We two spent 2 nights at Li River Retreat, mid-December. It was excellent, except for one thing (see below). We booked the car pick-up from Guilin Airport, and the driver was there waiting for us. It is a 90-minute, not very interesting drive, but god value for the service. Our room (Deluxe Double) was the same as shown in photos by Passion8 - nice balcony, great views, clean, but a bit small, the double bed more-or-less fills it. It also has the rooftop bar area above it - fortunately that was hardly used while we were there, but could be noisy with a lot of people up there?
Our first afternoon/evening was a delight - pleasantly warm and sunny, and we watched the sunset over the karsts from our balcony.
Next day was much colder, but we still managed a 'bamboo boat' ride up the river from Yangshuo, past the Retreat. We got in to Yangshuo fairly early that morning (about 10.30) and found the shopping hustle much reduced - in fact, quite a pleasant shopping experience: there are shops selling good, traditional textile work, as well as tourist tat.
As everyone says, the staff at the Retreat are nice and friendly - but, the 'one thing' wrong was our experience at breakfast. I ordered and had delivered promptly an 'American breakfast' including eggs and toast. My wife at the same time ordered just eggs and toast - but it never came! When she went to ask about it the first time, she was told it was on its way; but on the second time they admitted there was a problem - no bread left for toast. I must have had the last 2 pieces! After a half-hour wait with no explanation, my wife was in no mood for 'sorry', nor for any other breakfast. So that ruined the start to the day. If only they had explained straight away, we could have shared the damn last 2 pieces of toast! When we returned from Yangshuo that evening, there was a very apologetic card in our room, with two nice cakes, which we ate for breakfast on our final morning!
My husband and I stayed here mid-December 2008 for a 4 days to just get away. It was $55 per night (I don't know how Tripadvisor is coming up with $30), which we really felt was a great price for any hotel -- and especially this place with such amazing views.
I had originally planned for us to stay at Yangshuo Mountain Retreat because the photos there looked so great, but because of all the negative reviews of the staff there on Tripadvisor.com, I looked around some more and found this place -- the Li River Retreat.
The photos on TripAdvisor.com and the Retreats own website really do not do this place justice. It is an amazingly beautiful retreat -- exactly what you think a retreat should be like. It is quiet, very clean and modern and best of all are the incredible, unbelievable views from the rooms and the whole retreat site. All of the photos I am uploading are from our room or other common areas of the retreat.
The food was great and priced moderately. I think you can even check out the menu on the Retreat's website. The American breakfast is so normal, the Chinese style breakfast is good too. Some things come out funny, like a chocolate malt which is really more like lightly flavored chocolate milk, or the "orange juice" that is more like Tang with a little pulp in it; but we had a lot of the food, chinese and western (dumplings, pizza, etc.), and loved it all. I highly recommend the Chicken burger -- wow that was so good.
The staff at Li River Retreat are so, so helpful and friendly. The front desk acts as a concierge service and will get you anything you need -- tickets to a show, booking a taxi, bicycle rental, maps and directions plus honest recommendations on things to do in the area. It made it so easy.
The one thing I wish I would have planned for better, was to have someone meet us when our boat arrived (we arrived in Yangshuo on a 4-hour river cruise from Guilin -- highly recommended and about $50/person which includes a buffet). I envisioned stepping off the boat and just hailing a taxi to take us to the retreat -- but this was so far from possible. There were dozens and dozens, I might even say over a hundred salespeople yelling at and approaching us loudly to buy stuff and if I wanted a bike or a guide. Oh my gosh it was so overwhelming. Luckily, I was able to borrow a cell phone from a random person and call the retreat, they sent someone to the place we were, and we got a ride up to the retreat. It worked out, but I recommend knowing beforehand how you will get to the retreat itself. There really are not taxis to just hail in Yangshuo.
When we were nearing our port in Yangshuo, I saw a gorgeous hotel on the mountainside, and wished it had it's website listed so I could look it up. It turned out that it was our place! The Li River Retreat! Wow, this place is so great -- highly recommended -- the views from the rooms and around the retreat are breathtaking and everything you wanted to see when you went to see karsts. Enjoy your trip.
P.S. There is a lot of shopping, hustle and bustle in Yangshuo, and we did that, but I was really there for the serenity at the retreat -- i know other review talk a lot about what to do in Yangshuo. I do highly recommend the show in Yangshuo that was created by the same guy who did the Beijing Olympics. It is out of this world.
We stayed in the Li River Retreat in Nov '08 and thoroughly loved it. Situated a 15 minute walk out of Yangshou its setting in the hills give truely oustanding views of the area as well as the peace and quiet we wanted.
As this was the relaxing leg of our holiday we spent a lot of time in the hotel. The room we had was on the third floor was large with two double beds and a great view.
The hotel has free Wifi in the rooms which i found great and a computer downstairs that can be used for free. Theres a dvd player and a selection of dvds also available.
The food at the Li river retreat is great and offers a wide range of both chinese and western foods at a very reasonable price. The girls that work here spoke good English and were great with us.
I cant recommend the Li River Retreat enough, sure theres cheaper places in town but if i return to Yangshou i will definatly be returning here.
Away from the noisy city. Relaxing atmosphere. Helpful staff. We had a "Deluxe standard room" which was big and clean with a big and clean bathroom. Great views indeed.
Because it is a 20 min walk to the city (30 min to e.g. bus station), you need to rent a bike (2 euro/day).
The food is really good and comes at the same price as you would pay in the city centre. But it is much more relaxing to have dinner at the hotel.
Between 10.30 and 16.00, it can get noisy because of all the cruise boats on the river. But normally you are making a trip yourself during that time of the day!
One day the water in the bathroom was a bit muddy.
This hotel was really super!! Absolutely recommended.
Really nice location directly at the Li river. You can have breakfast while viewing the river and mountains. You can also have rooms with these nice views. Not in crowded Yangshuo itself.
Really spacious rooms
Really clean room
Delicious food. We really would like to take the cook to our home!
Nice friendly staff always willing to help
Only one small con, you have to walk a little bit before you are in the center of the yangshuo city (15 min walk). We experienced this as an advantage as the city center is very busy.
This hotel is a definite thumbs up. Depending on what you're looking for, the noisy and bustling West Street in Yangshuo town may be for you. But if you're looking for something quiet and with a sensational view, then check this one out. You can reach the property by taxi in about 3 minutes from the center of town, but there is also a bike rental just one minute down the road from the hotel. Extremely friendly staff, and they speak English. Breakfasts and other meals are served right on the terrace overlooking those funny cone shaped mountains. At night, total quiet. Just the moon, and the occasional fishermen's boat. During the day, you have to endure the never ending trail of government owned tourist river boats that seem to become a real problem in the otherwise unsurpassable tranquility of this tourist magnet. The rooms are large and offer the type of comfort one would expect during a vacation get away. Wireless internet access is included, and there is a computer down in the lobby that can be used. The hotel staff will arrange for pretty much everything you might desire.
