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“A truly special place”
Review of The Linden Centre

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The Linden Centre
Ranked #1 of 478 Hotels in Dali
Certificate of Excellence
New York, NY
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
99 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“A truly special place”
Reviewed January 12, 2013

We spent Christmas at the Linden Centre and had a wonderful experience. We would wholeheartedly recommend this hotel, which is much more than just a hotel--it is a cultural experience in its own right.

This is a nationally protected heritage site turned into a lovely and comfortable hotel. While the historic nature of the building requires a few sacrifices (plumbing can't handle paper in the toilets, for instance), it is a beautiful place well worth a trip to Dali just for a stay. The building is, of course, beautiful, built in a Bai architectural style and restored perfectly. The rooms are decorated traditionally, with lovely art and traditional furniture. The public spaces were beautiful and comfortable. The bar and dining room are nice, but I think everyone's favorite was the incredible terrace, with a view over the surrounding fields and the beautiful Xizhou village.

At first we were nervous about being so far from Dali town (20-30 minutes drive), but we ended up being thrilled with the location. The hotel was very helpful in arranging cars anytime we wanted to go to town, and in hindsight we would not missed getting to know Xizhou and the surrounding villages for anything. We took a walk to the beautiful Erhai Lake and strolled through surrounding villages. After we'd walked over an hour and weren't quite sure how to get back, a horsecart drove by and took us back to the hotel. It was a lovely day.

I also can't properly review the Linden Centre without mentioning the tremendous hospitality we experienced from all the hotel staff. The owners, Brian and Jeanee, were there for the holidays, and they were so kind and welcoming--and had clearly instilled that attitude in the staff as well. Everyone was so helpful and determined to make our stay perfect. I would also highly recommend spending Christmas at the Linden Centre--from the madness of Dali's "snow" fight on Christmas Eve to the delicious Christmas dinner to the Linden Centre's multi-cultural Christmas show, the holiday atmosphere was infectious.

I really don't think there is another choice in the Dali area that could possibly compare. Our only regret is that our stay was so short.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank katiekins570
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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578 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (96)
Date | Rating
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English first
Oakland, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2013

We spent 4 days at the Linden Centre over the New Year's holiday. We are a family of 5 (2 adults and three children ages 6-11) and we all agree that our time at the Linden Centre was the absolute highlight of our trip to China! The hotel itself is beautiful; the historic building has been completely restored. It was a treat to stay in such a traditional Chinese home and we loved the courtyards and the roof terrace. The food was amazing (especially the famous apple cake).

The best part of the experience is the wonderful staff, starting with Jeanee & Brian Linden and their boys. From the moment we arrived, we felt welcome and cared for, and they couldn't wait to introduce us to the local customs and culture of the province. We enjoyed all of the activities (especially the walks through the local village and the old city of Dali, the horse carriage ride, riding bikes, and having the opportunity to learn tie-dye from a Bai family). Andrew was our travel concierge and he was a pleasure to work with and taught us so much about the area.

The Lindens have created something extremely unique and absolutely wonderful! I wish we could have stayed longer and would love to go back.

Room Tip: The rooms in the first courtyard were quiet and spacious. We also loved the Family Suite in the bac...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank 4935travellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sevenoaks, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2013

We have just returned from Christmas at The Linden Centre. It was amazing! I have wanted to visit since we arrived in China 2 years ago and it surpassed all my expectations.
We (2 adults and 2 children: 3 and nearly 6) had a wonderful holiday relaxing, enjoying the brilliant sunshine and exploring the local area both with the help on the Linden Centre and on our own. The Linden Centre staff were incredibly welcoming and friendly. They speak good English and obviously enjoy and are proud of their work. We were lucky that the Brian, Jeanee and their two great boys were there for Christmas too and my son in particular was totally smitten. Christmas is a special time with the "snow fight" in Dali on Christmas Eve and then the multi-cultural performance on Christmas evening at the local school but I imagine a holiday at any time of year would be truly memorable for all the right reasons. The children particularly enjoyed the horse cart riding, cycling around the villages and lake shore, the cooking class we did in the kitchen, the market tours (yes - they and we wanted to go exploring again and again) and the delicious food.
It's hard to know what to say that hasn't already been said. Believe the glowing reviews - they really are true.
The Linden Centre sits harmoniously within its community and allows its guests, for their brief stay, to glimpse a fascinating part of rural China, while providing us with all the comforts of hot water, beautifully decorated rooms and delicious food that makes such an experience relaxing and energising at the same time. Well done to all the team. We very much hope to return.

Room Tip: We had what I think is the only family room - room 8. Two twin beds in the first room and a double i...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rhoda R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brian L, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
As the owner of the Linden Centre, I often get side-tracked by the day-to-day details of running a growing company. These tasks, while very important to our long-term success, sometimes take me away from my true passion- the interaction with our guests and the local community. I have always wanted to be a hands-on part of the Centre. Acknowledging that I may not always be on-site, I have tried to instill in my team a similar passion for our visitors and neighbors. I believe that our consistently strong reviews are a testament to the strength of our team and the charm of our villagers.

