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It was our first romantic getaway after our first daughter was born. Therefore we were planning for something different, but also something to spoil ourselves. We were not stingy on the budget but it has to be something good. Thats why despite of the very expansive price, we still choose the Banyan Tree Lijiang. Believe it, for what we paid, we could have stayed at the luxurious villas in bali pampered by their first class service..
Here are a few memorable things that is still in my mind after 2 years:
1. Driver was LATE for the airport pick up
2. We ordered the Seafood BBQ course at their western style restaurant charging USD 100 each. The prawns on the cocktail was BAD. I threw up immediately and asked the waiter. Without apologizing, he went to the kitchen and check w the chef. The response was that the prawns were frozen. All they did was offer to replace with some grilled prawns. I am not sure if this is to force me to just forget the whole thing or what because with that taste of bad prawns in my mouth, i could not eat any more seafood.
3. Getting tired of chinese food and getting literally sick of the western restaurant, we ordered a pizza for room service the other day. The pizza arrived... looked like those frozen microwave stuff that i see in the supermarket. It was soggy in the middle. I am not sure if this is what i expect from a 6 star hotel's menu...
4. We joined the private tour which charged almost 100USD per person. It does not include any food or raincoat or any first aid. We end up eating at local restaurants and we were soaking wet by the time we get back to the hotel as we got caught in the rain and our SLK camera is ruined. We have joined other private tours from other hotels before and for what we were paying, we were definitely getting rip off.
5. They clean the room anytime they want with no regards of our privacy. They never asked what time we wanted the clean up (which is typical in any 5 star hotels). The 4 seasons that we stayed we never bumped into the clean up staff.
6. We tried to complain many times during our stay. unfortunately, our opinions or discontent is not what they care. For the first several days when we express our discontent, we were brushed off by the staff who did not have good command in english. at the very last day, i have to insist to speak to someone on the supervisor level and the response is that "its china, we are trying hard to train up the staff". but when the customer is paying for such an expansive holiday, i dont expect to be a experimental rat. i want to be pampered.
After all, this whole trip is a big disappointment. when benchmark against the 6 star resorts like ritz carlton, the 4 seasons in bali and the six senses group, it is a even bigger disappointment.
I stayed 3 nights at Banyan Tree Lijiang and was greatly impressed by the lovely hotel and location. Everything about the hotel such as the architecture, rooms, design and grounds were almost perfect.
Major problem I had was sleeping with the pillows- They were too soft and when I asked for harder ones the first night, housekeeping sent pillows that were rock hard, flat and larger than usual. The next night, new pillows were brought but these were again very hard (described as medium) and of the same awkward size. For the price of the hotel, they should have better choice of pillow or a pillow menu like some of the US hotel chains. The wireless internet in room was also dreadfully slow and not up to scratch
Stayed at the Banyan Tree in September.By far the best hotel I have stayed in.Excellent staff,nothing is too much trouble.Excellent food and service.Travellers cheques exchanged easily.stunning views over the lake.10 minutes walk to lijiang old town,a really nice chinese village,stunning at night.the spa is excellent,I would go back again & again.
Lijiang is beautiful. Totally beyond my expectation. I had the good fortune to stay in the Banyan Tree, Lijiang. The Hotel is divine and I was blown away by the high standards of food & beverage!
One will never think to find man's simplest comfort food in this remote location of China. Crispy bacon, hot fresh aromatic coffee served with warm milk, freshly baked croissant, well-seasoned grilled-right salmon, I could go on.
The hotel is light-stoned wall, teamed with plenty of chinese bamboos, weeping willows and water features exudes a peaceful landscaped and with the jade snow mountain as it's backdrop. Every photographer's dream.
The people of Lijiang is friendly, and helpful. The place and air were clean too. Definitely a must go destination.
Banyan Tree is a beautiful resort with breathtaking views but there are major service issues. One night at dinner in the dining room we waited over an hour to get served the glass of wine we had ordered and two hours to be served the first course of our dinner.
Changing money was also a problem. When we were there they were not set up for cashing travelers' checks. It was a real pain.
Laptops are available for guests to use free of charge but the connection is some of the slowest dial-up I have ever encountered.
We were on a tour and had requested king rather than twin beds. At Banyan Tree we were given a villa with a king bed, but the bed platform and reading lights were all set up for twin beds. I would rather have dealt with twin beds--at least then we could have read in bed and not wacked myself on the edge of the platform!
We were in China for three weeks and mailed postcards by buying stamps from our hotels' reception desk and asking them to mail the cards for us. The only cards that didn't arrive were the ones mailed from the Banyan Tree! And they charged us more for stamps than any other hotel in china!!!
We spent 3 nights in Banyan Tree Lijiang in late March 2007. The villas were very "banyan tree" (e.g. they place electric blankets underneath mattresses for extra comfort if needed) and we enjoyed the outdoor whirlpool very much (although the water temperature could have been hotter given the outside temperature).
