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“Great Location, Interesting Hotel”
Review of House Of Shambhala

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House Of Shambhala
Ranked #3 of 341 Hotels in Lhasa
Certificate of Excellence
Blackheath NSW
Level Contributor
55 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great Location, Interesting Hotel”
Reviewed 26 December 2013

House of Shambhala is a beautiful old Tibetan style house right in the centre of the old town. Our massive room was beautifully decorated and we loved the location down a small lane where we could watch the everyday life of Lhasa. Unlike some guests, we had an ample supply of hot water. Our only negative was that the room was very cold (in November) and the tiny heater made little difference. After a day out, it is nice to have somewhere warm to sit and unwind and discuss the day's activities. We sometimes sat on the roof in the sun, but some days the wind was too cold. It would have been nice to have a heater in the restaurant where guests could gather. Other than this, a stay at House of Shambhala is a memorable experience.

Room Tip: Check heating and hot water before you decide
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Maggi W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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98 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney
Level Contributor
100 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 November 2013

We had a ground floor room which eliminated the stair factor. The room was clean, solar heating was effective. Wifi excellent. Breakfast very good, the choice being limited, however, that is the norm for Tibet. I much preferred this to the Shambala Palace which I found dusty and dark. They have the same owner. The area is very interesting and so much can be explored on foot at your leisure. The bed was also a marked improvement on the bed at "The Palace" which I think has permanently shifted my right hip due to its unforgiving nature!!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RobynBSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 November 2013 via mobile

You can't beat the location of this hotel, just of Bakhor square in the old winding lanes of old Lhasa. The building itself is full of character and same with the rooms. Having said this if you are looking for a spotless room with no dust and everything super clean then the Shambhala may not be for you.

Although our room was clean, it still had that old world feel, dust here, miss matching pillows there, curtains that dont quite close properly and a leaky toilet. All things that you get use to after a few days.

The two things we didnt get use to during our stay and which caused the most discomfort was the lack of adequate heating, the room was freezing, it had a small wall radiator and only heated up around that area. I might add the room was massive.

Given that the room was freezing the addition of not having instant hot water was also hard to cope with. After leaving the tap run for ten minutes, we would get luke warm water if that. I might add the bathroom was fully clad in stone which was extremely cold however the shower did have heat lamps.

Apart from those two things we did enjoy our stay at the Shambhala.

For those wanting to know about internet, its a bit hit and miss however most of the time it was fine and adequate to Skype on. The restaurant upstairs had great food although is separate to the hotel so you need to pay after you eat, you cannot charge it to your room.

Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank kurps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
1,082 reviews
417 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 648 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 October 2013

It is an old Tibetan house made into a hotel. The room was large on the first floor by the street. Very noisy from inside as well as outside. The room appeared clean, but every carpet was dirty and so were every cushion and curtain. There is also a lot of dust around. I guess it looks more “antique” this way. The good thing is that we did not see any bugs.
There is confusion with the House of and Palace, take this into consideration when you read the reviews. They are both own by the same company.
Location in the old section of town close to the tourist area.
Reception is friendly with limited English.
Breakfast was the same every day. You have a choice of an overcooked egg with bread jam and butter, or mueslis with honey and milk. We were here 4 nights as part of a private package tour, we tried to tell them not to cook them so much but their English is not very good and our Tibetan is 0.
The rooms are decorated in the Tibetan style. They are very uncomfortable for westerners. The furniture is very hard and the places to seat are Tibetan style with your legs up. There is no way to comfortably seat and read a book.
The bed is very hard and the pillows very uncomfortable, after the 3rd day my back was killing me. One person gets the wall and another the side table.
Wi-Fi- works well but there will be government restrictions as to what you can use. No Facebook, no Wikipedia, etc. We could get our mail.
There is no television.
We used the sitting area to place our bags instead. There is a tiny closet with 2 hangers. They also provide you with 2 bathrobes, house and plastic sandals.
There is a tea kettle bring your own instant coffee or tea.
The bathroom is small but workable if very dark.
There is very little shower pressure. There was hot water the second day after we told them lukewarm was not going to do it in such cold weather. The next day it was cold water again.
There is a little room on the towel holder to hang your undies, the good news is that the laundry service is well priced, so no Iron or ironing board.
There is no safety bar in the shower, but it is a walk in, not a tub. The entire bathroom is made of stone.
Towels were a little wet after the first day and as they are very dark we don’t know if they were changed or just refolded.
There is a small soap, shampoo and gel. There is also a disposable toothbrush and a shower cap. Remember to put used toilet paper in the wastebasket, don’t flush it anywhere in China.
There is a hair dryer and a makeup mirror, but there is no light to use it.
There is no parking, but you will have to be very adventurous to drive here. Actually you have to roll your luggage from the main street.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Starviagera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
53 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 October 2013

