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“Really just wonderful”
Review of The Bivou

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The Bivou
Ranked #1 of 928 Hotels in Lijiang
Certificate of Excellence
Miami, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Really just wonderful”
Reviewed December 28, 2012

The Bivou is a stylish refuge on the edge of Shuhe Old Town. It is a pair of old farmhouse style buildings renovated and updated with modern boutique hotel style. The lighting in the rooms is very pleasing, the linens and towels are high quality, and the furniture is modern cool.

The reception area with the restaurant is wonderfully inviting, stylish and comfortable with good relaxing music (brazilian, mozart, and some classical guitar) and lots of windows overlooking a small farm / garden.

The location is perfect. Away from the heart of the Shuhe old town, off to the edge, and happily, a 10 minute drive from busy Lijiang.

The staff is amazing. The two people I have had the most contact with are the owner, Hwee Ling and her assistant, Joan. Both are eager to help, and especially, to plan adventures and excursions for the guests. I am a photographer and I have different game plan perhaps compared to many tourists in the region. Hwee Ling helped me to find exactly what I was looking for. She suggested places, helped me to hire a driver, and drew me maps of little, off-the-beaten-path places to explore with my camera. Joan created a translated cheat sheet with relevant phrases in English and Chinese so I could communicate simply with my driver. The care and effort she put into this task was commendable.

The breakfasts are pretty nice, but not perfect. The staff still needs to work on their use of the espresso machine, but as my stay progressed, they seemed to make progress. The breads and jams are very nice. There is also fruit and yoghurt and a cooked breakfast that changes daily.

There are a couple of challenges to be expected in rural china. Not all of the staff speaks english of course, and the cultural differences make understanding each other a challenge some times (not for Joan and Hwee Ling though). In the winter the rooms are cold, but there are space heaters and heated bedding.

All in all, this is a highly recommended place. I only explained the slight negatives to be sure this review is well rounded and real. It is very rare that any hotel is perfect! This hotel is charming, comfortable, and friendly. The location is great.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank marktomaras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBivou, General Manager at The Bivou, responded to this review, January 14, 2013
Dear Mark,

Thank you for taking the time to review The Bivou, and giving us your feedback. It was great having you with us, and we relished the challenge of showing you some of the hidden secrets of the Lijiang area – what was surprising, though, was that in the process, we also ended up discovering a few things ourselves! We’re glad you like our rooms (we do think it’s vitally important to have a clean, serene oasis during your travels), but we’re also definitely working on perfecting that breakfast. You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve already improved our menu lined up for the upcoming season. Do drop in again when you’re in this part of the world – we’d love to share some new discoveries with you over a (hopefully much better) espresso. Thanks again for your comments!

Yours, Hwee Ling
General Manager, The Bivou
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2012

Situated in the old town of Shuhe, it is much nicer than the more commercialized Dayan. The hotel is located next to a working farm (Allotment) and it feels just like you are living in the village with the locals.

We hired bicycles from the hotel to visit Baisha, an even more untouched Naxi village. A mere 5km ride but this is what the real beautiful China is: (Not the smog filled cities) working maize fields, hardly any tourists and above all, nice clear blue sky!!!

Hotel is modern and comfortable. The local staff cooked up a local Naxi dinner for us (0% msg, 100% delicious and authentic) They used local ingredients for all their juice/coffee/teas. Hweeling (hotel manager) has a wealth of local knowledge and made our experience there so personal.

If you are after an unique experience, want to learn about life in Lijiang from a local perspective while you still expect the high hotel standard/service, this is the answer.

Room Tip: We stayed in their Garden Yard Double Room, which is quiet and more secluded. The truth is, any of t...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank ameliashumkyle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBivou, General Manager at The Bivou, responded to this review, December 19, 2014
Dear ameliashumkyle,

Thank you for the positive review!

Indeed, we do couch ourselves as a “designer lodge” for adventure travellers who are looking for a different experience. From our inception, we’ve always wanted to bring out the authenticity of the place, which we feel really adds to the flavour of the place. Thus, being situated next to a local farm, not only provides our guests with an insider’s taste of life in Lijiang, but also provides them with a perfect slumber cocoon away from the hustle and bustle of city life – a home so serene and peaceful, surrounded only by lush greenery.