Although the food in the Chinese restaurant was mediocre at best, their in-room breakfast is worth mentioning in particular as it exceeded our expectation. We didn't and couldn't go to the breakfast room coz we had to leave early (0630) to catch a flight. They prepared and delivered our breakfast slightly earlier than the scheduled opening hour of the kitchen which was impressive. The tray was also full of food ranging from fruits, boiled eggs, congee to cereals and toast.
However, some of the staff were rather green and lacked expertise in what goes on both within and outside the hotel. This could be because they were young and not locals (they have staff from Thailand, Taiwan and other developing countries).
The hotel is also quite far away from city centre which means we had to take taxis everywhere we went. Although the hotel staff was very helpful and would call taxis for ius, the taxis often took a long time to arrive which could be annoying at times.
All in all, Lijiang is worth visiting and the hotel is worth staying at.
A quite sublime architectural world awaits inside the Banyan Tree doors. This is a hotel like none other, with wonderful spacious rooms, each with a view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The hotel has tremendous attention to room details including heated shower area floors and toilet floors in the winter where the temperature even in March when we went can be in the low single digits in the evening.
Each room's courtyard was a private recluse, where one could have written an epic poem or simply sit with a loved one to talk about anything. The air is clean and pure and a far cry from almost any major city in China.
There are two disappointments however. For a resort of this billing, the food is good but not excellent. The second issue was the Spa where the masseuses need to undergo further training, especially for the type of prices that they charge. In addition, Banyan Tree should get rid of its practice where it cites a 60 minute massage but in reality the massage is 30 minutes and you have 30 minutes in their relaxation areas which is time you pay for but where no one is actually doing any spa treatments on you physically. This to me is a bit of a con job and thus impacted my giving a full five stars to the resort.
If they fix this practice, this is certainly a gem of a resort to stay at.
We stayed in a Deluxe Pool Villa. It was set up as follows: you go through a locking gate into your individual yard area. From there, you enter your villa through large sliding glass doors leading into the bedroom. The king size bed was extremely comfortable, and there was a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows behind it. You could draw wooden panels across those windows to adjust the incoming light however you want. To the right of the bed was a small study with a desk, cushioned bench, small table, and a console containing the minibar and tv. To the left of the bed was the dressing area and bathroom. The closets were spacious and there was one for each of us. The shower floor was made of heated slate, which was much appreciated on the cold mornings. All of the furniture was upholstered in richly colored raw silk, and the entire villa interior was soothing and comfortable.
The pool was at the front of our yard area, and it had a lounger on each side of it. It was never warm enough during our stay to lounge out there, but I did go in the pool one night as it was snowing. It was glorious to lay there in the hot water, gazing up at the stars and the falling snow flakes.
Breakfast at Ming Yue was tasty and they served foods on a rotating schedule so that even if you ate there day after day, you would still get a variety. We ate dinner at Bai Yun as well and found that the foods on the "local specialties" section of the menu were the best. We had a dish of seasonal mushrooms that was incredible, and the Yunnan ham was delicious.
We went to the spa one day to have massages. Our massage therapists were Thai and did Thai massage for us, although the spa offers other types of massage as well (nothing specifically Chinese, though).
The hotel staff were excellent when it came to calling for taxis and organizing excursions for us. We took a guided tour of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (unfortunately, the weather was bad and we were unable to ascend to the top) and our guide also brought us to see Impression: Lijiang (very good) and took us to meet several Naxi people who let us see their farms and homes.
The old town of Lijiang is a very short and easy taxi ride, and we never had a problem catching a ride either to the town or back to the hotel. I was very surprised to discover that the old town is a bit of a party zone at night, so if you like a quiet night's sleep, the Banyan Tree is a great choice because it's outside of town.
This Banyan Tree, upon arrival, is simply one of the most inviting properties in the world. The individual villas are exquisite. They are efficient and extremely clean. The views are simply beyond belief, and the joy of having your own private garden with a hot tub nearby is in a few words very enjoyable. The glorious mountains in the distance are inspiring.
My fiance' went crazy over her treatment in the spa, loving every minute with praise everlasting for the staff. I truly enjoyed every aspect of the stay, except I felt a little uncomfortable as the only Meguoren in the property at the time. A wonderful place - and for what you pay - a great deal.
I have spent the same amount of money in Shanghai, only to be supremely disappointed. This Hotel made a very memorable impression - and I shall never, ever forget staying as a guest.
Delightful . . . wonderful . . . I had to leave to get back to reality. This place is truly unique - incomparable - great place to rest.
We spent xmas 2007 at the Banyan Tree Lijiang. My mother, sister and my fiancee and I stayed in two deluxe garden villas. The weather was very cold, around 8-12 degrees celcius.
Pros: great villas, great service, great comfortable cool weather.
Cons: not much to do in Lijiang, recommend no more than 3 days.
