Banyan Tree Yangshuo
What We Love
- A prestigious Banyan Tree retreat in the artistic town of Fuli, surrounded by jaw-dropping nature Relaxing poolside on an oversized daybed overlooking the Li River
- The impeccable service and personalised therapies at Banyan Tree Spa Yangshou
- Experiencing the hotel's destination-dining concept with a meal served at the top of a cliff or on a river raft
What To Know
- The ultra-luxe Banyan Tree is set in a tranquil spot by the Li River, which you can explore on one of the resort's traditional bamboo boats
- The spa and infinity pool are two favorite amenities
- There are four on-site restaurants
If you’d travelled to every almost every corner of the earth twice over and were looking for one last dose of awe, Fuli would be the sort of place you’d be relieved to stumble upon. This beautifully preserved ancient town is the origin of China’s famous hand-painted fans, and home to a number of prominent artists who are no doubt inspired by the surrounding landscapes.
The environmentally conscious Banyan Tree group unveiled their sensitively designed Yangshou property back in 2014, in a sleepy plot beside the crystalline Li River. In the mornings, there’s no sight quite like it as the mist enshrouds the jade-green mountains, and by day, you’ll be spoilt for ways to explore the various valleys, caves and climbs in this natural playground. A signature Banyan Tree experience is taking to the water on a traditional bamboo raft – specially crafted by local fishermen but with a few comfy enhancements, of course – and serenely passing along the route known as the ‘diamond waterway’.
The panorama is such that its earned Banyan Tree Yangshou a place in the ‘Top 10 Hotels for Romance’ category of the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards 2017, though we suspect that may also have something to do with the world-class spa, award-winning design and sophisticated Guangxi dining. This is a destination that calls for a soulful choice of accommodation. With subtle oriental motifs, local artistry and all the right modern luxuries, the Banyan Tree villas fit the bill exquisitely.
How to Get There
This is an absolutely beautiful hotel in an exquisite setting. We were unfortunately only there for 15 hours and were not able to take advantage of all the amenities. The pool area was so elegant along the Li river. A complete oasis. Guests need to be aware slippers, flip flops and bags that contain toiletries are not gifts but chargeable items. We were charged costly fees for this mistake.
There were strong pros and cons to staying here. On the positive side, the property was gorgeous, the breakfast was first-rate and the pool was amazing.
On the negative side, the room's AC was awful. We stayed in a suite and despite turning the AC down to its lowest setting, with fan on max, the room would not get cooler than about 27 degrees, about 5 degrees hotter than I comfortable sleeping in. I suspect this is because we were in the villa, which has a TON of space to keep cool, with extremely high ceilings. PLEASE UPGRADE YOUR AC SYSTEMS!
Another big negative is that the gorgeous bath tub was basically useless due to a lack of hot water, which was very disappointing because this is one of the major reasons we booked this particular room, and I even indicated that in the booking. After we complained, the hotel sent maintenance over on two separate occasions to fix the water issue, but it still wasn't hot enough -- by the time the tub filled up, it was too cold to be a true hot bath. Rather than waste time repeatedly calling the maintenance people in the middle of the night, we decided to just give up on this tub.
We read many positive reviews of this hotel before booking. While our overall impression was satisfactory, this property's service doesn't live up to Banyan Tree standards. The following are worth considering before booking, and for the corporate office in Singapore to promptly address:
• Villa aircon doesn't cool before 24°C. Ask for room fans in your reservation request. (Manager apologized with a bottle of French wine and a note. We don't drink alcohol so she can re-gift it.)
• Woman at front desk in the mornings was more interested in texting on her handphone than helping guests. Very unprofessional. Fortunately her male phone receptionist counterpart did his job professionally.
• Restaurant food and variety was fair but expensive. Considering this remote part of China is an agricultural centre, and there are no restaurants within 3 kms, pricing needs serious review.
• If a food item is imported, the price is even crazier. A tiny 3 oz cup of Haagen-Daz was the equivalent of $9 USD!
• Breakfast buffet was enormous with a diverse combination of Chinese and Western items. However, service quality and cleanliness was consistently lacking. MOH in Singapore (where we live and the chain's HQ) would shutter this place. Suggest hiring outside professional trainers since management is weak.
• 90% of guests were Chinese. Limited English speaking help so bring your own translation.
• There property is on the scenic Li river, but no villas have a good view of it.
• The spa was expensive for China, but very clean. Therapist Mobie from Thailand was wonderful as were the receptionists. Maybe they should change places with their front desk counterparts.