocks (eg. Block 1)
Taxis don't know the place by name, and even the street address can cause issues.
Security is present but pretty lax.

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Park Avenue By CVM on 03 April 2014

Great compound. In 5 years I have never had the desire to move away, although my landlady was a real tiger (and unfriendly) lady.

Great if you have kids, as the ground below is protected, nice, and offers great opportunities for improvised picnics when the weather is nice.

apartments are decently built, and much better than the average expat compounds around, and with nice space and layout.

Another advantage for me is that Management office are responsive and generally helpful, even when communication can be difficult as my chinese is really poor.

And now you have many more restaurants and bars below and around, with two parks at 5 minutes distance, one in front and one on the back!

Only negative side for me is difficulty to find a taxi there. So either get a driver or get to know the various illegal taxi drivers stationed outside there. They are nice and not too crazily expensive.

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Gemini Grove By Couple on 03 April 2014

We moved to Gemini more than a year ago. The location is great as not too close to Sanlitun and in a quite area (we can't hear any noise from outside). The Staff here are really nice and helpful altough not everybody is speaking english. The Gym is great but could be open a bit longer during the day and need a bit of refreshing.

The flat is nice and well equipped. If you like to cook this is the place to be :)

I would definitively recommend this place as I think it is one of the best quality/price location in Beijing

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Grand Millennium By Ian mercer on 03 April 2014

I stayed in a serviced apartment in Grand Millenium during 2013. I sampled 2 of the 3 types of 1 bed apartments available. The larger one was superb

Pros: Generous sized open plan apartments, clean with nice furniture. Staff are courteous and have good english. The location is right in the heart of CBD near Central Park, so you can use the shops and restaurants there without having to put up with the millions of screaming kids.

Cons: Its not cheap, and for the money I would expect the cleaners to wash any odd dishes left out, but they never did, not even a coffee cup. The kitchen had no oven or grill so if you like cooking on burners fine. The internet was a bit slow, and the available english TV channels are OK but still quite limited.

All in all the Pros far outweigh the Cons so it gets 4 stars from me

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SOHO Residence By MervinChad on 27 February 2014

We've been staying in the Soho Residences for the last year and wanted to thank the management team for their excellent service. We're also really happy with the facilities and most importantly, our condo unit. We went for a larger 300sqm and haven't regretted it. Kids love it here and bar street is closed enough to walk too and far enough away to ignore we we've just had enough. Easy access to the airport expressway and subway line 10. Can't go wrong here!

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Guangcai By Raynaud Fabrice on 02 June 2013

Overall good choice for expat families living in Beijing.
Convenient location and nice pool.
However reactivity in fixing the problems, english communication of the staff, and finishing of the appartment are just average.

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Park Apartments By Edward Chew on 02 June 2013

Park Apartments is an excellent choice. It's just 10 minutes from the line 10 subway and walking distance to Sanlitun and Solana. There are also ample options for food all around. To top it off it's also right beside a golf driving range and 9 hole course. The complex itself has a good gym and a small swimming pool. The receptionists are also very helpful. The apartment itself is fairly spacious with a large sized living area. The furniture and fixtures are a little old though and not very well designed. The piping in the building is also quite old and breaks down every now and then.

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Yosemite Villas By JM on 24 May 2013

We like Yosemite B a lot. The maintenance is superb. The other staff is superb. Our landlord is superb. The only thing I would say, coming as an American Expat, is there aren't many Expats in our neighborhood. Whomever lives around us never leaves their home so we never see our neighbors.

We somewhat feel isolated. I know that Yosemite C is much more conducive to Expat life. Sometimes we wished we lived there...however...we did not like the houses there. So, it's all give and take. My husband and I have discussed it A LOT and we think, we made the right choice. Since our children are always at school for sports activities it is IMPERATIVE that we live close. Thus far it has worked well for us (except for the making friends from neighbors scenario).

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Central Park By Laurent on 23 May 2013

May be the best location in Beijing with it central location. Very convenient for the children. This compound has got a real life with many shops and restaurants. Nice to live here.

The price/m2 is little bit more expensive comparing others compounds.

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Fortune Heights By Male, living alone on 22 May 2013

Overall, good location.

Just across from Central Park and its collection of eateries and supermarkets.
In the event of inclement weather, the adjacent mall is accessible via an indoor walkway on level 2.
There are nice little touches like remote controlled curtains, and individually lit wardrobes. the lobby is grand and overall, Fortune Heights comes across as polished.
It's sufficiently comfortable to live in.

But,

If you look beyond the grandiose aesthetics, well mannered and attentive front desk staff, small yet complete residents' gym and the well maintained public areas, you will notice some minor imperfections within the apartment itself.

The bathroom's marbled counters stain extremely easily because of Beijing's hard water (high mineral conten)t. There are several design flaws such as inexplicably including a recess near the bath tub that collects water and a shower hose that dredges up dirt from its holder (a hole in the aforementioned recess). During showers the water drains around the perimeter of the bathtub and out onto the bathroom floor. This would not have been a problem had the drainage hole been located just where the water collects, not 2 feet away. i wish i could append images just so you could see what i mean. The bathroom comes with a whirlpool/water jet style bathtub and a TV but these do not distract me from the fact that the bathroom is the most problematic part of the house.

The wooden panelled walls/columns are a nice touch, but they reduce the overall usable floor space. Storage space is severly limited, and there is no wash area/yard for laundry. The kitchen is tiny, just sufficient for someone living alone.

Fortune Heights would be fairly comfortable living if you're a bachelor (like i am) but not that great for families. There are no gardens and wide open spaces and my single room apartment is actually pretty tiny.

It gets pretty damn cold when they turn off the central heating (and the air conditioning's 'heat' mode does not work, at least not for me), so i've spent 2 weeks in late spring sleeping with jeans on.

Fortune Heights is relatively more expensive than the other apartments in the area. Especially when you take into consideration that my single bed room/bath apartment carries a monthly rent that could get you a larger 2 bedder just across the road at Central Park.

My suggestion is you seriously consider Central Park as well. It's a safe choice and you might get a better deal for the same price.

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Rose and Ginkgo Villa By Joe Stafrace on 02 May 2013

When we arrived in Beijing 3 years ago, we scouted for a house. We did not like to live in the CBD area so we looked outward toward ring road 4 and beyond.
We looked at several expat compounds, but only one had the calm, peaceful and gentle environment – Rose and Ginkgo.
The property management would have to be one of the best for service, security and support, particularly if your Chinese is not up to speed. The park at the compound with its swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts is perfect for young and old and great walking paths for humans and dogs alike.
Great facilities with the club house, indoor swimming pool, kids playroom, squash court and a fully equipped gym.
The staff throughout the compound are extremely courteous and always with a smile.
The grounds and car parks are kept spotless at all times even in times of harsh weather conditions.
The only negative, if it is considered to be one, is the lack of service for gas, water and electricity top up. You must keep an eye at all times for the various meters around the house, because you can easily run out of gas or electricity or water.
Overall a most enjoyable 3 years at Rose and Ginkgo, it would be a pleasure coming back to this compound if the opportunity arises.

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Dragon Bay Villas By Anon on 25 April 2013

Dragon Bay is a great complex to live in.
The restaurants at the beginning of the complex are very convenient and the ice is great in the winter. There is a lot of outdoor area to walk on with about 7 different playgrounds on the grounds. There is an indoor and outdoor pool. The closest grocery store is in the next complex at Yosemite. You can put money on your gas card at Yosemite too.
Let me say that not all units are created equally. The few that I have been in have been nicely finished with hard wood and nice tile. The one that we moved into is not finished as nicely as others. The steps are metal and the appliances are a bit old.
The good part about it is that we have a very nice landlord who is quite open to doing some improvements. We have had the stove, the washing machine and dryer and the dishwasher replaced/repaired.

