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“Outstanding stay right next to the Songzanlin temple”

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Songtsam Shangri-la (Lugu) Hotel
Ranked #2 of 165 Hotels in Shangri-La County
Certificate of Excellence
China
Level Contributor
97 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Outstanding stay right next to the Songzanlin temple”
Reviewed 3 April 2014

WOW. That's my summary in 3 letters. We traveled last December between 3 lodges: Meili => Benzilan => and Shangrila last, and we absolutely LOVED anything about our stay at the Shangrila retreat.
First the surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful: the lodge is located RIGHT NEXT (5 mn walk) to the gorgeous Songzanlin Temple, which is the 2d biggest Buddhist temple after the Potthala in Lhasa, Tibet. The lodge is located in front of a small beautiful and quiet lake ,that you can explore by foot easily. The decoration inside the lodge is fantastic: warm tones, rich tibetan fabrics and carpets, beautiful wooden flooring. Feels out of time. The staff, as in all the Songtsam lodges we visited, was absolutely competent and delightful, anticipating any of our needs quietly, efficiently. We were quickly shown to our room, at the last floor (we indulged in one of their best rooms, for our birthday): amazing views from our small balcony, everything in the room was tastefully chosen and designed: the cosy tea table with hand-made tea sets, complimentary tea leaves and dried camomille flowers, the rugs, the bed linen, the bathroom amenities with hand-made soap...everything up to the smallest details and room temperature was perfect, and made from high quality material. Unlike Meili and Benzilan lodge, the room rate doesn't include the 3 meals, since there are many dining options in the Shangrila small town, so we only tried breakfast: beautiful buffet with extensive selection of local and western delicacies, including a traditional Tibetan dish with explanations on how to eat (loved that cultural touch!). Everything was fresh, tasty and fully satisfactory. The dining hall was spacious and beautifully decorated too, the staff attentive.
We have absolutely LOVED our stay there and would recommend it to anybody in need of a serious break from the busy life, including families (lots of cool activities to do with the kiddos, like bike, walk, bird watch, temple visit etc...). The place is indeed perfect for lovebirds, as well as solo-travelers in need of inspiration for meditation, writing, self reflection...it seems odd to write, but the proximity of the Songzanlin temple somehow provides a deep sense of peace and harmony, some strong good vibrations that make you...just feel good. Try it by yourself.
Now a couple of hopefully helpful tips:
- You definitely don't want to miss visiting the Songzanlin temple: it is next door, and another cool stuff is that the ticket prices are cheaper if you book FROM the lodge directly. You can easily wander for a full morning or afternoon in the temple: it is really big, with many rooms to visit. Don't run out on camera battery! And remember you can't shoot in the praying rooms.
- The next BEST attraction for us was to go to the Shangrila old town. While you can ask the hotel to drive you, we found much more fun to take the bus: just grab the # 3 bus departing right in front of the Temple, and ask the driver with your best Foreigner's smile "GU CHENG" (pronounced "goo cheung" It means "old town"). Stay close to the driver and don't worry, he will somehow manage to make you understand its time to get out of the bus ;-) Price is only 1 Yuan / person.
- Going back from old town to the lodge: there are taxis easily found. Keep the hotel name in Chinese handy, and make sure they switch on the meter-counter. If its too late and you need to bargain, prices shouldn't' go any higher than 30 RMB for day 40 RMB night / single trip.
- The old town is a very cool maze of small streets with lots of fun shops, bars and restaurants: THE perfect place for souvenir shopping.
- What to shop? Tibetan Saffron (I didn't know Tibet was one of the biggest producers!), silver carved jewels (but negotiate hard on price!!), Yak dried meat (tasty, lean and high protein content), traditional Tibetan bells and singing bowls, Tibetan knives, Yunnan Pu'er tea, knitted yak wool stuff...
- Traditional Tibetan knife: be careful, as beautiful as they are, the blades are extremely sharp, and most airlines won't allow you to bring it back, even in a checked-in luggage. So negotiate to have it sent to you by mail. Serious shops definitely know about this constraint, and will offer logistics solutions. Any seller that tells you "check-in no problem!" = WRONG! Seek advice from the lodge.
- And now I'm going to give some lucky Trip Advisors' readers MY secret little shop...the coolest discovery I made in Shangrila : the place is called "DROPENLING" and sells amazing traditional Tibetan crafts at affordable price: hand-made puppets for kids (dragon, tiger, Tibetan dog...) made from very high quality fabric, stuffed toys, yak cashmere scarf, cushion covers etc...they even received the prestigious UNESCO award of excellence for their design. Everything is handmade by Tibetan artisans, so you do a good deed while bringing back the coolest present EVER to your loved ones! Prices: 150-300 RMB for puppets, 30-60 for small coin purse, 500-700 RMB for cashmere scarf with infinity know pattern. Address: # 18 Cengfang Street. Website: www.tibetcrafts.com
Find it! Or email me for detailed map.

