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“A special place”
Review of The Linden Centre

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The Linden Centre
Ranked #1 of 472 Hotels in Dali
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
27 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“A special place”
Reviewed February 7, 2011

Agree with all the positive comments. I stayed a few nights and wished I'd stayed a bit longer, because there is a lot to see in the area. The village, and the neighbouring villages and countryside, are fascinating and beautiful. The Center is very comfortable, the staff are hospitable, and it's a great base to find out about China. I am a vegetarian and the restaurant and food were great. A memorable trip for all the right reasons.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank L878765
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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570 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (96)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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  • Italian first
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English first
Shanghai
Level Contributor
34 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed February 6, 2011

Without doubt one of the best hotels that I have stayed at in China. Actually the word "hotel" doesn't accurately describe the Linden Centre (LC) since it is much more than a hotel - the words "home", "educational centre" all also apply to the LC.

The owners (Brian and Jeanee) who were in residence when I was there are charming hosts and the heart and souls of the LC. The Linden Centre is also their home and they welcome in all guests so that by the end you feel like you are a part of the LC family. The Lindens are supported by a team of American and local Chinese. My only criticism is that service was a little all over the place when I visited but I understand they recently had a change of staff and therefore there are still some teething problems.

Guests should be aware that the LC is located in Xizhou about 20km for Dali Old Town. However, this is one of the biggest attractions since Xizhou is much less touristy and the LC itself is surrounded by and overlooks fields. For those that want to visit Dali Old Town it is 30 minutes by car and the LC can organise a driver for you.

Come for at least 3 days - kick back and unwind. Spend time reading a book on the roof terrace, biking around the surrounding villages and hiking (the Cangshan Mountain hike is highly recommended). By the end you won't want to leave.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank samueloShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Annapolis, Maryland
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2011

This is a once in a lifetime experience- if you come, stay for a least three or four days. A week is even better. The Lindens are extraordinary hosts. I am afraid we will not be able to join them again as the word gets out about their incredible place. Areas for improvement: better mapping of local attractions. But the food is good, the staff very caring( and learning about the hospitality industry) and the area is amazing. Go for a hike, a bike ride and absorb the local culture. This an opportunity to experience a unique part of China- and the world. Go now.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank SHDLL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed January 22, 2011

This is a great hotel to come to especially if you have kids. The people there are so friendly and kind. As a college student going there with my family I didn't know what to expect, but as soon as we got there we were treated like family. There is also a playroom which is great for kids to meet each other. It was just a good all around experience.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank vindawg18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
2 reviews
Reviewed January 2, 2011

I would give 7 stars if I could!

From the moment I've arrived at the Linden Centre, I have immediately felt embraced by the remarkable Linden family and their team. The famous Yang Pin Xiang estate that is now the Linden Centre was the most soulful setting to have a Thanksgiving...it did take me a while to pull up my jaw to its original position, as I was saw taken with the ornate ancient design of the building - the ancient Bai architecture at its finest. I felt like I was in one of the kung-fu movies and there would be a Bruce Li at full swing flying through one of the wide courtyards at any moment. All of it was witnessed by the classic Bai granulated blue ceiling throughout the Centre.

The amazing part is that with the extensive rennovation that the Lindens did on the estate, the ancient spirit and ornate decore remained intact, yet, the modern comforts were built in seamlessly. The trapezoidal dining room let in the light through an enormous glass ceiling. We were surrounded by antique Chinese art of exquisite taste built into the walls. It is as though the modern life fit neatly into the crevaces of the ancient beauty. The rooms turned out to be extremely comfortable - with tall windows, wooden floors and an ancient asian bell decorating the monolithic ancient-Bai-style desk.

The Centre is ever-evolving - with new cultural programs [such as calligraphy lessons, martial arts, Asian cuisine cooking classes - just to name a few] constantly being added to the already expanded menu of options the guests are presented with. The decorum changes, as the Centre's ingenious creator, Brian gets new ideas about the home, the colours change, fireplaces arise where none were before, always aiming at keeping the Centre alive and interesting as well as making it more sustainable by incorporating the eco-friendly technology [which in this part of China is no small achievement].

What I love so much about the Linden Centre is that it so elegantly paves the way for a rennovation/restoration wave in China that is so prone to demolishing its cultural heritage in favour of the newer, glitzier, yet tacky modern developments that have neither character nor history behind them. With Brian's ever-expanding imagination, a spot is already skoped out in the mountains nearby for the first eco-lodge in the area to be built on a gorgeous meadow. The man does not sleep - he is a true Fountainhead, if I've ever seen one. Watching him in action has inspired me.

