Article by XIANEASE
In our December issue, we highlighted the Top 5 Hot Springs to escape to during the long and chilling winter months here in Xi’an. Following that, we were given the opportunity to stay at the Angsana Lintong Hot Springs Resort to get a more detailed look at what very well might be one of the best places to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a truly relaxing experience.
The Angsana Resort is located in the foothills of Mount Li, burial place of the First Emperor of Qin. The Terracotta Warriors and the Burial Complex are just nearby, as well as the nightly stage show “The Song of Everlasting Sorrow”, purportedly one of the best shows in China. Despite being close by to one of the most popular tourist attractions in China, you can barely tell. The hotel is located on a massive plot of land and feels secluded from the surrounding area, despite being easily accessible.
The hotel complex hosts a variety of different buildings, with various restaurants, spa, swimming pools, a café, and a separately accessible hot springs complex. There was so much there that it was near impossible to see everything during our short stay. It is easy to say, however, that everything at this particular place is of the highest quality, with every detail carefully thought out.
When you enter through the lobby, you are greeted by many friendly staff members. The check-in process is simple and speedy. Upon completion of the check-in formalities a staff member will take you and your luggage to your room. It is easy to find hotel staff who will act professionally in high-level resorts in China, but it is much rarer to find those that act genuinely friendly. These people are friendly.
The rooms are exceptionally well-equipped, with a very plush king bed, desk, and open air balcony to enjoy the freshness of the mountain air. The room we stayed in overlooked the hot springs and surrounding complex, all done in a traditional Chinese style, giving you the strong impression that you are very far away from the city. The bathrooms in these rooms are spacious and well-appointed, opening up into the bedroom area. There is a large round bathtub that sits between the bedroom and the bathroom, so that you can luxuriously soak while watching TV or enjoying the view out of the balcony window. (Don’t worry, there are no tall buildings in sight for people to look in at you.) The shower is enclosed and separate and the toilet is as well as to avoid any awkward encounters. Finally, each room is equipped with a Nespresso machine so that you may have a coffee whenever you like.
There are numerous restaurants run by the hotel, including a Western restaurant and a Chinese restaurant. It was suggested by the staff that we try the Chinese restaurant, as the majority of their guests are Chinese and the chefs in the restaurant are well practiced. It was a good suggestion, though the restaurant is slightly tucked away in a far area of the hotel. The meal, which consisted of several courses, was delicious. The meal started with an assortment of nuts and pickles to get the appetite started, followed by chilled Lamb that was very thinly sliced and served with a chili sauce. The cold-dishes rounded out with a very creative dish of tofu pouches stuffed with vegetables. The main dishes were also exceptional, with a boneless cod with roasted garlic and a spicy bullfrog pot. There was also a noodle course, followed by a seasonal fruit plate. Everything was exceptionally well-seasoned, without being overbearing in flavor. The breakfast buffet was very well-stocked, and everything tasted fresh and delicious.
Over dinner, we learned about the parent company of Angsana. It was founded by a couple who wanted to establish hotels that were different from other types of hotels. Almost every hotel owned by their brand, Banyan Tree, is located far outside of cities, so that people can feel a sense of connection to nature. In addition to this, the company has adopted an environmentally friendly stance towards hotel management, limiting one-time use items, and trying to operate as sustainably as possible. In addition, the shops located in the lobby of the hotel sell handicrafts and other items that are made by people living in poor villages in Thailand and other areas, the proceeds of which go to support these communities.
A review of this hotel would not be complete without a description of the hot springs. The hot springs of the Angsana are, in a word, excellent. There is a large selection of different pools to choose from with pools of different sizes and temperatures. Some of the pools contain Chinese medicinal herbs with various purported benefits. Temperatures range from 38C to 42C, and all of the pools were exceptionally clean, kept that way by constantly flowing water and an ever vigilant staff. The staff is also on hand with water and tea, which they will bring to you, free of charge, while your worries melt away. There is also a stand that provides coffee, tea, and fruit shakes for you to refresh yourself. The locker area also contains two separate saunas, an indoor hot springs pool, an entertainment area, and a noodle restaurant. Dry towels are always on hand wherever you go so that you don’t have to carry around a wet one, and there are slippers in a variety of sizes.
A weekend retreat is sometime exactly what is needed in order to escape from the stress of daily life in the city. Prices will vary during the year and will also be higher through the weekend and around holidays. Prices start at as low as RMB 600 per night in January (including breakfast) and RMB 550 in February. The hot springs are can be accessed without staying in the hotel for RMB 288, though there are sometimes discounts during the week. It is currently the high season at the Angsana, so book early if you would like to stay. Taxies to the hotel are about RMB 80 from the city center, or you can take the subway to Fangzhicheng Station(纺织城站) and then take a taxi (RMB 40) or the 307 bus to arrive there.
If you decide to venture out for a little rest and relaxation, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your experience.