When something needs to be fixed, the management company is quick to do so. Although, nobody speaks English in the office, so that makes it a bit hard to communicate.

It is located right by ISB and BSB. Close to Europlaza and Pinnacle Plaza.

Overall I would recommend DB.

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Central Park By Ronnie Kandler on 22 April 2013

Central Park is a great place to live in Beijing. The apartments are great, and there are a lot of good restaurants, gyms, supermarkets very close. Also, sitting in the sun eating your lunch or dinner (during the summer) is not possible that many other places.

When I had to choose where to live in Beijing, I had a lot of doubts, but I have not regretted choosing Central Park, and I would definitely choose Central Park again.

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Sanlitun SOHO By Stefania Stafutti on 19 April 2013

Very convenient for everyday life (shops and supermarkets very close), very quiet in spite of the fact it is located in the over crowded Sanlitun. No swimming pool or sport facilities, which are anyway available at short distance. Excellent management.

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Central Park By Miles Edelsten on 15 April 2013

We've been very happy with our first 3 months in Central Park. It definitely seems to have the best access to shops and amenities of anything we have seen in Beijing. The pedestrianized surroundings make it especially good

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Park Avenue By Bengt on 09 February 2013

Modern, spacious apartments with a great location just opposite Chaoyang Park. Away from the hectic city centre but still only 10 min by taxi or bus to restaurants and shopping at Sanlitun. Or you go for a 30 min walk through the lovely park to reach the Solana shopping mall. A plus is also that it is one of very few compounds in Beijing with balconies.

Every building has its own reception service that can help to order drinking water, ayis for cleaning (only 20 RMB per hour), etc. The gym is very well-equipped but a bit expensive (8000+ RMB per year). Within the compound there are also a couple of restaurants, a cafe, hair dresser, and best of all an April Gourmet grocery store with a good selection of imported food.

Any cons? Taxis in the morning can be a problem yes but there are always "private" ones available. A taxi to the airport you can prebook by phone (no 96103). The subway is a 25 min walk but you can always take a bus across the street (only costs 0.40 RMB). They are currently building a new subway line which will have a station nearby.

Language, traffic and pollution are general downsides of Beijing but staying at Park Avenue has helped us overcome that and I would not like to move anywhere else in Beijing.

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Park Avenue By Ronald Morgan on 21 January 2013

We have had construction noise, (jackhammers) going on for two months now and management does nothing. Its lunch time and I have a headache. For this price this is an impossible situation.....have lived here two years but am looking for new place as I cant live here anymore

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SOHO Residence By Peter Bishop on 04 December 2012

We have been living here for nearly 2 years now and we are still very happy. Staying in a 3 bed apartment and the thing we like about Soho Residence is the feeling of space and exclusivity available both within the properties and the communal areas. Good sized kitchens fully equipped. The standard of spoken English here is excellent amongst all the management staff and they can provide additional services like dry cleaning etc. The gym, massage rooms, yoga classes and massive pool are all excellent bonuses and very useful for trying to get back into shape after a late night. Kids play area could be a little bigger, but to be honest the wife loves taking them for walks around the embassy area because of all the trees and Liangma River. We feel very safe here.

Location is a 4 minute walk to Liang Ma Bridge subway on line 10 and it’s really easy to get a cab on an evening out. 7/11 (30 secs walk) with a JingKeLong supermarket and international produce market (3 mins) and Jenny Lous (10 mins) away. There are hundreds of restaurants all within a 5 mins walk. I work in CBD, so it’s either a 7 min subway ride or a 10 min cab depending on traffic, however Dongzhimen and Sanlitun or all on our doorstep. Very convenient to get around in town and get onto the airport expressway when I travel.

Above all, Soho Residence is a surprisingly quiet place to live which allows you to escape from it all. Compared to Soho Sanlitun, where I have friends, and there’s just too much hussle and bussle. A good mix of friendly families and single professionals who are here to live and enjoy life. Well recommended!

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Yosemite Villas By Veronique saunier on 23 November 2012

We have lived in Yosemite C section for 6 months and I cant wait to get out of it. our house is built with substandard material and requires maintenance and repair literally everyday. it would be bearable if the landlady was cooperative, but she is not and the management is absolutely hopeless. it is sad to see so much potential9creative architecture, convenient location) being wasted because of laxism and greed.

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Le Leman Lake By Richard on 15 August 2012

Beware- flooding has damaged basements in Le Leman lake and I suspect there has been black mold damage that has either not been prevented or has not been adequately removed. Le Leman lake pool hours are sporadic and much of the time is filled with private swim lessons. If you are an expat you will not find a great deal of other expats living here. I believe it would be more accurate to say that there are no community activities to speak of. The homes are nice and big, but too many drawbacks to justify here when you have other great selections to choose from.

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Sanlitun SOHO By Adam on 30 March 2012

Great architecture. Unbeatable location. Terrible quality of finishings. Very few of the owners are renting out or living in their properties, therefore feels somewhat deserted. Management not high quality. STILL no gym even though management have been promising it will be open soon for almost 18 months.

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Park Avenue By Madoc on 29 March 2012

Great place to live and pretty good quality of apartment and facilities. Recent downside is the closure of the indoor playcentre for kids, which was one major advantage it had and is now gone.

Easy access to great coffee shop and essential groceries especially imported goods. Outdoor playground is quite good as well but must pay for membership to the pool/gym.

As others have said, can be difficult to get a taxi in the morning but just head outside to the main road instead of the front entrance and you should find them easier.

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Embassy House By Kathy on 21 March 2012

We have lived at Embassy House with our two young children for almost 2 years and are enjoying the life here very much. EH is one of the buildings with high quality in BJ, up to western standard and very well maintained. The employees from the owner (receptionist, cleaning ladies, workmen etc) are all friendly and professional. Although Embassy House is a small compound, it does have full range of facilities such as indoor swimming pool, massage room, Sauna, Playground, indoor play room, mini-mart, club house, library etc. Therefore life here is really cozy. The security here is great. Nobody can enter the lift without the cards issued by owner. Location is another big plus. 10 min away from Sanlitun and 7 min from Gongti (lots of restaurants and bars). French bakery and buchters are right at the corner.

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Beijing Riviera Villas By Shivali on 13 March 2012

We have lived at Beijing Riviera for over 2 years and are enjoying the experience immensely. We live in a 'C' type house which has a nice, practical layout. The compound is very bright, green and clean with wide roads. The club house is active with a great gymn, pools (indoor and outdoor), tennis courts and two restaurants. There is a Mandarin school (bridge school) inside the compound for those interested in learning the language. This compound is really great for anyone with young kids as it really has a feel of living in a community. The compound has good security and kids can safely move around and play with friends. We are very close to a couple of grocery stores (Jenny lous and DDs) which are biking distant as well a few restaurants/ bakeries etc. It has been a really good experience living here and I would highly recommend it!

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Beijing Riviera Villas By AO on 07 March 2012

We have lived at Riviera for over one year. We chose this area because it's a great family friendly compound, close to WAB and very easy access to airport expressway at Beigao toll, also 2 subway stops close by.

It's well established with experienced management office, few communication difficulties there. Security staff at the gates and around the compound.

Be very careful in your choice of house - individual houses - styles and finishings vary greatly, there are a large number operated by 'Maple Place' and then there are individual landlords. Do consider choosing a house with underfloor heating and double glazing, this is not standard and would highly recommend for Beijing winters. Even maintenance workers have warned us not to use the 'hot air' heating in our house as it is so expensive to run. This seems to be a recurring complaint with neighbours comparing their heating bills. However our company is invoiced directly which is very convenient.

The Clubhouse is laid out on three floors and offers many facilities to include: gym, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness studio, outdoor tennis courts, squash court, supermarket, restaurants, hairdresser, spa, nail salon, ATM. A limited shuttle bus service into the city is offered. There is a very busy social scene with an active residents association offering regular activities e.g. pot luck lunches, progressive dinners, quiz nights etc.

