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All reviewscultural experiencerice fieldschinese culturelocal communityxizhou villagea special placehistoric buildingyunnan provincecourtyard homeold townlocal baismall villagecultural heritagereal chinacooking classhighlight of our tripboutique hotel
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Reviewed April 4, 2018

After staying for a couple of weeks at Yangzhuoran, I loved it. The facility was beautiful, and the artfulness in which this compound was decorated was astounding. Wooden ceiling beams and floor gave the place a vintage and traditionalist ambience. The pieces of antiques in the Library helped give this place a feel of authenticity and showed the meticulous care that the Lindens payed to renovating Yangzhuoran. That said, Yangzhuoran was supremely comfortable, with soft beds and nice restrooms. Yangzhuoran also has a music room and a library with books for all audiences. I strongly recommend that anyone who wishes to enjoy Xizhou book Yangzhuoran or the Linden Centre.

  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
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Thank EthanCZhou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brian l, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2018

I delivered a talk last week to over one thousand government and business leaders about the need for hospitality organizations to provide more leadership in China's rural development. China is not attracting intellectual resources to these rural areas and instead is opting for short-term financial fixes provided by speculating businessmen. The results of the latter can be found in every so-called 'old town' in China- parades of 'same-same', bars and hostels. I reminded the audience that tourism is not a panacea, and soulless developments will fail in the long run.

The Centre's Education Annex is a good example of what can be developed with creativity and community buy-in. We have created a functioning learning complex in a grand historical relic. There were no models for this project. We did not copy what was being done in China's ubiquitous old towns. Instead, we asked our neighbors what they would like to see happen with their cultural resources. Almost every resident said that they would like to host more young people in Xizhou to learn about this village's storied history and to interact with the local students. In 2012, we opened the Education Annex to facilitate this type of interaction.

We believe that the hospitality profession carries more social responsibility than many other fields. We are profiting off the physical, social and cultural resources of communities that often do not have the means and/or skills to take advantage of their own assets. Instead they broker out these opportunities, often for very little rent, to outsiders who try to maximize their profits in the shortest time possible. This leaves hollowed out tourist sites manned by outsiders dressed in local garb. Hospitality deserves more intellect, it needs more socially responsible leaders. We are trying to be this type of leader. Your program is one of our greatest sources of pride in that it benefits the community and the guests/students alike. This is how all of travel should be.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 3, 2018

5 nights at the Linden Centre what an amazing experience and a real treat!!!
The hotel is in the most charming town of Xizhou and the property itself is so beautiful, the restoration has been done with such attention to detail and respect for its history.
The courtyard gardens are wonderful and the views from various parts of the property are spectacular, while we were there our back drop was the amazing snow capped mountains with fields of yellow canola flowers in the front right outside the walls of the hotel.
The people working here are so warm and helpful, everyone in all areas of the hotel could not do enough to make our stay one to remember and we really appreciated their time and care.Special thanks to Max and Irene at the front desk for all their help with travel arrangements etc and to Jeanee for being a wonderful nurse to my husband when he had a very bad chest infection, she went out of her way to get the correct treatment for him which really worked and she made it all so easy for us.
As we are vegetarians we ate all our evening meals here and everyday the food was fresh and delicious.
It was incredible to spend time in this beautiful place to meet wonderful caring people and experience a magical part of China.

  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank karshu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brian l, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2018

It was a treat for all of us to spend time with you both.

We hope that everyone who is considering coming to the Centre truly values what we work so hard to provide. We are trying to accentuate three important values, all of which are too often elusive in China 1. The most obvious value is the preservation of China's tangible history, which is represented in our nationally protected structures. China does not hand these buildings over to anyone. In fact, our buildings continue to represent some of the only national relics open to overnight stays. We are honored to have the opportunity to restore and live in these 'magical mansions', and we hope our guests will be attracted by their enduring elegance and alluring patinas. 2. Tangible restoration represents just one side of the Centres' experiences. Our intangible resources, personified in our service and community interaction, are what truly separates us from other heritage hotel experiences. We do not stop after restoring the building; in fact, renovation is but the foundation upon which our cultural model flourishes. We spend endless hours training our local staff, interacting and helping our neighbors, boldly sharing our vision of sustainability with local governments, media, and scholars. Our buildings will exist for centuries, but we also hope to ensure that the soul and sense of place of our respective homes will also remain and thrive. Most guests are impressed by the grandeur of our buildings and the antiquities housed within, but we encourage everyone to look beyond the tangible and touch the spirit of a timeless China with us. 3. We hope to build a sense of family and a service mentality of genuine kindness and support. To many travelers, our surrounding environment is exotic and intimidating. We aim to instill a sense of abode into our destinations, to ensure that our guests have the confidence to boldly explore this dynamic region. Returning each night to a home-away-from-home makes adventure more palatable to most of our guests.

