The importance of the Banyan Tree Yangshuo is that at last overseas visitors have a base to explore the delightful beauty of the stunning rural landscape in this area beyond the limiting urban environment of Guilin. For the sake of its economic viability, this 142-room luxury property strikes a balance between catering to the demands of both overseas and Chinese visitors. Although the nearby village one drives through to get to the hotel is no oil painting, Banyan Tree has done a great job of borrowing the riverside landscape to be the main actor within their property.
Fans of the Banyan Tree Lijiang, their seminal China resort that served both to promote Yunnan province to overseas visitors and to set Banyan Tree as the bar for premier luxury resort brands in China, will understand the genesis of key features of this Yangshuo property. For example, whereas Banyan Tree Lijiang opened with spacious courtyard villas and added more affordable smaller suites a few years later, the Yangshuo resort offers both from the get-go. There are six sets of two bedroom with adjoining one bedroom river-view villas along the banks of the Li River. The next option is a set of 1-bedroom garden view villas in the center of the complex, the views for which are turned in on themselves behind a high surrounding wall. Otherwise, clients can choose either the Garden or Mountain View suites, spaciously apportioned on the lower and upper floors of five sets of two-story buildings, stationed around the encircling perimeter of the property pointing in the direction of the river.
In a central building housing the lobby, bar and terraced café with a sensational view, the hotel offers two dining options, a western restaurant and a Chinese, the latter offering a considerably higher standard of fare. Of course, Banyan Tree is known for its spa and this one does not fail to deliver with a crew of Thai practitioners offering appropriate pressure and skills at prices – approximately US$150 for 60 minutes – that are reasonable by western standards but high for Chinese guests who can find a skilled TCM doctor for a fifth of the price in more mundane surroundings.
What is exceedingly surprising given how well the area lends itself to family stays is the limited size of the one outdoor swimming pool and its adjacent tiny baby pool. Given the tropical climate and that guests are unlikely to hurl themselves into the Li River for a swim, one would have expected both a family and an adult pool in addition to the baby pool. One trusts that should this feature prove popular, this addition will soon be forthcoming. Although swimming is not popular amongst Chinese adults, the younger generations have proven themselves to be absolutely crazy about it.