The heart of the home is his warm and knowledgeable wife, Jeanee. She is a wealth of in-depth information on the local culture and customs, which she shares caringly with the inquiring guests. Another aspect - especially for a 5 * accommodation - that makes the Centre so unusual is the gentle individual attention that Jeanee and Brian pay to each guest, making it a deeply personal experience. I have not expected to find a family away from home, yet did with them. I felt so lovingly included! My soul rested here - in comfort and warmth of their welcome.

I loved biking around the area - especially to the magnificent Er Hai lake - and to get lost many a time in the local villages....which is, of course, a part of the fun. I've been given much insightful advice by Anthony and Martha, who are both world travelers and live at the Centre as part of the Linden team, both American yet fluent in Chinese [like Brian and Jeanee], and who caringly show the guests ways to explore the local area.

I was touched by how hard the whole team works to integrate into the village - through various outreach programs in teaching the local kids English and contributing in many other ways. In contrast with many Western developments in China that attempt to contrast themselves with the surroundings, the vision of these people is to be a part of their community in every way they can be.

If you are coming to the area and are looking for a one-of-a-kind cultural experience, I would wholeheartedly suggest coming to the Linden Centre - even if to gaze upon its remarkable collection of ancient art and to meet Brian and Jeanee. They are true gems who live their Heart Path to the fullest, and I feel fortunate that my path has led me to them. No such thing as coincidence, in the words of the Kung-Fu Panda :)!

More pictures on my travel blog:
wideeyedwandereradventures.blogspot.com

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Brainpanther
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2010

We've only been home for a few days and we're already planning our return trip to Dali and the Linden Center. The Linden is more spacious than a bed and breakfast, but not as sterile as a resort or large hotel.

My wife and I had been to the region before but we had stayed in old town. We tried Linden based on the trip advisor reviews and we were not let down! It's about 20 minutes outside the "city" but we never felt hampered by this. The hotel always had a car available to us. The driver was very knowledgeable, and had great suggestions. We visited nearby Weibaoshan as it's one of my favorite mountains in China, and took a driving trip to the old city of Lijiang for shopping and food.

The old Chinese mansion is right out of a movie set, and though the temperature was usually chilly at night and in the morning there was always a portable heater nearby. Breakfast and dinner were both excellent !! The room was well appointed, though no TV which was fine for us. Free wireless internet helped pass the late night jet-lag moments. The bathrooms are modern, and perfectly functional. Though hot water was only available in the morning and at night we never noticed any discomfort or hassle.

Of course the highlight of the trip, and what will probably keep us going back for years to come is the staff. The owners are incredibly friendly, and are also very knowledgeable about the area. We had a definite list of places we wanted to visit because of our prior experience in the area, but Brian had many more suggestions that will have to wait for our next trip.

My wife is Chinese, and we have both traveled extensively throughout China. The Linden Center is a unique and wonderful place to visit. I highly recommend it !!!!!!!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank robh1622
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
256 reviews
155 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 320 helpful votes
Reviewed December 25, 2010

We would rank this with the Yangshou Mountain Retreat as our favorite boutique hotel in China. While TripAdvisor seems to insist that this is a Dali hotel, it is really about a 30 minute drive out of Dali and Xizhou is a destination in it's own right. in fact we preferred Xizhou to Dali which is one of the reasons why we are so glad that we decided upon the Linden Centre. the hotel itself is a real feature. The Lindens have done both an incredible job in creating such a wonderful retreat and also add enormously to the experience of visiting it. The rooms are comfortable without being luxurious, the public areas are full of character and the food is simple but eminently edible.

What we really enjoyed was walking around Xizhou observing village life and work in the fields. The morning markets were fantastic,and catching the horse cart around the village great fun. While the cormorant fishing appears to be in danger of being overcommercialised, we ould not have missed it for the world. it was a real highlight.

in contrast, Dali itself was too commercial and lacking in real character. while the three pagodas themselves are incredible heritage features, the adjoining "temple" complex has been recently built simply as a tourist attraction. As compared to the real Buddhist experience in places like Tibet or Myanmar, this is a soulless collection of reproduction buildings.

So visit Xizhou for it's own values and do stay at the Linden Centre and think of Dali as an optional extra.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank BeachSwaggie
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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