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“Frank&Penny” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Secret Garden Boutique Hotel

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Secret Garden Boutique Hotel
Jiuxian Village, Yangshuo County 541900, China   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Summer Holiday Giveaways
Ranked #3 of 300 hotels in Yangshuo County
MORANGUP WESTERN AUSTRALIA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Frank&Penny”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

We recently spent time in Guilin, Yangshuo and JiuXian. Our stay at the 300 year old former government building that has been tastefully renovated to become the Secret Garden Boutique Hotel was most pleasant. The mature friendly staff were most helpful, the food was excellent and the room very nice. Unfortunately there was no refrigerator, like a lot of Asian hotels. They make the best ice coffee in China. The local people are friendly and the countryside is peaceful and beautiful. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian F, Manager at Secret Garden Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, September 16, 2013
Thank you Frank & Penny. We are glad you enjoyed your peaceful stay with us in the countryside. We hope to see you again on your next visit.
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129 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
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English first
Manama, Bahrain
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

From the time we were picked up by the cab organized by Faye till we left 4 days later, it was perfect. After the inescapable crowds of Beijing, Xian & then Guilin, this was the much-needed sanctuary in a very beautiful locale of rural China. The rooms & the hotel in its entirety are very tastefully & thoughtfully decorated [ note the real scroll paintings on the windows ] plus the service just lends the extra touch of personal care; which we hadn't felt since our arrival in China 10 days ago. Just grab a bike from the hire-shop just outside & cycle around the inner lanes / cycling routes of the village for quality tranquil-time.

Look no further for food, you’ll find people in neighbouring hotels coming here regularly for the restaurant ~ the food is fab ! Must have the Chinese breakfast, stir-fried beans with mince, cold cucumber, Yangshou fried rice & the braised aubergine in clay-pot. The western options are very authentic too, the SpagBol & pizzas were a real hit after a night out to watch the light show nearby. The best part of the place is the family that run it – very prompt in responses over the email & phone; they go out of their way to look after you ~ like the delicious late-nite meal whipped up by the bundle of energy called Tanya, packing our lunch take-away for the airport or setting up extra fans in the room to combat the heat wave; nothing needed more than a single request. Bear in mind that cards are not accepted, so take cash along – we weren't aware, but Faye directed us to ATMs during our trips out & was very helpful to get everything sorted stress-free.

Would certainly return here if ever back in the same part of the world!

Room Tip: Ask Faye for the best suggestions as per family size - each room is uniquely charming. Our Delux roo...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian F, Owner at Secret Garden Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
On Behalf of Faye, Tanya and the rest of our Secret Garden family, thank you so much for your lovely review. We are so happy that you enjoyed the sanctuary of our hotel and surroundings. We too hope you return to visit us again.
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Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2013

We have spent six days and five nights in Yangshuo. Three nights we stayed at Secret Garden Boutique hotel and two nights at Li River retreat. When we booked we thought that both hotels seemed good but different. We wanted to have a few days far out on the countryside and a few near Yangshuo town.
This post is a comparison between two good hotels and I therefore put it under both hotels. The grades given are for the hotels under which this review is posted.
The rooms. It is hard to compare. At Secret Garden we had a standard king size room (430 RMB) and at the Li River Retreat we had their deluxe king size river view (about 625 RMB). The difference in the room is reflected in the price. Definitely. We stayed during the hottest period of the year, often higher than 35 degrees C. And common for both hotels is that the air conditions are hopelessly under dimensioned. The AC at Li River is probably the same for all rooms and since our room was a big (and more expensive one) it had to struggle to keep down the temperature.
The view from the room. At Li River it was fantastic. The photos from the previous reviews don’t lie. We just stood flabbergasted when we saw it for the first time. At the Secret Garden we had more or less nothing, a few yellow skin fruit trees and the neighbouring farm house. But the Secret Garden is (at least we believe so) an old rural farm restored to a hotel. And that is how these houses were built.
The service. The Li River is not bad but they cannot beat the Secret Garden. In the secret Garden they have a few (good English speaking) middle age ladies who are marvellous. Service minded and knowledgeable with the kind of mature impressions that comes with the years. The familiar feeling they bring to Secret Garden, It is just not anything of that at Li River. At Li River Retreat there were young women doing their best. Why is it so that the Chinese are so obsessed with putting young good looking women at all their fronting positions? Don’t they understand it comes with a price? We were told that the Secret Garden couldn’t attract young people so far out at the countryside. Good for them!!!
The location. Well, it depends what you are looking for. The Secret Garden is quite far out and whatever they say about taxi and so on, it is not easy to arrange. In Yangshuo you just don’t go out on the street and flag one down. Coming in to the town is easy, it is coming back that is tricky. Especially late in the evening when the Secret Garden is empty on staff. But the surroundings are beautiful. And if your primary target is countryside, then go for the Secret Garden. The surroundings are far more beautiful (except for the river view then…). The Li River Retreat is closer to town, less beautiful surroundings and the distance from town is on walking distance. Bring a flashlight (or your mobile’s torch). It is pitch dark as soon as you leave town. We spent two days near Yangshuo and afterwards, I think one day would have been enough. I had seen the writings about the hordes in Yangshuo and thought it was westerners not used to Chinese conditions. I was wrong. I have an apartment in a 4-million city in China and I have seen nothing there that compares to Yangshuo at night. I don’t like it, others might…
The restaurant and food and drink options. Both restaurants are quite expensive to Chinese standards but not outraging, which some of the restaurants in Yangshuo town are. Li River is more expensive than Secret Garden. When it comes to breakfast it can be seen that Secret Garden is run by a South African (I believe) and Li River by Spanish people. Those in favour of south European breakfasts will probably like Li River more and the rest of us (liking English, north European or Chinese breakfast) will probably prefer Secret Garden. The coffee at secret Garden is fresh while Li River use instant coffee (SIC!). The menu is more limited at Secret Garden than at Li River, however not bad. Both have Chinese and western food. One could believe that Li River would have more options but unless you want to go into town (and back in pitch darkness) at least we could find nothing in the vicinity of Li River. There are two Chinese (with humhum quality) neighbouring Secret Garden.
A last comment. If you rely on internet (I do because of work) both of them are of the heart attack inducing type. Painfully slow. But of course, we are inside China, internet is always slow here. But not that slow…
If I would come back to one of these premises it would be Secret Garden. But on the other hand, my wife said Li River Retreat, so the answer is not absolutely obvious…