Within easy walking distance (5 mins) is the new shopping area with DD's supermarket, German butcher shop, tailor and gym. The shopping mall is steadily being filled up with new shops/services.

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Grand Hills By Bradley Long on 07 March 2012

Pros: Quiet and well maintain properties, large gardens for privacy, helpful staff at clubhouse, good security

Cons: not convient to any resturants/shopping, large apartment complex adjacent to development will become more crowded and possible security issues, expensive properties.

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Quanfa Garden By Ei Ei Saing on 07 March 2012

We are happy where we are now. The complex is clean, quiet and decent. People, living in this complex have standard of their own and we value our privacy. We have good friends in the neighborhood too. If there are no dogs barking often during the day time, it would be nicer. Overall, I have to say I like the place and we are happy with the rent we paid and what we got in return. Another word is we like our landlord, she is a Chinese who speaks very fluent English and very understanding person to negotiate with.

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Park Apartments By Amanda on 06 March 2012

My husband and I have lived at Park Apartments for 2 years now. The layout and rooms sizes are great and the location is very convenient as it is near to all major shopping and dining areas. Management and security are there and helpful, although not overly helpful. Nice and comfortable apartment with beautiful kitchen.

Building needs constant repairs: Drywall is continulously cracking and they won't fix it because they claim its the entire building. Furniture provided by the management is IKEA quality and the showers always leak out even after fixed.

Swimming pool was closed for 8 months for repairs, sauna and hot tubs have never worked since we moved in. Gym equipment is often broken due to the children playing on them. There is no where for children to play at the complex, so they run, play football and skateboard in the lobby. Management has repeatidly addressed the children but its really up to the parents at this point.

If you don't need any extra amenities and aren't too picky its great!

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Gemini Grove By Kristin on 22 February 2012

I lived in a 1 bedroom corner apartment in Gemini Grove and enjoyed my time there alot.

+ location (walking distance to Sanlitun, subway station, market and supermarkets)
+ large windows and mamor-like floor
+ new and nice furniture (I was the first tenant)
+ fitness room, swimmingpool and sauna in the basement (never crowded)
+ friendly and helpful staff

- bathroom furniture falls apart
- small kitchen with little storage space, only a microwave oven, no dishwasher
- gas alarm goes off once in a while and service people just turn it off
- can be a bit noisy with neighbors (mine were almost never there)

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Quanfa Garden By Patrick M on 16 February 2012

Two stars is very generous for this compound. If you like barking dogs 24 hrs a day and dilapidated housing and pathetic general upkeep of public areas then this is definitely the place for you. This compound does not have any recreational facilities worth mentioning per se, so if this is important to you then look elsewhere. The only redeeming factor of this compound is in relative terms much cheaper per sqm than most any other villa compound.

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Sanlitun SOHO By Very happy in sanlitun soho on 09 January 2012

My partner & I moved into Sanlitun Soho approximately 2 months ago.
It is early days, but here are our thoughts so far for others thinking of moving in here:

APARTMENT:
We absolutely love our apartment & we are very picky designer types!
The layout of the apartment is excellent, with loads of storage & the design & furnishings are great. We looked at about 10 different apartments in the complex & the units with full height windows seem much more spacious & light than those with half height windows.
It is quite minimalist & white [especially by other Chinese apartment standards], but is still warm through the use of timber flooring & furnishings. The build quality of the unit is ok & as it is still very new, generally wear & tear is pretty minimal.

LOCATION
The location is great - though it is a little far from our work. There are many great restaurants, bar's, shops & supermarkets in the area.
The line 1 to line 10 transfer on the subway is disastrous. Instead we walk or taxi it down the road to Dongsi Shitiao & take line 2 to line 1 - this way you can keep your limbs/sanity.
Taxi's are usually ok to catch, though best to avoid the very busy main intersection of Sanlitun Village for pick up's & drop off's, it can take 10 mins to just turn the corner.

CONCIERGE & BUILDING MANAGEMENT
The ladies & gents at reception are very friendly, & their English is fair for standard things, which is way better than our Chinese!
We have had a few minor issues with the actual apartment - most have been sorted out promptly by building management, though our second bathroom smells of cigarette smoke, especially so in the mornings, & we were told by building maintenance they couldn't smell it! I suspect this one is in the too hard basket, & related to a possible fault in the installation of a mechanical ventilation damper, so now we just shut the door to keep it contained.

ADDITIONAL FACILITIES
We really wish there was a gym in the complex - the nearest one we know of being the Pacific Century Club, which is a 5-10 min walk away - so there goes the incentive in winter.
There is no playing area or other facilities for kids I know of - so this complex would probably not suit families very well. I think you can bike park in the basement - this is yet to be investigated.
There is a 24 hour chemist in the complex & a dry cleaners.

As a final note, we were having all sorts of dramas with other real estate agents when I spoke to an agent at Li Hong. Even though we were too far down the track [almost at a signed contract with another realtor/landlord], the very kind agent from Li Hong helped us with some general advice regarding contracts, even though there wasn't anything in it for them, & we were so appreciative.
As a result I would suggest anyone seeking an estate agent, to give Li Hong a call. If we were to move, I would definitely contact them.

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Park Avenue By Gordon F on 28 October 2011

I have been living at Park Avenue for just over a year now having decided to extend my contract. I work in China World Tower 2, and had considered central park given its closer proximity but the apartment I have at Park Avenue is of a much higher quality than any I have seen there.

Reasons why I like the apartment at Park Avenue - while not quite like living in an Apple store (that award must go to Sanlitun Soho) it is suitably white and free of annoying artwork or furniture left by the landlord. I also have a lovely view of Chaoyang Park from my balcony which on a good day allows me to see the hills off in the distance. Anyone moving to Beijing should not underrate the importance of a good view as there is very little to admire in the architecture or on the streets throughout most of Chaoyang district.

Regarding the property management - I have not had any serious issues with my apartment that needed fixing in the time I have been here. The staff are all friendly, but don't expect them to smile and ask you how your day was or tell you 'good job' all the time - this isn't America. Regarding their English ability - I'd say its fairly average as far as apartment complexes go in Beijing, meaning for simple things their English is fine but for more complicated tasks you need to know some Chinese. This shouldn't be a problem for most seasoned expats, but if you are fresh off the boat it could be frustrating at first.

Facilities: for those of us who realize that Chinese food in China is nothing like it is back home and are desperately seeking edible Western food there is a fantastic Wholefoods-esque store on site that stocks everything you will need. There is also dry cleaning.

Gym: This deserves a separate section of my review. The gym at Park Avenue basically represents everything wrong with China. In the year I have been here it has been open maybe 4 months, and in that time 3 different companies have operated it. The latest update is that it has just closed down again as they are moving all the equipment to the basement, reason being they are getting screwed on their rent deal upstairs. I've looked at investing in a few gym businesses myself in China and can tell you its a ticking time bomb, so if you do value the certainty of having a gym open year-round to work out in prepare for disappointment. Nevertheless, when it is open, it has every type of machine and a full set of free weights. There is also supposedly a great pool there but it is quickly gaining mythological status given the delays in fixing it.

Transport - if you have a car or motorbike or scooter or a driver it is no problem. If you think you are going to rely on taxis, think again. The few that bother showing up in the morning are quickly taken and then you have the option of taking a more expensive black (illegal) taxi or a depressing search for one along Chaoyang park south road. Nearest subway station isn't near at all, about 35 mins walk, and its a depressing walk of defeat all the way there.

Overall: 4 stars for me given that I have a motorbike (would be 5 if they sorted the gym)

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Park Avenue By Simon R on 28 October 2011

I have now been living here for nearly a year and can sincerely recommend living here. There is the gym where you can train as much as you want. Shopping facilities are close at hand. City center is only a cab ride away. Anyone new to Beijing here is a grand place to live.