We spent a weekend in Yangshuo at the Li River Retreat. The hotel is definitely outside of the hustle and bustle of West St. where all of the bars, restaurants and stores are in Yangshuo...but that was a plus for us as we spent long days touring the river and countryside, haggling with shop owners and saying "no thank you" to a seemingly endless number of people who approached us on the street to buy anything and everything they had to sell. So, this hotel was a lovely break from the chaos with breathtaking views and minimal, yet stylish rooms. And it was a definite value for the money.
We just spent Golden Week in Yangshuo I know, not smart - too busy, but my husband is on the Chinese Vacation schedule so we have off when the 1.2 billon other residents do!
Anyway, Li River Retreat was a lovely place; clean, english speaking staff, western and Chinese food. Breakfast on the terrace and dinner on the roof-top patio were wonderful. Food service is a bit slow so be sure and eat well before you need to leave for any tours. And be sure to order the fresh brewed coffee otherwise you end up with instant - each morning my a-la-cart coffee was fine while hubby always thought his American Breakfast coffee was horrid - we finally figured out the American Breakfast came with instant!
Like most Asian lodging the bedding is hard. The closet did have two heavy comforters for winter so we placed them under our bed sheet to soften it up a bit. I didn't even think to ask if they had mattress toppers (which we have gotten at other Asian hotels.)
Li River Retreat is not in town - it is a 20 - 30 minute walk into town. Many guests had cars or rented bikes. There are not many taxis in Yangshuo so don't count on calling one each time you want to head into town. We had a tour guide and driver each day so the distance didn't bother us. In fact we enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere, roof-top bar, stars and views being out of town had to offer. BTW, we are in our 50's and not prone to bar hop anymore.
Our local english speaking guide - Lilly Lu - was wonderful. She has excellent english, is a darling companion and has many great suggestions on what to do. Contact me if you would like her email.
July 2008: Landed in Guilin airport it was a small wonder to see a nice fellow with a sign with my name on it, between the chinese characters on all other boards. The Hotel had indeed arranged to pick us up for 300 Yuan and drove, the four of us, more than an hour through the rural landscape directly down to Yangshuo. We were picked up with a brand new (for a change) Volkswagen Caddy. We read on the forum it was not worth while to take the usual, 500 Yuan a person, tourist boat down to Yangshuo and we found out the next day why: It is one long traffic trail of boat s, making quite a noise and ditto smell, so the Lijiang River on that part loks more like a monday morning highway jam into Amsterdam.
The hotel is 5 minutes by car (20 Yuan taxi or rent a bike) outside the village, it is therefore quite silent and you can look down from the terrace 20 meters above the river, looking down on those many tourists boats coming along. The hotel is recently rebuild , in a perfect state (they even washed the windows every other day) and the styling is really beautiful.The best part of the hotel is the service. The young girls, including especcially Flora who runs the show, make you really feel at home. They arrange everything you want to see or do and also tell you when a certain event is risky and they don't like to take the responsibility of you falling out of the sky in a hot-air ballon that hasn't been serviced lately. The meals are really nice, the breakfast too.
Thanks girls for having a good time with my family.
Situated a 15 minute walk out of town, this hotel sits just above the river affording it's guests with views which many would walk for hours to see. Nothing beats sitting on your balcony looking at the karst formations over the river.
The rooms were huge, well equipped and furnished and very clean. There really is nothing to fault this hotel. The only thing that could improve it would be a swimming pool!
Travelling with my mum, booked this hotel based on Trip advisor reviews- thanks everyone- it was a winner!
The resort, as previously said is pretty basic in terms of the rooms but it worked for me. I would say it is about 2.5- 3 star. We had a room on the 2nd floor at 390 Y a night, it had 2 beds and a lovely view.
The bathroom was a good size and well equipped with towels, toiletries, etc. The water took a little adjusting- if you have kids you would have to be careful as when it gets hot it is scalding hot. Didn't have any trouble with it being cold at all. There is black mould in the silicone but it is still very clean.
The beds were comfortable I thought, pretty firm but I had no trouble sleeping. The linen was clean and fresh. There is a wardrobe and electronic safe inside it as well as a locked drawer. The lighting in our room was great- very bright to read by.
There were cups and a kettle supplied as well as daily bottled water.
The dining room is a bit lacking- I think because it is seldom used, and I believe they are building a new one. It was very damp and cramped - the weather forced us to dine indoors for the first day/night so we had to use that or our room. The upstairs bar area looks great and all previous guests have loved it- it was closed when we were there because of the weather. On my return visit I hope to make good use of it!!
The dining options were good I thought- very extensive menu. It was dearer than in town but we really enjoyed the meals that we had there. Great eggplant fritters!
Staff were lovely, sweet and helpful.
The computer in the foyer with free internet/skype, etc was great.
There was also a small selection of books to take/exchange/read. (I left Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander Mcall Smith - I hope someone else will take it and enjoy it!)
They also had a dvd player and lots of DVD's in the dining room if you wanted.
Outlook from the roof top and our room was fabulous. The walk into town was easy.
I am really looking forward to a return visit- highly recommended.
I spent three nights at the Li River Retreat in Yangshuo. If you're looking for a homey, friendly place to stay while in Yangshuo, with a staff that can take care of all your needs, this is it. If you're looking for luxury above all else, this probably wouldn't be it. But I wouldn't call that a liability, because having now experiencing the town for the first time, I can't imagine NOT wanting to stay at the Li River Retreat if I return. It suits the rustic and kinda old-world nature of the locale well, I think.
First off, as an illustration of the familial feeling you get at this hotel: We arrived in Guilin one day after a massive rain, which had triggered a 30-year flood in the town. The car hired by the hotel was unable to pass some of the roads about an hour out of town, and we were pretty-much stranded. I called Alf (the proprietor of the hotel), and, over the phone, he helped us find our way to a bus (which was the only way to pass through the flooded road), then met us in the chaotic darkness of the waterlogged, powerless downtown in order to guide us to the hotel via an impromptu bamboo raft ride down one of the town's main streets. It was a pleasure to arrive at the hotel, which was high and dry, well away from the madness of the town, where our room, electricity, a full bar, and friendly staff and guests awaited us, amazed at our luck in managing to arrive in the midst of all of it. BTW, regarding a phone: If you're going to an "out of the way" place like Yangshuo, you really should bring one, especially if you don't speak any Mandarin. China can still be a hurly-burly kind of place with inexplicable delays and inconveniences, and sometimes you have to make your own luck. I do shudder to think of how much time we'd have lost had I not taken the initiative in calling Alf directly.
Guest rooms are basic, but very comfortable, as well as large: Ours had two beds (very firm, as one finds in most of China), a desk, two plush, mod-looking chairs, an electric kettle, air conditioning (a MUST in this region, as I discovered...at least in the summer), and a perfectly-adequate bathroom (shower, toilet, and soap/shampoo provided). Flip flops and bathrobes. A large balcony just off the room with an incredible view of the river and the Karst peaks. The free wireless internet worked perfectly. No TV, but again...In a place as serene and 'natural' as this, you'd be pretty silly to be sitting around your room watching TV. The cicadas provide a great lullaby if you keep your doors/windows open at night (there's screens on the doors to keep any bugs out...which I saw none of inside the room in the three days I was there). Beyond excursions to the usual tourist spots around Yangshuo (which the hotel appears to have a good handle on in terms of hiring cars and guides), you can rent a bike and ride five minutes down the road, to find you're deep in the Guanxi countryside, amidst rice fields and what I can only imagine are centuries-old tiny villages. Go in the other direction, and you're in the middle of the town within 10 minutes (20 to 30 if you're walking).
