Angsana Fuxian Lake
What We Love
- A five-star lakeside resort with a top spa and ample facilities for both adventure and relaxationStupefying views of the glassy lake and Maotian Mountain
- Putting achy muscles in the hands of ultra-skilled, Banyan Tree Academy-trained spa therapists
- Sophisticated oriental dining at Hupan Gourmet
What To Know
- The outdoor pool is open year-round
- The hotel is pet-friendly and doesn't charge any fido-related fees
- Free WiFi and private onsite parking are available
There’s something deeply intriguing about China’s Yunnan Province. Located in the far south-west, near the border with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, this mountainous region tends to draw travellers with an intrepid spirit. It’s apt, then, that the upscale Angsana Fuxian Lake is geared not only towards five-star comforts, but jaw-dropping adventures in the great outdoors.
Positioned on the shoreline of one of China’s largest and deepest freshwater lakes, the resort’s ample facilities range from a beautiful private white-sand beach – replete with sun loungers and thatched parasols – to a watersports centre offering canoeing, diving, sailing and more. They don’t call Fuxian Lake the “Hawaii of the Highlands” for nothing; pull on your hiking boots and explore the astoundingly diverse scenery.
Of course, those leaning towards a more languid escape will also find myriad ways to unwind. Eschew outdoor footwear for cotton slippers and make the most of the seriously swank bathroom amenities – a taster of what’s offered at the legendary Angsana Spa.
How to Get There
We found the Angsana Fuxian Lake Resort to be a bizarre mix of 5-star aspects and 1- or 2-star aspects. Part of this may be due to a major change in management of part of the Angsana property on July 1. The high-rise buildings on the property (previously called “The Angsana Fuxian Club”) are now no longer under Angsana management, though we did not receive a clear explanation of who is now managing that part of the resort.
Our first disappointment with the hotel came before we even checked in. The Angsana website offered a stay two nights, get one free promotion for Fuxian. When we contacted Angsana to book that offer, they said the promotion was no longer available at their Fuxian property, though the same ad stayed up for a while. The hotel's website also stated that they would beat any lower price on booking websites. When we found a cheaper price through Ctrip, Angsana would not offer a lower price, and shortly thereafter, the Ctrip price was changed. Although these things struck us as poor business practices, we went ahead with our trip since several friends had recommended the Angsana Fuxian.
Lobby & Reception
Reception staff offered hot tea and chilled juice upon check-in and at check-out, which is always a pleasant touch. The front desk manager spoke English, though she seemed relieved to be able to switch to Chinese with us. Our children were given gifts of sand toys to use at the beach, and all of us were given complementary bracelets representing kang lang fish, which are an endangered species only found in Fuxian Lake. The lobby lights were sometimes all turned on in the evenings, sometimes not. The music in the lobby was a different genre pretty much each time we walked through the lobby (multiple times per day) and it rarely fit the mood of the hotel. For example, there was a song that sounded country-western, and one that sounded like 1950s doo-wop, neither of which suited the hotel's modern Asian resort feel.
The rooms were beautifully decorated, and had ample desk, shelf, and closet space. Complementary toiletries were generous, and appropriate to a resort/spa location; they included a loofah, bath oil, and bath salts along with expected items like shampoo and hand soap. Each day, an incense stick and essential oil with featured scents were put in the room. Cotton kimonos and flip flops for the pool were provided in addition to plush terry robes and slippers for the bath. A proper Chinese tea set was provided, along with Rose Pu'er tea (Pu'er is a famous tea-growing region of Yunnan) and Yunnan green tea. Every evening, we were given a small plate of Chinese cookies and a little gift, such as a coin purse with Yunnan-style embroidery. In these aspects, we felt like the hotel matched perfectly with a 5-star Angsana reputation.
The mini bar had a nice array of imported liquors and wine, which impressed me even though we did not partake in them. The mini fridge featured a selection of complimentary soft drinks such as Coke, Sprite, and Perrier along with a few paid options such as beer. We were disappointed that the complementary beverages were not consistently restocked. On two days, only one of the rooms was restocked. On another day, both of our rooms were restocked, but not all the beverages were replenished.
There was no resort map, welcome letter, hotel information packet, local area information, or anything of that nature in the rooms. Perhaps this is due to the recent handover of the “Club,” but it would have been very helpful to know swimming pool hours, breakfast hours, etc.
The breakfast buffet had an impressive variety of both Western and Chinese breakfast items such as omelets, pancakes, steamed buns, zhou (congee), fruit, yogurt, breads, cheese, and much more. Breakfast was a highlight of this stay! Be warned, however, Western items are often Chinese versions of Western foods (we pretty much expected this since we've been in China a long time). We also encountered inconsistencies here. The first two mornings, there were no knives at the guest tables, but that did not faze us. We simply used forks to spread butter on our bread. Then on the third morning, every place setting in the dining room suddenly had knives. On our last morning, my son discovered a live cockroach swimming in his glass of kiwi juice. My husband succeeded in getting omelets two mornings; on the third, the omelet he ordered arrived as two fried eggs sunny side up.
Very friendly, very eager to please. Oddly, it seemed like the hotel staff were not completely aware of what was happening with the other part of the property. For example, one person cheerfully suggested we swim in the outdoor pool (under control of the “Club”) but was not aware that the pool was closed for several days for maintenance. There were signs posted around the pool stating that it was no longer under Angsana's management, making us wonder if we'd be allowed to swim there even if it wasn't being maintained. Another staff member indicated the Hupan Gourmet restaurant was closed, but it was actually open, though under Club management with a very limited menu. No one seemed to have solid information on any of the resort amenities, and we eventually gave up asking.
