The good (great) news is that this is by far the nicest hostel I have stayed at in over 14 months of traveling Asia. The rooms are brand new, as is all the furniture. The beds are solid and the mattresses comfy (none of the Chinese-style, rock-hard stuff). There is no creaking of the beds, and each bunk has an individual reading light and power outlet—extremely well thought out, and a touch I haven't see outside of Europe. The door-less bathroom areas look like they're out of a high-end hotel: a central washbasin with separate rooms (with doors) for the toilet and shower on either side, with heavily frosted glass as the walls.
The prices are also reasonable, and are no more than you pay for highly-inferior accommodation elsewhere in China. I believe I paid 50 yuan per night. They will also pick you up at the train station if you contact them in advance, which I did.
Some have complained about cleanliness. When I was there it was spotless (but also very new). Given the very poor hygiene you see at a lot of Chinese hostels and establishments—especially in the bathrooms—I have a very difficult time imagining that this place would ever be anything less than a cut above its competition.
There is a trade off, however, as they're obviously offering their exquisite facilities at rates far below their market value. Like many Chinese hostels, they seem to want to make up their profits on food and tours. Food and drinks are extremely expensive, although the menu is well-tailored to the tastes of their foreign guests. They also sell a lot of tours, but the staff really don't know much about local bus routes, etc., if you're interested in doing something for yourself. Lonely Planet was much more accurate than what the staff told me. The good side to this is that there is very little pressure to buy food/drinks, in part because the hostel is so large.
I would also echo the comment of another reviewer who said the lounge downstairs feels more like a cafe where purchases are mandatory than as a gathering place to meet people and have leisurely conversations.
All in all, it seems quite clear that this hostel has been designed with Western tourists in mind, as everything is tailored to Western tastes and desires. It really does feel like a large, stylish, and possibly institutional European hostel has been transplanted into China. This may or may not be what you are looking for, but to me it seems likely to mean that it will continue to be cleaner than most Chinese places, with much more comfortable rooms, though possibly at the expense of local character and communal vibe. If you are on a short trip and want to experience something more "authentic," and have a better chance of interacting with people (both Western and Chinese),then you might want to book somewhere else. If you're looking for a comfortable place to stay and a respite from frequently dreadful Chinese hostels, this is a good bet.
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- Also Known As:
- Hantang House China/Shaanxi