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“Excellent In Every Way”
Review of The Linden Centre

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The Linden Centre
Ranked #1 of 476 Hotels in Dali
Certificate of Excellence
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Excellent In Every Way”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

Visited the Linden Centre for over a week on a Chinese cooking/cultural expedition. Loved the beautiful restoration of an authentic historic building; preservation of the old melded with some of the best up to date conveniences such as the lovely bathrooms. Brian and Jeanee Linden were excellent in making us comfortable and in sharing their love and knowledge of the Chinese people. It IS in a more remote area of China; that was one of the reasons I visited. I wanted to have an authentic experience before the modern world wipes out this old world life. Each day brought a new adventure and I treasure each one. Visits to the upstairs home of a village elder or to a local school were just two examples. The high regard the local people obviously hold for the Lindens sparkles through their eyes. I thought the entire trip was magical....the sunrise from the terrace simply frosting on the cake. Highly, highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank RadiantPath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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574 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)
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English first
Stanford, California, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2013

This past summer, I traveled through over a dozen Chinese cities and stayed in over a dozen different hotels. Some were charming inns, and others were luxurious skyscrapers. Some were just awful. All things considered, though, none of them can beat the Linden Centre.

The Linden Centre has struck a phenomenal balance of luxurious Western amenities coupled with bucolic Chinese charm. Surrounded by beautiful rice paddies and a culturally rich village, the Centre is the perfect place to have a relaxing and memorable Chinese experience. Everyone, from the staff to the villagers, is extremely courteous and respectful. The general manager, Craig, was very generous and helpful during our stay. The staff were all kind to us and we had some great conversations; they even helped correct my Chinese. Most at the Centre speak near-fluent English, so the bar offers a great opportunity to learn about China and meet people.

One should know, however, that noise travels easily through the courtyard. If there are children running around, you can usually hear it. That is not to say, though, that it is hard to find peace and quiet at the Centre. You can easily find escape on the terrace (which has unbeatable views of the rice fields and the village), in one of the courtyards, at the bar, in the library, or in the village itself. The staff also do their best to mitigate the noise, and if there is a problem, they will fix it.

The rooms are very nice, and the bathrooms are fully-equipped by Western standards. The entire complex has good Wifi, too. The only restriction is hot water, which is only on during certain hours. Even then, it should not cause problems if you are willing to adjust accordingly. The Centre's restaurant offers a huge variety of local and Chinese dishes that are worth trying, and there is also the possibility of walking to the market or to a street vendor to get some authentic snacks. I recommend the eggplant dishes--nothing beats Chinese eggplant done right.

I would also highly recommend exploring Xizhou for yourself. Bring a guide (just ask any of the staff--they will be happy to show you around) or head out on your own. Either way, you will find yourself immersed in a near-untouched Chinese village full of temples, farms, markets, and people. Be sure to check out the tie-dye factory which makes Xizhou famous; you can watch it being made and then buy some. It is also fun to go cormorant fishing on the lake, which is beautiful. (These activities and more are not affiliated with the Centre, but you can ask the staff to set up excursions.)

Overall, the Centre and its staff are extraordinary. At the Centre, I experienced better customer service and staff-friendliness than I did anywhere else on my trip through China. This was all topped off by the stunning scenery and village experience surrounding the Centre in the most beautiful part of China I've seen. When you leave you will feel like you are leaving a friend's home, and you can't help but ache to return. I may speak in superlatives, but I can assure you that the impression is genuine.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank Benjamin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2013

I felt I must respond to the review of the Linden Centre I read today. Having just returned from a vacation there recently, I couldn't believe that the reviewer and I visited the same place.

1. The location of the Centre IS remote. But, it is an interesting drive from Dali, and the further one gets from the city, the more beautiful and rural it becomes. I chose to visit this area precisely because it is in one of the most natural, stunning places in China.
2. When we arrived at the Centre, we were charmed by the narrow streets, the people on bicycles, and the horse-drawn carts. We had left taxis far behind in the cities. Xizhou, or "Happy Town", is an authentic village of working people. This is the China we came to see.
3. We were welcomed by a smiling staff who greeted us warmly, as did others in the village. The Centre IS old. Xizhou itself, and the Centre in particular, are protected as historic national treasures. To stay in a very elegant four-courtyard mansion that was restored with respect and grace, felt like an honor.
4. When we first entered our room, I was so impressed with the decor and its cleanliness. It was completely unique in design, and I loved being able to look outside the ornate windows to the simplicity of the agricultural fields and mountains beyond.