The large common patio is a great place for guests to mingle together. There's a nice "summer camp" feeling about it all, with folks hanging out having a drink and chatting, playing board games, what-have-you. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all great. The menu includes a huge array of both Chinese and Western foods, all reasonably-priced. There's a computer in the lobby for guests' use (free). The staff are all very sweet and helpful, and a pleasure to hang out with as well. My friend had a good time giving an impromptu guitar lesson to Jasmine. I can only hope she'll end up a rock star some day : )
There are plenty of hotels in the center of town, most of them looking as though they're comparable to the Li River Retreat in terms of room amenities...I didn't see any that looked particularly plush. But what the Li River Retreat offers that they don't is, in my estimation, exactly what you come to a place like Yangshuo to experience: A quiet...well..."retreat", in this case, away from the noisy town center, where you can have a hell of a time just sitting on the balcony with your mouth slack open, unable to believe the sheer beauty of the place. Should I return to Yangshuo, I'll definitely come back to the Li River Retreat.
We (family of 4) spent three nights at the Li River Retreat with two deluxe rooms for the four of us. Our rooms were on the 2nd floor, side view of the river, with balconies. The rooms are very basic but comfortable, the bathrooms were fine. The beds are very firm as are many in China but not board-like as some others we experienced. The view was very pretty, overlooking trees to the river. AC is good, reading light is poor. There are a lot of mosquitos (bring your Off) but the rooms are well screened.
The scenery around the hotel is just beautiful and it is a very soothing environment (we had just been in Shanghai). The staff are friendly and can't do enough for you. They are mostly young women who giggle a lot, wait on you cheerfully, and enjoy practicing their English on you. I was often asked very earnestly if a word or phrase had been properly pronounced.
The "restaurant" area on the terrace is a lovely place to sit at any time of day. The food is very good, both Western and Chinese. The breakfasts are excellent, for those of us who like their traditional American breakfast in the morning, it was quite wonderful. The Chinese noodle soups are wonderful, as well as the beef cashew dish. Guests tend to sit around at the tables , have a beer or wine, and compare notes on their day trips, cooking classes, etc. which was quite pleasant. The hotel is nicely out of town and an easy and cheap cab ride away. As much as we enjoyed downtown Yangshuo, no one in our party wished to stay there rather than in our tranquil spot (and we were two 20 year olds and two 50 somethings, so this is saying something).The road closing each day was not a real issue for us. The lobby has a computer available (wireless also works, we had our own laptops, and Skype worked in the lobby but not in our rooms) and there is a shelf of guidebooks for reference use. We were picked up in a minivan as we had requested, and felt the 200 RMB charge to be quite reasonable for an hour and a half ride. The hotel also arranged a driver and van for one of our day trips (we had engaged our own guide) at a good rate..
This is not a luxury hotel by any means, but it is a comfortable, friendly, lovely place to spend time in the countryside. All sorts of excursions are possible from here. The dining is good quality, with lots of choices,and everything is reasonably priced. If I am lucky enough to return to Yangshuo, I would absolutely stay here again.
Stayed at the Li river retreat for 4 nights last April. The views from the room were amazing, and the room was huge, but the decoration was updated and unfinished. The bedside cabinet had switches for lights, etc, but it wasn't connected. Toilet got blocked twice during our stay and the shower wasn't very efficient, giving cold water at points in the middle of a hot shower.
But the worst of all were the rock hard matresses; we had to put the spare duvet under the undersheet to give the matress some cushioning. Sheets weren't changed in the 4 nigths we were there. Staff can't speak very good English and service was very slow and disorganised, but always with a smile! Food at the restaurant was fine. I would stay elsewhere if I went to Yangshuo again, but not in the center of town, it's very busy at night.
Staying at the Li River Retreat was a wonderful experience. As has been noted by other travelers, this is not a five star hotel or even a four star hotel...it is fairly basic, but what it has is a terrific staff dedicated to your satisfaction and a wonderful, almost magical location in the countryside outside of Yangshuo, high above the river and situated among the karst mountains.
We booked the deluxe riverview room through the website. I emailed Alf with a question and then asked about giving him a credit card to hold the room. His response, which I now realize was quintessential Alf, was "no need to provide a credit card number...we find people are reliable and please let us know if you change your plans." We arrived at lunchtime after driving from Guilin and quickly checked into our room, which was huge and had a fantastic view. We found the safe in the closet, and since there wasn't enough room in there, we asked that it be moved to the table, which was quickly taken care of.
As has been noted, the view from the rooftop bar is terrific, but there are great views all over the Li River Retreat. We were fortunate in the weather and so were able to take all meals on the terrace. The construction referred to by an earlier poster was still in progress while we were there, but it never bothered us. They are building a new, bigger dining room. On the first day we watched the "parade of tour boats from Guilin" make their way along the Li River to Yangshuo town.
The room would be improved if there were luggage stands and reading lights near the bed. Also, as has been noted, the hot water is erratic, but we managed to take showers without too many problems.
Most of all, we loved the staff of the Li River Retreat. Luna, Jasmine, Steve, and Flora were great and we loved chatting with them throughout our stay. We also were delighted to have free use of a computer for checking our email. This was located in the lobby, which was sort of like a communal living room, where we chatted with other guests and with the staff.
I would highly recommend the Li River Retreat. The closing of the road is an inconvenience, but the surroundings of the hotel and the staff more than make up for that.
We were traveling with two kids, and loved this hotel. The views, especially from the new rooftop bar area, were stunning. There is no other place in or near Yangshuo with this sort of river scenery. The 3rd floor has the best views--we had #303 (very large but large communal patio in front) and #305 (smaller, but has it's own private balcony overlooking the river.) The staff was incredibly friendly and had good English skills. The food was delicious.--you must try the Beef Noodle Soup--the best in Guanxi province. You can sit on the rooftop and slurp it down as the sun sets over the karsts. A couple things to remember: You cannot get directly to the hotel via car between 12:30-3:30 because of the tourboat marketplace taking over the road. Plan accordingly, and it is not a problem. Also, do not expect perfection. Some things are annoying, but this is not a five-star hotel, and isn't trying to be one. Luckily, I had read about the shower problem-it alternates between burning,scalding hot and totally cold. Kind of scary with kids--just be forewarned. Our toilet didn't flush--we just filled the tank each time with the wastecan. Yes, saw a few bugs, too! Mostly in the lobby area (which is open to the outside) and no big deal. All of these things are so minor, compared to the positives. The hotel's website is great, and the staff got back to me immediately via email each time I communicated with them. The Guilin airport pickup service is reasonable and well-worth the convenience. The hotel staff was also fabulous about booking boat tours, bikes, taxis...whatever we needed. Unlike booking through other hotels, there did not seem to be a price difference, so use them! Have a wonderful trip to Yangshuo....
We just returned from Li River Retreat, where we stayed for 4 nights and were happy just about everything.