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Gemini Groove By Sergey Groshev on 27 July 2011

We have checked about 8 compounds around Gateway Plaza, the most interesting were Gemini Groove and SOHO, however Gemini has lower prices. We have stayed there for 1 year.

Pros:
+ very good location, good infrastructure (8min to subway, 1min to supermarket, 5min to fruit market, 1min to 24h shop, 15min to hospital, 8min to 3rd ring road).
+ good health club(gym, swimming pool, table tennis, children room)
+ good security (guard, keys etc)
+ new building (in 2011 there still were never rented new apartments)

Cons:
- bad sound isolation in the apartments, however the most of the building was empty (2011), therefore wasn't any problems with that;
- the most of the staff doesn't speak any English, you have to spend some extra energy to solve the problems.

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SOHO Sanlitun By Jeff on 18 July 2011

The biggest mistake I made when I moved to Beijing was moving into SOHO Sanlitun Apartments.

The apartments are appealing but the workmanship is poor and they are overpriced. Despite what you may see on the internet there is no club and most of the shops are still vacant. There are several issues but by far the worst problem is the building managers.

None of the concierges speak English. Very few of the office staff speaks English. Complaints are not followed up on. Even when you complain about this no one responds to you. I have escalated complaints all the way to the Building Supervisor with no response. They just don't care.

They offer several services then never deliver them. For example you can’t catch a taxi from reception. We have tried numerous times but when you ask the concierge to call one security won’t flag them down for you and send them to reception. They offer to pay utility bills every week. We tried on several occasions and each time they didn’t pay anything and just returned our money and utility cards.

They are also supposed to read your electricity metre every week and give each tenant the reading. In 7 months despite more than half a dozen requests and complaints they have done this once. It’s a big issue as we were paying on average 1000 RMB per month in electricity for a 2 bedroom apartment. That’s equivalent to 400% more than the average Beijing high income earner average electricity usage. We had our power disconnect several times and had months of fighting this and attempting to get a resolution, without success. The Building Managers just kept telling us we use our air conditioner too much. When we showed them high daily usage rates whilst the apartment was vacant and we were on holidays they just ignored it. I could write pages and pages of similar issues but I think you get the picture. If you want service your not going to find it here.

The Sanlitun area is very exciting and dynamic but it is also very dangerous. Surf the net and also look up advisories from the embassies and you will get a pretty good idea. Not a place for children, families or lone females.

After 7 months we had enough and terminated our lease. We are going to Central Park. Probably should have went there in the first place.

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Beijing Riviera Villas By Alexis Brunel on 30 June 2011

We lived in Beijing Riviera for 1.5 years and had a great time there. I have 4 kids and they always enjoyed it there. It is a very safe place, just maybe cars sometimes go a bit fast inside the compound.

For us, after knowing many of the other compounds where we had friends, we concluded that Beijing Riviera is the best of all.

The only issue may be that the utility costs are significantly higher than the other places.

It has a golf range across the street, two supermarkets very near as well as other stores, a gas station just around the corner and it is very close to the express way, so it is easy and fast to get in and out of there.

The admin office is very efficient and the club house is very good. The gym is fine and the showers are a bit simple, but ok.

The cafeteria is good, a bit slow sometimes but the food is good. The restaurant has a great tepanyaki and the other part of the restaurant has chinese food which is ok.

One of the best things there is that the streets are very wide, other compounds are very narrow and makes it dangerous and complicated for parking.

As per the neighbors we made many friends and had a good time. Everyone was very respectful and we never had a problem with a single neighbor.

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Yosemite Villas By Luc Charpentier on 07 June 2011

The villas are nice, but the management company leaves a lot to be desired...
The level of spoken English is minimal. We were lucky to have an excellent landlord who spoke English.
When you leave, you will have to leave a deposit for the next utilities bill...be prepared to kiss that money goodbye!

The management company will not transfer it to your account...Being still in Beijing I came back to get it, but I was told it took 3 signatures and the managers were not there to sign...I was then promised a transfer in my bank account but it never materialize. I guess it went into someone's pocket!

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Central Park By Eva on 29 April 2011

We have been living in Central Park for about 2,5 years. This is really great compound for the families with the kids. Nice space outside for playing, also many small convenient shops and restaurants around. Management is doing good job also.

From downsides the slow internet can be mentioned, sometimes also TV broadcasting breaks down.
I also think that this compound is a bit overrated compared to the other similar and even newer ones.

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Central Park By Sherry on 07 April 2011

I recommend this compound because of the good position.

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Central Park By Alix Klein on 20 March 2011

We like this place very much!
It's easy to live, children are safe,all the facilities are around(school, shops, restaurants,parks,subway,indoor and outdoor playgrounds)and there is a great mix of culture as many foreigners live here.
To resume it's like a little village in a big city.

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Park Avenue By Andy + Eva Muelder on 10 March 2011

Park Avenue has been up to our expectations. Not everything is great, but it delivers if you are looking for a reliable, comfy, child-friendly compound not too far outside.

Quality of building is good for local standards. Service is ok. Amicability varies. But most of them are friendly and some of them speak some English. Nice inner compound with kids playground. April Gourmet is inside the compound (they just expanded!). That is a huge plus.

Downside: Taxis - very difficult to get during rush hour! Big, big downside if you need to go to the airport or an important meeting. Though there are busses that'll take you to the subway. And you can try to order a taxi or have a car yourserlf.

The gym closed down for a long time once we moved in. The swimming pool has never re-opened ever since. It's little expensive too, but still ok.

Would I go there again? Basically yes. Best option compared to others, IMHO. Immediately, if we would have a car.

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Parkview Tower By F Blanc-Brude on 04 March 2011

Parkview is ideally located and well maintained, with very friendly and responsive staff. If you are in tower 3 on the park side, the proximity of Suzie Wong is not always an advantage however. It depends at what time you intend to go to bed...

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Park Avenue By Katja on 03 March 2011

I moved into Park Avenue in May last year and I am happy with the choice I made.

There is a small supermarket just downstairs which provides everything necessary especially to Westerners, a nice café, dry cleaner and so on. Chaoyang Park across the street is wonderful for walks and runs and seeing some green while actually being in the middle of a huge city.

The apartments are bright with good lay-out and the compound is well maintained. Whenever help was needed, it was delivered promptly and the team has been very friendly.

There are few down sides to consider:

One would be a lack of taxis in the mornings and during rush hour but I think that is a general problem in Beijing.
Second, the gym sadly is not well maintained and due to management issues frequently closed.
Third, the location of Park Avenue is just that tad bit far away so that you basically always have to take a taxi to go somewhere.

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Park Avenue By Ron Morgan on 02 March 2011

We have been living here for about 6 months and generally like it very much. There have been a few maintenance issues that were solved. The cable for the tv had a really bad signal and was easy to fix but the in house guys didnt have a clue so I had to hire some outside help. Also the large wall tiles in the shower just fell off the wall when my wife was taking a shower and luckily she didnt get hurt. The same thing happened in my neighbors place a few weeks later so there seems to be a problem. I like the complex and the little store and coffee shop is nice. The staff have been helpfull. The fitness studio has been closed for quite a long time and it was supposed to be part of the rental. In general we are happy with the apartment.

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Central Park By A. Wu on 22 February 2011

Very convenient location. Many major firms are close by, China World is close and of course you are in the heart of the CBD. Some great grocery stores and shops are on the grounds and you will not need to speak Chinese in order to live well.

Air conditioning is very weak. If you cook in the kitchen you will find a 3 bedroom apartment will hit 85 easily in June. Internet is DSL and SLOOOOW at times. 16kb downloads, this page took over 4 minutes to load.

