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“Excellent place with bad service!”

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Secret Garden Boutique Hotel
Ranked #8 of 462 Hotels in Yangshuo County
Certificate of Excellence
Beijing, China
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent place with bad service!”
Reviewed October 8, 2013

Great place to stay and great staff except for one. I am writing this review so that they would treat guests with respect, after all thats the most important thing in hospitality industry. Faye, the lady at the reception was very rude, their website mentioned that they offer train tickets service and we asked for tickets to Hanoi and she said she would get back to us, its of no problem till then but the next day we had to ask her twice about it again and she wasn't clear enough what the status was. We were absolutely fine with that and there is nothing wrong if she couldn't arrange for the tickets but she was talking to the person next to her in Mandarin that we were "troublesome". Now we do speak mandarin and understand mandarin, thats an unacceptable behaviour. The next day me and my friends were having breakfast and an old Canadian/American couple were sitting across from us, they happen to have had a good time and the lady was laughing out load, faye walks in to take the order and she didn't notice we were there and then she turned around and started imitating the old lady with sarcasm. On the other hand, the other staff were super friendly especially Peter who helped us with everything we needed and was a super friendly guy. The rooms were top class and the food was very good. I hope they won't repeat such things in the future. I would have give 5 stars if that lady was friendly.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank UdayTT
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, October 18, 2013
Thank you for your feedback which Faye would like to respond to. Her meaning was that it was obtaining the soft sleeper tickets that was 'troublesome'. Her comment was not intended as a complaint or criticism. She is very distraught that you felt this was directed at you personally and apologises for any unhappiness this has caused you. We are glad you were happy with all other aspects of your stay with us and apologise for this misunderstanding.
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266 reviews from our community

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  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (46)
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English first
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2013

I travelled to Guilin/Yangshuo for 4 nights and spent some time debating where to stay (Guilin vs. Yangshuo and then noisy Yangshuo town vs. a quiet village). I'm so glad I chose to stay at the Secret Garden because I was looking for a quiet place with beautiful views. The hotel turned out to have a great location, very personal service and has been built in a unique traditional style with various areas to explore!

The hotel is in a small, traditional village surrounded by fields, mountains and close to the Yulong river yet has all the basic needs to help you feel at home. With great English speaking staff, decent Wifi and even delicious home made Western food (and of course safe, yummy local food) on the menu it makes your stay very comfortable. I found all the staff to be very helpful, (Faye, Peter and my driver among others) - they were a great help to advise on tours and will arrange everything for you which was important to me as I travelled alone and have no Chinese language skills. I recommed that you make the most of their tour suggestions and also take the time to explore the surrounding village.

One piece of advice that I can suggest is that due to the boutique nature of the hotel, sometimes the reception staff are not sufficient to deal with people visiting the restuarant, asking questions about tours, calling in on the phones etc. so don't be afraid to directly order your food with kitchen staff or ask other staff around for some help - their English may not be as good but if you can convey what you need then they will be very happy to help you!

Whether alone or with friends and family, I would definitely go back for more!

Room Tip: A suite on the top floor is great value and has a lot of natural light.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Vikrams8
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, October 18, 2013
On behalf of Faye, Peter, Mao (your driver) and the rest of our Secret Garden family, thank you for your kind words. We will be here waiting for you when you do 'come back for more'.
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warrenton ,va
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2013 via mobile

Quaint 11 room boutique hotel about 1/2 hr from Yangshuo . If You need relaxation after the hustle of the city this is your place. Most flights are from Gillian and then it is up to the traveler to decide to arrive by boat, bus, or private vehicle.
Don't be fooled when you arrive! The entrance is a little "quaint" , But once inside you will find the best service ever. Tonya and say will do anything to make their customers happy. The rooms are scattered over a large area of the hotel with sitting areas in many different spots. There are nooks and crannies everywhere for sitting or just enjoying the company of the other guests. One of the most delightful features is the Ecclectic group of guests from all over the world. The rooms are very large, comfortable with a large bathroom space. The beds are soft and comfortable with enough hellos and a nice comforter to be able to get a good nights sleep. The air conditioning controls are written in Chinese therefore I wrote out a new paper to be handed to the guests so that they can understand how to make the air-conditioning work. I had the misfortune of not understanding and spent the first night very uncomfortable. There are many attractions to go to from this area also. The walking paths are very quaint and I and easy safe walk anywhere you want to go. A lot of photo ops are on these quaint walks. You can also rent a bicycle right outside the hotel. a driver can be had at any time to take you to any of the attractions My favorite above all else and not to be missed is the evening attraction in Younshuo called the Light Show .It is a musical display by one of the Beijing Olympics choreographers that plays out on a lake with magnificent lighting and a cast of hundreds. People come from all over China to view this and it is an inside look to the culture and the music of China. To me, it was one of the highlights of my trip to China. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to see the race patties in the hills which requires a all day trip however those that went said it is a trip not to be missed. I also took a raft ride down the Li River which was a relaxing two hours. There are many other things around to be done. Many people rent bikes and just ride around the countryside often with guides.Two things to keep in mind when coming to this area one is to bring an insecticide as mosquitoes are quite prevalent in the rice patties. Two is to bring cash as credit cards are not accepted even though the travel sites say they are. All in all this is a very special area of China to visit to see the way the real Chinese live