I absolutely do NOT agree with complaints of the previous person, who complains about a room price, transfer price, location etc. etc. (pretty much about everything...)
Is not that a part of the 'homework' that you do before you book a place to find out all these essentials? And compare with other places in the location?
We loved the Li River Retreat location and I would happily return there any time. The staff was very helpful, the room was a right value for money (and we got a stunning view of mountains) and food was good, too. When walking through Yangshuo, I could not imagine that I should stay there, too busy. I rather pay a bit more, but stay in a quiet lovely place.
My wife and I are very experienced world travelers. We have spanned the globe in a variety of ways. What I mean by this is we have traveled for a year with nothing more than a back pack while staying at simple guest houses in 3rd world countries. We have also done 5 star traveling to posh locations and everything in between. We have been to a combined 60 countries between us. We are not “tourists” we are “travelers”.
The reason I mention all this is because I think our experiences can be of value to a wide range of travelers out there who are looking for a knowable, un-biased opinion from people who have seen it all.
As it relates to this Li River Retreat.......
Here is a perfect example of a place using the internet to promote their business and charging the western premium to do so for no good reason except they find people willing to pay.
My wife booked the hotel a few weeks before we were scheduled to arrive and told me the rate was standard even though I thought it was really high for China.
The problems started here.
- They charged us 200 RMB to have a taxi pick us up at the airport even though the going rate is 150 RMB. There is ample bus service as well to get to Yang Shou at only 20 RMB.
- We arrived at 9:00am but were not allow to get into our room until 3:30pm
- The advertised 24 hour hot water was turned off
- There was an entire construction project going on under our room as the hotel was expanding. It was saws, hammers, dust, smoke until 7:00pm. It was terrible.
- The rooms were very basic and a bit worn. Found a few dead bugs on the sheets.
- We came to find out the prices were double of what the other numerous and nicer hotels were charging in town.
- The hotel is a very far walk from the town and there is very limited transport options. This is the kind of hotel you stay in if you really don't want to go anywhere else easily. You are completely dependent on their food as there isn't anywhere else to eat within a 30 minute walk.
I guess you get the idea. This was a very bad hotel experience. A big thumbs down. We subsequently ended our stay after one night and moved ourselves into town and to a hotel that was half the price but significantly nicer with a friendly and professional staff.
The hotel we stayed was "Morningsun Hotel" which was located on 4 Cheng Zhong Rd. We loved this place. We paid $160 rmb per night for a double with balcony. If you book by internet or phone ask for the discount rate if it is in fact off season.
Also a nice hotel right on the river and at the edge of town was the Morning Sun Hotel. There was another one called Riverside Hotel also with nice views on the river.
Hope this helps
My husband and I just returned from our weekend stay in Yangshuo. We stayed at the Li River Retreat for 2 nights and it was overall a wonderful experience!
We are americans who live in Shanghai and came for a weekend away from the city. We arrived on Friday night around 8pm and we were impressed right away with the friendliness of the chinese staff. It is uncommon to find a high level of friendliness at Chinese staffed hotels, usually they are very efficient and nice, but not friendly like you'd find in a "western" hotel. The staff greeted us, showed us to our room and right away asked us if we had eaten dinner (which we hadn't and were starving!). The restaurant at the Retreat is open until 9pm every night so we were able to pop back downstairs and eat dinner outside at some tables overlooking the Li River. It was wonderful and a great way to start our weekend!
The food is pretty good, they serve a decent breakfast (we ate here both mornings) and decent lunch/dinner. They serve both Western style and Chinese food which is nice. The hotel is outside of downtown Yanghsuo, about a 25 minute walk. The road is closed to cars during mid-day due to the street markets.
The rooms are nice, obviously not super luxurious but they have everything you need - including wireless access! The only problem we encountered was that the water temperature in the shower changed from hot to cold randomly and made taking a shower a little challenging. But, that said everything was very clean and neat which for me is the most important thing. I've seen some pretty crappy hotel rooms in China and this was fantastic for the price!
We had a wonderful stay, the location is fantastic - very serene and peaceful. Great for a relaxing weekend set among the beautiful landscape of Yanshuo. I can't wait to go back when my family and friends are in town visiting!
My husband and I recently spent 3 nights at the Li River Retreat. We thoroughly enjoyed the location of this hotel as it was a couple kilometres away from the town of Yangshuo so it was very peaceful. The staff and owner of the hotel made us feel welcome and did a great job booking excursions for us and flights and our trip to Hanoi. The hotel was in a beautiful location and even though it was a little more expensive than the accomodations in town, it was worth it! We loved walking down the quiet road to our hotel after being in town where it was very busy. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone that wants to get away to a quiet place.
The Li River Retreat is a short drive from the town of Yangshuo, or you can walk the distance along a paved road. To walk takes about 20 minutes, depending on your pace. The hotel staff don't advise walking the road at night because it is narrow and there are no street lights, but during the day it is fine. We did it several times and met many school children who tried out English phrases on us.
The hotel is located high up above the Li River among the karst landscape. There is greenery all around and many fruit trees on the hotel property. It is very peaceful there, much more so than in Yangshuo. We enjoyed ourselves in town during the day, but it was nice at night to have someplace dark and quiet to sleep.
The hotel owners also own the Buffalo Bar in town, so if you want to get a ride back to the hotel from town, you go to the Buffalo Bar and tell them, and they arrange for someone to drive you. It is also convenient for check-in purposes because when you arrive in Yangshuo, you can leave your luggage in the bar and wander the town until you're ready to head up to the hotel.
Our room at the Li River Retreat was spacious with a private bathroom, clean, and had a beautiful view of the river and surrounding karst mountains. The boats that provide the Li River Cruise turn around to go back to Guilin near the hotel, but otherwise, the only boat traffic you see from the hotel grounds are people poling bamboo rafts or the occasional fisherman with a motorboat. It's mostly very peaceful.
We ate a Western breakfast at the Li River Retreat and it was excellent. The menu offered several choices and I think there was a good variety for everyone. We ate outside on a brick patio with shaded tables. It was like being in the courtyard of someone's home. The staff were all friendly and nice and cheerfully helped us with our requests for taxis.
Note that the road between Yangshuo town and the Li River Retreat closes for several hours during the day (reopening at 4pm) so that tourists disembarking from river cruises can walk through the street markets without having to dodge cars. You can still walk the road on foot, but you cannot have a car transport you during those times.
The only problem we had with our room is that it had a large roach population, but I think it is probably not possible to totally avoid bugs in a place like this that incorporates an appreciation of the surrounding nature into its design. The roaches only came out at night, and in the morning, we found that very few of them had moved at all from where they'd started out, so... I guess it mostly depends on your tolerance for bugs.
I am very happy that we stayed here as it offered us a chance to get a little bit outside the town of Yangshuo. Yangshuo is a fun place, but it is surrounded by such natural beauty that we wanted to get a ways outside the main populated area.
My husband and I stayed in the "Deluxe Riverview" room for 4 nights in October 2007. Great, spacious room with beautiful views of the Karst peaks - well worth the few extra yuan we paid.
