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“Excellent location but...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Songtsam Retreat at Shangri la - MGallery Collection

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Songtsam Retreat at Shangri la - MGallery Collection
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Son Zan Lin Ka, Shangri-La County 674400, China (Formerly Songtsam Retreat At Shangri-La)   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Free breakfast
Ranked #2 of 121 Hotels in Shangri-La County
4.5 of 5 stars 233 Reviews
London
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Excellent location but...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2010

As others have mentioned already, the location of the hotel and the building is amazing. Sits by itself overlooking the temples. Rooms are great, and the atmosphere is really nice.

We were not so impressed with the restaurant. It is quite expensive for what it is. Went for local cuisine one day, and western the next. The local cuisine is not much different from what you would get in a restaurant elsewhere, and so struggle to justify the huge price premium. The western meal (pasta) come uncooked. The Western F&B manager explained it was due to the high altitude, and he offered that we did not pay and brought a new portion properly cooked in a pressure cooker. Fair. The next day, we had the same problem, and the same F&B manager offered the same solution.

When I arrived on the first night, I had problems with the altitude (huge headache) and got a small bag of oxygen to inhale. Was then charged a hefty price for the pleasure. I am sure that other guests have the same problem, and would have expected that to be part of the price. Especially since local shops charge 10% of the price for a bottle of oxygen.

I liked the hotel building and location. But the experience left me feeling ripped off. It does not justify the premium. For the price, I would have expected better quality service and food. I hope they will get there one day. But at current the local hotels are not that much worse and a lot cheaper.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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233 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    166
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Singapore, Singapore
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2010

We stayed at Songtsam Retreat for 3 nights between 5-8 August and had an outstanding experience. The location and views are breathtaking and the rooms are very spacious and well decorated. The balconies/space outside the rooms were great to chill out in the evening with a glass of wine.

The restaurants serve excellent food - especially Yak meat dishes like steak and curry. The breakfast spread is ample to start off the day. The only issue we faced was not getting much choice when we landed at 10:30 PM.

But besides the room and food, what sets the place apart is their service. Very courteous and each and every member of the staff was keen to make our stay memorable. Patrick Druet, the GM, is very approachable and goes out of his way to resolve any issues, as is the restaurant manager.

All in all, an excellent vacation!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2010

I was amazed to find this "retreat" on the edge of a somewhat smaller town in the middle of nowhere, China. This place is worth every penny. Giant wooden baths, separate showers, Tibetan decorated rooms, amazing views. Service and staff are exceptional. Only drawback is that it is not walking distance to town, but the town is loud and dirty anyway and this retreat is on the edge of the mountain overlooking the monastary. Try the Tibetan food in the restaurant- its DELICIOUS.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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Hong Kong
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2010

Struggle to write this review, since I didn't want too many people to know about this hotel and Shangri-la in general ... and being over exploited. Simply Shangri-la/Diqing is one of the most beautiful place I've ever been, and the locals (non-han chinese) are the most genuine, honest, hospitable people I've meet in Asia - can't believe that I'm in China, since it's the total opposite just about anywhere else, including in Kunming which is only 1 hour flight away.

We had a personal guide, Rinchen & Norbu - that took us hiking over mountains, villages, valleys, etc - over 50km in 3 days and another 30km mountain biking on the last day. Just absolutely the most amazing scenery and best of all, no one else around. In fact we hiked 5 hours up Shika Snow Mountain, other than ourselves + guides, didn't see another person.

Anyway The Songtsam Retreat - It's located behind the SongZanlin Temple on a hill in a valley ... the view is to die for. The rooms where pretty decent, we stayed in the junior sutie which had fire place, which we used to full effect, given that it was coooold, snowed every day when we were there (April). I wouldn't say it's luxurious, but quaint and rustic and very comfy. The hotel doesn't have a spa/massage, which is fine, since that wasn't our purpose, but heard there was going to be one later on in the year.

They had two restaurant, one western and one local, never ate at the western, food at the local restuarant was not gourmet, but very harty, delicious & good value for a 5 star hotel. example the hot pot for 2 was RMB85 (USD12) compare to the hotpot for 2 at the banyan tree which was almost 8x more!!!!. A huge bottle of beer was only RMB15!!

The Service - Staff were generally very friendly, always happy to help. However need to be slightly better trained on being slighty more flexible, we had asked for a late check-out, 14:00, so that wasn't exactly stretching it, but the receptionist said, they couldn't, not because the hotel was full, but that it was policy, no late check-out! We the proceeded to ask Patrick, the Hotel Manager, he immediately said, 'No problem". But we shouldn't need to ask the manager, even a 'let me check' would of been better than 'no, it's policy'. There also seem to be a lot of people roaming around the property - i think most of them are staff, but couldn't be sure, since a lot of them are not in uniform. But never felt unsafe, as mentioned, people in Shangri-la are very honest and sincere, so never worried about safety or theft.

