Traditional western brand, Chinese characteristics: Membership Med at Guilin

GUILIN, China (AP) - Right after 10 days of crisscrossing southwestern China by high speed train with two youthful children in tow, discovering minority villages amid tough scenery and frequently sleeping in grimy hotels, it has been time for a split.

And exactly what better way in order to decompress from your fascinating yet grueling family trek through one of China's fewer touristed regions compared to the stay at a familiar Western holiday staple: Membership Med.

We booked a four-night stay at the Club Med in Guilin, inside the Guangxi region, an area best known for its otherworldly limestone karst outcroppings and a fishing traditions that uses cormorants to be able to snare catches - scenes so famous they're portrayed on China's 20-yuan information.

In this Aug. 10, 2016 photo, ducks paddle along a canal near Club Med's resort inside Guilin, China. The Golf club Med resort in Guilin, China, reflects Chinese tastes. Which contemplative vibe, including a lake with a good arched bridge, lush plants and a setting associated with limestone mountain peaks. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)

My wife and I were experienced China travelers but Membership Med newbies, and that we have been curious about how the particular brand would translate right now there. The country is a fairly new but expanding market for the company, which was taken over in 2015 by China's Fosun, the conglomerate with big ambitions for that global leisure business. Club Med has opened three other resorts close to China since 2010, within the Yabuli ski vacation resort, Hainan's Sanya and in Beidahu in the northeast. It plans to open a Joyview branded vacation resort in Anji, famed with regard to tea-growing and bamboo, later on this season.

For us that was a no-brainer: We all knew that as all of us made our way again home to Hong Kong, we'd appreciate the all-inclusive package and chance to be able to relax after our hectic sightseeing trip.

It flipped out to be a good call. The holiday resort, one hour outside of Guilin city, was serene, calming and contemplative, a feeling enhanced by the more than 100 contemporary sculptures scattered around the grounds. That turns out a Taiwanese tycoon bought the website and set it up because an open air artwork museum over 10 years ago before Membership Med moved in.

Several of the collection will be housed inside an artwork gallery that also presented photos of celebrity guests, including, strangely, Afghanistan's previous President Hamid Karzai on the visit in 2014. Right behind the gallery, there are a yoga lake, where guests may be seen meditating on the sandy shore as their still waters reflected luxurious foliage, irregular karst peaks fading into the distance and an arched walkway known as a celestial body overhead bridge.

Besides art, we all kept ourselves entertained at the resort's three swimming private pools, one with the requisite swim-up bar, or with activities like mountain climbing and trapeze for the kids and gym class for that adults. I joined mountain bike excursions that got us off campus being a trip leader led all of us down a gravel track into the park surrounding the resort, through silent groves of trees in addition to past grassy fields, along with hardly another soul in sight.

On another day time, we left the resort's opposite end, passing through the particular village next door, called Dashandi, or Big Huge batch Base. The group stopped to snap photos of a mother duck leading ducklings down a channel. Down the path, all of us stopped to take in what seemed like a Chinese watercolor brought in order to life: water buffalo grazed in a field together with long-legged birds, as the particular karst peaks loomed inside a hazy background.

Almost all the resort's visitors were Chinese visitors, besides a handful of foreigners, mostly European. The company has made some tweaks to please its greatest market, equipping its bar area with mahjong dining tables and karaoke rooms. The particular artificial pond was filled with koi - considered good for feng shui.

The multinational staff incorporated Mexicans, South Koreans, France and Indonesians, mostly experienced from the brand's other hotels around the world. Evenings featured reside shows - a Golf club Med signature. They started on the early part, before 9 p. mirielle., in line with the Chinese preference for early on nights. (At Club Meds elsewhere, shows can begin as late as 9: 45 p. m. )

One night a circus-themed act at some regarding the staff G. U. 's, or "gracious organizers" in Club Med parlance, performed with the trapeze, rope straps and hula dancing hoops. One performer used his chin to balance bowling pins, a guitar, a wooden bench in addition to even an extension ladder, a good act that drew typically the biggest cheers of the night time.

A Moulin Rouge-style club show on another evening, with show tunes in addition to raunchy costumes, seemed not really to appeal much to the Chinese audience, many associated with whom drifted away after a few songs.


If A person Go...

GUILIN: Guilin is located inside China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, about 500 kms (320 miles) northwest regarding Hong Kong, or 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast regarding Hanoi, Vietnam. Club Mediterranean sea: web site

GETTING THERE: Guilin's Liangjiang airport mainly will serve domestic Chinese routes, along with a number of flights to other Asian destinations just like Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea. A fresh network of high-speed teaches also connects it in order to bigger cities like Beijing and Guangzhou, near Hong Kong. website


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In this August. 11, 2016 photo, unusual karst outcroppings provide the particular backdrop for a country scene similar to a Chinese watercolor near Club Med's Guilin resort. The Golf club Med resort in Guilin, China, reflects Chinese likes. There's a contemplative vibe, including a lake having an arched bridge, lush plants and a setting of limestone mountain peaks. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)

In this particular Aug. 11, 2016 photo, water buffalo graze among birds inside a field set against a thi cong backdrop (mouse click the next internet page) of irregular karst peaks close to Club Med's resort in Guilin, China. The Golf club Med resort in Guilin, China, reflects Chinese tastes. There's a contemplative character, including a lake having an arched bridge, lush plants and a setting regarding limestone mountain peaks. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)

In this Aug. 12, 2016 photo, an instructor leads guests in a fitness course at the Club Mediterranean sea resort in Guilin, Tiongkok. The Western holiday brand, now owned by a new Chinese conglomerate, mostly stays to its time-tested method at its Chinese resorts, but has made several tweaks for Chinese tastes. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)

With this Aug. 12, 2016 photo, a woman meditates beside a lake at Membership Med's resort in Guilin, China. The company, which often operates four resorts within China, was taken over in 2015 by Chinese conglomerate Fosun, that has huge ambitions to expand within the global leisure market. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)

Within this Aug. 12, 2016 photo, a sign welcomes site visitors to Club Med's holiday resort in Guilin, southwestern Tiongkok. China is a comparatively fresh and expanding market with regard to the Western holiday company, which has opened several resorts in the country since 2010 and was taken over in 2015 by Chinese conglomerate Fosun. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)