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“Tranquil Haven”

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Secret Garden Boutique Hotel
Ranked #7 of 446 Hotels in Yangshuo County
Certificate of Excellence
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
92 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Tranquil Haven”
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kateinshanghai
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 15, 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.
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261 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
76 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Spannng
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 15, 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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Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 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
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank kizzybeijing
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
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank James W
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.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2013 via mobile

Me and my wife stayed for three nights in this lovely courtyard hotel and we had a great experience. The hotel offers a real good service, delicious food / breakfast, large well equiped rooms, and the staff is superb! Recomended!

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank rgaraffa
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, July 9, 2013
Thank you on behalf of all our staff at the Secret Garden for your kind words. We all try our best in everything we do. We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis, MO
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2013

The other reviews pretty well nail it, so I'll just add a few bits. First, I was struck by the artistic design of the place and the incredible attention to detail (of which the owner is rightly proud). With the mix of old and modern, just eye candy everywhere. Second, extremely friendly, warm, helpful staff. I was nervous when we arrived and learned that Fay and Ian weren't there, as I was expecting Fay to arrange activities for us, incl Li river trip from Yangdi to Xingping (highly recc'd). No worries, the staff (I remember Lulu's name who was great, but why can't I remember the name of the lady who arranged stuff? She was really terrific.) is fantastic and managed everything seamlessly. No confusion, no worries. We did meet Fay on our second day and she was lovely as well. The village is gorgeous, and a highlight for me was walking out to the rice paddy at night and watching the stars reflect off the water, mountains all around, and several weird kinds of frogs making their noises.

While the village is free to explore, I think some of the locals don't always love tourists poking around the alleys where they live, where you can see in their homes. Our Mandarin-speaking friend thought one man said we shouldn't be there, and his wife then started arguing with them. While I'd heard there isn't the western sense of privacy in China, I think it's a little different in a village where locals can start to feel like tourist entertainment if we aren't careful. I'd say explore away, but be mindful that these are people's homes and if you suspect you're infringing on family space, poke around elsewhere. That said, we loved being in the village, and felt quite welcome there. One old lady waved us into her home to see some lovely woodwork and a shrine to Mao--she then asked for payment which seemed utterly reasonable--very fun, and again, don't be shy about exploring, just be sensitive.

The food at the hotel was excellent, with some outstanding Chinese incl local dishes as well as noodles, burgers, pizza for the kids or those who for some reason don't want to eat Chinese food in China. This was the best place we ate with our daughter the whole trip. (She (12) also loved catching little frogs around the paddies.)

We totally skipped Guilin, thankfully, and only passed briefly through Yangshuo on return from the river. The latter has a pleasant western shopping/dining district but is easily skippable--no need to go in unless you want nightlife/excitement (this hotel is very quiet). We did the light show on the river which was terrific, at least if you like that sort of thing--to me it's a bit like bringing the Can-Can to the Grand Canyon, kind of misses the point of being in such a beautiful natural environment. But most people would love it, and our daughter certainly did.

If I owned a hotel, I'd want it to be exactly like this.

Room Tip: The family suite was fantastic--generally the pictures don't do this place justice.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank PapaPiranha
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, July 9, 2013
Wow. We could not be happier than if we are your favorite hotel ever. Thank you for being so thorough and for your advice to other visitors. Thanks also from Lulu and Tanya, who were very happy to be able to help with your travel arrangements.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Timmins, Canada
Level Contributor
167 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

After reading website description/story and reviews of the place I was so much looking forward to staying in this hotel... I was not disappointed. Lovingly restored old traditional house with all modern conveniences... It is in perfect harmony with the beautiful surroundings - carst mountains, rice fields and lush vegetation. New modern pieces of art harmoniously complete the picture...
Food is delicious and staff lovely and extremely helpful...
Do come, stay there and you won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Piramidon
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, July 9, 2013
Thank you so much, 'unique and beautiful' are definitely what we have tried to achieve in our Secret Garden. We are so happy that you enjoyed all aspects of your stay with us.
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

Property: 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 #7 of 446 Hotels in Yangshuo County
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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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