Since the reviewer didn't stay longer than five minutes, he missed the wonderful food served in the dining room with the glass ceiling. It was always a treat to find familiar foods, as well as Chinese dishes that were new to us. He missed the experience of wandering comfortably through the streets and markets of Xizhou. He missed the opportunity of meeting some of the friendliest people in China, from the village elder to the one of the workers at the Centre who invited us for a 12 course lunch in her garden. He missed sunrise over the mountains, the early-morning stroll through the streets of Xizhou, the noodle factory where fresh noodles hung on lines in the sunshine. After a day on clear, beautiful Lake Erhai, he missed an evening on the deck, where we all toasted the setting sun with wine and looked forward to a second day at the Linden Centre. I hope that other travelers will also experience this unique and very special place. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience in a fast changing part of the globe. Don't miss it.

Room Tip: I loved our second floor room, overlooking the mountains!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Mary O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

AVOID THIS AT ALL COST.

How can tripadvisor get it so wrong?

We booked this place trusting TA's #1 rank and price tag of nearly usd$200.

Location is remote, 30-45min drive away from Dali city centre, this backpacker hostel is one of many in the farm town. No taxis, no public transportation, nothing nearby. Luckily we were dropped off by a car arranged from lijiang. When we arrived we were met by two guys dressed casually.

They took and held our passport while we were shown the room meanwhile my large luggage was dumped outside my designated room's door by one of them.

The building it self is very worn down and difficult to walk through, definitely not for the disabled or elderly to which we are neither of.

The room was small about 20-30sqm and musty, bed and carpet had a layer of dust and dark. The only windows faced to courtyard and could not lock properly leaving me feeling insecure about our belongings and of our safety.

The worst part were the restrictions on everything;
* no hot water except for 7-10am and 7-10pm
* no smoking in anywhere in complex except the terrace
* food only available at specific hours of the day(zero restaurants/shops nearby either)
* noise warnings everywhere

I wish I had been warned prior to booking as I would have ran right here at this point. But we were there in person and after seeing the disappointing room and hostel offered we advised within 5min of arrival that we wanted to cancel.

The staff said that it was no problem to cancel and we needed to contact agoda regarding refund. Boy were we wrong. Face to face they say one thing and then turn around, scammed.

While my wife was on the phone finding suitable accommodation and while we were waiting for our transport(arranged by a proper hotel) we could overhear the staff being racist towards us saying we were cheap Chinese from overseas and other disrespectful remarks.

Our visit to Dali is ruined by these folks at "Linden Center". We booked the first flight out paying premium as only first class were available. I now understand why most people avoid Dali, there is nothing here that is not better in other parts of yunnan / china. To be gouged for money by a charge of nearly usd$200 per night for what is essentially a backpacker hostel is enraging. No more of our money and time will be spent here in Dali.

Please understand what you are getting into if you choose "Linden center". It is most definitely NOT A HOTEL, It is a backpacker hostel. There are several "guesthouse" nearby which I bet are willing to offer a better price and offer the same type of accommodation.

Regarding our booking, we were waived the cancellation fee by agoda but not the "Linden center". Agoda advised me that they were still charging us for the night stay. So what the staff of "Linden center" said to me face to face was a lie, they were not willing to refund.

AVOID THIS ONE AT ALL COST.

Linden Trap.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Predead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Craig E, General Manager at The Linden Centre, responded to this review, September 13, 2013
Hello from the Linden Centre, we’re very sorry your experience did not meet your expectations. This is our first and only one-star review on Tripadvisior and we take your concerns very seriously. However it is important to emphasize that you did not stay at the Linden Centre and your review is largely skewed by unpleasant experiences you had elsewhere in the Dali region.