Stepping into house of shambala is like walking onto the set of a romantic movie ....the colors are gorgeous, the whole place has lovely earthy tones. The rooms are oh-so-romantic with lovely tibetan touches (the beds are a bit creaky though). The top floor restaurant is great as well as is the seating on the rooftop. Hard to find fault with this place to be honest (location is great too, right next to the Jokhang buzz). We had a few issues with poor water pressure, heating not working etc but all in all highly recommended.

Room Tip: rooms away from the staircase are a bit quieter
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank brendalah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2013

Tucked away in the old part of Lhasa, near the Jhokhang temple, this place is a gem. If you want to experience Tibet with Tibetan culture/ art/ customs, please do not go past this place.

My mum and I traveled to Tibet via train from Beijing and we decided to go with a Tibetan-run tour agency to arrange our stay in a Tibetan-run place. This boutique hotel was comfortable, the staff spoke great English and Mandarin, and were always eager to please.

We had considered the Shambhala Palace as well, but preferred the House of Shambhala as it was in a quieter area.

My mum and I stayed in Lhasa for 9 days, 8 nights. We wanted time to wander the old area of Lhasa with our guide, see the Potala Palace, Summer Palace, Sera Monastery etc....so we wanted time to absorb the day-to-day of the OLD Lhasa.

Things to bear in mind:

Now, with OLD Lhasa, near the Jhokhang temple, the location is not going to be new and sparkling, but you will get the authentic markets and stalls, the smell of butter being sold in huge quantities, yak meat being butchered and fresh fruit, flowers, vegies in markets.

You will get a hotel that supports local artisans and is Tibetan-run. You will get homely service, authentic decor, great food and genuine warmth.

So ask yourself, if you like Western/ modern-Chinese style hotels, stay somewhere else. Nothing wrong with that.

But if you have more time to experience.... bear in mind, you are in Tibet/ Lhasa. It takes a while to get the permits and costs a bomb to get here...so....do you really want to stay at the Sheraton???

This is not the Hilton, so staff may not be industry-trained, but they are more than willing to help. And after our 44-hour train ride from Beijing, we were not disappointed in the comfort and care at the House of Shambhala!

The House of Shambhala used to be an old school, and the entrance to the main courtyard/ reception area is lined with prayer wheels, and has a statue of Tara as a welcome/ protection. The affect is at once soothing and also tells you - "this is a Tibetan house". There are no lifts, the rooms are placed over 4 floors and my mum and I stayed on the top floor, next to the restaurant. It was quiet season, so there were not many "loud" nights, as the restaurant closed at 10pm too.

Our room was 1 bedroom with a massive king bed and an adjoining meditation room. This meditation room turned into my bedroom, which had futon, and I asked for extra bedding to make it soft and cosy. My mum also asked for extra bedding to make her bed softer. Both mum & I felt very comfortable throughout the stay.

With so many days in the 1 place, I always worry about familiarity breeding contempt. Usually, you get bored of the food, notice things that annoy you....but I have to say the place was soothing, serene. A great place to come "home" to.



Service:
Sweet, warm, always smiling, and ready to help. We asked for lots of things, politely, and guess what, we got them! I am not sure why some reviewers are saying there were lots of things wrong, but I suggest if you encounter anything that irks you, please do ask.
My mum and I asked for:
- Bathroom supplies - more soap, shampoo & conditioner
- Incense - the bathroom system in the old buildings are from the old times, so you don't flush tissues
- Bathroom changes - you can ask this to be cleaned/ bin changed more than daily
- Linen - we asked for extra cushions, blankets, futons so our beds were softer & as comfy as we liked
- Towels - extra towels
- Meals - specified how we'd like the meals - less salt, more water in tea etc. Early breakfast to go. Some extra fruit and tea.
- Rebooting the wifi - yep they have FREE internet connection and it worked well 90% of the time which is pretty good. I'm comparing it to a 5 star hotel we stayed at in Beijing where you had to pay 90 yuan for 12 hours.
- Information on the customs, attractions and history of the hotel - staff were really helpful and when language was a barrier, they'd ask someone else to help
=> So as I said, the staff may not be industry trained, but they are extremely warm, caring and will do anything to help.


