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The Facts Behind the “Pricy” Hotels in Mt. Huangshan

About the author, Vera Zhao
Vera Zhao is the product manager at Odyssey Tours. She has been in the line of Asia travel for 10+ years and stacks up helpful tips for tours to China, Southeast Asia and South Asia.
Write to odyssey@tangdynastytours.com for any questions or read more tips by Vera Zhao >>

Everyone, I mean those who are more or less interested in taking a trip to China, loves Mt. Huangshan, which is famed for the traditional Chinese painting-like scenery: waving peaks shrouded in mist and covered by unique pine trees – what a delight to visit! And staying for a couple of nights makes no regrets. 

Mt.huangshan

On top of the mountain they do have a few accommodations, both basic and nice ones, though not too much alternatives. The thing is:

The rate for a cozy room right on the top of the mountain usually charges 40% more or even higher than that located near the mountain.

Why?

Not a difficult question to answer actually, if you read on. 


Everything is carried upward by the porters

As human being the only transport methods for goods, everything used in Mt. Huangshan must be carried by porters. There is no elevator for cargos, and the cable cars are used to carry tourists only. From heavy building materials, such as iron bars and cement, to tourists’ luggage, foods, drinks, cloths and souvenirs, all things required to support tourism are delivered by these people who haul up the mountain with loads that are often much heavier than their body weight, twice a day. Then all laundry, trash, recycling items are carried down daily. One kilo pays back approximately $0.6-1 got this insider knowledge from a talk once with a porter on the way up. 

huangshan porter A middle-aged porter carrying his goods up.  

huangshan porterOne or two bundles each time…

Some may ask why laundry and waste must be done at the bottom of the mountain. The reason is simple: to avoid polluting the mountain. It’s the porters who help keep it clean and pollution-free, while the visitors can enjoy the reward of their hard work.

Mt. Huangshan is just a tour inquiry away…

A large part of the high cost of everything used in the mountain is due to the labor consumed to sending up and down these items. That explains why things are pricy in Mt. Huangshan. Many times I have heard there is some problem with the basic hotels, room furniture looks worn or the whole building needs refurbishment, not with the Beihai Hotel (4 star) and the Xihai Hotel (5 star) though. Personally speaking, as long as they function well and the service standard remains excellent I would not ask for more in such a remote area. People come here for fresh air and breathtaking mountain instead of a fancy hotel that keeps them staying indoor. Besides, what becomes of the price if they get frequent overhaul? 


And great location costs, as we all know.

In order to absorb the best part of something, you need to be in the heart of it right? Be noted that hotels located in Mt. Huangshan exactly give their guests the privilege of enjoying fabulous closeness to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In case you are not aware of what is the “best part” of Huangshan, I am attaching some pictures to assist my words:

view of Mt. HuangshanThis is a typical view of Mt. Huangshan range.

view of Mt.HuangshanWell, I must admit “typical” seems to be derogating the view… 

view of Mt.HuangshanEspecially when it comes with these grotesque rocks.

You get it. The best part of Mt. Huangshan doesn’t come “typical” at all. For thousands of years it has been inspiring all who travel there, including some of the most famous Chinese poets and painter since ancient times; it is recognized amongst world’s top attractions; it is the kind of mind-blowing place, by observing where we think of great insights as well as wisdoms. Staying in the mountain provides a chance to take in as many wonders that Mother Nature plays her magic to as you could, without worrying missing the cable car downward. Yeah, the mountain is enormous, a complete tour would cost two days and more, not to mention the time needed if you choose to stay outside the mountain.

Mt.HuangshanGrandeur mountain views at Xihai Hotel(5-star). (Photo by odyssey guest Terry Deochand)

And imagine what it is like waking up to the soft tunes of birds, seeing the towering mountain appears outside your room window, and within a 10 minutes’ walk, boom! Here you are at the perfect sunrise watching pavilion and setting up your tripod before the crowds arrive. 

sunrise of Mt.HuangshanThe sunrise is a no-kidding fantastic event.

The average room rate for a 4 star hotel in Mt. Huangshan usually starts from $160 and over $200 in holidays. Although seemingly expensive compared to the hotels near the mountain, the price is still a bargain. Reckon how much you have to pay a night in many of your country’s National Park, maybe from $220 and up? The scenery of Mt. Huangshan is no less magnificent yet the accommodation fare remains reasonable for its wonder location, don’t you call it a bargain?


Still, what can I expect from the hotels?

There is the silver lining. 

The properties located up the mountain are not entirely uninteresting. For those who want a comfortable stay, Beihai Hotel (4-star) and Xihai Hotel (5-star) are the best hotels in Mt. Huangshan, the only two that I would recommend for our guests for their overall hospitality performance. 

hotel in mt. huangshanYou don't even realize that you're staying on a high mountain for both hotels have a relaxing and safe embrace.

That said, rooms are usually smaller than their counterparts on the flat ground, but quite serviceable. Don’t forget how the building materials were hauled up. The two hotels both enjoy great location, approximately an hour’s walking distance from different cable stations. Rooms are generally cozy, quiet and clean. Book those that with a breathtaking view to maximize your stay. Heater and fluffy beds are available to give guests a well-deserved rest after a long climb and before another climb in the next morning. For recycling concerns, they offer shower gel and shampoo but no slippers and toothbrushes, so bring your own. 

Xihai hotel in Mt.Huangshan  Queen room of Xihai Hotel.

Beihai hotel in Mt.HuangshanQueen room of Beihai Hotel.

Due to the limited number of foreign visitors, English is not popular among the staff and many western visitors find it difficult to find well-pointed help. That’s why I strongly recommend using private tour service - you've always got covered. Food is excellently cooked, with pricing set a bit higher and not much option for western cuisine, but the coffee is not bad. 

It’d be out of the question to find a café or a restaurant outside the hotel. Feed yourself full and pack snacks before venturing out again, or you have to starve for a few hours when you can finally reach a property’s dining hall. Vendors sell water and energy drinks every few stops but as always, the price is much dearer. 

Lastly, what you should expect is remaining reasonable expectations. I guess “You get what you pay” holds true for me in Mt. Huangshan anyway. 

Despite of the fact that room rates in Mt. Huangshan are comparatively high, one or two overnight stay seems quite rewarding. You don’t see that magnificent view every day, after all. Get your China visit tailored at odyssey@tangdynastytours.com and let our insider expertise help maximize your stay in Huangshan.  

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