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SOHO Residence By Jessica Hong on 30 August 2010

I’ve been in Beijing for over 5 years and I have to say that Soho Residences is one of the better run developments in Central Beijing. The management has English speakers, who are always willing to help with any issues that have arisen and have always been professional and friendly. There’s just a feeling of class and position that other developments just don’t have, they’ve really been helpful. The gym, while a little small, is still equipped well and the pool is fabulous for the kids in the afternoon. I’ve found it so convenient for shopping, as local supermarkets; the Lufthansa Centre and the Westin Hotel are just a stone’s throw away. Line 10 is really close and when we want to go out to eat, we can either walk 2 minutes for the Westin’s Sunday brunch or Bar Street is within walking distance. Positioned next door to the embassy district, it’s a relaxing little oasis in the middle of this busy city. My only gripe is the car park is a little restrictive. Apart from that heartily recommended.

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Central Park By Shay Zadok on 16 August 2010

Great complex for expats
1) city center
2) compound has: coffee shops, bakery, shops
so life made easy
3) good/quality neighbors from all over the world
4) you can manage without knowing Chinese

from my impression: one of the best compounds for expats in Beijing.

Lihong agency are also responsive and reliable.

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Park Avenue By C Matildi on 07 July 2010

Park Avenue is a great place to live. The compound is very well maintained and personnel is always very attentive and supportive in heliping you to solve any issues you might have.

The garden inside is also a nice oasis of tranquillity when you come back home.

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Park Avenue By D Chan on 05 July 2010

We have been staying in Park Avenue for over a year now. Park Avenue is an awesome place to live. It is very conveniently located opposite the Chaoyang Park. The complex itself has plenty of greenery and nice play area for the little ones. If you have pets, this is definitely the place to be.

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Park Avenue By Ron Neufeld on 05 July 2010

Park Avenue has everthing within the complex. International grocery store, Drycleaners,Pre-school, kids playground,Bank, Gym and Fitness. I get HBO,Cinemax, Star Movies, CNN, BBC,AXN and 50 other channels.
The management organizes any maintenance issues, cleaning of my apartment and 24 hour secuity. They always call some one if they dont understand my poor chinese and someone is there to help. the only con would be taxis can be hard to find in the morning during the rush hour.

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Central Park By Tony Chor on 03 July 2010

Central Park is really excellent. The convenience of the shops/banks/restaurants are outstanding as is the easy access to Line 10. The area has a nice buzz in the summer time as families come out to play and people sit outside for meals or a beer. The management company is fine. The only real bummer is that the Internet access can be super slow. We really enjoy living here.

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Dragon Bay Villas By Tony Chor on 03 July 2010

Dragon Bay is a nice area with a reasonable community vibe. Like other places, the villas vary considerably in decor, so choose wisely. The management is pretty responsive with repairs, etc. and the workers seem to know what they're doing. There are some moisture problems in the basements, but nothing like the flooding at Yosemite. It's convenient having restaurants and a spa at the edge of the neighborhood, but the closing of April Gourmet (the only place to buy milk, eggs, etc. nearby) is a real loss.

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Dynasty Garden By Robert Wong on 26 June 2010

We lived in Dynasty Garden for 2 years now and find this location to be the BEST. The pros and cons as follows:
PROS - Excellent location just off the airport expressway, literally 1 min off, unlike most of the other villas which may take another 15-20 mins after exiting the expressway. - Lovely houses in an unpretentious style, roomy and very reasonably priced, especially the detached villas which have small patios at the back.
CONS - The outdoor pool is great in summer but other facilities are lacking in quality. However, that is not an issue for us as we gym in the city and do other outdoor activities.
Do yourself a favour and check out Dynasty Garden. In my wife and kid's opinions, this is the most homely and liveable location in all of Shunyi!

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Seasons Park By Anna on 01 March 2010

Seasons Park offers the best of location in terms of an apartment in Beijing, you can get just about anywhere less than a 15 minute drive-- the only exception is the airport, which is only 25 minutes away. Major destinations include: the CBD is only 15 minutes away, Lido 15 minutes, Sanlitun 3 minutes, Houhai 10 minutes, etc. Seasons Park has some unique features, firstly, it feels isolated with its beautiful grounds, lovely flower trees and attractive clubhouse; however, it's right in the middle of a neighborhood. There are 2 elevators for only 3 apartments per floor. Actually, I liked this place so much, I've never been able to think about moving to another apartment in over 5 years. I lucked out with a well decorated unit, and I think this could be one of the draw backs of Seasons Park, some of the units might have rather garish decoration. But, the 90, 120 and 155 sqm layouts are all more efficient in terms of design than most places in Beijing. A 155 sqm Seasons Park apt feels larger than the equivalent at Central Park. The only other compounds that compete with Seasons Park are Park Apartments, Central Park and Park Avenue-- and in this case Seasons Park wins for location and has a nicer park than any of those. However, Park Apartments and Park Avenue have nicer kitchens. Overall, I would still choose Seasons Park again. It's like the undiscovered jewel-- oh, and it has international management by Jones Lang LaSalle. Another nice feature is the floor to ceiling windows in all the main rooms-- no balconies though.

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Park Avenue By Matthew on 23 February 2010

I was very happy during my six months living at Park Avenue and would gladly recommend it. The facilities are well built to near-Western standards, well managed, well maintained and appeared safe and secure. It seems like a popular place for families as there were always children playing in the common areas.

The Concierges were all friendly and helpful and appeared to genuinely enjoy their work. Some of the staff were not confident with English (others were fluent), however I never encountered a problem that couldn't be resolved quickly.

The administrative system for bill paying can be daunting at first (different bills need to be paid in different locations around the complex and some bills are in Chinese only) but the system can be learned very quickly once explained.

The mini supermarket ("April Gourmet"), cafe and gym in the complex were all excellent, however there were few other shops nearby (only a dry-cleaner, travel agent and bank).

The only major drawback to living in Park Avenue is its location - 25 minutes walk to the subway. Taxis can be hard to find if it's raining anf the buses are usually very crowded. If you're happy to walk, or have a car/driver this is obviously not an issue.

If I were to return to Beijing I would have no hesitation moving back to Park Avenue.

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Grand MOMA By CD on 30 December 2009

Amazing design, but terrible management. The facilities are still not done 2 years after the complex opened. I was told May, then July, then Sept, now Jan-10. I am sure it won't happen. The parks aren't done and are not being worked on. The school is empty and not being worked on. All retail is empty as is the hotel. It is about 40% occupied so feels deserted. My tower is empty. I have no neighbors. The work that is being done gets torn up a week later and redone so no progress is made. The street in front of the compound has a junk sale every morning blocking traffic.

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Yong He Villas By Rasmus Reinvang on 19 November 2009

Great place, especially if you have small kids. Get modern comforts and relaxed outdoor facilites ideal and safe for kids to run around. Small and cosy compund, situated in a hutong with nice cafes, small shops with all you need (incl. cheese and wine) close by. Beautiful, old Guasizhen street and Confucius temple right next door.

Downside: A bit pricy and lacks facilites such as gym which you find in other expat compounds.

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Embassy House By John B. on 29 June 2009

Overall wonderful experience.
Facilities very well designed and in excellent condition: appartment floor plan very effective, a lot of light. All facilities well maintained and in very good condition.
Excellent and friendly service.
Great location and great green views over the embassies quarter.
Very convenient grocery store for last minute purchases, bar and coffee shop for drinks and snacks outside or inside.
Wonderful and secure environment for my young children. Great playroom inside and fun playground outside. Swimming completely adapted for children, with lukewarm water and safe section for the children to play for hours.
BBQ facilities/equipment all over the garden.
Friendly and efficient management.

A couple of con's : beware the construction site accross the street for the units facing north-west : it can get noisy. And it is on the expensive side.

[editor: construction now completed]

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Kangbao By Ian burns on 17 June 2009

Wonderful. I've only been here 6 weeks but so far so good. Great central location, I can walk to many bars and restaurants, shops etc. The management office so far has been very helpful. The apartment is spacious and has above average bathroom and kitchen fittings (i furnished the place myself otherwise). I also like the small but tasteful garden area. Nothing negative to report.