We do encourage our guests to cycle up to Baisha at their own pace, to truly marvel in nature’s diversity – plenty of farmland set against mountains and majestic blue skies, and finally a 1000 year old village brimming with lots of culture. More often than not along the trail, guests cannot resist the temptation to stop at various points to capture a few good photos.
You would really make our Bai minority ayi blush, the way you rave about her meals which are punched with lots of homemade goodness! You have rightly pointed out that we do pick out only the freshest ingredients from our local markets, farms and even our own gardens daily to serve our guests. One doesn’t need an exquisite palate to taste the freshness and sweetness in these produce.

Do visit us again soon! We cannot wait to have you back :)
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Singapore, Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2012

2 thumbs up for this place, a very quaint boutique hotel nested in a very quaint old town - Shuhe Old Town. The Bivou is strategically located in the old town which is easily accessible on foot.

We stayed in a farm yard suite on the second floor. The room was very neat and clean and quite contemporary. Staff there are very friendly and helpful, some with a pretty good command of English. The GM there is a local Singaporean and she is very knowledgeable about the local area and helpful in advising the nice places to sightsee and eat.

Breakfast was served at the cafe. Selection was not much but it was good and more than suffices.

Room Tip: In my opinion, every room would have their unique "flavour" so there's really no good...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Thunderbirdz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBivou, General Manager at The Bivou, responded to this review, December 19, 2014
Dear Thunderbirdz,

2 thumbs up for your wonderful review, thank you! You have cleverly captured what The Bivou is about in a nutshell. We have set a success criterion from the start, for ourselves to be a great base from which visitors to Lijiang and Yunnan can explore the area, not only with our comfortable facilities, but more importantly, that you can feel the trust and support we provide for you as your “friend at the destination”. We acknowledge that our breakfast selection might not be as expansive as that of a chain-hotel, but it is definitely packed with lots of homemade goodness that is bound to fill you tummies, and set you out on the right foot for your adventure.

We look forward to having you back with us soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2012

The hotel was truly boutique and very beautifully done. The staff are extremely helpful and friendly and the room decor was beautiful. I like the fact that there are various types of vegetables grown on the plot of land outside and it gives the hotel a truly organic feel. I would definitely come back to this quaint little town and stay there again my next trip if I do pass by!

Room Tip: Each room is unique so you have to try it to have a different feel.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Eric C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBivou, General Manager at The Bivou, responded to this review, December 19, 2014
Dear Eric C,

Thank you for such an encouraging review! We do love the serenity and peacefulness that these farms surrounding our hotel provide. Coming from the city ourselves, we do appreciate this change in environment, it is indeed very calming for the soul  That said, at The Bivou we aim to marry the romance of adventure together with design elements to create a stylish, modern place with plenty of ethnic touches.

Now that you’re a friend of The Bivou, we would love to welcome you back any time! See you soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2012

Excellent accomodation in an excellent location. Enjoyed a very relaxed 4 days in the Bivou, within the quaint old town of Shuhe. Staff were very friendly and accomodating. Had good knowledge of the areas around, and recommended great ideas for activities and exploration. The hotel's location in Shuhe is a good base to explore key attractions in Lijiang, like Dayan old town (more crowded), Jade Snow Mountains, cycling to surrounding farmlands and Baisha.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ChinPongLee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBivou, General Manager at The Bivou, responded to this review, December 19, 2014
Dear ChinPongLee,

“Unhurried and relaxing” – that’s the way travel should be. Thank you for your compliments and recommendation for our guests! We are glad to know that you’ve enjoyed your stay with us.
With our in-depth knowledge of the local community and culture, we truly love sharing our travel advice and tailoring programmes for our guests, letting them walk away with a memorable piece of Lijiang at the end of their journey. Team Bivou came about with a common passion for travelling and adventure, thus we are constantly exploring new communities and looking for new ways to re-invent our programmes to keep things fresh for our guests. & we agree that The Bivou’s location is pretty amazing, it is not only a good base to explore Lijiang, it is also a great place to begin your Yunnan adventure.

We look forward to having you stay with us in the future!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level 5 Contributor
35 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2012