These three values are seldom found in China. To experience all three in one location is extremely rare. Guests should be aware of these values. If they do not resonate with you, please search elsewhere for your Yunnan experience. We do what we do, often very well, and hope that guests come to the Centre with the right expectations and ample curiosity. Thank you.

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Reviewed April 2, 2018

Visiting the Linden Centre is like visiting a Historic Chinese home and garden, beautifully maintained, every comfort taken care of from the bowl of delicious fruit to the soaps in the very romantic bathrooms. The food is authentic, superb, varied, even for me, a caeliac needing a gluten free diet. Jeanee and Brian Linden are charming hosts, energetic and fun, thoughtful and. very present, and incredibly knowledgeable. They have an equally energetic and attentive staff, able to help with absolutely anything one could ask. Over years of traveling I have assembled a very short list of absolute favorite places, the Linden Centre is on my list.

Stayed: March 2018, travelled solo
Thank hswetstone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brian l, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2018

Tomorrow is a sad day for me. I will be leaving for one month to give lectures throughout China and the US. It is always hard for me to leave this place. Yunnan is now home and I thrive on the enraptured responses we get daily from our guests who fall in love with this region. My only sense of solace comes from the fact that my speeches focus on how to take better care of China's physical and intangible resources. We are trying to help China come up with more sustainable approaches to rural development. Said development may mean a temporary sacrifice of quick profits, but it will ensure that millennia-old resources will be carefully cultivated. We need to slow things down in China and allow the indigenous peoples to develop their own modes of tourism. Currently, the locals react to models created in an ever-growing concentric arc radiating from the tourism centers along coastal China. Let's empower the locals to help create the models of tourism that will change their neighborhoods. This will be true progress.

Thank you for staying with us. Look forward to being back in Yunnan in early June!

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Reviewed April 2, 2018

I have been going to the Linden Centre for about 3 years now, usually to take students from the Middlebury in China program there for cultural activities. When I stay at the Linden Centre for personal travel I am always amazed not only by the beauty and comfort of the place, but also by the attentiveness of the staff and tranquil ambiance of the hotel and surrounding environment. The trip to Xizhou/Dali is a relatively short one for me (coming from Kunming, its a 4-5 hour drive), but Linden Centre is a destination well-worth an international journey. While here, you will experience a unique part of China, interact with interesting fellow travelers, hear incredible stories from the American owners (Brian and Jeanee) about their life's work in China, and of course relax in one of the most scenic hotels imaginable. The facilities are incredible, the people (guests, Princeton in Asia fellows, staff and owners) are awesome, the place is compelling on so many levels. And don't forget, LC is a social enterprise that is integrated within the local Bai community. While you're there, take advantage of this fact and contribute if you can.

  • Stayed: April 2018, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Thank Ni Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brian l, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2018

Our partnerships with schools like Middlebury are the source of great pride for the Centre. Your students and teachers fit perfectly into our intellectual milieu and enhance the experiences of our other guests. Additionally, your interaction with our community and team reflects the curiosity and patience that we encourage in all our visitors. Hotels seldom talk about how they give back to the surrounding community. Too often, they are founded on the exploitative model that maximizes their benefits (profit) and limits their inputs (local employment and procurement, local taxes). We have stayed true to a model that seeks to balance our own profits while ensuring more benefits for our neighbors. Education is one example.... we pursue these programs in order to facilitate intercultural learning at a younger age. We believe that such people-to-people diplomacy can start at the youngest ages, and Middlebury's program is a shining example of how Chinese and foreigners can come together and learn from each other. We do similar youth programs and summer camps that focus on photography, film making, language learning and environmental studies. These programs lay the foundation for mutual understanding and empathy- something the world could use a lot more of! Thanks again for staying with us.

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Reviewed March 27, 2018

I had never been to China before but the Linden Centre makes me want to go back. It is beautiful and has wonderful food and service. But more than that, it is a cultural experience. It is in and of a small village outside of historic Dali that makes you feel like you're part of Chinese daily life. Jeannie and Brian Linden have done a remarkably tasteful job of recreating the feeling of a lovely Chinese home and are both highly knowledgeable about China's past, present and future. In addition, the Centre provides access to hiking in nearby national parks and local handicrafts and markets. Highly recommend. A delightful stay.

  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank lucykmobile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brian l, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2018

Whenever we receive such glowing remarks about China from a first-time visitor, we feel like we have done our job well. It is not easy to travel to SW China. The distances are long. The languages are foreign, and the remoteness is daunting. (Especially when considering medical and financial issues). The Centre was created to allay these fears in first-time visitors. We have a passionate team of bilingual locals and Western-educated Chinese nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. We provide a unprecedented foundation of security to non-Chinese travelers that allows them to confidently explore this exotic region.

We firmly believe that Yunnan, with its year-round spring weather, ethnic diversity and gregarious locals, is the most beautiful and charming destination in Asia. We encourage other first-time visitors to be bold and get beyond the cement veneers of the rest of China. The Centre is like a home-away-from-home, and our team will embrace you like family.

Thank you for spending time with us all!

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