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“Not as expected”

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Secret Garden Boutique Hotel
Ranked #8 of 487 Hotels in Yangshuo County
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 10, 2012

The Chinese lady was very cold and money driven overall. Was required to pay 2 nights at the time of checking in. Although the room decoration is quite nice, however the showering faucet broken down during my shower, then the electricity of my room went our of order due to rain. Overall it is not worthwhile to choose this hotel over so many hotels in yangshuo. Not to say you are paying the price of a 5 star hotel

  • Stayed: September 2012
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2  Thank Juneyujun
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 reviewResponded September 13, 2012

Thank you for choosing to stay at our hotel. We are sorry that it did not fully meet your expectations. I would like to address the issues raised so that future guests can be informed of some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing our hotel.
The Chinese lady – Faye - is horrified to think that she gave the impression of being "money driven". We think it is standard hotel practice to pay a deposit when booking or the full room price upon check-in. Many of our customers prefer to clear their bill in advance so that they can budget their finances for the following days. If you were not expecting this we are sorry for any distress caused.
It is unavoidable that in any hotel, from time to time, things break. When you notified us that the shower head in your bathroom had broken I personally replaced it immediately with a new one.
In order to ensure the safety of our guests and their electrical appliances our main power switch is designed to trip in the event of a lightening strike on the mains cables. As I did on this occasion, I always reset the switch straight away to ensure that our guests are not without power for more than a minute or two. The power remained uninterrupted for the rest of the night
We believe that it is essential to deal with any minor problems immediately when they arise. This I always try to do with minimum inconvenience to our guests. We are sorry that these issues detracted from your overall enjoyment.
Sincerely
Ian Hamlinton

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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193 - 199 of 276 reviews

Reviewed September 7, 2012

We verify that everything everyone is saying about the Secret Garden is true! The old buildings are spectacular and they have done a beautiful job restoring them. We enjoyed several dinners and are quite fond of the chef’s cooking. All of the staff is friendly and helpful. We were very happy with all of the outings Faye helped us plan, from rafting on the Li River and the Yungshuo River, to visiting the local markets and the small towns. As long as you have a mobile phone, Faye will keep track of you and make sure you get to where you need to be and pick you up and get you back to the hotel. We were there for 5 days and really enjoyed out visit.

Room Tip: The suites are lovely and provide more light and space.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Cathy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2012

Cosy, homely and tucked away from crowd.

Lovely hotel with friendly service, located in the village of Jiuxuan (20 min taxi from town). Perfect for relaxation, discovering the quiet life in Yangshuo, cycling around and truly appreciating the views of this city. Owners kept the feel and architecture of the Qing dynasty buildings while providing modern comforts designed tastefully. Very clean and comfortable.

Food was excellent, providing us with our daily meals. Bicycles are easy to rent just outside of hotel, and transport or tours can be organised. Definitely recommend this quaint hotel for guests who wants a quieter retreat amidst paddyfields and nature.

Cycle for an hour to Yulong Bridge, take a bamboo raft ride down from Yulong River and walk back to hotel. It's peaceful and not crowded.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank wanderfoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

If you are a "true" travel junky, and are traveling to China to see the real country and the authentic villages. You must, and I mean MUST stay at Yangshou Secret Garden!
Faye and Fengzi, have done an incredible job saving these older family homes and turning them into the perfect Boutique Hotel. The Village of Jiuxian is this quaint and lovely place that I too wanted to stay and live there!! So much beauty around, so much to do, that I wished we would have spent our two weeks at Secret Garden and by passed all the other places we went!
The hotel is stunning, the food is amazing and the company (one of the landlords and Fenzi) gave us an unforgettable night drinking local beer!
I loved this place so much, the village, the people, Moon Hill, The bamboo rafts....I cried when we boarded the plane to leave :( I will go back, and next time, will stay at Secret Garden for my full 2 week vacation. I LOVED IT!

Room Tip: All rooms are perfect. My sister in law was with us and stayed in a standard room and we had a suit...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank KWilsonGA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

The hotel is located in a beautiful rural site close to Yangshuo with easy access to walks and bike explorations. It is ideal for the discovery of the chinese countryside and the life along the Yulong river. Very calm.

If you are interested, the hotel organizes easily all activities proposed in Yangshuo (eg. Light show) or around the city (eg silver cave, moon hill, Li river cruise, etc). We even organized at the last minute with them a journey to the LongJi rice terrasses (3h and a half from Yangshuo) with a private driver. It is worth the visit. Get away from the touristic part as soon as you can and you will find yourself in fantastic sites!

You can contact the hotel before your arrival for getting informations. We could organize our pick-up from the airport with them for instance. They are very efficient and reliable.

The restaurant at the hotel is very good.

They speak english very well. Everything was easy and perfect.

Room Tip: Our family room was perfect for three (1 large bed and one smaller for our child of 8). The room was...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Alessandra C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

Beautifully renovated courtyard houses in the countryside. The suite I stayed in was very special. There are many little private common areas in and around the hotel to read quietly or share a drink. It is outside Yangshuo but gives you a chance to really enjoy the stunning scenery by staying right in the middle of it. Great staff who make you feel that you are part of the family. Well worth a stay.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank Helen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

My most FAVORITE place to stay in all of China. We so loved The Secret Garden. What a special place, run by very lovely and tirelessly accommodating people-- Faye and Fengzi (and their contacts of thousands). I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon their website as I was planning a six week trip to China. My son and daughter-in-law live in Shanghai. They wanted to get out of the big city for their holidays and wow did we ever accomplish that, and more, with our fabulous stay outside Yangshuo at The Secret Garden.