Hotel: fantastic service all around, they go the extra mile to try and meet all customer's needs. Food was pretty good, there really are only 2 restaurants. The Chinese restaurant is spectacular, and western restaurant is good too.
Complaints: I disliked the xmas set dinner - it was about US$100 per person which is not a problem, but the service was slow, food was cold and it was not the same set menu as had been advertised.
We recommend this hotel to others, its obviously not for those who want to go to the beach, sit in hot weather, although I'm sure the spring/summers would be nice. Lijiang itself is pretty decent, and it's not too crowded.
Happy to answer questions or thoughts. Feel free to hit us up.
We live in Shanghai and travel pretty extensively in China. Not only was the property beautiful, with an amazing view of the snow mountain, the service was impeccable. Ask for a villa at the front row with full view of the snow mountain. It is such a joy to wake up each morning staring at the snow mountain. The rooms are well thought through, down to the details and the bed has a wonderful electric heating. The bathroom is huge with the biggest bath we have ever seen. The Chinese restuarant serves good quality food, better than the western restuarnt. We had stayed 2 nights in the ancient city and 2 nights at Banyan Tree which we thought was a good mix.
As a gift to my parents, we decided to give them two nights over Christmas at the Banyan Tree Lijiang. We were all staying somewhere else, and when I went to the hotel directly (which is 20 mins from the city), they miraculously had one villa available. It was superb. I had informed them it was my mother's birthday, so when my parent's arrived, they found their room beautifully and tastefully decorated, with flowers and leaves spelling 'Happy Birthday' on the bed, a complimentary bottle of wine and a birthday cake. Fresh fruit and a real gingerbread house were thrown in for Christmas. What style!
The villa's themselves are all one would ever need, the Jacuzzi is blazing hot (very nice when it's freezing outside), and the view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is spectacular as is the rain shower.
The staff could not be friendlier: they all addressed us by name (even us, the 'kids' when we visited our parents). The Spa massage therapist even worked longer to accommodate my mom: we had wanted to offer her a massage (the Spa is featured in Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List 2007), but they were fully booked. But when they learned it was her birthday, they offered to do one ‘after hours’!
We had a spectacular 8-course Christmas Eve dinner in the Western restaurant, where another birthday cake was brought out. The Chinese restaurant is excellent as well, but seems to cater only to Chinese which is a pity! The breakfast buffet is pricy, but very diverse.
In all, a magnificent luxurious stay. The attention to detail and friendliness of the staff is unrivalled, and made it a very memorable stay for all of us.
Booked a Winter Spa promotion package with Banyan which includes 2 nights at Lijiang and 2 nights at Ringha (Zhongdian), for our honeymoon.
Prior to checking in to Banyan Lijiang, we did a hike up Tiger Leaping Gorge (stayed in old town and 1 night in Tea Horse Guesthouse on top of the gorge), and was so looking forward to a relaxing spa and stay at Banyan.
The bad experiences we encountered:
1) Hotel pickup from Old Town - despite 2 calls to Banyan Tree to pick us up at a specific landmark in Old Town (water wheel), they failed to do so. Instead, we were told to drag our luggages and our weary legs (after our 2 days hike) to the Old Town carpark where the driver was "waiting" for us.... disappointing service for the price we had to fork out for this resort.
2) Spa... despite booking a package which includes a free spa for 2...and discounted price for ala-carte spa treatment...we were told by BT staff that we had no spa entitlements under our package!! Despite sending them the url page describing the package we had booked (at their request), they insisted on witholding our entitlement. Only after calling our travel agent back in our country did our travel agent manage to confirm our spa entitlement (note, we had to follow up on this ourselves, BT Lijiang left the matter closed). By then we are already in Ringha.
We felt Banyan Lijiang was extremely inflexible in their handling of the matter -despite knowing that we were on our honeymoon, and after having obtained details of our travel package. Not once did they consider any alternative except to say no - extremely disappointing service from a resort that prides themselves on service quality. Their inaction effectively ruined our honeymoon stay at BT Lijiang. Not to say we were left to nurse our aching limbs on our own.
BUT the story does not end here!! In Ringha, when we checked with the reception on our spa package, we were told that we only have a free spa for one person!! Ridiculous as this is our honeymoon trip, and despite paying for the "Winter Promotion" which rightly includes spa for 2!! Again there is poor communication between staff at both resorts.
All in all, despite luxurious resort facilities, the experience leaves much to be desired from Banyan Tree. We will think twice before ever staying at another BT resort again.
This is probably the most beautiful hotel we've stayed in. The pool villa was stunning, with a breathtaking view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Staff were invariably polite and accommodating. We were however, disappointed by several instances where hotel staff did not inform us of extra charges for various things. Repeat visitors to Lijiang would not need to be told, but as it was our first trip to Lijiang the hidden charges that we not warned about meant several times we had to call the hotel on our mobile and check that we weren't being ripped off.
