The location, overlooking pleasant gardens, leading to the river, with montains at the back is idyllic. The reception was quick and efficient and the glass of real orange juice and biscuits to welcome us was a pleasant surprise. That’s the end of the praise I am afraid, from there it’s down hill.
We were promised a room with a river view, which we didn’t get. I should mention that this trip was a celebration of 40 years of marriage and we wanted the best available. A change of company policy meant that only private bookings would get a room with a river view and ours was booked by the travel company. We were told, just weeks before our trip, that our room would have a view of the mountains. It did just, and also a view of the hotel staff living quarters and back alley.
The first things to notice about the room were the walls. They hadn’t seen a paint brush for years. They looked as if back packers had marched across them and children used them for their 1st lesson in writing.
The door handle on the bathroom door was broken.
This is the 1st hotel that I had ever stayed in that didn’t have a razor point in the bathroom, or anywhere else for that matter.
The kettle for making hot drinks had to be plugged into the only socket in the room, which was between the two beds and at floor level, meaning the kettle had to be placed on the floor if it was used. The tea was not only colourless but completely tasteless. It was even more inconvenient trying to shave sitting on the floor using this socket.
The notice in the bathroom was very specific “ all paper must be put into the rubbish bin provided, the Chinese waste system is not designed to take paper matter”. I don’t need to say more. Simply that we did not see this notice anywhere else in China.
There was a TV in the room but it couldn’t pick up a satellite signal, so DVDs were available in the foyer. A rather limited selection, mostly episodes of series with a few films.
No telephone in the room. There should have at least been one to connect with reception in case of emergency. Excuse me whilst I just try to drag myself down the stairs to reception to report that I have just suffered a stroke.
All Chinese hotels leave bottled water in their rooms for drinking. Not this one, the flask could be filled at the fountain in the dining room on the ground floor. It was obviously continually leaking because it was was surrounded by bath towels. They had been there so long they were saturated and the water was flowing across the floor.
There was supposed to be WIFI available but we couldn’t ever get a connection.
The breakfast service was diabolical. We were seated at a table with no serviettes, cutlery or condiments. We had to ask for them.
The breakfast menu was set out in formulae that appeared to be written in stone. No interchange or mixing. So we settled for bacon and egg which would be accompanied by toast, orange juice and tea or coffee.
The orange juice again tasted freshly squeezed and delicious. Our coffee cups were half filled so that we could have topped them up with cold milk and drank cold coffee. In fact we drink ours black. Could the cup be filled please? The answer was to walk away. So, after our half cups we asked for a refill. Only one drink allowed so you will have to pay extra. As we had only had a few nouthfuls so far we agreed to pay for more. Difficult to believe that the hotel is supposedly owned by an American who would expect the coffee pot to be bottomless.
The toast wasn’t. It looked as if a match might have been waved over it. It was colourless and had the texture of stale bread rather than toast. The eggs were cooked to death and if there is one thing that I cannot stand it is a hard egg cooked any style. The pat of butter was litterly that, not the usual tiny carton of Anchor found everywhere else in China. It was insufficient to cover a postage stamp, a small one at that. On asking for more butter we were given one more tiny pat, so we could now almost cover two postage stamps. This was intended for 2 slices of bread. We sat with an Australien couple who had arrived the night before. They asked us in desperation, ‘We booked online for four nights. What on earth are we going kto do here for that long?’
On checking out a notice was pointed out to us, “+3% to use credit charge, –3% for cash” I have never seen this before in a reputable hotel. I can only assume that the discount for cash offer is so that … I leave that to your own imagination, especially as a receipt wasn’t offered, even when requested.
I couldn’t see any reason for this hotel to be called “green” in any way, shape or form other than as an excuse for not providing certain services or features.
I cannot understand why this hotel has such a world wide reputation other than for it’s location which is second to none. If it is so wonderful then why does it have only a two star rating? Of the seven hotels we stayed during our trip only this one didn’t have a single chinese person staying there. The Mountain Retreat, the natives obviously knew something that we didn’t.
I mentioned earlier that the hotel is supposedly owned by an American. It may be, but for all other purposes we were told that it is registered in the name of the disabled lady who runs it. Apparently under Chinese law that means that the profits are virtually tax free.
This was our one and only experience of leaving a hotel feeling hungry and thirsty after breakfast.
Demand a river view room and accept nothing less
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We're pleased that you chose to celebrate your anniversary with us, but there are some serious misstatements in your review that we should address here.
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Most importantly, the Mountain Retreat is a Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise since 2000, and is not registered in the name of any local staff. Your assertion that we somehow get a tax break because we choose to hire people with disabilities is not only completely false but frankly insulting to all of us at the Retreat, whose values have always been about supporting the local community and being good corporate citizens. We are proud to employ talented people with disabilities like our receptionist Angel, simply because she represents the kind of caring and dedication to guest happiness that we have been known for over the past 11 years. The fact is that we are one of the highest tax paying small hotels in Yangshuo.
While we're sorry you didn't get the room you wanted, meanspirited and unfounded comments about our business and facilities are unhelpful for everyone.
We gave ourselves the star rating seen at the top of our page because we believe that our simple accommodation is best compared to a country inn. The lack of TVs and telephones as well as the natural septic system are deliberate in our design, as you would find in a local rural home. That said, we hold ourselves to a higher standard of room quality, which includes regularly touching up wall paint, and completely repainting rooms each February. It isn't always perfect, but that is also part of its character.
From your comments, it sounds like you were expecting a typical corporate chain hotel, which we proudly are not.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.