My husband and I only rented bikes from the hotel for one day - The other few days we just walked to & from the retreat into town. It is tucked a little out of the way, but it was a pleasant walk - lots of trees, and the weather was nice. The only time we wished we had taken a cab back to the hotel was at night after we got back from the Liu Sanjie show. It gets DARK on that little road at night. Don't get stuck walking at night without a flashlight - We were fortunate enough to get picked up halfway by some guests who were also making their way back to the hotel. (If you're reading this, thank you!)
What really impressed me about this hotel was the service. This was probably the most "adventurous" vacation we had ever taken, and I was initially a little worried with how we would get around, and very worried about communication, since I only managed to teach myself a few phrases of Mandarin before we left. I needn't have worried. The staff took care of everything.
We had e-mailed ahead about getting a cab to take us from the airport to the hotel, and the driver was waiting for us with a sign with our names on it.
After we checked in, all the girls who worked there remembered us. They didn't even have to ask for our room number when we ordered breakfast & dinner every day. The food was excellent - We ordered something different for dinner every night, and it was all good.
We also took a bike excursion, a cooking class, and booked tickets to the Liu Sanjie light show through them. I HIGHLY recommend going though them for excursions. In the morning, our guides arrived exactly when they said they would. It seemed like they had more experience (and definitely better English) than some of the other guides we hired in other places in China. For the quality of our guides, I thought the price was reasonable, and we didn't have to BARGAIN for anything while we were with them. (They also seemed to buffer us a bit from a lot of the vendors, so I didn't feel like we were being attacked for our tourist dollars, which I definitely felt a bit of whenever we were on our own.)
Overall, I think this hotel made our time in a Yangshuo a real RETREAT, and I highly recommend them.
First the positives: the views from the restaurant and roof top bar are stunning; the food is very good and reasonably priced, and the hotel has good bikes for hire.
On the negative side... When we'd booked we'd been told that we would have to have a room without a view, which was fine. What I wasn't expecting was that the large window opposite the bed would have opaque yellow glass, which cast an eery light into the room, and had bars across it, and it didn't shut properly. A similar window was in the bathroom.
The room was quite dark, but only one light worked. Where the other ceiling light should have been there were just wires hanging from the ceiling. Wires also were hanging from the bathroom wall - presumably where a shaver point or plug had been planned but not actually fitted. The shower offered a choice of scalding hot trickle or a cold torrent - I couldn't find any middle ground.
Also as we were above the kitchen, there was some noise from fairly early in the morning when the staff start work.
The location out of town means that - unless you are cycling - you are reliant on their transport, and this isn't reliable. We had arranged in advance to be picked up at 11am. We were kept waiting for half an hour - no explanation or apology was offered. On the day we left we asked for a transfer to the bus station, but were told that the road to the hotel was closed to vehicles, so we had to walk with our rucksacks for 30mins into town - not an ideal way to start a long journey!
Worst of all though was the service: we asked at reception for advice about a boat trip, and were told to take a bus to a nearby town. When we arrived there, after a hot and dusty two hours, we discovered that there was no boat service from the town, and we had to take the next bus back again to Yangshou. A whole day wasted. On my last day, I had booked a cookery course and was expecting to be picked up by the school. However, when the school had rung the hotel to leave a message for me to confirm the time of pick up, the receptionist told them that they had no guest of my name, and the cookery school thus cancelled my place. It turned out that the receptionist had just glanced down the list of names of people who had made bookings, rather than checking the real guest list. By the time I discovered this, I was too late to join the class, and lost my deposit. Another day completely wasted thanks to the hotel staff.
Get a room at the front and set your expectations of service pretty low, and you may be alright here.
It's a bit of a drive from Guilin airport, but once you arrive, you'll forget your worries. Sweeping vistas of the karst mountains and the river, very friendly and helpful staff, and a good cook to boot! This just really is the nicest place.
I stayed at the Li River Retreat with my wife for a few days in September as part of a three week trip, and would highly recommend it.
The obvious advantage of the hotel over anywhere else in Yangshuo is that it is set right in amongst the breathtaking Karst scenery, overlooking the river, and the views from the rooms are fabulous.
We stayed in a deluxe room which sticks out from the end of the hotel, meaning that there are floor-to-ceiling views of the river and mountains on three sides. The room itself was clean and spacious, albeit not luxurious, and it had very efficient air conditioning (which would be invaluable if you were there in the heat of summer).
We found the staff to be very friendly and sweet, and most of the girls spoke decent English (a lot better than my Chinese!). I was particularly surprised by the food, which I found to be excellent, probably the best we had in Yangshuo. It helps of course that you are able to eat in on the terrace while enjoying the views (did I mention that they're great?).
Its secluded nature means that the hotel is a fair distance from Yangshuo, and I wouldn't recommend walking it unless you've got plenty of time on your hands. Far better to hire a bike (they can be hired at the hotel) and take a leisurely 5 minute ride into town, and then on into the beautiful countryside.
I'd heartily recommend this hotel to anyone going to Yangshuo - for my money it's infinitely nicer than any of the hotels within the town itself.
Yangshuo was the highlight of our trip to China, and the Li River Retreat was the perfect place to stay. What a great little hotel! The location, overlooking the Li River and the karst mountains, was both tranquil and stunningly beautiful. It's nice to get away from the craziness of West Street . It was a pleasant 15-20 minute walk into town, and we always seemed to see something interesting along the way. We saw a funeral procession while walking into town one morning, and we saw the comorant fishing boats out on the river while walking back one night. It's dark at night, but you can borrow a flashlight from the front desk. The food at the hotel's restaurant - both Chinese and Western - was really good, and we ended up eating most of our meals there while soaking up the view at the outdoor seating area. We had a room on the third floor with more great views from the balcony. One minor quibble was the shower - we had difficulty adjusting the temperature. What really made our stay at the Li River Retreat, though, were the two young women at the front desk, who were always so cheerful and so helpful, as well as all the other friendly staff.
I chose this hotel because last time I visited Yangshuo my hotel, also good, was in the downtown area and I thought we'd like being outside the hustle and bustle that can be Yangshuo/West Street at night in particular. We actually spent so little time at the "retreat" due to our day excursions that I don't know that I'd book here again as we couldn't just drop into the hotel to drop off bags/change without arranging a "speedy" (small van - a taxi service) to take us home. We also had the speedy pick us up every morning. (The speedy rides are inexpensive at about RMB20 one way.) The retreat is definitely outside normal walking distance (and this comment from someone who runs all the time). If you try walking back at night, be sure to take a flashlight - it's pitch black. I booked a "deluxe double" (RMB320 - Room 305) for my brother and his wife. It had a small balcony and a view of the karst mountains. My "standard" room (RMB250 - Room 203) - one single and one double bed - didn't have a balcony or the greatest views, but it was much more spacious. We had breakfast in town every morning as the retreats meal service didn't start until later---and we were always up early for excursions. Take a hairdryer if you want one. Very clean/orderly and comfortable.
We arrived at Yangshou following an overnight stop over in Guilin so that we could enjoy a leisurely boat trip down the river from Guilin to Yangshou. What a wonderful start to our four days in Yangshou. It gives you a great first impression of how stunning the area is and made us look forward to finding out more about the area during our stay. We passed the Li River Retreat as we arrived at Yangshou Harbour and were pleased with our first impression.
