All-inclusive luxury in one of the most jaw-droppingly scenic areas of China.
For thousands of years, Chinese artists and poets have sought inspiration from Guilin’s stunning scenery. The region’s legendary beauty and unique limestone hills have long made it a popular holiday destination for the Chinese, but international visitors are yet to put Guilin at the top of their must-see list.
A Club Med resort opened here in 2013, providing the perfect base for luxury travellers eager to discover a different side to China than its bustling mega-cities. Set in the countryside just an hour from Guilin city, the resort sits on 47 very private acres (part of a much larger area dedicated to a national park). Scattered throughout the manicured grounds are more than100 modern sculptures by leading artists.
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ROOM FOR TWO
Guest rooms are housed in two separate buildings: we were lucky enough to have a suite in the original chateau-style HOMA (Hotel of Modern Art), where each room is unique in layout and interior design. Set within a Zen Garden, it’s supremely luxurious – and easy to imagine it being part of Relais & Châteaux back in the day. The newer, purpose-built Courtyard Hotel offers 284 rooms and is popular with families, however with incredible views of the countryside (and a nightly rate less than HOMA), most loved-up couples would be equally happy there.
It’s hard to imagine the logistics that must go in to the food and beverage offerings at Club Med, Guilin. It’s in the countryside of China, yet the buffet restaurant offers an incredible international smorgasbord: we feasted on spicy Sichuan cuisine; pastas and pizzas; spicy Mauritian curries and Korean and Japanese delicacies – and still didn’t have time to taste-test the myriad other dishes. Couples can enjoy a more intimate dining experience in The Lotus restaurant at HOMA, while Mongolian barbeque is served atThe Rooftop Restaurant in the main building. Oenophiles will love that wine is included with lunch and dinner, as well as a massive selection of cocktails, spirits, wine and beer.
Guilin is said to be one of the prettiest places in the country: and after several trips to China, it’s certainly the prettiest place I’ve seen. Even wandering around the resort, Guilin’s famous Karst Mountains are in close view. The resort lies within easy reach of Yangshuo, where the famous light show takes place on the waters of the Li River ever y night of the year. A Jeep tour, with off-road visits to rural villages, was a highlight of our stay. Locals invited us into their homes, and while the poverty was greater than we expected, so too was the friendliness and hospitality.
Other activities include river tours and visiting local markets, however be sure to get Club Med to arrange a tour unless you’re fluent in Mandarin, as taxi drivers here don’t speak English – literally, not one word. But you genuinely don’t need to leave the resort if you don’t want to. The activities on offer are endless, from mountain biking and Segways to trapeze school and golf. Rock climbers from all over the world come to the Guangxi Province, and the resort also offers guests a rock-climbing school on the magnificent Karst Mountains.
COUPLES WILL LOVE
Guilin is easily accessible by air (and by rail or road, if you’re coming from elsewhere in China). A few days at Club Med, Guilin, will ensure a relaxing end to any honeymoon or holiday in China, and add a whole new dimension to your trip.
Contact a Club Med travel advisor in Australia on 1800 258 263 or visit clubmed.com.au.