It is all in the name
Posted Apr 8, 2011 on Hotels
We had real difficulty finding this hotel, because it was not where it was marked on some of the maps and also because the name given for this hotel is not known to the locals. The actual name outside the hotel is "Chateau L'Act" which might explain why the hotel appear popular with French tourists, but to the locals it is know by something else, I suspect it was Guyou Hotel, after the road it is on. Which brings me to my second point, that the hotel is not located in the main square at the North side of the old town (near the water wheels), but exactly other opposite side of town the very south eastern tip. This does make it easier to access by taxi, most other hotels would require pulling your suitcase over cobbled streets, for a km or so and finding those hotels on foot in the dark with a suspect local made would be a nightmare. So although Chateau L'Art is on the fringe of the old town away from the main centre, it is at least easy to get to, provided the taxi driver , has the correct name and address.
That said, the hotel was the best we had stayed in, beautifully decorated rooms, very clean and spacious. The design of the hotel is also very traditional which looks great on the internet and is a true impression of the hotel interior, but after a couple of days walking the local old streets, the hotel looks just like everywhere else.
Everywhere in Lijiang is a problem when it comes to finding someone who speaks English, and this hotel was no different. However, submitting questions in writing got a typed personal response from someone on the staff, or you resort to borrowing someone's elses guide to translate, often via French. I speak a little Mandarin, and this helped, but you will struggle unless you speak Chinese or the hotel get staff that can speak more than a few basic phrases.
The staff were however. very polite and as helpful as they could be, often working together to try and interpret my poor Chinese.
The hotel was quite quiet out of high season, the breakfast room almost deserted, but you got the impression that it was a very popular and fun place to be in high season. The inner courtyard would be a great place to hang out in warmer weather.