For example, the hotel booked us a limousine and bought tickets to the "Impression.Lijiang" show at the Jade Dragon Mountain National Park (which we highly recommend, by the way). The front desk staff collected 260 yuan per person for the tickets, but neglected to tell us that we would be charged an extra 80 yuan per person to enter the national park, and another 80 yuan for an entrance ticket to the Dayan Old Town, which we were visting after the show. When asked to pay at the entrance to the park, we had to call the hotel and check that it was indeed kosher. So what we were told would cost 260 yuan per person ended up costing 420 yuan. Not a lot of money at all, but the additional hassle was offputting.
One night we asked the front desk to book us a cab to Dayan Old Town again as we wanted to have dinner there, but we were not told that the cabbie would charge a surchage of 15 yuan, double what was shown on the meter. Again, we had to call the hotel and check that we weren't being swindled.
I booked a back massage at the spa and I was asked whether I wanted a 60 minute or 90 minute massage. I said 60 minutes, only to be told when checking in that the massage was actually only 30 mins, with 30 mins of "relaxation time". On the spot I changed it to 90 mins. Initially they wouldn't allow it (although I was quite happy to pay the extra), but relented after I explained why and threatened to complain.
Our transfer from Lijiang to Ringha Banyan Tree was arranged when we checked in, and we requested a stopover at Tiger Leaping Gorge, but the staff neglected to tell us that there would be a US$84 surcharge for the extra stop.
All of the above happened during a two-night stay.
Don't get me wrong, the staff were pleasant, helpful and friendly, but they don't think ahead as a rule and the added hassle was not what one would expect when paying above-five-star rates. Money was not a problem, but being constantly surprised by people asking for extra money was. It would have made a world of difference to be told beforehand.
And language is not an issue as I speak Mandarin.
The Banyan Tree Lijiang and Ringha hotels are unbelievably comfortable and clean.
My husband and I were very truly impressed by the professionalism and yet understanding attitude of the staff
All of these BT values were magnified when my husband was down with altitude sickness in Shangri-la and all the staff from BT Ringha extended their helping hands without hesitation. They were fast, efficient and accommodating. We were impressed to see that despite the fact that it was 3 in the morning, all of them were still wide awake, polite and smiling!
We were transported down to BT Lijiang in the wee hours in the morning by BT car, accompanied by a lady officer and were pleasantly surprised to hear repeated assurance from the driver and her. In BT Lijiang, we were again very happy to know that our room was upgraded and check-in process was quick. Most importantly, we were pleasantly taken aback when BT waived off room and airport transfer surcharges despite that the fact that we were the ones who changed our plans. What more can we ask for?
I must also mention that the little surprises that BT gave us to celebrate our wedding anniversary were very sweet! Little gifts everyday was something that we looked forward to when we return to our hotel. We felt very much pampered.
The other thing is I have never had such a good massage in my spa experiences and the therapist, atmosphere and cleanliness standard in BT Spa was superb!
1 thing though: The garden villa is bigger and nicer than the pool villa.
This is likely the best hotel at which my wife and I have stayed over the past 50 years. It is quite incredible with the beautifully appointed individual villas in private gardens surrounded by a wall and blessed with a 24 hour personal hot tub. The bar and restaurants are lovely, the service was incredibly good - we were pampered. Internet use was free.
Lijiang itself and the countryside is great but it really enhanced our visit to be able to stay at such a place. What a classy operation this Singaporean-owned enterprise delivers. I am delighted to hear that they will be adding several new locations to their chain.
We spent 3 nights in the Pool Villa, unit 227, during the last week of October 2007. Everything was great except for the pool! The hotel advertised that they keep the temperature of the pool at 28 Celsius but I could not stay in the pool for more than a minute before my teeth started to clatter, like a Gatling gun, from the cold.
Beautiful room with a magnificent unobstructed view of Jade Dragon Mountain. The bathtub was huge but filled up quickly and the hot water was limitless.
Service was good in general but the check out procedure was a big pain. Took over 45 minutes to check out because the hotel did not have the proper booking information from their Bangkok office where I had made the reservation. They were charging me for stuff which was included in my package and had to showed the check out staff proof of the email confirmation and information before I could settle the bills. Do bring your booking information for proof with you and be aware that they will bill you in RMB even thought you were quoted your rate in USD.
The Chinese restaurant was very good but the food of the Western restaurant were definitely not up to standard.
Overall I would stay here again without hesitation but would opt for a Garden Villa room instead because the pool was not usable.
My husband and I booked 3 Banyan Tree Lijiang villas for 3 days 2 nights to round of our trip to Yunnan with our elderly but feisty parents.
We are not disappointed. Banyan Lijiang met all our expectations. (We have previously been to 2 other Banyan Tree resorts before as well as their sister Angsana resorts). We booked the Deluxe Garden Villa package. Our parents were more than pleasantly surprised with the 'intimate moments' package which saw rose petals beautifully strewn all over our room and beds as well as a bottle of red cabernet sauvignon for our enjoyment.