Food:
Food wise - we had breakfast here every day. The breakfasts are simple. Most Tibetans will have "tsamp" - barley flour with butter tea. They offer this, but be warned, it's strong - and your stomach (like mine) may react adversely to it. So try it, but don't eat it all, even though it tastes good - like Weetbix! They also offer eggs, toast, tea, coffee. Basic, but good.
We did try some dinner/ lunch here, and it was also good, but the basic premise of having good basic food for breakfast with really lovely service was one we enjoyed the most.
Lots of places to eat, including a new Tibetan tea house near the big tree on the Jhokhang kora circuit called Kyaka Shak Kitchen. You gotta try it!


Location:
We loved it. It's down an alleyway, and we got lost the first time we tried navigating back to it, but the local cops helped us out. Make sure you get a card/ map and ask the reception staff to mark it before you venture out. After the first time, my mum & I were able to move quite comfortably from the Jhokhang temple, from the main road (Beijing Road). The closest off-street from Beijing Road is Kira lane, so that's an easy drop off point for taxis/ rickshaws.
There are lots of street food & restaurants around you, and the walk to the Jhokhang (which we did every day) takes you past lots of markets selling to locals. There are some tourist shops, but most of the tourist traps are located WITHIN the Jhokhang grounds (where everyone does the "kora" - circle of the temple in a clockwise direction). So you get an authentic feel of the place when you walk around the hotel.

Wandering away from the Jhokhang area, you can find other attractions: the Muslim quarter to see the bargaining of cordyceps, the Great Lhasa Mosque. Lots of little monasteries and temples around the main Jhokhang temple.
Cross the Beijing road and wander around the Barkor area, and you find other monasteries like Ramoche Temple, and night-markets.
All walking distance!

If you want to go to the Potala Palace to view the nightly dance by locals, you can take a rickshaw from outside the hotel (Kira lane) and go down Beijing Road.



Craft/ Decor:
This was the part my mother and I really thought was special. It was so unique, so well-cared for and maintained. The garden, the furniture, the grounds were cleaned daily (water splashing on the tiles/ stone steps in the mornings), the carvings in the rooms, the intricate designs on the windows. It made our experience in Lhasa more fulfilling. The rich culture of the city was reflected every morning and night in our hotel. The hotel supports local artisans, and the depth of culture in one of the oldest parts of Lhasa made our stay in Tibet more special than being in a modern Chinese hotel.


Quietness:
You are in an old part of town, and the alleyway is used by lots of people in the mornings. Everything shuts by 10pm night, so when we stayed in off season (July), it's quiet. So you may hear the rattling of trolleys carrying supplies to stores. You may hear some singing at night. To me, it was preferable to the noise of other tourists outside an elavator which I've sometimes experienced, but you can always ask for a quiet room away from the alleyway. I personally liked it - hearing the neighbours play the Tibetan guitar, kids playing in the afternoons.



Strongly recommended for those seeking the cultural experience, genuine home-style comfort, and convenience to local attractions. Immerse yourself.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank sydneypo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 October 2013

Pros: location; charm; antiques; good restaurant.

CONS:
- family suite/apartment had hideously uncomfortable bed (Box Spring only with very thin blanket as a mattress); day beds not much better.
- Maid never swept or mopped in 5 days (with 3 muddy rain days) & someone else's hair in the shower (which was never cleaned during our stay)
- dangerous nails sticking out of floor/ bed/ furniture;
- very noisy neighborhood, with dogs barking all night;
- hot water for 3-4 minutes only;
- terrible wifi;
- roof top was a nice perk, except that it's really uncomfortable (bad furniture) and typically asian
with broken furniture/junk lying around. why not tidy that up?
- no one spoke English, and barely any Chinese (which we can mange well enough);
- honestly it felt like a hostile with a huge price tag!

Restaurant is apparently not owned by hotel, but was the best part of the place.
I recommend eating here. a bit pricey comparatively, but satisfying, and lovely staff.

Room Tip: #303 - apartment, nice space but main bed TERRIBLE. 2 Day Beds ok, but not for tall adolescents...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank mknd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about House Of Shambhala

Property: House Of Shambhala
Address: No.7 Jiri erxiang, Lhasa 850000, China
Region: China > Tibet > Lhasa
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Lhasa
#2 Best Value Hotel in Lhasa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — House Of Shambhala 3*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shambhala Palace is a restored home of a high ranking Tibetan Lama. All of our rooms provide guests with the utmost comfort while surrounded by Tibetan history and tradition. Our rooftop restaurant together with four of our king rooms offer full on views of Potala Palace with other rooms looking out over the quiet alleyways of the ancient quarter. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
House Of Shambhala Lhasa, Tibet

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