Initially we were a bit worried that it appeared to be further out of town than we had thought, however this was not a problem and we were aware that it was not in town which is why we had booked it.
Alf, the owner met us at the dock as we called him when we had nearly arrived. Some people didn't seem to be aware that Alf would do this but it does state it on the booking confirmation. There is a daily market which means that cars cannot get to the Hotel until later in the day however this was not a problem and the Hotel deal with it very well. Our bags were left at the bar in town that Alf also owns and they were taken by car and put in our rooms a few hours later. We took a 20 minute walk with Alf who told us about the area and the Hotel which was really helpful.
Just at the bottom of the Hotel drive is a Bike rental place which was 20 yuan a day. The bikes were almost new and had shock absorbers which was much needed for our Countryside cycling! The road to town and back is perfectly fine for cycling and it takes about 10 minutes gently cycling to get back into town. The bikes can be left in Alf's bar which we did in the evening and then were able to cycle back later. Yes it is dark, however the front desk made sure we had a torch when we went out at night as it was a full moon we didn't need the torch and enjoyed the scenic ride by the river in the dark. If this does worry you and you think you will cycle every day, then my advice would be to pack a bike torch and put it on the bike. It really wasn't a problem for us though.
The Hotel was everything we hoped it would be. A really peaceful setting. Yes there is a little road between the Hotel and the River, however when you are enjoying the roof top view watching the sun set you really are not aware of it. A few things go up and down during the day but it is not a busy through road. All of the rooms have a view and most have balconies. We had a Deluxe room on the second floor, if I went back we would try to have a third floor room as were were aware of foot steps above us. However this is true of any Hotel as we experienced this in a 5* Hotel in Hong Kong!
The receptionists are wonderful. Always cheerful and happy to help with whatever was needed. They really add to the charm of the Hotel and they are not highly trained bland receptionists that are sometimes experienced in Hotels. They really seem to be enjoying themselves at the Hotel too which creates a very nice atmosphere.
Alf explained to us that the Hotel is fairly new and they are making improvements as time and money permits. The shower units and air conditioning units are fairly new and worked very well. The water temperature sometimes changed during the shower so watch out for that...... The rooms are well cleaned every day and had everything we needed in them. As others have said take a hairdryer though if you use one.
There is free internet use in the reception area which was nice to have and a well stocked drinks cabinet. I can highly recommend the banana milkshakes and we enjoyed the Great Wall white wine. My husband also enjoyed the local beer Tsing Tao. (This all made cycling back from town more interesting too!)
The breakfast was great, the fruit platter was huge and so fresh. My husband enjoyed the American breakfast with bacon eggs and toast to get him going plus orange juice and coffee.
I really can't think of much more the Hotel could do to make people feel welcome.
The bike trips we took into the countrysied were well worth doing. I mention this because I felt a bit nervous about doing this. Would we get lost...would people be friendly and would it be too strenuous ( I have not long had an operation from a mountain biking accident). I cannot recommend it highly enough though. If you like cycling it is a great way to get around in Yanhshou, with the map the Hotel gave us we did not get lost once. The trips we made were to half moon mountain which we then climbed, (816 steps was harder than the cycling but worth it for the amazing views)
Another day we took a bamboo raft trip down the river with our bikes and then cycled back through the countryside. This was wonderful. Children waved and said hello and then wet back to doing what they were doing, not chasing us for money as we have experienced in other countries. The farm workers just carried on with what they were doing, it was great to be able to really see day to day life away from the town. At a leisurely pace it is about a 2 hour cycle, completely flat but bumpy so make sure your bike has shock absorbers if you are going to do it.
We also took a bus trip to Xing Ping to have a break from cycling. the bus depot is in town and well worth visiting just to see what goes where and see the locals coming and going. It is very much a locals bus but we were made to feel very welcome. The trip was 50 yuan. We were hassled by very persistent women in Xing Ping trying to sell us bamboo trips. We weren't interested as we went back by bus having already travelled that part of the river on our initial journey in. We couldn't chake them off though which was irritating as we wanted to enjoy the setting in peace. Be careful if you do take a trip, a western couple who had just finished a trip warned us that they had been ripped off. What they thought was an hours trip turned out to be across to the other side of the river and back!! Make sure you know what you are getting!!
To summarise, A fantastic location, extremely friendly Hotel, great value and wonderfully relaxing place to be and many many interesting things to do. We hope to go back and see some more of the area and would not hesitate to stay at the Li River Retreat!
We stayed there and its good value yet me beeing perfectionist...I was dissapointed that the river was not as near as it looks and a small street with noisy vehicles runs between hotel and river.Also you cannot really swim there.
We had a room just above the kitchen where you could always hear chatter and clutter.But food is good-breakfast isnt though.
Staff are sweet and hard working.Rooms are clean and pleasant.
Its away from the awful west street -you can walk or cycle there though if you must.
Our deluxe double at the Li River Retreat was a bargain at 320 yuan a night. We had floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides offering great views of Yangshuo's uniquely-shaped limestone hills and the Li River. We also had two balconies from which to enjoy the view. The retreat is relatively new, very clean and nicely decorated. The bathroom is very attractive, although we had a hard time adjusting the water temperature in the shower which seemed to run either cold or extremely hot. The retreat and its sister establishment, the Buffalo Bar in central Yangshuo, are both owned by a very friendly gentleman named Alf. The retreat and the Buffalo Bar have the same menu; we found the food to be very good. Both establishments offer free internet access.
It is very hard to get to and from the retreat during the hours from noon until 4:00 pm (approximately) when an access street becomes a market jammed with vendors' stalls and crowds of tourists from the river cruises. We arrived during that timeframe and had to take motorcycle taxis to the retreat since car taxis could not drive through the crowd. (Even the narrow electric car taxis cannot drive the street during market hours.) The motorcycle drivers held our luggage in their laps as they honked their horns and aggessively forced their way through the crowd. Meanwhile we sat behind the drivers, holding onto their shoulders and trying not to fall off the bikes. One tourist, obviously mad at the motorcycle coming too close to her, reached out with her umbrella and hit my daughter on the head. Anyway, if possible, don't arrive during these hours.
The Li River Retreat is absolutely wonderful. Our flight from Xian to Guilin was delayed by 5 hours, causing us to arrive at 2:00a.m. The driver from the Retreat waited for us at the airport to transport us for the one hour drive to Yangshuo. Staff at the hotel enthusiastically greeted us at 3:00 a.m. and made sure that we were comfortable before retiring for the evening. The Li River Retreat is in a beautiful location. When we awoke in the morning after our long night, we were astounded by the scenery. The room was nice, the food was excellent, and the staff could not have been more accommodating. All of this at a very reasonable cost. Stay here - you'll be very pleased!
We just got back from our stay at the Li River Retreat. We couldn't have chosen a better place - the rooms are modern, spacious and clean, the food is good (huge portions and cheap), staff was nice, free internet, and yes - the location is perfect! They are 2 km outside of town, so no noise, just peace and quiet, beautiful scenery with the Li River below and surrounded by Karst peaks. Alf in the Buffalo Bar was very helpful.
We stayed in the deluxe double room- simply amazing views on three sides of the room onto karst hills, the li river and the general countryside.