During your stay, I was able to watch you interact with our team and our local families. That type of honest and non-staged interaction is what the Centre is about. I am proud of you for your courage to interact with everyone so openly and of my team for their passionate support.

Thank you very much for your kind words about the Centre. Your family was the perfect type of visitor to our small village- curious, kind and adventurous! I send your whole family a heart-felt hug!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aurora, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2013

In the summer of 2011 my wife and I spent a few days at the Linden Centre. With our family coming to Beijing for the Christmas holidays, we decided to plan a family trip back to Yunnan and back to the Linden Centre for New Year's. I can't think of a better place to stay if you are interested in exploring: Yunnan, village life, beautiful scenery, organized (and reasonably priced) local excursions....and return to a beautifully restored courtyard set in the village of Xizhou with amazing views of the surrounding area, an excellent staff, and an outstanding kitchen offering plenty of local dishes made with fresh local ingredients. The centre offers a variety of activities that cater to all age groups. During our stay, some of our group took a calligraphy class, went on a day long hike in the mountains, went by horse & wagon to a local village to go Cormorant fishing, and went to a hot springs for a relaxing afternoon. Descriptions of walking through the village, cycling along the lakefront, or spending some quiet time on the back terrace with a good book, surrounded by rice fields and mountains, can't do justice to what's special about this place. I can only recommend you experience it for yourself. (note: we flew from Beijing to Kunming and then took an overnight "soft sleeper" from Kunming to Dali...also a fun part of the trip.) As I was leaving, after 5 nights at the Centre, I was thinking about two things: 1) my friends and colleagues who would really enjoy coming here and 2) when might I be able to return. I think Yunnan is a “must see” on a trip to China and the Linden Centre is a “must stay” when visiting Yunnan!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank dumu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brian L, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Look forward to getting you back to the Centre. Whether it was at the hot springs or taking the 10 hour hike through the alpine meadows above the Dail Valley, your family was very special. Only sad thing was I could not control outcome of hockey game that I knew meant very much to you all! Hope to see you in Wuxi in early summer! Thank you, Brian
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Family of five -- two adults and children aged 7, 4, 2 stayed at the Linden Centre at Christmas 2012, four nights. We booked two rooms, across a short hallway from each other, which worked well. The stay was excellent, highly recommended for families looking for something beyond the typical holiday stay. Rooms contained no phones and no TVs, which focuses attention more on the center and surrounding areas. The staff was excellent -- very friendly and helpful in identifying and suggesting activities for the family. During the stay, we went on a tour of the morning market in the village, led by LC staff. We went to a local family's house for a Muslim dinner, arranged for the Centre's guests. The kids did a cooking class and enjoyed a horse drawn carriage tour to the nearby lake and local temples. Improptu antique tour was also arranged for guests by the staff.

All-in-all, a really great stay. Before going, I was apprehensive about the kids not being engaged and occupied but they loved it as well. I would highly recommend this for families and we will certainly go back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Chris H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wanaka, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2012

One walks through the entrance and feels at home. The restoration of the house has been done with attention to detail. The rooms are wonderfully furnished with antiques and are very comfortable. One can find solitude or easily join an activity. I was there at harvest time so enjoyed seeing the rice fields at their peak. Courtyards are exquisite. Staff is exceptional. Take advantage of the Bai tea ceremony. And wander off to the village (Xizhou). Ms.Yanzi was our guide while we were there. She is excellent. This is a place for anyone who wants to learn about Dali and experience the Bai culture.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sharon O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brian L, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Thank you so much for your feedback. While I was not here during your visit, I am so proud of your positive comments about our staff. I especially want to echo your remarks about Yanzi. She is a passionate and gentle professional who makes every guests feel like they a part of the extended Centre family! Thank you again. Brian
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2012

The Linden Centre succeeds in its mission to expose visitors to village life in China, albeit in a buffered cloister. The restored building is lovely and our room was very comfortable and charming. The courtyards provided a sense of what the old family homes that housed multiple generations actually felt like. The staff at the Linden Centre was uniformly friendly and helpful. Both the local staff and the many expats were eager to share their enthusiasm and offer insights into the region. We were invited into the kitchen to watch the cook prepare our dinner. This is a great spot to explore Dali.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank 1travelMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Linden Centre

Property: The Linden Centre
Address: No.5 Chengbei Village, Xizhou Town, Dali 671004, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Yunnan > Dali
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dali
#5 Best Value Hotel in Dali
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Linden Centre 3*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Linden Centre is a meticulously restored courtyard mansion in the pristine Yunnan village of Xizhou. Great care was taken to preserve the beautiful Bai architecture of this nationally protected cultural heritage hotel, while modern conveniences including heating and air conditioning were added to ensure guests a comfortable and absolutely unique stay. In this elegant setting, connect with the local ethnic cultures that make this part of China so special. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Linden Centre Hotel Dali

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