The villas were beautiful and clean. Our parents had fun in their heated jacuzzi. Just some cobwebs at the roof area of the external outdoor entrance of my parents' villa which were a little scary at times as the spider was quite big.
Unfortunately, while we were there, it rained every single day. But we enjoyed ourselves in spite of that.
We also like it that there is a beautiful little antique village called Shuhe just 15 minutes walk from the resort. It is a pretty, albeit a little muddy because of the rain, walk there and is a great alternative to the over-commercialized Dayan old town in Lijiang.
The service was impeccable on all counts, from our drivers to the room service staff. But I would like encourage Banyan Tree to keep constant upgrading of their staff so that the standard will not drop.
We loved the spa too as the therapists were gentle and friendly.
The food at Ming Yue was a little disappointing as the chef didnt know how to do a proper Thai green curry that was on the menu. Both my mom and I discarded the entire bowl of green curry and ordered ribs to share instead. Perhaps we can suggest that the menu should reflect more dishes that the chefs can do well.
We had dinner at Baiyun. It is a beuatiful restaurant and the Chinese food is more than decent.
We will definitely go back to Banyan Tree Lijiang again and make a trip to Banyan Tree Ringha as well. Hoepfully, all the kinks in the Ringha resort like rats and smell will be sorted out by then.
Our parents enjoyed themselves tremendously, which was our goal and all we asked for.
This was our first stay at a Banyan Tree resort, and overall we had a great time.
The hotel is beautifully laid out, comfortable and relaxing, with attentive and friendly staff.
On the downside, there were a few minor irritants eg smell from one of the showers probably caused by poor ventilation, locks that didnt work and couldnt be fixed, weeds growing in the courtyard garden. None of these had a big negative impact on our enjoyment, and all are pretty straightforward to fix.
There are some language challenges with the staff, but everyone was genuinely friendly and trying hard to do the right thing.
We had one meal at one of the hotel restaurants which was enjoyable without being superb.
At the price, its difficult to say that it was value for money but equally I'd guess that the charges are the going market rate for this type of hotel experience.
This was the first time we ever stayed at a Banyan Tree. We have stayed at many 5 star hotels and none were as nice in that you feel you are part of the overall environment, yet your experience is one of luxury. The villa's blend with the older surroundings, but are beautiful, serene private environments, a refreshing change from the crowded streets of Lijiang. I must thank Tripadvisor for our learning of the Banyan Tree. Being our first trip to Lijiang, I went to Tripadvisor to get advice as to where to stay and found mention of the Banyan Tree. I think the reason it is not listed as #1 is because not as many people stay here due to the higher price. However it is worth every penny. We ate at the Western and Chinese restaurants and both were wonderful. The staff treat you like royalty and all speak some English, with some being fluent. We have become Banyan Tree fans and look forward to when they open resorts closer to home in Mexico and the Carribean.
We stayed there for 3 nights in August 2007, after 3 nights in the Ringha Banyan Tree.
The resort is beautifully done, everything worked perfectly, until we dined in the western restaurant the last night - total disaster. My boyfriend ordered a lamb chop but what arrived was a lump of fat that couldn't be cut or penetrated by the knife despite the most persistent try. So we had to return the dish and ordered a BBQ pork ribs under the waitress' recommendation. The ribs tasted extremely average, and the corn on the side was only half cooked. We were very disappointed even though we didn't have particularly high expectation on western food in Yunnan China.
Having said that, the Chinese restaurant in the resort is brilliant. And as a whole, the resort is stunning, so stunning that it makes you only want to stay within the resort, especially when the Lijiang city itself is a very mundane place, including the oldtown, which is nothing more than hundreds of identical shops, guesthouses and restaurants full of touriests.
P.S. If you have time, please go to the nearby Ringha BT (BT has car transfer between the 2 resorts, about 5 hour drive through picturesque mountain and river). Ringha BT is a very unique experience where you get to stay in villas converted from local Tibetan houses.
How does one even compare Banyan Tree Lijiang with any other hotels in Lijiang? As far as the luxury resort category goes, there is absolutely no contest! Banyan Tree currently enjoys an unchallenged monopoly. I would recommend it highly especially to those who want a romantic getaway and at the same time explore an exotic destination without compromising on luxury pampering.
I did not encounter any of the problems mentioned in previous reviews. English is not a problem at all. Whilst some local personnel may speak English at a slower pace, there are always other staff members from Indonesia and even Japan who are very conversant in English.