Room Tip: Ask a room with a view!
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank Acidinmyfridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

My husband and I visited Songtsam Hotel with our two children and my father. We stayed in the family room, with a lovely sitting room with wood burner, two separate bed rooms and a beautifully decorated bathroom. In the hotel everything is of good quality including the service delivered by the staff and the food served for breakfast and dinner.

In the hotel there is a great library with a balcony that has great views of the monastery, the lake and the mountains surrounding the area. We could not have wished for more.

Room Tip: For families I would advise the family rooms, for couples I would advice to ask for a high floor as...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
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1 Thank Donnyevans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kunming, China
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2014

The location is very good, open the window you can see the Songzanlin monastery. Service fine, warm environment is the feeling of home, the staff as a family! Decoration is fantastic, and inside the hotel to display a variety of antiques, very comfortable, very seductive!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
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3 Thank wei j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
Level Contributor
77 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 196 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 January 2014

Songtsam Lugu was our final stop so we decided to spend more time here. Other than the usual visits to Napahai (saw black necked cranes), Pudacuo National Park (Shudu Lake, Militang Pasture & Bitahai), Songzanlin Monastery & Dukezhong Old Town, we visited Shika Snow Mountain and went hiking at Tian Bao Snow Mountain. 2 way ropeway at Shika Mountain took about 40 minutes. There is nothing much at the first stop (pasture). We spent 2 hours on the boardwalk at the peak (4500m). It was extremely cold & windy so be prepared. The hike up Tian Bao Snow Mountain took us about two & a half hours. We climbed from 3600m to 4100m. Lots of walking uphill & it was extremely windy. Snow at certain parts was knee deep. There was a section where we could not see any path to walk on as the snow has covered the loose rocks. All we can see is a steep slope which we have to cross horizontally. We used the heels of our shoes to dig into the snow to create some footing before crossing hand in hand. We saw some water & thought it was the lake which we are hiking to but it wasn’t. Our driver pushes us to continue as we are very close. We had lunch next to the lake but could not stay for too long as it was extremely windy & cold. Fortunately the sun appeared & warmed all of us while we make our way down (took one & a half hours). High Tea at Lugu is extremely comforting after a day out in the cold. Meals are a-la-carte but there is a good variety to choose from. Staircase to our room on the 4th level is steep but we are alright, just slightly breathless. We are quite fortunate throughout our trip as we have no severe reaction to high altitude except the occasional headache (saw many others holding onto oxygen canisters). There is a boardwalk opposite the hotel where you can see the reflection of Songzanlin Monastery. It’s a pleasant 1 hour walk which we went in the late afternoon. To sum up this free & easy trip, it is entirely different from my last few visits to China which I travelled in package tours (eg. Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, Harbin etc). Staying in Songtsam lodges eased the trouble of doing extensive research in terms of transport & things to do in the area as all are taken care of. Furthermore, guests are assured of clean, cosy & comfortable rooms, high level of service, food that suits most palates, experienced drivers (we felt so safe that we tend to doze off in the car) & tours which will leave you breathless (triggered by countless breath taking views & scenery).

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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7 Thank funtraveller76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 January 2014

Songtsam Lugu was recommended by a friend who traveled to Shanghri-la a couple of months before I did. We arrived at Songtsam Lugu on a rainy day after sunset, and the hotel staff waited for us outside with an umbrella. It gets very cold around March - April in Shangri-la when the sun is down, and the warm (red-brownish) colored interior and the smell of Tibetan tea warmed us up immediately. The hotel staff are very attentive, bringing us slippers as soon as we got in the door. The furniture and decoration of the hotel follows a very authentic Tibetan style, from the old wooden furniture to the Tibetan tea pots. We had the fortune of running into the hotel owner during our stay, a retired CCTV anchor from Bai Minority group who started this boutique hotel chain after his he left his career in media. He told us he handpicked every piece of furniture and that when he was sitting in the dinning room, he thought of ideas of how to move the furniture around to improve the ambiance of the space - he is very dedicated. The food served in the restaurant are very good, there are some authentic dishes but they also cater towards a more international crowd. We loved the spicy yak meet and the Tibetan tea, perfect for a cold rainy day. The rooms are nicely designed and thoughtfully decorated, with books of Shangri-la culture and history on the coffee table. We had a room with a patio/small "sun room" where we could read, which makes the stay more relaxing. The location of the hotel is extremely convenient as well - it neighbors the famous Songstam temple, which is a marvelous piece of ancient architecture, we spent a whole day just wandering around the hotel area - the whole place was extremely photogenic. The only regret is that we did not go in the summer time where the flowers are blossoming and the local festivals take place - which leaves us something to look forward to for the next time!