Room clean with A/C should you wish or large mosquito proof window frames if you want to go to sleep to the sound of insects.
Staff very friendly and willing to assist with matters like laundry/tours/ bike hire [recommended] etc at more or less the going rate.
Very competent restaurant on site, best food in the town in my experience. Certainly best dining room!
Location could be an inconvenience for some, but a) possible and strongly recommendable to hire a bike making the journey form town a quick one and b) during the hours of closure to vehicles any guests are likely to be out and about seeing some of the landscape that is the point of coming here in the first place and c) ability to drop bags off in their sister bar in town on arrival takes stress out of waiting to be brought to the retreat.
Against that the sense of seclusion from the madness of the town is well worth any inconvenience.
Would strongly recommend and if i ever find myself in this part of china again I will be making a return visit.
One of the greatest assets of this hotel is its location which to some may be its greatest liability. The view is amazing. You can sit, eat dinner, drink beers or coffee and look onto magnificent karsts. It is very quiet unlike the hotels right in town. As previous people have said the hotel is a 20 minute walk from town and at times (btw 12-4) you cannot even take a taxi away from the hotel as the road is blocked by a market. So we had to leave quite early despite having a 5:30PM flight out of Guilin.
The rooms and bathrooms were very clean. Rooms were quite large. This hotel is less than 1 year old (I think) and they are still enlarging it. We highly recommend it, but bear in mind what you are getting into as far as its location. The staff which consisted of mostly young women were very friendly and enthusiastic.
We arranged a guided tour with a woman (Juan) who was excellent. Her e-mail is [--]
She would love more business. She will arrange whatever you like and at the end of the day you pay her for everything.
We stayed at the river retreat for 2 nights (20 & 21 ) August , we booked through the hotel website which was very quick and easy, before we travelled to china we asked the hotel via email about hiring bikes, tours etc and received quick responses, we used a website called yangers.com for good information.
Checking in/out was very easy with friendly staff, our room was very clean and tidy and quite spacious, with great views of the river/mountains. Breakfast is available (not included in your room rate) this is on a menu basis with a good selection to choose from. You can hire bikes from the hotel for 20 Yuan per day and the bikes are of a good standard, I would recommend hiring bikes to see the countryside along the river, you can also put your bikes on the back off the bamboo rafts if you want to!.
The staff on duty were a little vague with the details off trips you could book E.G. prices, timings of trips etc we decided to book trips in one of the booking offices in the town ( this was cheaper than the hotel)
Please be aware that between 9 - 4 pm approx (time can vary each day) you can not get to the retreat by motor vehicle due to the market. Also the retreat at night is a good 20 minute walk away on a dark road!!. However please note the following - you can easily arrange a taxi by going into the buffalo bar in town, which is connected to the hotel. If you arrive by boat you could drop your luggage off at the bar and have a look around town until the road opens. the taxi is 20 Yuan and runs until late at night!!
Overall if you are looking for a good clean, quiet place with great scenery then this is the place for you. We really enjoyed our stay.
My girlfriend and I stayed two nights at the Li River Retreat. Overall, we had a very unpleasant stay due to the worst customer service/most unfriendly staff I have ever encounted.
Pros: Nice room, clean with a great river view
Unfriendly staff: my girlfriend hit her head on a taxi and the staff consisting of four teenage girls laughed at her! Separately, during our initial arrival, my girlfriend and I had to haul luggage during a 30 minute walk to the resort (I will discuss the location of the Li River Retreat separately). In any case, I was sweating a lot when I arrived at the front desk and subsequently was greeted by laughter from the teenage girls. How nice!
The staff also talked behind our backs in Chinese; however they did not realize that my girlfriend is fluent in Mandarin
Unknowledgable staff: the staff recommended tours that were overpriced. That's OK as it is up to the guest to find the best price via homework. However, the staff also had no clue with respect to the length/time of tours. For example, we were told a drive to a tourist site took 1.5 hours to get there; in reality the drive took 30 minutes.
Poor command of English/questionable honesty: My girlfriend and I before checking in must of asked at least four times for a room quote. We were told 320 yuan per night. When we checked out the same girl who provided us the initial quote said we owed 350 yuan per night. We ended up paying the 350 nightly rate.
I will not outright say that the staff lied to us. However, in reality there was so much miscommuncation and unfriendliness by the staff that I do believe the staff was not upfront with us with respect to the nightly rate.
Inconvenient location: yes the lodging is a "retreat" away from the town. However, just be aware that it is a 30 minute walk to the main town and that no motorbikes or cars can transport you to the hotel during the times of 10AM to 4PM due to shopping stands that block the road to the hotel.
I would definitely not recommend this lodging. The unfriendliness of the staff is totally inexecusable. The owner needs to hire an adult to run the front office. I don't have an alternative lodging recommendation althought the "Paradise Yangshuo Resort?" looked really nice from the outside, seemed tranquil but was also in a good location.
From the moment we arrived at this fabulous location the staff at Li River Retreat have made us feel very welcome...the girls at the desk (English speaking) have made every effort to make our stay here enjoyable...the hotel itself is simple with great decor, fabulous views and good food (Chinese and western)!!!!
We stayed in the deluxe river view room which was very spacious and clean....you really cant beat it for the price!!!! 5 star treatment.
Located 2 km from town centre, you can hire bikes (in good condition) at the hotel for approx 20Yuan a day or simply stroll through the market on your way down.
We highly recommend this hotel to anybody who wants to chill out and relax in it's peaceful location.
Neil and Jodie Portwin
Agree with all the other reviews about the Li River Retreat. It is a great place for a short, relaxing stay in the heart of some beautiful countryside.
First the good points. Met at the airport in Guilin and driven direct to the hotel. No problems and a very good start. Food in the place is above average for China. They will cater for a western diet if needed, but the Chinese food is also very good. The rooms are clean and comfortable. Reception staff are helpful and friendly. Free wireless internet is available - great for someone like me taking a few unofficial days off from the office.
Things which didn't bother me, but might bother others! No fridge or TV in the room. The absence of a TV wasn't really a problem given how bad Chinese TV is! A fridge would be nice, but as my girlfriend said, the owner is very clever - people have to eat / drink at the hotel as there is nothing else to do! As I have already said, the room was clean, but could have done with some renovation. I do know however, that in China you get a room renovated and 3 months later cracks appear in the walls. Shower water could also be a problem. You could have very hot or cold water - but not warm as the mixer did not appear to work.
The place is a short bicycle ride, or a pleasant 20 minute walk from the town centre. I would stay again.
One more thing. I first went to Yangshuo 15 years ago, and now (2007) it is almost unrecognisable. Something like the Li River Retreat (and the guests they attract - older independent travellers) just did not exist in China that long ago. What I suppose Yangshuo is missing is the luxury boutique hotel. Could Li River be it? Well, it would need some serious attention to detail but perhaps it could do it.
Prior to arriving at the Li River Retreat I had decided that China was an animated (if somewhat noisy) country. I was stunned by the serenity of this location. The accommodations are basic, but clean -- you can't demand luxury for $30-$40/night! While the rooms have Western style bathrooms and air conditioners, you are in a wooded area near the river - expect and be willing to tolerate some bugs, particularly mosquitos! The real highlight is the incredibly friendly and helpful staff. The services including the restaurant and laundry are a great value.
