This review is specifically for expats living in China since those are pretty much the only foreigners traveling in China presently. I stayed at the Ibis from November 24 - 27 (Tuesday - Friday).
The hotel is excellently located on Zhongshan Pedestrian Road. There are actually two entrances to the hotel, the first is on Zhongshan Road and taxis cannot drop off here. But the second entrance on Renan Alley is the taxi entrance. Take the elevator up to the second floor to check in. Ask for a map when you check in, on the flip side is a map of Gulangyu. I found all three shifts of reception staff to be very nice and helpful.
Ibis is Accor’s basic/budget hotel. The rooms are minimalist but well laid out and clean. (Hotel website phots are accurate representations of the rooms.) Bathroom toiletries include toothbrushes, toothpaste, comb, shower caps, liquid hand soap in a large pump bottle, shampoo/shower gel in a pump mechanism, and an individual container of conditioner. There are slippers, as well as tea bags and Nescafé instant 2+1 coffee. I stayed in a Memory Foam king room. My first room was a corner room on the 4th floor facing out towards Zhongshan Pedestrian Street and very large. The bed is comfortable but I don’t know that the extra for the memory foam is necessarily worth it. I moved to a different room on the 5th floor the following day and it faced out towards the alley where the taxi point is. This room was also very spacious. In the mornings, the cleaning staff opens the doors to the unoccupied rooms (presumably for inspection) so I saw the interior of numerous rooms on the Zhongshan side and they were all bright, clean, and spacious. I also saw a few of the rooms with no windows. They were also clean but the rooms are small and close. (Presumably if you don’t want to pay for a window, then room size is also a negligible factor.)
The lobby is on the second floor and there is a seating/meeting area, small bar (that I never saw anyone at), breakfast room, and small gym. The gym has a bike and treadmill along with some weight machines; I never saw anyone in it. The breakfast was more extensive than I would have expected of a budget hotel. There was coffee, soy milk, and hot milk, cereals, a salad bar, fruits, breads (western and steamed buns), boiled eggs (and sometimes fried also), vegetables. It is a dinner for breakfast sort of meal (in the Chinese way) so you can eat very heartily and is worth it at 40 RMB if you would otherwise go to one of the nearby cafes for a roll and coffee (which would cost about the same or more). Many of the room rates include the breakfast.
There is only one elevator that services the hotel so you’ll need to wait for it. However, since no one is traveling in China at present except Chinese retirees, there are no queues or crowds for anything (in Xiamen, Gulangyu, or the Fujian Tuluos). This is a western budget hotel so you should be managing your expectations. While it’s true that there are other Chinese hotels around here that might be cheaper (or provide more for the same price), I think the point of staying at the Ibis is that you know exactly what you are getting for what you are paying for and removing that layer of uncertainty of what you might be getting at a no-name Chinese hotel. I don’t really understand what people thought they were going to get paying $50 USD a night for a room in a city with generally pretty high room rates at the international hotels. (I booked through Trip.com.). I feel like I got more value for the room than expected, all things considered. I would certainly stay here again.
I will note one problem, which is temporary and nothing the hotel can do anything about. There is massive construction on Zhongshan Pedestrian Road that will run until Lunar New Year 2021 (which is February 12). On my first day, there was non-stop jackhammering right outside my window until 11:30 PM, and although that stopped, there was still other heavy construction taking place that didn’t end until 6 AM. This is the reason I moved rooms after the first night. (The front desk gave me ear plugs but that’s not enough for the jackhammering.) However, the next day/night, there was no heavy construction work taking place. The final night, the construction work commenced in the middle of the night and continued into the morning. So if booking before CNY, I would ask for a room that does not face Zhongshan Pedestrian Road (other rooms will get construction noise, but not as much.). However, once that construction is done, those rooms facing Zhongshan will have incredible views of the Pedestrian Street (and will actually be quieter since no vehicles are allowed.)
There is a travel desk associated with the hotel (but independent of the Ibis) right outside the lobby by the escalator. Ms. Xiao Hong has absolutely no idea what she’s talking about so don’t ask for her advice as it is useless, but you can book day trips through her. Ferry tickets to Gulangyu are 35 RMB but she will charge 118 RMB for hotel pick up (you’ll need to walk 5 minutes to to the designated collection point since it’s a big bus that picks up at various places), take you to the cruise terminal where you have to sit through a “free” 30 minute tea tasting, and then when you finally get to Gulangyu, the guide takes you on an informationally useless tour involving a lot of overpriced shopping. If you are able to reserve ferry tickets in advance online, then do that because it is a lot cheaper and time efficient. You do not need a tour guide for Gulangyu, just a map (use the one from the hotel or buy one for 5 RMB on the ferry or to the Organ Museum on Gulangyu where there is a tourist info desk in front of the museum and buy a map for 1 RMB plus get great advice on where to go). If you want to go to the Fujian Tulou, you can do a one day large group tour (about 30 people) for 188 RMB that will take you to Gaobei Tulou in Yongding County. Instead, pay the 1000 RMB for a private tour, which will allow you to see up to four Tulou (Hongkeng, Gaobei, Tianluokeng, and Yunshuili). Ms. Xiao Hong will tell you that Gaobei is the only Tulou worth seeing. She is dead wrong! (This was the cheapest quoted private tour I could find.)