Don't stay here unless you want to lie awake in your bed until 2:30 a.m. each night, pay more for less, and take lousy tours (at least to Hua Shan). All the positive reviews really surprise me, as our experience was not positive at all.
Where to begin. The biggest issue is the bar located right under the place. It plays loud music that will keep you up at night (even with earplugs) unless you plan to drink yourself to sleep. This is particularly true for the second of the three courtyards at Shuyuan. Most nights drunken patrons also spilled out into the courtyard talking loudly for a while after bar closing. Furthermore, the bar doesn't really add to the atmosphere at Shuyuan as far as I could tell; the two times I stuck my head in it was packed with locals but no foreigners to chat with.
Neither is Shuyuan a good value. We paid 180 yuan for a double. The room was adequate and clean, but nothing to write home about. They also only turn on the hot water between 8:00 a.m. and noon, which seemed unnecessarily stingy given this price (we paid similar prices elsewhere during our stay for nicer rooms, and never had our hot water supply restricted). The restaurant in back is good, but also expensive. We had to consistently go up to the staff persons messing with there smartphones when we wanted to order despite no other patrons being present to occupy their time.
The staff at the front desk were OK, a few girls were friendly but most of the guys were not. Furthermore, the tour we were sold to Hua Shan was terrible (I strongly recommend you go elsewhere to book it). They stuck us on a bus with a bunch of domestic tourists and a non-English speaking tour guide. The bus then parked in a dirt lot far from the Hua Shan entrance and the Chinese tour guide handed us a poorly written note about how to catch several buses to the entrance and then back again at the end of the day. When things inevitably went wrong because one of the buses dropped us off in the wrong place and the bus driver refused to budge once there, we almost got left at Hua Shan.
The best thing was probably Shuyuan's location: right next to the old city walls near the South Gate. This, however, does not make up for all the shortcomings described above. If I ever get back to Xi'an, I would rather sleep on the street than at Shuyuan again. Alright, I am exaggerating a little. But I am not exaggerating a lot.