Stayed in May at this hotel. The hotel was very clean and the food was great. They try to cater to your every need so that you are as comfortable as possible. The hotel is also a bargain. The beds are hard but thats standard in China. They do provide extra cushioning for the beds if you want it. I did use it and it made a big difference. The water pressure is sometimes low but you can live with it. In May there were a lot of mosquitos. Luckily, I had repellant. Never got bit. Made sure the doors to the rooms were kept closed so the bugs wouldnt get in. The air-condition works great. The weather was hot and humid. The type of humidity that makes you sweat the minute you step outdoors.The airport is far from the hotel but it is well worth it. Best to have a taxi waiting for you and Alf can set that up for you. I cant say enough about the staff. They are awesome and so nice. The front desk person (Flower) is so great and I miss being there. They also provide bicycles to use for the day. Most people travel around town on a bike so reserve yours early and its a great way to see the town. Yangshou is a beautiful place. I wish I had stayed longer.
How can you say much negative about a small, well-run inn perched above the banks of a great river, surrounded by magnificent karst (limestone) formations? Our second floor room was basic but clean, and the lack of TV and mini-gridge was more than balanced by the $46.00 rate negotiated by our CITS agent for 6b nights. This included a full breakfast, with several choices of delicious combinations. The continental breakfast, for example, included tost with butter & jam, large juice, coffee or tean and yogurt with muslie piled high with fruit. Other choices included eggs, hash browns, bacon, etc., etc. And this overlooked the slow boat traffic plowing the beautiful river below.
Bike rentals at $2. per day were our choice after using an electric scooter the first day at $6.00 or so, both to provide a quick way into the bustling city and to explore the countryside. The food was so good at the retreat, and so reasonably priced, that we took several other meals there during our stay.
Most tourists stop by the town of Yangshuo for a day or less--it's the beginning and ending point for small river cruise boats. West Street and the waterfront in town are crowded with shops and stalls hawking all manner of wood carvings, silks, jades, chopsticks, and "antiques", which you must bargain for, never paying more than half the asking price. But we found the area well worth a more extended exploration, with interesting hikes, bike rides, river raft trips, nighttime light show, and a fantastic hot air balloon ride through the unique landscape.
Found this place via the official China tourism (CITS) and since we did not want to be in the city of Guilin but rather, out in the more scenic area along the Li or other rivers, this proved ideal. it's an hour out of Guilin and well worth it. Small town. The hotel is out of town and up a steep driveway. Most of the visitors are using bikes or scooters but it is easy to book a car/cab to transport. The rooms have great views, are simple but clean, large bathrooms, equipped with A/C and best of all, we had wonderful evening meals and lovely breakfasts sitting al fresco on the patio overlooking the Karsts.
People were warm and friendly
We skipped the traditional big ship boat ride from Guilin into Yangshuo and instead spent money on a hot air balloon ride which was a FANTASTIC experience. do it early in the morning
Room rates were under USD50 per nite
I was going to Yangshuo for 3 days and stayed 9. This was because of 2 factors, the quality and value of the accommodation and the information services provided by the owners.
My arrival was by river from Guilin, and on arrival at Yangshuo we were greeted by the manager who escorted us to the Buffalo Bar to leave our bags while he arranged a mountain bike for local transport. We cycled for 5 minutes along the banks of the river to the retreat. Our bags were delivered a little later so we didn't have to carry them on the bikes. This personalised service continued for the entire time I was there.
The Retreat itself has large rooms, all overlooking the river and mountains. It is situated about 2 k's from town which is an easy walk on a concrete road or a very easy ride on a mountain bike.
Because it is out of town it has a peaceful and relaxing ambience.
The dining facilities are outdoors, covered during inclement weather and shaded in sunny times. The meals on offer are very western, great value and large in serving....don't order too many dishes at one serve or you will be leaving a lot on your plate. The most expensive meal is New Zealand Sirloin steak at 68 RMB. The majoriy of meals are between 20 and 35 rmb.
The rooms are very large, a twin has one double bed and one king sized single, a large walk in bathroom (with enclosed shower and mini bath). The airconditioning is excellent. There is a lockable drawer for valuables and the laundry service is cheap and efficient. The rooms are very clean and serviced daily.
The second floor rooms have a small balcony, the top floor rooms have a large deck area. The ground floor rooms face onto the entrance area and patio restaurant. The rooms cost between 250 rmb to 350 rmb per night - about $50 to $70 per night - sleeping 2 or more people this is the same price as a backpacker in Australia - fantastic value.
The information service provided by the managers is excellent. They will provide you with local maps and information, recommendations and connections to keep you busy everyday for at least a week. This was my first trip to China, and I regard myself as being very lucky to find such accommodation and service. Congratulations to the management and staff at Li River Retreat.
This place is a very peaceful retreat from the business of Yangshou Town which is full of shops and people pestering you to buy things.
Accommodation is fairly basic even though we booked the Deluxe Room but we expected this. Our room faced the river and it was lovely to sit on the verandah and watch the scenery and the river which had many people bamboo rafting on it. The views of the karst mountains are very good too.
The bathrooms are strange with the shower inbetween the basin and the toilet so the whole floor gets wet when showering, but this was a minor issue for us.
Walls were a bit thin and we could hear all the bathroom noises from next door.
Food at the retreat is inexpensive and tasty. They serve a range of Chinese dishes but at breakfast time have fantastic oat porridge (just like Grandma used to make). We had it twice it was so good.
The lady on the front desk, Angel, speaks excellent English.
It is cheap to get laundry done here but unfortunately ours was "forgotten" so cant comment on the quality of the service.
Would recommend to people who want to experience a more rural setting and more of a "lodge" atmosphere.
We stayed at the River Li Retreat for three days in very mixed weather. I would give the hotel a higher rating if the air conditioners (that were about to be installed the day we left) had been able to do their work to keep our room dry. Everything was very damp due to the rain and river location. However, the warm welcome we received, and good, everyday food (Chinese is best) as well as the exceptionally low price, made our stay worthwhile. Alf, the owner went out of his way to be helpful and arranged our bookings for us at no extra charge and the staff are gems. Rooms were very clean, if a little sparse and beds were quite comfortable. The large bathroom worked well and we had no problems.
The real glory is the location. Yes, you are out of town - thankfully. The hotel is situated on the high bank of the River Li overlooking the karst mountains - a perfect location for the artist or for those who need peace. There are few cars/bikes on the narrow road leading from town and you can watch the river activity and sip a cocktail or read. The rooms on the two upper floors have a better view and some rooms have a balcony. We walked into town or caught a taxi (cheap). Motorized and pedal bicycles were readily available and delivered to the hotel and were very reasonable. Even a private guide in a hired car was not expensive.
Yangsho is larger than I expected and really is a busy town. By far the best thing we did was to go to the light show. It was spectacular and I am now looking forward to the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics as the same film director is also reponsible for that show. I did not enjoy the cormorant show but did enjoy our trip to Ying ping on the local bus and our trip from there on the river. In good weather, a raft would be great!