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Li River Resort
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All reviewsli riverminute walkkarst mountainsbeautiful locationchinese foodhire bikesbest of both worldsthe hustle and bustletown centretaxi rideweek tripthird floorlocal beerstayed nightsrooftop terracepeace and quietfive star hotel
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Reviewed 10 July 2009

For any affidavit, I would like to preface this review with a couple of points to take into consideration:

1. Review based on my stay in Sep 2007. Yes, I am extremely tardy.
2. I met Alf on several occasions during my stay, and enjoyed conversation. However, I am in no way affiliated with Alf (or anyone else).
3. Li River Retreat is exactly as it states: a retreat. If you expect televisions, phone lines, fridges, you'll be sorely disappointed (personally, a real selling point for me).

On with the review.

I would unreservedly recommend Li River Retreat (Alf's place) because it more than met my expectations of a calm, tranquil place with lovely rooms, with personal touches, overlooking the majestic Karst Peaks.

Single rooms were around the $250 yuan mark (doubles around $450 - reserve online to get this rate for Li River Retreat), and the single rooms can easily accommodate another person. In fact, I thought I was initially given a double room because I expressed my surprised at how big it was, even though I was told it was a single and it would cost $250 yuan!
The Li River Retreat, much like the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (which I can also recommend) serves a purpose: somewhere quiet, relaxing and above all, tranquil - away from the hustle and bustle of Diecui Road and West Street.

What this means is that the Li River Retreat does not have televisions, nor fridges. Instead, you can eat/drink from the in-house restaurants and relax with absolutely stunning views. The rooms are spacious, filled with elegant furniture and large, comfortable double beds, and come with equally spacious western style bathrooms and toilets, with a power shower.

I absolutely loved the staff (girls) at Li River Retreat, who were all around 20, courteous, and most of all, bundles of fun. All had different characters, personalities and went out of there way to make sure that I was looked after, with wonderful personal touches such as bringing out these wonderful brass lanterns on to the patio area for me to read when it got dark, and running out to accompany guests with umbrellas during the sudden downpours (September).

In particular Li xiaojie (laoshi) and Huang xiaojie were extremely garrulous, helped me with my Chinese and were good company.

Li River Retreat is approx 20 minute walk to West Street, although you need a flash-light when it gets dark (provided for by the girls). You can also rent Mountain bikes (one of the better ones I used during my time, as these came with mud guards), and there are a few trips that can be arranged, but Alf mentioned that he didn't have as much time as before (due to his young family) to focus on arranging trips. Besides, this can easily be done by oneself or one of the agents in town.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the Li River Retreat for single travellers, couples (especially) and small families. If you require a party atmosphere, head to any number of the places in West Street; if you require business class i.e. all mod cons (television, fridge, phone, icy-cold impersonal service, yada yada yada) your needs may be better suited elsewhere.

If I return to Yangshuo, I would have no reservation at either staying at Alfs or the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat.

P.s. Excellent vegetarian options as well!

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled solo
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Thank putonghua73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2009

We loved the Li river retreat, it really is a retreat away from the hussle and bussle of the cities in China. The location is great, a short walk from the town (or cheap taxi hide if your feeling laxy) but close enough to go in for meals on an evening or site seeing during the day. The views were gorgeous and it was very relaxing.

The staff were lovely and couldn't do enough to help. The food was great, both at the retreat and at the Buffalo Bar owned by the same family in Yangshuo. Try the Orange duck or the beer and burger deal!! Compared that the retreat is 1.8km out of town they haven't marked up the prices at all which is great, we thought it was brilliant value!!

If you want to relax and take in the views whilst doing a few trips then this is the place to be. Having the Buffalo Bar in town means that you have a base there as well. It means you feel that you can go there for a drink and kind of be in yoour hotel which is lovely. you can also leave bags there and stuff, the owner Alf was very accomodating as were the staff.

Theres also free Internet at the retreat and mosquito plug ins in the room to make it as ocomforatble as possible. There are solar panels on the roof which we were impressed with! You can hire bikes from the house opposite the retreat for the same price as in town which makes it quicker cycling in and off into the countryside for the day.

Overall we loved this place, Yangshuo is gorgeous, as was the retreat!! Thanks for a great stay Alf and the girls!!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank kayrobo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2009

I can't recommend this place highly enough, but you do need to go with reasonable expectations. It's not a luxury hotel and, by local standards, it's quite expensive - although by UK standards it was a bargain, with a Deluxe Riverview room coming in at under £35 a night.

What you do get is remote, quiet and personal.

Arriving at Guilin airport, the hotel had sent a car to collect us and take us on the hour or so drive to Yangshuo, where we arrived in the evening. Darkness had fallen and, being so remote, we could see little of the hotel - there's literally no street lighting up the narrow riverside road leading to the hotel. The room was very spacious and comfortable. There's no satellite TV or telephones, and it's all the better for that, as the balcony is all the entertainment you need, giving you views directly over the dramatic karst scenery.