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Central Park By Adrian on 11 June 2009

My wife and I have been living at Central Park for 2 months now and we are happily settled into our new place. If you are new to Beijing like us and need a safe and nice place to live within the CBD, we really don't think it will get much better in terms of the great facilities like onsite gym with pool and spa, green spaces, local shops(lion mart, lohao, the place etc) and good onsite management.

The apartments are generally well built with good fixtures and fittings with well equiped bathrooms and kitchens. The only minor gripe is that most kitchens do not have a dish washer fitted. We also found that a fully furnished apartment in Beijing often does not include alot of the things that many expats relocating would expect. Generally speaking we found apartments in Beijing will not be equipped with crockery, tableware and cooking utensils. These items can be very expensive to purchase so it may be worth shipping over these items if you are shipping stuff over.

We have read some negative reviews about Central Park but we personally have not had any issues so far. We find the onsite management staff and maintenance staff to be excellent. The grounds and buildings are well maintained. In short we would recommend Central Park to anyone looking to live in the CBD area.

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China Central Place By Helen on 30 April 2009

I was really hoping to love this place- AMAZING location amongst shops, restaurants, ATM, subway. But the apartment is just so worn looking on the outside and when you look out it's just looking at the other units and their clothes hanging out to dry outside. Inside the layout and such were nice, but nothing special. Front door and finishings were blah.

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Palm Springs By Helen on 30 April 2009

I was hoping to like this place but didn't. I mean the building is rather nice as is the entrance, lobby, so on... but across the street and all around was just rubble and dirty and places under development, or just not being fixed up any time in the future. Nearby you can walk to a grocery store, restaurants, and so on... but to get there you have to walk along some rather un attractive places. As for the unit it was great with lovely kitchen, good size, but the view was lousy because it's hidden between buildings plus there was what looked like mega construction going on outside.

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Global Trade Mansion By Helen on 30 April 2009

From the outside this place looks really worn. Entrance is basically a generic flat grassy garden with play area for children. Finishings were ok at best. I liked the idea of the duplex level, and inside was VERY spacious and well laid out... just didn't like the grounds and exterior so ended up going with another place. But I imagine this is perfect for families because all the units are spacious and the middle garden for children.

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Fortune Plaza By Helen on 30 April 2009

This is a part of a service apartment complex. The service apartment is MUCH nicer, but that goes without saying. To get to the gym you have to go to the service apartment building- the gym is rather spartan. It's clean and visually appealing unlike most gyms, but there just is not a whole lot of equipment.

The apartment fixures are gorgeous- in the hallway, entrance, and especially the bathrooms and kitchens. The only thing is that the kitchen layout is SO WEIRD; I'm told ALL of the kitchens are like this in this tower. It is horrible. If it weren't for the kitchen I would have picked this place without a doubt.

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Central Park By Helen on 30 April 2009

Beautiful grounds- across the street is The Place, then lots of lovely little shops on the first level of the complex... restaurants, cafes, hair cutting, banks and ATMs, smoothie shops, an organic supermarket. Then across the street you have 7-11 and plenty of other convenient shops. True there are still places empty- but for the most part you can see they are under construction, and I feel they are pretty filled as it is!

The gym is fantastic, open 7am-10pm.

What I love most of all is the garden/grounds/park in the middle. Most places it's just blah with flat land of grass and children's play area, but this is such a nice place to stroll with grassy pathed areas, sculptures, hills. Just VERY well laid out.

Fixtures are nice- lobby, hallway, and bedrooms.

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Upper East Side By Val Pastrana on 19 March 2009

Lovely complex, modern facilities and very near all important amenities. Helpful and warm security personnel. Problem with business center [editor: property management office] as English speaking staff is not always there and very difficult to talk to for important repair needs.

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Capital Paradise By Thomas Krautter on 16 March 2009

Compared to all other compounds in the area, we decided finally for Capital Paradise, for a couple of reasons. From a family point of view this compound offers a vivid environment, good connections to all international schools as well as a wealth of activities children may join.
The quality of houses varies a lot, because most buildings are +10 years old and their state mostly depends on the willingness of the landlord to invest in maintainance and improvements. So, take a careful look at the location.
Over all, LiHong did a really good job to help us finding an appropriate location and after 4 months I can state that, beside of all this little minor things, which appear to happen during relocation, I am totally satisfied.

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Parkview Tower By Jodie on 11 March 2009

Good location, convenient with a stretch of restaurants and Jenny Lou's opposite. Clean building, good management with a quick response time who would fix almost anything. Building is a little old about (10+ years), but the good service from management made up for it, and quite a fair bit of owners are renovating their apartments before putting them out to rent. Basic clubhouse facilities, gym, indoor swimming pool, tennis court, table-tennis room and outdoor playground.

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Beijing Golf Palace By Michael Voysey & Debra Sommer on 10 March 2009

We are extremely happy with every aspect of Beijing Golf, the quality, the general maintenance and friendly staff make it our first choice recommendation. The apartments are close to shops, restaurants and many are with-in walking distance.
Heating/Air-con all work fine making living in Beijing throughly enjoyable.

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Central Park By Stella Young on 09 March 2009

We moved into a penthouse in Central Park about a year and half. The location is great. It looks good and expat friendly. However, I wouldn't say it has been a smooth ride as we fought constantly with its management office Savills.

I will least a few problems are as follow:

Turnover of reception staff is high and most of them do not speak English!

The reception had lost our keys several times. So do not leave anything at the reception area.

[editor: Deleted name of Savill's employee] who is the Assistant General Manager can barely speak any English. Most of the residents are expats which I find this really funny. In addition, [editor: Savill's employee] ignored my complaint letter altogether. Perhaps it's due to his limited English or lack of professionalism. Either way, none of my problems were addressed properly.

Quality of construction is shameful. Ceilings and wall cracks were showing in the first couple months. Had to get it re-plaster in the first month. Now, after a year and half, cracks are everywhere.

The management office had sent the maintenance into our property without our consent or prior notification. Let's not even mention it took them 15 times to fix the toilet that caused sewer smell in the whole apartment.

The night supervisor came to knock on my door at 10pm demanding me for a dog permit. I think it's a bit rude to just barge him without calling first and especially after 8pm.

We paid 4 times the electricity bill at the management office. Two were not registered with the elec. co. which mean one of the staff member decided to [editor: allegation unsubstantiated].

Management decided to switch from cable to digital TV. Miscalculation of TV boxes which meant that we were without TV for more than two months. How can they miscalculate the amount of TV boxes for each unit?

These are a few examples of what we had to deal with on a daily basis. Unless you have the patient in the world then I would really think twice about living here as the rent is expensive and the service appalling.

We regret we didn't move out soon enough.

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Central Park By Eran & Karen on 09 March 2009

Pros
* Buildings are clean (but the green areas outside are not)
* Good maintenance
* Good neighbors/community
* Having few kindergartens which are very close
* Close to ChinaWorld, The Place etc
* Family/children oriented
* Good quality of material in apartments

Cons
* Too expensive (new comers that we know got similar value for almost half the price in other compounds)
* Windows are not being cleaned
* Bad attitude of management for dogs – in terms of stupid letters that are being sent to dog owners, and lack of enforcement of dog stuff cleaning by owners (as the local residents living around Central Park are using Central Park premises as well with their dogs, but they don’t bother to clean after their dogs)
* Trainers at the gym are way too expensive
* Lack of stores at central park. We thought that many of the vacant places will be filled with stores. Most stores are closed
* New cable TV sets are less comfortable as its not connected to all TV ports at home and there isn’t a TV programs guide in English (previously while all ports were connected there were printed papers for HBO, Hallmark, AXN etc
* Lack of central air-filtering/cleaning system
* One lock for the entrance door is not enough. There should be a lock for when we are inside the house.
* Lack of water temperature control system, causing unstable water temperature at showers
* Heating was activated too late (only at the formal state date), 2-3 weeks after all other compounds started heating. It really annoyed us.