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank perWarrenton_va
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, October 18, 2013
Tanya, Faye and the rest of us are all happy you enjoyed our hotel and beautiful surroundings. We are also glad you got the opportunity to meet and interact with some of our other wonderful visitors whilst you were here.
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Nanjing, China
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2013 via mobile

This hotel pretty much tops our list of places to stay.
We arrived very late in Yangshuo after a heavily delayed flight, however the hotel arranged airport pickup from Guilin and the hotel manager, Tania, stayed up and guided our taxi through the pitch black, winding country roads to the hotel by phone. We arrived at 130am, and were made to feel very welcome.
The level of service maintained by Faye, Tania and team throughout the rest of the stay remained excellent, and all our needs were met.
They arranged everything from transport (taxis, e-bikes, gas scooters and motorcycles) to rafting, caving (with mud bath) and cooking (and many more activities), while ensuring our time at the hotel was relaxed and fun.
The hotel is about 30 mins from Yangshuo town, but is worth venturing to because of the unspoilt surroundings. The hotel is made up of a collection of old, rustic village buildings in the heart of a small Chinese village, surrounded by local farms (that you can wander) and an amazing cast landscape. (If you are in doubt about the distance from Yangshuo you need not worry due to the hotel's ability to arrange transport at short notice, and with each visit to the delightful town, we were still eager to get back to Secret Garden).
The various courtyards throughout the hotel make for peaceful reading, eating and drinking, and the level of effort and detail the owners have put into the layout means you could spend days relaxing in the grounds without having to leave.
The kitchen also has a good range of local and western food, and we couldn't fault anything we ate. Their pizzas rivaled western ones and we're the best we've eaten in our two years in China!
Our two young children (6 and 4 yrs old) thoroughly enjoyed their stay, and were made to feel as welcome as we were. They enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of the hotel, but the multitude of uneven steps probably means parents of toddlers may want to delay their stay until their kids are more stable on their feet. The staff gave guidance on safety of local activities for the kids.
The only recommendation we gave was to build a swimming pool - then we'd never leave!
We will definitely return here.


  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ajphelps
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, October 18, 2013
Thanks from Faye, Tania and the rest of our team for your kind words. We are glad you enjoyed exploring and relaxing in our buildings, courtyards and gardens. We all definitely look forward to your return.
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Bunbury, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2013

It is a lovely place to stay, we had the suite. No complaints and our stay was very pleasant, beds comfy, food average, clean and tidy all round. My only grip and it is relatively minor is the attention to detail that just leaves Secret Garden short of the mark. We requested a vegetarian breakfast ( some dumplings off the night menu) and gave 24hours notice, I think they forgot. We tried to arrange transport by private car on to Huangyao and the lady said she would let us know the next day. She didn't work the next day. We wanted to pay by credit card but no joy, cash only. Now don't get me wrong, at no stage did we not enjoy our stay here, but I feel a small step up in service could make good....great.

Room Tip: I think all the rooms are good, we found the suite a little too much, found the room on entering was...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank sticky d
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 16, 2013
Thank you for your honest review. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. Faye is sorry that arrangements weren't quite 100%. We always try to do our best, but I guess things can slip through the net sometimes. We will definitely try to improve on this and hope to welcome you back in the future.
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Launceston, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Frank A
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manama, Bahrain
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TrippingTSO
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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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 #8 of 462 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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