We stayed for a total of 3 nights at the pool villa in Lijiang and 2 nights at the Banyan Tree Ringha in Shangri-la (review coming soon). The villa is luxurious as to be expected from a Banyan Tree property. The villa is spacious with three different rooms, a central bedroom flanked by a sitting room on one side equipped with TV and sound system and a desk with internet connection, and a huge bathroom on the other side. The bathroom has a huge bath tub that can fit 4 obese people comfortably! The décor and architecture is delightfully chinois and we love the sliding doors in the bedroom that open up to a spectacular view of the well manicured garden and a vista of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as a backdrop. You can just lie in bed and watch the moving clouds exposing the snow capped summit of the mountain. The view alone justifies the hefty room rate! My fear is that the resort is located on flat ground and is currently surrounded by no other development but an authentic village just minutes away on foot. If other properties spring up in the immediate vicinity, that may spoil the landscape and the view from the pool villas and may even compromise on privacy. I do not know if this is something within the control of the management.
The villas in the resort are constructed in the charming style of a chinese village. There are canals with running water which lead into a central lake where a picturesque pagoda sits. You see this pagoda as you enter the property with its reflection in the water and the snow mountain looming large behind. This sets the mood for the entire resort. The villas are arranged to the left abd right of this lake. The setting provides a wonderful sanctuary to escape the crass commercialism of downtown Lijiang far the madding crowd. Don’t get me wrong. Despite the old town being full of nothing but souvenir shops, Lijiang still makes for a charming visit but your enjoyment will be all the more enhanced if you pamper yourself with a stay in this resort.
We did not try out the spa or gym so I can't comment. We did not also try the restaurants except for one occasion when we ordered the hotpot which was ceremoniously served in the garden of our villa by a personal chef. What a lovely way to spend a cold spring evening enjoying the piping hot and spicy soup which is a famous local delicacy.
The hotel arranged for all our excursions to the top of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as well as to the Tiger Leaping Gorge with a guide who speaks fluent English. We also had a comfortable ride in the hotel limousine to their other property in Ringha and asked the driver to detour to the first bend of the Yangtze River, which is a bit off the beaten track.
As a bonus, the Shuhe town, which like the main old town of Lijiang is a world heritage site, is located just next to the resort within 5 minutes walking distance. You practically have the exotic offering of Lijiang at your doorstep.
By the way when visiting the wet markets in Lijiang, we saw that practically everybody carries a woven basket like a haversack on their backs to load their shopping in. I bought 2 of those and now when I shop in the supermarkets in Singapore, I sling one of this on my back. This is an admirably eco-friendly tip I picked up from our Lijiang friends who do not need to carry a bag which reads “This is not a Plastic Bag”!.
This was my first trip to China and I was definitely very impressed by what I saw. I am sure that if I had not stayed in Banyan Tree Lijiang, my enjoyment quotient would be very different. From the reviews of other hotels in Lijiang, I am surprised that this hotel is ranked second on the list. It clearly deserves a better ranking.
I agree that Banyan Tree Lijiang seems to have solved a lot of its opening problems. We found the staff to be very pleasant and eager to
practice their English.
Best thing was the room itself, lying in bed and staring at the beautiful mountains was really lovely. We really didn't use the pool,
it was a bit cold for us. But the view and the garden were lovely.
We got a beautiful wooden box with tea samples and a notebook covered
with Tibetan fabric as gifts. I really liked that.
Food - not so good at the breakfast buffett or at the main restaurant. Decent, but not impressive. However the Chinese restaurant was very, very good. We had everything from lemon chicken
- not exactly what you would get elsewhere- to yak tendon with morels and garlic. Service is very willing but in training. Breakfast
in the garden of your villa is lovely.
Our favorite tour was when, after a throughly dissapointing excursion
to a temple and a lake where supposedly you could see birds - but not in May- our guide took us to his aunt's house in the village that
is directly behind the hotel. This was not a gimmick, the aunt was selling nothing. We just loved meeting Clark's family. They were so nice and it was really interesting seeing how they lived. I know that
in that tour they take you to a Naxi family who will feed you tea. But this was not it. I really recommend that people just walk or bike
to this village, not touristy at all, it is 10 minutes from the hotel
and just explore. I just wish I could spell correctly the name of the
village. Baisho is what I remember.
Bar is lovely and the staff tries very hard. I liked the fact that I could take my computer to the bar or the library and had free
I also had a wonderful massage and found the spa to be excellent.
PLEASE ignore what the others have written. We just got back (we were there Jan 2-6th) and NOT ONLY do the staff speak English (the Head manager Maximillian is Austrian and was lovely) they are the most kind, attentive and warm people! When we walked in, the view of the Mountain looming over the lake on the resort, took our breath away.
The villa's are beautiful, each with its own heated jet pool which we used every evening. The food in the restaurant was great, althuogh the restarants could do with a more cozy vibe. The room was very well heated as well as having heated mattreses. In fact we were too hot in the middle of the night (and I am always cold!) and at such a high altitude too much heat sucks the oxygen away.