We originally were going to stay at the Banyan Tree for a couple of nights (we ended up visiting after one of our hikes), but so glad we didn't. The Songtsam is just so much better value and in a much better location. Everything at the Banyan Tree is a total rip-off, eg our guide for 4 days, cost less than 5 hour hike arranged by Banyan Tree (and it's the same hike we did during one day, and rooms are 3 times more expensive, but honestly not better.

Conclusion: Pro - great value, good food, decent service, good location, spectacular views from your rooms.
Con: I don't mind, but the rooms could be better insulated, cuz it's cold there! friendly staff, but could be better trained, massage service would be nice, esp after a 20km+ hike

Notes; Ask for Rinchen & Norbu if you need a guide to show you around the area - hotel has their contact or drop me a massage.
The altitude is 3300 meters at the valley, higher in the mountain, so altitude sickness can be a problem for a lot of people.
Come here if you want to experience nature at it's best, for luxury, shoping, eating, spa, go some where else.
Finally, if you what to be posser and ripped-off go to Banyan Tree, if not stay at the Songtsam.

Yes I would go back & recommend, in fact will be going back twice again this year!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Netherlands
Top Contributor
373 reviews 373 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2010

beautiful place in the middle of nature, fantastic service ,especially thanks to Patrick the manager,who was extremely helpful during the whole stay.The staff was also very kind. Big rooms with fireplace, nice decoration in rooms.
On a less positive note, the food could be improved. The French-european restaurant is not really up to what it should be, especially the cooking of dishes/meat. There was also no local fruit available which is a shame.
we went to the banyan tree before but rooms cost as much as three times what they cost at the songtsam retreat. Excellent value for money!
Overall we will definitely come back!

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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France
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2009

My best souvenir in Yunnan!
Plus, the restaurant is......... amazing.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
69 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
118 helpful votes 118 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2009

We hired a China SUV vehicle from Lijiang to Shangri-la at RMB 900 for 1.5 days. The road journey took us 5 hrs as driver Ho drove at a comfortable pace to get us adjusted to the altitude. We stopped at a restaurant near the entrance to the town of Shangri-la where we had a rather good meal of mushrooms with local vegetables, double boiled winter melon soup and fried eggs with beans for RMB 75.

My spouse suffered a little altitude sickness a few hours after we checked into Songtsam Retreat Hotel. He had a racing heartbeat and breathlessness and after a good rest, lots of hydration and a dose of Maplevita health supplement, he recovered after a few hours. We also decided to buy 2 canisters of oxygen @ RMB 38 each to ease our breathing before we slept.

Our superior room was spacious and as it was about 5 deg C on 2-3 Nov, we requested for the fire place to be heated in addition to the heater. Request was promptly acceded to and we had a most comfortable night. Our room was located close to the car park and restaurants and it overlooks the back of Songzanlin Monastery & a farm. Due to the onset of winter, the landscape in Shangri-la is arid and dull. The best season to be here is May - early Oct where the flowers are still in bloom and the weather more comfortable.

During our dinner at the hotel's restaurant, we were warmly greeted by Mr Patrick Druet (GM of Songtsam Retreat) & Ms Eileen Wen. We also had the privilege to watch the private rehearsal by staff of the hotel who were earnestly practicing their singing and dancing for their staff party on 7 Nov.

Staff did their best to make us welcomed and although the cold kept us indoor most of the time, we would highly recommend the Songtsam Retreat Hotel if you choose to visit Shangri-la.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Songtsam Retreat at Shangri la - MGallery Collection

Address: Son Zan Lin Ka, Shangri-La County 674400, China (Formerly Songtsam Retreat At Shangri-La)
Phone Number:
Location: China > Yunnan > Shangri-La County
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 121 Hotels in Shangri-La County
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Songtsam Retreat at Shangri la - MGallery Collection 5*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the Shangri-La Hills, Songtsam Retreat, a member of the Mgallery Collection, offers exceptional boutique accommodation in a distinctly Tibetan Style. Boasting a breathtaking location in this beautifully remote area of China, unique architecture and stunning design, the retreat comprises 72 rooms and suites. Songtsam Retreat is located 25 minutes from Diqing Airport and 5 minutes from Songzanlin Monastery. It offers spectacular views, 2 restaurants offering superb dining, a day spa;Linka Spa by L'Occitane, boutique shop, takeout shop and a meditation/yoga room. The hotel is pleased to provide various activities in and around the hotel for you to have a truly memorable stay and ensure you experience all that Shangri-La, also known as the ‘Eden in Dream’ has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Songtsam Retreat At Shangri-La Hotel Shangri-La County
Songtsam Retreat At Shangri La - MGallery Collection Shangri-La County, China - Yunnan

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