My teenaged daughter and I arrived here with the intentions of staying only a couple of nights. We ended up loving this place so much that we stayed over a week! We were there late November 2013.
First of all, you must understand that it is not a fancy 5 star hotel. It has lots of things that need improvement, and while it has modern amenities, it is rustic. The bedroom floors are cement and the windows don't have screens. The shower water in our bathroom hit the painted wall where mildew had to be a constant battle. Yet, these minor imperfections didn't compare to the 5 star quality staff, gorgeous views, comfortable beds, and serene location. We absolutely loved this place.
We had a room on the second floor that looked out across the guesthouse's back garden of Passion fruit and Pomelo trees (that we were told we could help ourselves to) and the gorgeous karst mountains in the near distance. We would be awakened by the sound of birds chirping (even in November!). We had an indoor veranda where we would prepare and drink our tea in the mornings and stare out at these gorgeous views with the windows opened wide. In the evenings we often walked down to the small bridge to watch the sunset and the locals come in from the fields, often with their water buffalo and horses.
The staff was incredible. Jerry, the Taiwanese owner, took us biking and hiking to so many interesting places, including a place high in a mountain where the villagers hid during WWII from the Japanese. Along our adventures we got to learn so much about the culture and local way of life. Lily, who runs the front desk and speaks English, always saw us off and would come out to greet us when we rode our bikes back in. Lily became a wonderful friend as she helped arrange for us to get to various neighboring villages, provided translations (writing names down in Chinese that we could use elsewhere to help us get around), and even let us drag her along with us on her days off for a couple of fun adventures. Loved our day trip to Huangluo! All of the staff there became like family. I can still see all of their smiling faces whenever I think of Fonglou. Each one of them went out of their way to help us with whatever we were needing, treating us as if we were a dear family member.
What else could I possibly add that maybe you haven't already read from other reviewers?
This guest house does sit right beside a paved road that leads into the back of the village. Every day it seemed that about 2 or 3 tour buses would come through about mid-day and park by the restaurants that sit just below this place. You can see these restaurants and village road from some of the rooms of this guesthouse. A small group of tourists usually make their way into this village by bike too. None of this kind of traffic was bad at all and it was very little. They would linger briefly and then disappear. Maybe it was like this because of the time of year when we were there? In the evenings, we enjoyed watching the neighboring villagers congregate by these restaurants as their children rode their bikes, played and chased each other up and down this same road. I can still hear their giggles and laughter. There is another nice hotel that sits down the road from this place right across the bridge.
We felt like this location was very convenient as a base for taking day trips all over the Yangshuo area. You can bike to a lot of places. Moon Hill is right down the main road from here. A short walk to the main road and you can wave a minivan down (not as intimidating as it sounds after you do it the first time!) and pay 3Y to be taken to Yangshuo. From Yangshuo, you can take another minivan to any other village for about the same amount. These minivans run all day until dark. If you miss the last van, no problem. You can get a taxi for about 40-50Y. If you can't speak or read Chinese, no problem. Lily can write down the names of where you are going that can you show the driver. Lily and Jerry were great at helping us figure out the logistics and details of how to get to where we needed to go and how to get back. (Best part of these day trips was returning to this wonderful quiet place and our soft beds.)
The food was good. They offer both western and Chinese food. We usually ate our meals on the roof deck area (great views), in our room (because we were so tired!), outside at the covered tables (by the parking lot and bike area), or downstairs by the lobby where there's a small bar area and sitting area. There is an actual dining room but it isn't very attractive so we avoided it. Everything about this place is relaxing and casual.
Our bedroom and western style bathroom were very clean. Free bottled water in your room daily. There's also an electric tea pot, tea and coffee bags for use in your room. There's a wall mounted heater/AC. They also provide a hair dryer. If you need additional water, they have a water cooler downstairs where you can refill your water bottles.
Don't know what else to say other than we didn't want to leave this place. We miss everyone there and my daughter wishes her bedroom back home was like the one we had there. This place was like a dream. One day we hope to return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Yangshuo Phoenix Pagoda Fonglou Retreat presents the most natural style accommodation for you to enjoy the hills and rivers at Yangshuo. ... more less
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