The villa is next to a charming village called Suhe that we almost likeed better than Lijiang. The location is about a 5 minute drive from Lijiang and we were hhappy not to be in the centre of the town as it was a litle Disney like- too many shops and peope peddling things. Most weren't even the Naxis. BUT lovely at night.
My husband can be very fussy about hotels and we have stayed at Aman resorts as well as other high end hotels and this ranked amongst them- especially taking into consideration we were in Communist China! We also went to the Ringha property which was stunning as well. We truly felt sad when we left!
As other reviewers have noted, the hotel/villa heating is a little inadequate in winter. On the plus side, early-mid Dec is an execellent time to visit LiJiang. Clear blue skies, crisply clean and cold air, and less of a crowd at the tourist spots (although the now ubiquitous Chinese tour groups are inescapable). Gorgeous villas, and the resort restaurants offer excellent food, especially for those not "adventurous" enough to dine at local "restaurants" in DaYan or ShuHe old towns. Impeccable service all round, as befitting a Banyan Tree. The resort is a little quiet this time of year though. If you're in LiJiang for the first time, do check out the Zhang Yi Mou outdoor theatre "Impressions of LiJiang", which is truly spectacular.
stayed here for 2 nights. Location is a bit outside of the old town but really only a 5 min ride away, our villa had a beautiful view of Yulong Xueshan (jade dragon snow mountain), food was good, decor was very elegant, beds were extremely comfortable, we stayed here & at the BT Ringha (& my friends loved Lijiang more, BT Ringha was too "authentic" an experience for them), I also felt that BT Lijiang was a better experience but only because the hotel was cleaner vs. Ringha
the rooms heating system does not work very well, so be prepared to sleep w/layers of clothes on!
When I first arrived at the BanyanTree in Lijiang, I thought that it was possibly the nicest place I have ever stayed. The rooms look amazing - as is evident from their website. And the outdoor hottubs are absolutely wonderful. But they are still ironing out quite a number of teething problems associated with a new hotel - and this was evident on a number of fronts. Whilst all new hotels have teething problems - it is the way that they go about fixing them that marks whether they are a good hotel or not. And this was most definitely where the BanyanTree in Lijiang fell well short.
Firstly, it appears that the heating they have installed in the villas may not always be adequate for those planning to go over winter. With snow on the mountains behind the hotel, in Winter, it gets fairly cold overnight. On my first night there - despite having the heat turned up to full, I could not sleep because of the cold. To make matters worse, when I asked the staff to look at the heating the following day, they either did not believe that it wasn't working or didn't understand what I was saying. I had to insist three times that they do something about it, and even then, their response was to bring a thermometer to the room to measure the temperature - I think with the aim of proving to me that the room was not cold. When it showed that the temperature was only 16 degrees inside (in the middle of the day) they finally relented and bought in some external heaters. I'd say it could have just been a problem with my room - but on the morning I checked out I heard another guest saying that they had been kept awake all night from cold as well.
Secondly, as previous guests have noted, even the English-speaking staff don't speak English well. This is fine when everything runs smoothly - but if there is a problem, and you need to explain it to someone, then this can be very frustrating.
And finally - and this may be nitpicking - but late at night, when you've been travelling all day, and all you want to do is turn off the lights and go to sleep - if you can't find the light switches, this is also frustrating. There were 9 light switches in the bathroom alone - in the end I gave up trying to find all of them and just went to sleep with the lights on.
As previous travellers have said - if this were just a local resort, then I would say that the hotel was excellent. But as a BanyanTree resort - your expectations are somewhat raised - and I have to say that overall I was disappointed. The hotel is beautifully designed - but with just a little bit extra on the service side of things, it could have been so much more.
I stayed in this unique hotel in August 2006 and I strongly disagree with the criticism in previous e-mails. The staff was wonderful, my villa was gorgeous and the food was very good. By far the best hotel to stay at in Lijiang. I think that many of the problems that previous guests stated in their e-mails have been rendered, if they were truly problems during the opening month's of this property.
Stayed at this resort in July for four days and was very impressed with the design, views, accomodations and staff. Much of what was said in the previous review has been fixed or corrected. Not everything is 100% yet mind you...there are still flies in the summer but with a little care you can avoid this problem. There was still construction and yes only one restaurant was open as well but the service was excellent, the staff spoke English well and overall we had a wonderful time and will return in the future. I would wait to visit this resort however until it is 100% operational which should be sometime in August. I am sure by then any of the remaining construction related issues will be resolved. There were many workers busily trying to complete the resort but unlike the last reviewer's experience we were not affected by their presence as they are mostly on the periphery of the hotel.
I am not sure anyone needs the pool villa since the jet tub is wonderful and is all you need after a long day in Old Town. It was a wonderful feeling to come back to our villa after walking the streets of Old Town or touring Jade Dragon Mountain. Coming back to the villa felt like coming back to our home. The warm aroma of burning oils, the romantic lighting, the rose petals on the bed and music playing in the room was something we looked forward to each evening. Banyan Tree has done an excellent job with this resort in Lijiang and I highly recommend it.