When I was going to Lijiang I was expecting to visit a quaint old part of China but was surprised at just how busy it is and that it is potentially about to lose it's UNESCO heritage. The Bivou in Shuhe Old Town is a wonderful respite from the bustling touristy Lijiang and only a short trip away. The Bivou was a pleasant surprise with beautifully decorated rooms and thoughtfully thought out design, whilst retaining some of the beautiful charm of the old buildings, something which one does not see very often in China. The communal areas are tastefully designed and furnished, and give the place a relaxing yet luxurious feel to it. Unfortunately the owners have no chance to improve the outside area around the hotel buildings and access was difficult with building being done next door, which did not help with the rain and wet weather. The bedrooms are modern and well designed, very comfortable and similar to what one would expect at a four or five star venue. RIght outside the hotel the local farmers cultivate their fields and so give the place a very tranquil and peaceful feel and escape from the bustling tourist section of the town. The Bivou is conveniently located within walking distance to the rest of Shuhe and if you want bicycles are also available to venture a little further afield without having to rely on alternative transportation. The owners and staff were extremely friendly and exceptionally informative and helpful about where to go and what to do in the area.
Breakfasts are simple but generally sufficient, don't expect a typical western style buffet breakfast. Beers and wine were available at reasonable prices, as well as snacks and fresh fruit during the day.
This was most definitely the highlight of the one week trip from Kunming to Shangri-La and definitely a place to stay when visiting Lijiang.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Paul V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBivou, General Manager at The Bivou, responded to this review, December 19, 2014
Dear onthegoglobal,

We’re ecstatic to know that your stay at The Bivou was the highlight of your trip in Yunnan! Thank you for your compliments!

It truly delights us to know that you’ve taken the time to appreciate the design and concept of our hotel. Indeed, we are very much a boutique establishment that isn’t a regular chain-hotel, nor a simple guesthouse. We offer adventure travelers who are looking for something different, something off-the-beaten-track. Despite The Bivou’s modern and unique rooms, it is also of utmost importance to us to respect and retain the authentic structures of the old farmhouse. The original layouts are a beauty in itself, and we wanted a place that fit in perfectly with the lush greenery and farms surrounding us. It was unfortunate that there was construction going on next door during your stay here with us, however please rest assure that we will work closely with our neighbours to keep the pathways clean and accessible for our guests.

Indeed, guests are encouraged to rent a bicycle to explore the vicinity. With a bicycle, you can explore at your own pace, and stop for a rest or to snap some photos whenever you wish. We would highly recommend going on a bike trail up to Baisha village. The journey to Baisha is spectacular, with stretches of farmland set against majestic blue skies and mountains, and the 1000 year old Baisha village proves to be a culturally rich experience in itself. Guests can be certain to have an authentic experience as we are constantly striving to forge a deep connection between guests and the local community and culture. The best way to understand the local way of life is to soak in it!

That said, we might not have an expansive breakfast spread as those found in chain-hotels, but we know for sure our breakfast is truly wholesome, packed with lots of nautral homemade goodness, with ingredients picked fresh daily from our local markets, farms, and even our own gardens. It is bound to supplement you with the energy you need to set out on your adventure!

We look forward to having you with us in the future! See you soon!
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Shanghai, China
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2012

Li Jiang is too commercialised, Shu He has all the charm these Chinese old towns offer without the crowds. Bivou is well located, next to the old town yet far away enough to keep out the noise.
The staff are great at Bivou, they'll arrange and plan everything for you. We were lazy and did not do much reading up or planning for the trip but Hwee Ling took such great care of us.
Breakfast is perfect, great coffee, fresh, healthy and substantial.
Beds were super comfortable, we slept so well. Everything in the room is super clean and neat, just the way I like it.
I'll definitely be going back. So much to discover in the area, we barely scratched the surface.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank bee s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBivou, General Manager at The Bivou, responded to this review, December 19, 2014
Dear bee s,

Thank you for your kind words!

You’ve rightly put it, Shuhe Old Town definitely has its charm without the crowd, just the way we love it! The Bivou which is tucked away safely in the nature zone of the old town, provides our guests with the perfect slumber after a day of adventure. We understand how important it is for our guests to have enough rest to be energized the next day. It is also one of our priorities to provide guests with a hassle-free experience, so grab a plane ticket to Lijiang, and leave the rest of the planning to us! Guests can be certain that all of their needs will be well taken care of at The Bivou – we make travelling simple ;)

There really is just so much to see and do here, and we can’t wait to show you more the next time you visit! See you soon!
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Additional Information about The Bivou

Property: The Bivou
Address: 16 Zhonghe Cun, Shuhe Old Town, Lijiang, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Yunnan > Lijiang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 928 Hotels in Lijiang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bivouac - an old Swiss word meaning “temporary encampment” – is now used by adventurers to describe an improvised shelter. A bivouac is about simplicity.The Bivou is our version of the bivouac for today’s discerning travelers. It is a bed-and-breakfast built around the notion that modern adventurers have modern needs: comfort, sustainability, authenticity and style. We are uniquely located within the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lijiang, just a minute away from the historic village square of ancient Shuhe. Our vision is simple…We are Designed for Adventure ... more   less 
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