Chinese families offer up their homes as 'Olympic hotels'

Nick Friedell
August 4, 2008

The Beijing municipal government has given tourists another lodging option during the Olympics.

They've created the Olympic family hotel program, in which Chinese families can host visitors from other parts of the world.

The program actually started in April, and includes almost 600 families according to this story from China Daily. Tourists pay between 50-80 U.S. dollars a night.

Aside from being cheaper than a hotel, guests like Berlin's Peter Voight (far right) who "checked in" last week, chose to stay in a local house so that he could see more of the Chinese culture.

"We decided to stay in a hutong, not in a big quarter, because we want to be next to the Chinese history. We want to spend our holidays in a quiet and nice place like this. You can see the traditional Chinese architecture here."

I think this program has good intentions, and I'm all for saving money and learning more about different cultures, but there is no way I could do something like this. I would not want to be staying with a family I don't know in the middle of a foreign country where I can't speak the language.

Plus if you're staying in somebody's house outside of Beijing, I can't even imagine what the traffic would be like every day to get in and out of the city.

I do hope we see more stories about this program in the next few weeks though, because it would produce more awkward pictures like the one above.