Room Tip: Pick a room with a patio, it is a great place to read and relax under the Shangri-la sun
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Eva Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
62 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2014

we did the songtsam circuit in apr2013: shangrila - benzilan - meili - shangrila

we decided to do the circuit as songtsam provided all the tour services to transport from one village to another, so thats great for us. we could choose to stop anytime along the way, snd customize any specifics as needed. truly a great trip.nlike i wrote in the other review on songtsam meili, all songtsam lodges share following characteristics:

1. location in remote villages, nestled among traditional/old village houses (so a stroll out of the lodge immediately transport one into experiencing the life in rural china). always an interesting hike around the lodge, whether it's farm, fields, ancient temples, natural scenery, etc. in the case of shangrila, it is close to the great lama temple, so its good exploration into the temple in the early mornings, or late evenings when you xan see all the lama go back to their cottages in the surriunding village.

2. boutique style lodge with specific characteristic that matches the surrounding tibetan culture/environment. the decor is very tibetan. so great immersion into tibetan culture. when we were in shangrila, we got upgraded to a suite!

3. good food provided, with focus on tibetan type cuisine. western type food provided too, but that is very much a chinese-interpretation of western food so can be a hit or miss. only drawback is that the breakfast is the same spread in all pf songtsam lodges, so after a few days, it could get unexciting (its fine if you can have usual bread and butter everyday, or omelette). for dinner at this particular lodge, it has a great spread of different food, and it's really up to us to order (no wastage of course!). the ice-cold local beer got me and my mate hooked. since back from the trip i have been craving for ice-cold beer every dinner.

4. great service from the staff. friendly and cosy setting.

5. exceptionally clean linen and great comfortable beddings. great toilets (no kidding.. this is one thing which put me off in venturing to remote china villages).

songtsam ticks all the right places. it is special because it allows anyone (non-chinese even) to experience the life of tibetan culture (which big hotels with no character will not be able to provide), without having to put up with awful sanitation (as in the case of most guest houses). small enough to be very personal. feels like staying in a big mansion where everyone knows each other. we bumped into baima dorje (owner of the songtsam lodges) a few times when we were here in songtsam shangrila.. very friendly.

we also want to thank our guide, tashi for all the great hospitality throughout the trip. the drive from shangrila to benzilan and subsequently to meili was truly spectacular (though not for the faint-hearted).

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank LeeshAsianTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beijing, China
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2013

We are so happy we chose this hotel for our three-night stay. All staff members were friendly, attentive, and extremely helpful to us in arranging everything. The local barley beer was nice!! However, we ordered too much food for dinner (large portions!) and wished that the wait staff were more forthcoming with advice/suggested we cut back. That was embarrassing.
Remember to ask for the free airport pickup if you're flying in to Diqing - the hotel van is way more comfy & spacious than any taxi you will use during your stay.
We would love to go back at a warmer time of year. We imagine the patio area to be lovely in the summer.

Room Tip: We needed two rooms (family of four with kids 11 & 12 yrs), but there were no rooms with twin be...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank swhodges67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Songtsam Shangri-la (Lugu) Hotel

Property: Songtsam Shangri-la (Lugu) Hotel
Address: Songzanlin, at the foot of Songtsam Lama temple, Shangri-La County 674400, China
Phone Number:
Region: China > Yunnan > Shangri-La County
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 165 Hotels in Shangri-La County
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Songtsam Lodge at Shangri-la (Songtsam Lvgu Hotel) is the flagship lodge of Songtsam Lodges - a series of luxury boutique lodges built in pristine and beautiful locations in Yunnan.Songtsam Shangri-la (3,280m) is situated right next to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan province. The lodge is housed in a traditional Tibetan dwelling within this typical, self-sufficient Tibetan farming village where the founder of Songtsam, Baima Dorjie, spent his childhood. Songtsam Shangro-la has hosted thousands of intrepid travelers from all over the world in the past 10 years. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Songtsam Hotel Shangri La County
Songtsam Shangri-La (Lugu) Hotel Shangri-La County, China - Yunnan

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