General Hotels Zhangjiajie: "General Hotels Zhangjiajie" Top 5 Page for this destination Zhangjiajie Hotel Tip by mke1963

Zhangjiajie Hotels: 8 reviews and 12 photos

The image is of a picturesque series of villages scattered around the National Park with hotels and guest houses dotted around the mountainside, a little like Luang Prabang or an Indian hill resort. Nothing could be further from the truth. These are grim townships lined with concrete buildings; wasteland in between the buildings and everything half finished or half demolished. What's going up is as depressing as what is coming down. This semi-urban China is hard to avoid these days, and experienced China travellers know to look beyond it. If you want pretty towns and villages, China is probably not your destination and Zhangjiajie isn't until you get way off the beaten track. And that far off the beaten track you can forget about hotels or hostels of any kind, and running water is probably in the *next* Five Year Plan.

Picking your hotel wisely is axiomatic for all travel, but in Zhangjiajie, you are saved the challenge of discovery of good hotels by the fact that there aren't any. I have now stayed in three hotels in the area and eaten at a fourth. They are all almost identical. The four-star hotels have generally acceptable rooms with TV, kettle, free teabags, generally OK bathroom and very little else of note. They have all been sterilised: all are perfectly acceptable if all you want is a bed and a shower but nothing else. The three-star hotels are generally of a lower quality in Zhangjiajie than anywhere else I have stayed in China. The main difference between three-star and four-star hotels is that the three-star hotel bathroom is generally in a more woeful state. Despite the hype of a 'Western restaurant' at all four-star hotels, this is not really reason to pay extra: few people in their right mind would want to eat a Chinese four-star hotel's perception of what constitutes Western food, to be quite honest.

Unique Qualities: I cannot imagine that even in the height of the peak season that anyone would ever need to panic about not having a room booked. The city and surrounding townships is simply overflowing with hotels, and many of them aren't even listed in the local phone book. I counted thirty hotels on the 400m approach road to the Baofeng Lake entrance, like the equivalent of terraced houses in England or a horizontal Nathan Gardens in Kowloon.

For nightlife or at least the bustle of a city at night, stay in Zhangjiajie City (what used to be called Dayong) itself; the park townships are simply dead after 8pm, although there are several performance halls that out on recreations of local folk culture each evening. For quick and easy access to the park at the crack of dawn, stay in one of the villages nearby. However, do remember that the Tianmenshan Park cable-car starts in the middle of Zhangjiajie City.

Theme: Hotel

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 7, 2006
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