Indoor Swimming Pool
The pool is large with lovely chaises and towels, and the changing rooms are nice and clean. We found it strange that lighting in the pool area was not always fully on. It was as though different people had been in charge of turning on the lights and didn't know they should flip all the switches. One day, the central ceiling light was off; another day, the wall lights were all off. The underwater lights were never on. Without proper lighting, it was very dark in the pool, and made it feel a bit like swimming in a basement. The water was slightly foamy a couple of times, which was disconcerting. We were left with the impression that the pool could be very good, and perhaps had been very good, but was no longer an excellent amenity.
Online, the hotel advertised – and still advertises – a huge variety of activities including archery, rock climbing, bike rentals, kayaking, and more at their “Adventure Park." In reality, almost none of these amenities is available. These facilities were perhaps the biggest draw for our family, so it's not a surprise this was also the biggest area of disappointments for us.
You can see where the different facilities were built, but most of them have clearly not been used in a very long time, and probably won't be used any time soon. For example, the tennis courts are covered in thousands of potted plants—this area is now the adventure park's plant nursery. There is barbed wire wrapped around the ladder for the climbing wall, and the archery range now has benches where the targets should be. The laser tag or paintball field is still in place, and you can enter it easily because the screen door which should normally control entrance to it has completely rotted away; no guns or sensors are available, and there are plants growing up through a few of the structures.
The website advertises, “Play billiards. Compete at video games. Sing karaoke. Catch a movie. Everything fun happens at the Activity Center.” In reality, the Activity Center was locked and appeared to be devoid of furniture and equipment. The kids club building looks nearly gutted, and was closed three of the four days we were there. When we saw the doors were open, we went to inquire and the staff there pointed to one small room outfitted for preschool-age children. They seemed genuinely surprised when we told them their website said there were kids club rooms for up to age 14.
The bright spot to this was that the beach area of the Adventure Park is very nice, featuring powdery white sand dotted with shade palapas. The sand ends well before the lake edge, though, and you'll have to walk on smooth river rocks to get into the water, which is beautifully clear. Towels are not provided for the beach area. There are single & double kayaks and 7-person paddleboats for rent. We saw a few other pieces of equipment, like a water-bike, near the rental shack, but they were in a big pile and probably not available for patrons to rent. Farther down the beach, there is a PADI-certified scuba training center in the park, offering both Basic Open Water and Advanced Open Water certification.
After our trip, we did some digging online and found that the Adventure Park is managed by another company, not Angsana. Still, the perception presented to guests is that the Adventure Park is part of the Angsana Fuxian package. You have to show your Angsana room card to enter, the entrance to the park is via an underground tunnel originating on the resort grounds, and everything online points to the area as being part of the hotel. They invite guests to “Take your endurance level up a notch with the sports and adventure activities the resort offers.” It's frustrating that so many of the billed activities and amenities are no longer functioning.
Overall, we found the Angsana Fuxian Lake Resort to be an inconsistent mix of things that were done at a 5-star level and things that were completely neglected. If you plan to go to Angsana for their spa (which we did not use), the rooms, and the breakfast, I think you will enjoy your stay. However, if you're going for the whole host of things they advertise, prepare to be disappointed.
My wife and I live in nearby KM. We stayed in a mini suite.
+ 10-15min drive (30¥) from Chengjiang bus station. Light and quite spacious rooms with great views. Large park with ponds and beach across the road (beautiful flowers and even some wild ducks), good place for a run. Nice bed decorations using towels and rose petals. Cleaners, waiters and other 'low level' workers generally very polite and friendly.
- About 750 rooms by my calculations (though some of them are for staff rather than guests) but only one person on the front desk and only 2 working elevators! Staff confusion due to the '2 hotels' on one site (they claimed not to know about the tours advertised in their own elevators!). Lack of things to do that don't cost extortionate amounts of money (bikes cost 4x more than in Dali). The huge and beautiful outdoor swimming pool complex is unheated (and therefore freezing- this area is quite high altitude) and blocked off and had signs saying no lifeguard, please don't swim! This is in May, one of the hottest months in Yunnan! This is because they want you to pay to use the indoor swimming pool. What a waste! They have built a beach on the lakeside but the sand stops 20m short of the water and becomes stones (we were told by hotel staff that it's too dangerous to swim - why build a beach with a lifeguard chair then?). The gym is not available to those staying in the hotel, it's for villa guests only. Vast array of breakfast items but quality variable, some were delicious, others looked much better than they tasted. Corridors not very clean, I dodged cobwebs full of dead flies dangling at head height. Cheap small TV in the room despite it being a suite. Sofa cushions had lots of stains. Bed pillows far too soft, provide no neck support, we switched to the stained sofa cushions. Thai restaurant food okay but overpriced at ¥68 for the cheaper dishes and ¥238 for the more expensive ones (lovely setting though). Whole site seemed to be running on skeleton staff and half closed (activity centre, bar, hupan restaurant, and the mini shop were all closed every time we passed. The place needs perhaps 80-100 staff to function properly, there seemed to be perhaps 40 or 50. Was expecting more facilities for the money, because it's not an area exactly full of things to do and see.
Located in Fuxian Lake and surrounded by mountains, Angsana Fuxian Lake has great environment and spectacle sight. You can take a walk to the wetland park and take some nice photos, which might let your friends believe you went somewhere southeast Asia, rather than a lake in China. There are many fresh choices in breakfast, and I felt really comfortable with the ornaments and design in the restaurant. It is a perfect choice for family vacation.
We checked in during the night time, the efficiency did not meet our expectation of Angsana.