Room Tip: Try to book eraly to get a room with some kind of view. It is a popular hotel...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian F, Owner at Secret Garden Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
Thank you for your review. We are glad that you and your wife enjoyed your time at both of the hotels you chose.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai, China
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

We loved our 3 day stay at the Secret Garden. The staff is friendly, accommodating, and available. We ate mostly Chinese food, and it was delicious. Having very busy lives in Shanghai and feeling exhausted, we were relieved to feel so relaxed and at home in the Secret Garden. The village is charming and nice to walk around in early morning to see the villagers go about their business. Rice fields and karst mountains surround the area.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian F, Owner at Secret Garden Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
Thank you, we loved having you stay with us. We look forward to welcoming you back into our home when you next need to escape Shanghai to relax.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

After a 15 hour sleeper train this was like heaven. Everything we hoped for and more. Only regret is that we only stayed 2 days. The rooms are bigger then I expected, bed is fantastic and the decor is perfected suited to the hotel surrounds. The staff are really helpful (and many speak English). They were able to organize all our tours (which in hindsight was unique to the rest of the hotels we stayed in China). The food was also really great especially the vegetarian dishes. I usually never eat where I stay but this was a worthy exception. It was just such a relaxing and friendly place to stay. And I haven't even mentioned the location...

I was worried about not being near Yangshuo but the scenery around this hotel is to die for. You don't have to go to Yangshuo - this IS the place you want to visit. Secret Garden is restoring the Qing Dynasty town it's built it. You can walk around the beautiful, rustic old ally's and see the town in different states of disrepair. Makes for some great photos. Then out the front you've got classic Chinese countryside: rice paddies, vegetable gardens and free range poultry. And then of course your surrounded by karst mountains. I spent hours just wandering around the hotel and town it was so picturesque. If you like hiking there's a trail that runs up the valley right of the town (stumbled onto that also).

Thanks so much for the staff who made our stay the most memorable and relaxing of our trip.

Really should have spent a week here and not two days. Would love to return.

Room Tip: If you're worried about the distance to Yangshuo don't. The scenery around here is mesmirisn...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian F, Owner at Secret Garden Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
On behalf of all our staff, thank you so much for your lovely review. We are glad you found our surroundings as beautiful as we do. We look forward to seeing you for a full week on your next visit.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

I have always wanted to stay in a place called the Secret Garden and this hotel did not let me down. I stayed here for three nights in May 2013 and had a lovely time. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The rooms are comfortable and clean. The Chinese Food is delicious. Try the fried green beans and chilly,some of the best I have tasted while living in China.
The surrounding area to the hotel is a great place to explore. I spent my whole two days wandering around and the local people were all very friendly.
I would most certainly recommend this hotel and when I need to escape from Beijing for a little while will be back.
As a lone traveller thank you for making my stay a great one.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian F, Owner at Secret Garden Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, August 7, 2013
We are happy we were able to make your wishes come true and look forward to catching up with you again on your next escape from Beijing.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

Place is nestled in rice fields at the base of a big hill around 10 mins outside of Yangshuo town center. Location is perfect for relaxing along the less crowded Yulong river - ideal for swimming and/or bamboo rafting. Staff is friendly and can book everything needed to complete your trip upon arrival. We chose to rent a gas-powered scooter in order to quickly make our way to small villages, scenic lookouts, and swimming holes.

Secret Garden Cafe offers very tasty food including western selections at good prices. Flip to the back pages of their menu to read about activities and recommended places to visit in the area.

Will def. be back to stay longer next time!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian F, Owner at Secret Garden Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, August 7, 2013
We are all glad you enjoyed your relaxing stay with us and look forward to welcoming you back at the Secret Garden on your next trip.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Secret Garden Boutique Hotel

Address: Jiuxian Village, Yangshuo County 541900, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Guangxi Zhuang > Yangshuo County
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 300 hotels in Yangshuo County
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Secret Garden is a boutique hotel with restaurant and art gallery, near the Yulong River in the beautiful Yangshuo countryside. We aim to preserve the beautiful Ming Dynasty buildings of this rural village; conserve the surrounding environment; and help develop the local community. If you are looking for a unique and inspirational environment in which to relax or explore, the Secret Garden Boutique Hotel is the perfect place for you. ... more   less 
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