Stayed here in May 2006 during Chinese Golden week.. The hotel was open after a soft opening since March, and grand opening was scheduled for around August. Overall, we were quite dissappointed with the hotel. Firstly when we arrived, we noticed teams of workers around still doing construction work. The reception area was still not completed yet and there were exposed electrical wires running around the beams and ceilings.
At first look, our Pool Villa was very nice and the decor quite interesting. However, during our stay, we discovered many problems with the villa. The first thing we noticed was that the floor tiles in the bathroom were heated, which was a nice touch. But the problem was that it was too hot. It was nearly impossible to walk around the bathroom barefoot, as you would get burnt by the tiles.. we had to wear our slippers whenever walking around, and there was no way to turn the floor heating down or off. Other things that we noticed were that the cold water took a while to turn cold. When you turn on the cold water, scalding hot water came out for about a minute before it starts to turn cold. We suspect that the cold water pipes ran next to the underfloor heating. Since we were there at the beginning of summer the rainy seasons, there were A LOT of flies and bugs around. The hotel provided one of those purple bug zapper things, but it was pretty useless and throughout our stay, the bugs stayed inside the villa. Besides being inside the Villa, they loved swimming in the pool and because of that, while the pool looked nice, we didn't get to use it at all during our stay.
While those are just some minor issues on the hardware side, our biggest gripe was to do with security. Our Pool Villa was located on the perimeter of the the resort complex, with a view of the jade snow dragon mountains, which was very stunning. However, right outside the wall of our villa were just farm areas, and anyone could have walked right up to our villa and climbed over the wall, which was no higher than 6 foot tall. I did not see any security cameras or any type of security measure to prevent people from doing that. Besides that, regular access to the villa complexes were through a flimsy pair of wooden doors which were held together by a $2 padlock. Without the padlock, even the wind could have blown open the doors. Access to the actual villa was not much better and the sliding doors were held together by another flimsy lock. On top of all that, there were no personal safes in the room. I brought this up with the hotel management and they said the safes would be installed soon. Needless to say, this entire setup made was very uneasy leaving our valuables inside the room, especially with construction worker all over the place (they were working even during the weekends up until midnight, I presume because they had to get the rest of the villas and facilities working before the grand opening). Of course, besides the security issue, the construction noises were also quite annoying during our stay. While we knew that the hotel was still not completely opened, we didn't think that there would be drilling and sawing from the villa next door, as well as bulldovers rolling by right outside the villa. I wish we were told this beforehand.
When we were there only one of the restaurants were open as well as the bar. We ate at the restaurant for breakfast and had one dinner there. The other dinner we opted for an in-villa BBQ inner, which was very reasonably priced. They set up a BBQ, tables and we were waited on by 2 waiters. The setup was very nice, but there were a few problems. Firstly, the outside of the villas were very dimly lit, and we could barely see what we ate. The cook also seemed to have a problem cooking, as most of the BBQ items were overcooked. We have to give credit to the waiters though, who tried very hard to bring us additional candles, but it would have just been easier if they were provided with a small electic floodlight of some sort.
Dining at the restaurant was more disappointing, and the food there was overpriced and service extremely slow. Orders were forgotten, and things like drinks took 20 minutes to arrive, ice-cream came melted, hot items on the menu came cold (turned out to be a mistake and should have been labeled as cold item). A lot of the food items sounded quite inspiring on the menu, but when it came out, it was excuted quite poorly.
Staff communication skills were horrible, with a lot of the chinese staff barely able to have a conversation in english. For example, when you call the guest services and asked a question, it was plain that they were reading some kind of script. If you asked them what time the spa hours were, they would start going on about how type of spa services they had. It was really quite frustrating sometimes. There were a few senior staff who were from banyan tree resorts around asia, but the majority of them were local chinese staff from Yunan, and they were still getting use to how things work. With a bit more training I am sure they would get better though.
Overall, I do not think I will come back to this hotel again. There's no denying that some of the views and the overall design was quite spectacular, there are a lot of problems underlying the surface. While I am sure the software side such as service and dining would improve over time, I do not think a lot of the hardware items would improve that quickly Security is a big issue, as well as some of the annoying problems with bathrooms, etc. I think the price they charge is unrealistic for the product they offer, as well as the location. You do not have to go to Lijiang if you want to go to a spa and resort. There are much cheaper, easier to get to places and higher quality places to go than Lijiang. If you go to Lijiang for the city and the scenary, you can stay at a very good hotel at a fraction of the price that the Banyan tree charges. After this stay, I felt very disappointed, and it felt like we were guinea pigs testing out a product that wasn't even remotely complete yet. While the price we paid was relatively cheaper than what they will be charging in the future when the resort is fully opened, we still couldn't help having a feeling that we were ripped off.