First regarding transportation. You are correct, we are located in a small country village, and this is part of the appeal of our hotel. Because of this unique location, taxis, buses and other forms of transport are less common than in large cities. However, we can arrange private taxis to and from our hotel from any location in Yunnan, and there are buses from Xizhou to Dali and around the region just a short walk from our hotel. We can arrange transport to/from the bus stop as well.

Second, regarding our building and state of your room. The Linden Centre is a nationally protected heritage site that has been painstakingly restored. All rooms, courtyards, and common areas have been remodeled in line with rules set by the China Cultural Bureau to preserve the local culture and history. Because of this, accessibility to the second floor may be an issue for elderly or disabled guests, as you mention. So we always recommend guests with accessibility issues to choose a room on our ground floor, and in the past we have offered free ground-floor rooms to guests who arrived unaware of this issue.

Third, regarding our hotel standard operating procedures. As you mention, we generally turn on the hot water in the mornings and evenings, to reduce energy use and lessen our environmental impact. However we also turn on the hot water at any time upon guest request, as was mentioned to you and posted clearly in your room. Also you are correct, there is no smoking allowed in the Linden Centre except in the outdoor areas you mention. We are required by law to be keenly aware of any fire danger and take necessary precautions.

Fourth, regarding your refund for your canceled room. We have a standard policy that you agreed to at the time of booking, which is as follows: “Any cancellation received within one day prior to arrival will incur the first night’s charge.” Our staff communicated this to you, and you agreed to this term. Accordingly, you were charged for only the first night of your scheduled stay, due to the last-minute cancellation.

Finally, we do not understand your repeated reference to our hotel as a “backpacker hostel”. We do not offer shared rooms other than by request, and none of our rooms have shared bathrooms. We have received honorable mention in both domestic and international publications, including the New York Times, CNN, Travel + Leisure, CCTV, and many others.

We are also a “traveler’s choice” award hotel with Trip Advisor. This is based on guest comments and refers to the service levels we provide. If you would like to further discuss your complaints and help resolve any outstanding issues, please contact me at craig.evans@linden-centre.com or +86 0872-245-2988.

Thank You
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013

Watching the sunrise and sunset on the terrace of the Linden Center was one of the most unforgettable and peaceful experiences of our trip. The service was top notch when we were there. Not all the rooms were beautiful and perfect. The room we booked was actually quite small, dark and even had a tad of musty smell. Without hesitation the staff kindly switched us to a different room. Our 35-day trip in China has been an unforgettable experience and the people in Yunnan were kind, sincere and unassuming.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank cumulusclouds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Changchun, China
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2013

The location is spectacular with sweeping views of the fields and mountains all around. The rooms are magnificent and are a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities nearby. The staff were amazing and were at our service whenever needed. Be sure to order the fish and desert a day in advance. If you are planning to go to the altitudes, be sure to have their Ginger Tea. Their Ginger alcoholic beverage is not so bad either. Guides are more than just guides...they are personal conceierges. You will want to stay longer than you plan to...2 nights are not enough. Awesome. Can't wait to go back some day soon.

Room Tip: It seems as though all of the rooms are great. You just need to specify whether or not you want kin...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank C_C_from_China
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cincinnati
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2013

We were a family group of 16 traveling in China. We ranged from 8 years old to 73 years old. We all loved our stay there. The staff was exceptional and made it very unique and special. The staff were often found playing games with the children or talking about the Chinese history and culture with the adults. There were even staff who came in on their time off. The personal service was exceptional.The food was delicious. We took advantage of the many unique opportunities they offered such as bicycling, a tour of the market and shopping for food for dinner, cormorant fishing, tea plantation tour and learning to batik. It was obvious that all who worked there felt a great sense of pride for the center. Our favorite spot was the upper level terrace. There you had a wonderful view of the mountains and the rice paddies. It was a favorite stay for our family and one we will always remember. Needless to say there were tears shed when we left!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank palmerstl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Craig E, General Manager at The Linden Centre, responded to this review, August 7, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed your time with our team, and we really do love to hear that our efforts are appreciated. We always strive to make each guest experience unique, and our team very much enjoyed sharing their experiences in Dali with you and your family. You also may be interested in knowing, our new group complex Yang Zhuo Ran is now open and has been specifically designed for large groups (families, professionals or academics) so please let us know if you’re interested in another new experience!
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 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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