Nice place host by chinese who did not speak english but tried to help and were after all nice. We got the best room a suite with small living room area chinese style. The area is empty nothing to do after sunset and closing of the great wall. Few places to eat around very expensive for the countryside. The night we spend was surprisingly full if movements. The hotel is next to the road, trucks passing by the whole night and day. It was definitely not the best room to get a good sleep. If you looking for a nice place upper standard is not the place. Interior rooms are cheaper and maybe better for sleeping.
The Great Wall Courtyard calls itself a hostel because there are shared rooms, but it's more like a hotel. The "dorm" which I stayed in had three side by side beds and an en suite bathroom, which came with both hand towels AND bath towels (having stayed in a lot of hostels, this seemed impressive). The rooms are nice and chilly -- perfect for the scorchingly hot summer. The beds are incredibly comfortable and are topped with squishy pillows and duvets. The common room is comfy and beautifully-decorated, the staff are very kind, it's right next to the train station and easy to find, and the food is delicious (it's pricey, but so is all the food near the wall). The icing on the cake is the location; the hostel is only one km from the wall, which means you can get up early and be on the wall all alone before the hordes of tourists arrive; I watched the sun rise over the wall both mornings I was there, and it was stunning. Oh, and the manager gave me free beer! This place is aces all around.
I stayed here for one night and it was perfect. The room was clean and the staff was more than helpful. We arrived later in the evening and even though the kitchen was closed they offered to make us a meal. Very helpful on offering a tour to hike the ruins of the Great Wall which I highly suggest doing.
This is one fantastic place to stay, 1000 m from the wall and 200 m from the train station building, 50 m from the west end of the station platform. Charming inner living room, great food, great hosts. I stayed there because it was the only place I could reserve online at walking distance from the Badaling Great Wall, and had good experiences at other youth hostels elsewhere in the world. But this one was a notch above in terms of atmosphere, food, hosts. Clean, wifi & computers available. The bed I used in a room for four men (in which I was alone) was a bunk bed as usually find in hostels, but more confortable than usual.
Regarding the travel from Beijing to Badaling, prefer the S2 train (70 min of a smooth ride from Beijng North station, 12 Yuans) over the 919 bus (24 Yuan), which will get stock into the traffic and will rather take more than 2 hours of a less confortable ride. However, be aware that not all S2 trains stop at Badaling. (I did the mistake, but fortunately, the train was stopping at Badaling on its way back from Yanqing, 15 min away.) At the Beijing North station, have the train number written on a piece of paper, otherwise it’s very difficult to be understood and they will direct you from one ticket counter to the other, doing the line again each time.
Indeed, the wall at Badaling becomes very crowded from around 8am, so my plan to sleep there and visit the wall early in the morning (it opens at 6am) and then go back to the Courtyard Hostel to have an excellent breakfast before leaving for Beijing, turned out to be a very good idea.
I was alone but would not hesitate to go there with my wife and teenagers.
The room we stayed in was really comfortable and clean, the staff were so hospitable - they invited us to join their family for a meal - the food was amazing, and the family was so friendly.
It's 15 min from the wall - would recommend staying the night if visiting the Badaling section of the wall - we were able to get an hour in before it closed (after tour buses have left) and a few hours in in he morning from 6:30 before the buses arrive. It was perfect!