I had started planning far in advance, so was able to drive Faye crazy with multiple emails about the Secret Garden, Yangshuo and the surrounding area. She always answered immediately with helpful information and arranged our pickup from Guilin airport as she arranged so many adventures for us. When we four arrived at the airport we were met by the driver, no problem. It was about an hour and half ride from Guilin, past Yangshuo and to the lovely teeny little town where the Secret Garden is hiding among the rice fields and karst. I highly recommend the van ride especially if you are four or more people. Otherwise, a boat or a bus to Yangshuo, then, find a taxi to Jiuxian (good luck with that when you don't know where you are going). Although, knowing Faye, she would be able to send a taxi to where you ended up in Yangshuo. She is a transport magician.

We were amazed when we arrived in this teeny little town and the van drove down a single lane road to the middle of nowhere. Beautiful nowhere. Check out their website and read about the incredible Qing Dynasty buildings that Fengzi has painstakingly and amazingly restored to such beauty. Bring some baijiu (Chinese wine) and see if he is not too exhausted to talk about the ongoing construction process and fascinating small town politics.

We stayed in the wonderful suite upstairs in the Courtyard House. I highly recommend this suite, though my son and his wife loved their standard room in the front building. We revealed in the spaciousness and oh, the views out all the many many windows, front and back. The king size bed was incredibly comfortable. I loved my view from the bathroom sink, looking out over the rice fields and to the karst. The shower was perfect and the water was hot. Great towels, great everything. There is a sitting room that is comfy and has one of my favorite amenities throughout China (or, anywhere…) each room is outfitted with its own 5 gallon water dispenser with hot and cold tap. What a luxury! How thoughtful! I can never seem to get enough water to drink so this was heaven. There is also a 5 gallon water dispenser (with tea bags by the side) in the common area of the Courtyard.

Faye helped us to arrange our excursions. She set us up with the bamboo boats--ordering the taxi, getting us the tickets, suggesting where to go after. For example, taxi to the Li River for the cruise on our own boat (the four of us).
The Li is where the incredible karst image on the 20 yuan note is. Instead of a taxi home after, we wished to take the local bus to Yangshuo. Faye told us how to find the bus, then, with her precious business card in hand, we were able to call her at days end (her cell phone is attached to her hand) from Yangshuo so she could order a taxi to pick us up and return us to the Garden (about a 20 minute drive). What a lovely day. If we had been arranging on our own, the logistics would have taken monumental figuring out even though my son has Mandarin. A lovely day.

One day, we told her we would like to go on the non-motorized bamboo boats (another incredible river excursion). Oh, she says, hmmm, national holiday it was. Many Chinese tourists. This is just what they were all doing that day as well. But Faye and her trusty cell phone arranged everything for us. Taxi to the boats, the breathtaking bamboo boat ride, then on to Yangshuo for the not-to-be-missed Impression San Jie Liu Light Show. And then back home. Of course, Faye had arranged the tickets to the show as well as a driver to return us safely to our little bit of heaven.

One day we said we wanted to take a walk in the karst. Fengzi said (between hammering nails) go out back there (behind the hotel) and there is a great walk to a deserted town. Another adventure, right in our back yard.

The food was great we had breakfast at Secret Garden everyday and some dinners. The staff is lovely and helpful. We could just sit around the outside areas of the Secret Garden and drink pijo (beer) and hang out. That would be fine.

One night, Fengzi took us to dinner at his friends' house, the local Communist Party Leader. What an amazing experience. It was an honor to be in the farm house of a local, exchanging stories and learning how to drink and toast properly ("friends, cheers" knock the hot pot with glass and drink--each time anyone starts the "friends, cheers" refrain. Uh Oh!) Good thing we were all walking. This is a small local dining and cultural exchange mini program Fengzi has arranged. We paid a nominal sum to our Chinese host for the amazing food he so beautifully prepared and were rewarded with an unforgettable night of fun, friendship and food. This was our first experience with hot pot and after this we could not get enough.

The day we had to leave Secret Garden, we had an idea to run past Faye, perhaps we could leave a lot earlier in the day for our evening flight out of Guilin and have our driver take us to the Dragon's Backbone--Longji Rice Terraces outside of Guilin. This added many hours to our trip yet she was able to arrange it last minute with the driver even though it was such a busy time during this Chinese holiday. Many hours in the van but it was worth it to walk up the beautiful terraces before finally flying back to Shanghai.

Do not miss the Secret Garden. I would fly back to China just to stay there for a few weeks and forget everything else. I could go on and on about it and Faye and Fengzi and the lovely staff. So, please ask me if you have any questions! I will try and post photos with captions.

Room Tip: Upstairs suite in the Courtyard House is spacious and lovely. King bed. Views out front and back.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank L Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 > Yangshuo County
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 487 Hotels in Yangshuo County
Price Range: $34 - $77 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Secret Garden is a boutique hotel and restaurant near the Yulong River in the stunning Yangshuo countryside. Our hotel consists of Qing Dynasty buildings that have been beautifully restored in order to preserve the historic character, while providing customers with a unique and inspirational environment in which to relax or explore. ... more   less 
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