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“Adventures in a Chinese Kitchen”
Review of The Linden Centre

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The Linden Centre
Ranked #1 of 506 Hotels in Dali
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 9, 2010

The two week Culinary and cultural trip to southwest China was spectacular.
The accomodations at the Linden Centre in Xizhou located in the Yunnan Province was one of the most memorable of my life.
The attention to detail and the way life was magical portrayed in the estate, courtyard building preserved with all its original character. Staff was great and I felt at home.
Food fantastic with a welcome staff in the kitchen.

  • Stayed: November 2009
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Thank Tootie47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 8, 2010

Every part of our trip was far better than we expected. The centre was fabulous. We felt at home and protected with freedom to do whatever whenever. We loved all the staff and feel a bond with Jeanne and Bryan that will be long lasting. We plan to return soon. My painting and Davids photography gave us great pleasure.

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Thank Studio88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2010

So - where do we start?

We booked a 'Family Dream' week at the Linden Centre as part of a 2 week jaunt in Yunnan with my wife and 19 year old daughter.

As you will see from previous reviews, the Centre is part boutique hotel, part cultural centre run by an American couple Brian and Jeannie Linden, who transformed an amazing old house (surrounded by rice fields in Xixhou, a picturesque, bustling village 30 mins from Dali), which was fortunately protected from the ravages of the cultural revolution. Their web site is worth a read for more background and history, which I won't go into here for space purposes. Jeannie was back in the US whilst we were there, but we had the pleasure to be looked after by Brian and his management team.

The hotel itself is lovely, rooms senstively converted, a pleasant restaurant, small fitness centre, free wireless internet, a roof terrace with stunning views over the rice fields and local village...but this is only part of the story!

The difference that makes the difference with the Centre is that the the team share with you their inside knowledge of the surrounding area and Bai culture, so you get to experience and understand places and people simply not possibble from visiting the area by yourself (which we normally do) or with a normal guide. As we signed up to the weeks package, I guess we experienced more than most, including:

- a personal tour round the local Monday market in Shaping, with advice on the age (and value) of some of the amazing fabrics and local jewellary on show
- trips to local Bai temples, which unlike many temples we have seen are thriving, living 'community centres'
- Visit to the local kindergarden (take lots of balloons and your camera!)
- Meeting with Mr Dong the local village cultural figurehead, who has amazing stories of survival from the cultural revolution, even though he now has to share a house with several other families
- Trip to a tea plantation in the hills near Dali, where we picked our own tea and then processed it and brought it back with us...
- An unforgettable trip to a nearcy village for the local fire festival - an amazing night that UK fire regulations probably wouldn't allow!
- A trip on the lake with local cormorant fishermen (slightly touristy this bit, but still a nice couple of hours)
- trips around the area in a horse and cart (the local form of travel)
- Textile centre, where we were able to see how the local fabdircs are created
- Accompanied walks around the antique shops in Dali
- Great food both at the Centre, in the local village and Dali

There was more I am sure (maybe my wife and daughter will also post to add the bits i missed!). All of this was brought to life by Brian's stories of his life in China, his enthusiasm and passion for the area and the people and the wealth of knowledge he and his team bring.

So - the week whizzed by. There is a good chance that our daughter (studying anthropology at university) will be going back to work there next summer, so i guess we might also be back for another week....

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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Thank Ian_HirstUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2010

The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia defines “oasis” as a fertile tract of land that occurs in a desert wherever a permanent supply of fresh water is available. The Linden Center is a hotel and cultural center filled with richness of the nearby peasant lives and ancient ethnic surroundings, with a permanent supply of hospitality, knowledge, and authenticity that makes it an oasis for the traveler in southwest China.

This is my second visit to the Dali area, which I would readily return to see the far different ethnic China than I experience in the multi-million population cities of Beijing and Shanghai. This time I stayed at the Linden Center, located 20 km, a brief 15 to 20 minute taxi ride, from the old city gate of Dali, in Xi Zhou (for those like me who have not mastered the Chinese pronunciation, it is She Joe), a small wheat and bean farming and fishing village with a market-filled town square. For my first visit, I stayed in a western-catering hotel just outside the bustling walls of the old Dali city.

This time I chose the Linden Center, a far more unique place to hotel. It’s a nationally protected heritage site, the rooms (with comfortable western amenities) and multiple courtyards are exquisitely decorated (which like most Chinese buildings is unapparent from the exterior view so don’t be surprised when you arrive), the staff is highly caring (the Chinese speak English; the extraordinary developer/owners are from the US), the meals are plentiful, and the cultural guidance is non-stop. The other guests – single adults, couples, and families with young children – are a pleasure to chat with (in various European languages) because each comes for the adventure of being in the countryside, off the beaten path in a highly comfortable surrounding.

If you visit Dali and want to add a nearby comfortable rural stop to your experience and be close enough to the old city of Dali, the Linden Center is an oasis for a respite.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled solo
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Thank dcplanner123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2010

First time to Yunnan, I choosed Xizhou, Dali, just because of the Linden Center. I must need to experience by myself to find out why the Center is called the most attractive inn in China. Xizhou is different, now in China people cannot so easy to find a village which still keeps its own origional charactor, but Xizhou is, so the Center is here. The whole building is unique, quiet, homefelt, everywhere is full of antique, so when I was in the building, I don't know which times I live in. Every staff is with the smile from heart, everybody from the Center is perfect guide either in hotel or even in whole Xizhou Town. One more tips for everybody to the center: please must try the plum liquor during dinner, absolutely unforgetable taste! I will be there once again soon...

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled solo
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Thank Bingbing80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2010

As part-time expat academics in Kunming,, my wife and I decided to celebrate my 75th birthday at the Linden Centre. We chose well. In addition to hiking through a misty mountain landscape redolent of Chinese landscape paintings, an impromptu visit to a remote mountain town, and a German-baked chocolate cake, we enjoyed some of the subtle pleasures of this exquisite venue. We relished leisure moments savoring the Centre’s world-quality architecture and artistic masterpieces and delighted in the elevated level of conversation with Brian and fellow guests over meals, tea, and drinks. The library contained far more Sinological classics, as well as general works, than we could absorb in three days – or, for that matter, three months. In short, our stay at the Linden Centre was an intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual adventure.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank laodianpiao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2010

Although the hotel is a bit far from the main town of Dali, it is clearly worth it. Xizhou is as interesting as Dali, without the tourist, and les location give a great tranquility. Apart the frog, in the surrounding rice field, there is no noise in the hotel which is such a pleasure.
The hotel itself is a wonderful old house, nicely renewed with comfortable and clean rooms. The most pleasant of it is that the staff manages to create a friendly and peaceful atmosphere. I felt more like in a friend’s place than in a hotel.
Something I really appreciate is that although a bit far from Dali and its restaurants, the hotel keeps reasonable price for the drinks and the food (meaning that it is roughly the same price or even cheaper as it would be in Dali, in a equivalent restaurant). Food is good and fresh.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank franckjb
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

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
#6 Best Value Hotel in Dali
Price Range: $124 - $193 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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