We did have one small problem, in that the air conditioning unit failed, sending water down the wall and sparks flying from the electrics. That can happen anywhere, and we were quickly moved to a new room.

There's no restaurant as such, but a courtyard area with tables and an emergency indoor eating area. The kitchen was amazing, with some superb food with enough variety to suit everyone, from American style breakfasts through to the local Beer Duck. Drinks were also good value.

For those rainy days, and you can get very severe rain at times (we had a hugely impressive thunderstorm one evening that lit up the mountains outside, and left the booming thunder echoing around for seconds), there's a variety of games available and a reasonably fast internet PC that's free to use.

All of this is managed by a number of extremely polite Chinese staff who shame most UK employees. Nothing was too much trouble. We used their services to arrange all our needs in Yangshuo and, although slightly more expensive than booking things directly, we were in no way ripped off. We rented a couple of electric mopeds for just £8 a day, and found out later that one of the staff had to walk to town (a good 25 minutes!) to collect the moped, ride it back, and then walk back to collect the second one. Nothing was too much trouble, even if that made me feel slightly guilty when looking back at things.

The mopeds transformed Yangshuo, enabling us to travel to Moon Hill, explore the karts, visit the town, ride off to the countryside without knowing where we were going (we found a residential kung-fu school!) and so much more, with ease. A lot of people enjoy this area for hiking or climbing, and I can see the attraction, but I'd still recommend the mopeds for getting around.

Through our tour of China we saw some impressive sights, were constantly impressed by the people, but found many places (such as Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai) lacking any kind of charm or character. After seeing the sights, there's few places we'd return to, but Yangshuo is definitely one of them. And, if we make it back, I wouldn't hesitate in staying at the Li River Retreat.

Don't go expecting a top end chain hotel. Expect a remote, quiet and comfortable experience in a stunning location with great food and service, and you'll get everything you want.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Phil H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2009

I will sum up the good and the bad of the hotel so that you can draw your own conclusions. I consider this hotel to have lot of potential but has many many glitches and problems that made our stay quite inconvenient.

THE GOOD:
1. Great location. The hotel is about a 20-25 minute brisk walk from the town center, isolated and with a beautiful view of the Li river and the surrounding mountains. The town is very pleasant but can get very busy. Most other hotels are in the center, above busy shops and market areas. Therefore, if you want peace, quiet, and a relaxing location, Li River Retreat has it.

2. Very friendly staff: The hotel is owned by an Australian who also owns a bar in the center of town. It is run by 5-6 young Chinese ladies who are always smiling and ready to help. They all speak great English and are very helpful at arranging different tours and activities.

3. Good food:
Both Western and Chinese with reasonable prices. Hamburger/fries for about $4.

THE BAD:
1. Primitive rooms: My expectations were very reasonable prior to our arrival since I knew that this was not a luxury hotel. However, even then, the hotel was dissapointing. The rooms are very plain with no phones and TVs. This means that you can not call the front desk if you have any problems and have to go down the stairs (sometimes several times) to fix a problem.

2. Power problems: The power went out in our room several times during our 3-day stay. This poses a problem because Yangshuo is extremely humid and rooms get very hot. We returned sweaty and sticky from a hiking trip twice, looking forward to a cool room only to find that we had no power and the room was 100 degrees. Further, since there are no phones in the room and no elevator, I had to go down 3 tall floors to ask that they address the problem. After I came back upto the room, I waited for 10 minutes and had to go back down and tell them that we still had no power. The 3rd trip down finally fixed the problem and they turned our power on. This sounds trivial, but when you've been out doing things in the sticky, hot weather, the last thing you want to do is to return to a hot room and then go up and down stairs 3 times to get your power back on.

3. Hard to control shower: the water temperature in the shower is next to impossible to regulate. When you finally get it right, someone somewhere flushes the toilet and scalding hot water begins to flow. The water pressure in the shower is very low, making showers less then ideal. This becomes very important since you always feel dirty and sticky in Yangshuo due to the humidity and dust in the streets.

4. Plumbing problems: during our short 3 day stay, water stopped flowing into the toilet tank and had to get assisstance for that (once again, no phones to call it in and no elevator to go down and tell the front desk).

Overall, if I had to do it again, I would probably stay somewhere else but this is not a bad place.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank shopsudan2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2009

We had 4 nights there, all the staff were very friendly, the food was great and reasonably priced, would reccomend this place to anyone who likes walking as the town is a good 20 minute walk along the rivers edge on a sealed road. At night you would have to take a torch with you as there is no lighting. The town itself has a lot to offer tourists and if you want to shop - make sure you bargain hard and youo will get what you want. We are now in the 65/70 age group - the only hilly part was the driveway up to the hotel itself, evrywhere else is flat and good for cycling or walking. The room we had was on the 3rd floor and adequately furnished. The private balcony was nice to sit out on at any time of the day or evening. - beware of the mosquitos at dusk! take your repellent.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank tmackie2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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