Summary
Central Park is a good place for foreigners, but we doubt the value for money.

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Park Avenue By Rutie zhang on 07 March 2009

Wonderful A/C system. Even in the coldest day, we don't need to carry blanket around. water is heated too so it never feels chilly.
Nice gym and playground for kids. Good attitude from security guys and management.
Only thing is the back door where a lot of dirty trucks parking around. YUK!
Other than that, it is a great place to live.

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Beijing Riviera Villas By Dave McAtee on 07 March 2009

Beijing Riviera is an extremely well equipped international community in a strategic location, adjacent to Sunnyi/Pinnacle Plaza with immediate access to major highways to airport & downtown. The Riviera Villas are located within a safe & secure gated/guarded facility with adequate amenities and now boasts a state of the art health club. Unfortunately, the location and amenities are provided at significant cost and are accompanied by several deficiencies which I'd suggest make Riviera a poor value. Many of the villas, especially the 3 story Type A & Type B, have an abundance of balconies which exaggerate the square footage as the space is practically uselesswith Beijing's poor air quality and temperature extremes. Beyond size for the money, the Riviera is notorious for calculating energy usage and utility charges on arbitrary basis; combine that with un-insulated exterier walls and single pane windows, monthly utility bills in the winter are often over $1000 (yes U.S. Dollars) even while occupants remain frigid. Tack on the occasional lost receipts and requests for repayments (keep your receipts!!), it gets really expensive to live here. Additionally, a number of the residences (including mine) came with recurring black mold from rising ground water, which service personnel typically remedied with a quick coating of paint or other superficial solution. My recommendation from interaction with numerous long timers in Beijing would be QuanFa across the street, where houses are much bigger and higher quality at a comparable price, with real heat and authentic billing practices. Still the same great location, not to mention use of the Riviera club!!

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Legend Garden By Curt Redden on 06 March 2009

We enjoyed Legend Garden primarily because of location and general environment of community. Our children attended Dulwich, and were able to walk to school. Paths throughout neighborhood, with nice ponds and proximity to sports center.
Recommend negotiating uttilities, and outdoor pool membership to Dynasty (across street) up front. My main criticism was on construction quality, but that issue is not unique. Mg't typically responded quickly and effectively to issues.

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East Garden, Upper East Side By Frank on 06 March 2009

A very convenient location to almost everywhere in Beijing and the airport (20-25 min). It is quiet and close to many parks. A very good fitness center is nearby. Two major international Hospitals, SOS Clinic and Union Family, are not far away. There are many trees and nice gardens in Upper East Site. The management is not bad in general but the capability of the service workers are not very good (Sometimes, I need to teach them how to fix minor problems). There are not many choices of restaurants in walking distance. If you prefer to stay in a quiet and convenient location of the city (rather than the suburban area like Shunyi) with good surrounding gardens and are patient to wait a while before fixing apartment problems, it is a good choice. I have stayed there for more than two years now. I like it for most time.

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Rits Garden By Curtis Shuey on 06 March 2009

We highly recommend Rits Garden for anyone who has interest in residing there. The property is well maintained. The management is extremely helpful and responsive. Maintenace is readily available for any problems you may have. Although, we have not had many problems with the property. Grounds are very safe. Having the intercom system with-in the home is extremely convenient for letting guests or deliveries enter as well as for calling a taxi. Location to stores is improving with the opening of Harmony Walk near by and the closeness of Rivervale Center. It is extremely close to Dulwich College and the Airport Expressway. House is extremely well built with plenty of room. We have lived here for 1 year and plan on not moving from here until our term is over in China.

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East Gate Plaza By Tricia Marshall on 05 March 2009

This has proved to be the perfect home for us during our stay in Beijing. First, the location is great - you are centrally placed for getting around and you feel like you live in China as the minute you hit the street, there are small shops and lots of restaurants as well as local people. However, there are the more 'western' style shops in the mall under the property for emergency provisions. Very well located for subway and bus transportation - and taxis of course. Also short walk to Dongzhimen for the airport express train. The flats are light, airy and modern with all the appliances you need. Bear in mind that the smaller (two bed) flats have the worst outlooks (north and east) and that you may get a three-bed flat for the same price on a lower floor with much better views and light. Even though close to the second ring road, the flat is very quiet. The property is superbly managed. Everything seems to work very smoothly. Minutes after a fault in the flat is reported, an engineer is on hand to fix it. Once weekly cleaning is included in the rent. The staff at the front desk and the doormen are all polite, efficient and friendly. Their English is good enough to deal with all matters. The pool and gym (also included in the rent) are a further bonus and are not too busy.

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Park Avenue By Zanine on 03 March 2009

Park Avenue is well-managed and has great apartments with stylish interiors and modern appliances (the wooden floors are a real bonus). Some apartments have wonderful views of Chaoyang Park. The gym facilities are also great with some interesting classes on offer

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Pop MOMA By Peter Lunding on 11 February 2009

Excellent location, the compound is nice and clean. As surroundings are being renovated - a new park is in progress and the Dongzhimen long distance bus terminal is being redeveloped, the imitate neighborhood is not that exiting.

There are actually still a few problems with the water flow in and out of the sink in the guest bathroom, the water flow in the second sink in the master bathroom, and the third toilet (the sink).

In general, I think that the problems were from the simple fact that the apartment was brand new and that the construction company had done a sloppy job. Should I do it all over (in China), then I would probably take an apartment where someone else had done the hard work of repairing construction flaws.

However, I do like the fact that the apartment is very bright, spacious, and the outside shutters are super efficient.

Apartments are nice and the management is relatively responsive.

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Oriental Plaza By Beth Hinton on 04 February 2009

We have lived in Oriental Plaza Tower Apartments for 7 months. The apartments are serviced twice weekly. We have lived in both towers, and moved to Centennial Heights because Millenium Heights didn't have any open kitchens. It is a perfect facility for business people, the club is just amazing. The staff are very helpful and all speak English. I was sick one night, and the staff escorted me to the hospital which I thought was a really nice touch. After, they sent me a huge fruit basket as a get well gift. I guess the only downside is there are not many families living here, it is more of a business oriented place. They do cater for kids however, the children's room is lovely, but is often empty. There is a supermarket in the basement but it is hugely overpriced. You have to travel quite a distance to get to any of the reasonably priced supermarkets. So, in a nutshell - this place is perfect for the business traveller, single person, but not so great for families.

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Guangcai By Damien on 03 February 2009

Excellent location, especially for French families, with immediate access to the French Cultural Center and to a superb gym, while being near the metro and the French school (the school shuttle stops near the residence).

Appartments are very functional, although not always furnished with taste. The higher floors are recommended if facing inwards the residence.

Management is surely not the best, nor the worst: average +.

Play area for kids is not very friendly: either indoor in the basement or in the elevated garden which is not designed for kids' play. The swimming pool makes up for it.

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Merlin Champagne By Martin Angerer on 29 January 2009

Within 1.5 years, the condition of that compound went down from Good to Bad. Poor management, no organization, no english speaking staff, dirty etc... Could be much better if they would use the money for repair and maintenance instead of wasting it for some stupid promotion things. Management is completely amateur-level or putting the money in their own pocket. Monthly Rent was okay before but now 50% would be also more than OK. Location is nice and quite. Hope it is getting better.

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Merlin Champagne By Curtis Shuey on 22 January 2009

House we rented was nice. Merlin did not do a very good job at maintaining the facilities. Workers were very nice and helpful.

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Beijing Riviera By Broekhoven Dirk on 15 January 2009

Beijing Riviera is a well managed complex with a lot of facilities.

Located at the outsite the 5th ring you can enjoy some country site still being near the city.

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Blue Castle By Richard Burger on 14 January 2009

Not the worst place to live in Beijing - apartment was comfortable and quiet. No complaints.

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China Central Place By Yasuhito Shimizu on 14 January 2009

Very good at living condition like buying foods,restaurants, transportation, taxi availability..., however many things are expensive at that area... I strongly recommend this apartment if budget and work location is acceptable. In addition, French bread shop inside China Central Place is very very delicous!

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Yosemite By Lars M. Jensen on 13 January 2009

We have lived in Yosemite C section for almost 3 years. Only 3 months in one house and the rest, since June 2006 in a C5 semi detatched and we have enjoyed it very much. Having a good landlord is the most important. We have such today. We moved into C section whilst many houses were still under construction. Today the section seems pretty filled up. We chose Yosemite because of the building stile, which, depending on the interior, can be very light and open. Quality of the houses again depend on the owner, so watch out that the necessary repairs have been done before you move in. The fundamental construction is not the best and there has been some issues with flooding of basements in the rainy season, but big canals have now been digged in all street. This will undoubedly help. The basements can also get humid in the summer and a dehumidifier (and a strong one) is essential. Management office is after a slow start getting better. Still quite some language issues for us with no major Chinese skills. But when we ask for assistance, the Management Office is quick to show up, although solving the issue may take longer. The Clubhouse is good and active to make arrangements. Very good Gym and both indoor and outdoor pool - nice. Many families with children live here as just opposite to ISB. A Jenny Luo shop just outside the gate. Otherwise short distance to day to day stores and restaurants. Security at the gate is reasonable ok, but the young security guards in the streets do not really interfere in late evening noice and construction during weekends. Fortunately less and less construction. All in all we have been very happy living here. The surroundings are good and all is easily accessible, but watch out for the individual property construction standards and repairs.

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East Lake Villas By A de Ryckel on 12 January 2009

East Lake Villa is a very good complex. We have lived in a villa for around 2 years. Our opinion...

Strengths: very very good location, good services, lot of families and kids, Playground, swimming pool etc, Jenny Lou & French Bakery in the complex. All of this make East-Lake-Villa a very convenient and nice place to live.

Weaknesses: relatively high price and dark. Yes - for same budget, you will probably find out appartments/villa's with more light and space.

For the one speaking French, there is at East-Lake a large French-speaking community.

Good luck!

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Beijing Riviera By John and Cherie Brennan on 10 January 2009

We lived in Beijing Riviera (phase 3) for 3 years, 1 year in a "D" type and 2 in a "A" type. We found it a very good place to live and quite convient to both downtown (airport express extrance is just outside the complex), and Pinnacle Plaza. Despite being an older complex the houses are in good condition, and Maple Place (the landlord) was professional and easy to deal with. There is excellent access to schools and plenty of places for pets including 2 dog parks.

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Lane Bridge By Nicky S on 09 January 2009

We have lived in Lane Bridge since August 2008. We chose it because it is the closest compound to the city.At first we has some problems with our house, the biggest problems being the smell of the drains, but it has been resolved.
The community is very friendly, with organized walks and a community website.
There is a smart modern Clubhouse with an indoor heated pool and an uptodate exercise room, with good quality equipment. Most of the staff speak English. We can buy electrcity whenever we like, however gas can only be purchased on a Wednesday, so you have to watch the meter.
There is a Jenny Lou Supermarket, Subway, Dominos and Annies within walking distance. We don't have a Shuttle Bus, but you can use the bus from nearby Riviera. The bus goes to the Lido.
The houses are designed like town houses, with 4 floors. Ours feels spacious enough for us with our Teenagers!
Overall I am happy in our Compound, and would recommend it to families with children going to WAB or to schools in the city.

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Park Apartments By Barrie Howard on 09 January 2009

Park Apartments was a fantastic complex in an ideal location next to Chaoyang Park and within walking distance to Sanlitun.

I lived in my apartment for alittle over 2 years. Staff was very friendly and accommodating. Facilities were magnificent and well maintained.

The quality of construction (I had a wall replastered 3 times) was not the best but the management was quick to repair if needed.

The complex had many different nationalities living in the building. While the kids living in the apartments ran around the lobby much (and could be noisy), with only 2 apartments on every floor, it was quiet.

I would highly recommend this complex to large or small families.

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Yosemite By Steve Macbeth on 08 January 2009

We lived at Yosemite C section for a little over 18 months. From 2007 through 2008.

The quality of construction is quite good, it is a little hit and miss though, each unit has its own standard, the place we had was OK.

We had many problems with HVAC in our place, which I think is quite common through-out Beijing/China. The systems are very complex and difficult to get balanced, once working properly they can be very finicky. This was definitely one of the most frustrating parts.

The club house is very nice looking, with great amenities, but the management company is a little clueless. They keep making random changes without any clear direction. I think that thinks will likely get better as they get more feedback and settle in, but it has taken a long time to see any progress.

The spa is amazing, although was closed for renovations when we left in summer of 2008, I assume it is opened again. The prices were a little high for Beijing standards, but the service and facilities were great.

We really enjoyed living in Yosemite and after extensive searching in Beijing think that it is definitely one of the A housing complexes.

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River Garden By A Oliver on 07 January 2009

We have lived at River Garden for four years and highly rate this thriving, family friendly compound in Shunyi.

It's well established with a friendly and experienced management office, few communication difficulties, any problems reported are efficiently dealt with and followed up with a customer service call. A good point to note is that if you run out of gas or electricity, you can buy at any time as they are open 24 hours. Security staff at the gate and around the compound.

The Clubhouse has been extended somewhat recently with the addition of an ice rink to go along with its many other facilities – gym, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness studio, outdoor tennis courts, squash court, on-site ‘Jenny Lou’ supermarket, restaurants, hairdresser, spa, nail salon, ATM, ‘Chaterhouse’ bookshop, ‘Sequoia’ coffee shop plus a Chinese pharmacy. A shuttle bus service is offered to Lido and downtown with some shopping trips and excursions. The Clubhouse and pool area are looking a little dated in comparison with some newer compounds, but are functional and clean.

We are happy with our house, the quality and finishings here vary and are dependent on your individual landlord. We opted for gas fired centrally heated radiators in addition to the standard ‘hot air’ heating system. Be aware if you choose a house type with a high lounge ceiling, it can be difficult to heat. All houses have fireplaces in the main lounge, a real plus point for the cold Beijing winter! Many houses have been modified to give extra living space in the form of a sun lounge but this does reduce the garden size.

Within easy walking distance are Pinnacle Plaza and EuroPlaza shopping areas with many services including Beijing United clinic, dentists, supermarkets, shops and restaurants.

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Beijing Golf Palace By E Hsu on 07 January 2009

Beijing Golf is a small, intimate residential complex. All of the units face the Chaoyang Golf Course, and it's very quiet, which is a rarity in this bustling city. We love to look out our windows and see open space. When the windows are open on one of those few blue sky days, its nice to hear birds chirping instead of traffic. There is a nice path surrounding the complex and the management company spends lots of time landscaping every spring to make it a beautiful outdoor environment.

The management company is Chinese, but they have been responsive to all of our needs, and although their English is not perfect, they do try. Our security staff are exceptional and will send luggage, groceries or anything else up to your apartment door if you need help. The entire complex is kept in great condition, and is very clean.

A smaller complex has its pros and cons. You rarely need to wait for an elevator, and it never feels crowded. In fact, sometimes you won't even see a neighbor all day. This means if you have kids, there aren't as many kids running and playing around - it's more like 10 than 50 in other complexes. Also since its a small complex, the gym is small, but is furnished with all of the highest-quality equipment, and it is rarely busy.

The apartments themselves are nice. The decor is more of a European than an American style, with lots of stone/marble work. Large living and dining area, with an open kitchen with sliding doors in some units. A few things to look out for: Each apartment may be different since they are all individual landlords, so you may need to look around at different units. The decor could be over the top in certain units. Closet and storage space can be limited too.

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