We are Jenny & Gerd, parents of a multi-cultural Belgian-Chinese family with 3 cute little kids,
Tibo, Kimaya & Kobe and composed a warm, friendly and joyful staff team around us.
I first entered China in the Autumn of 2006 during a 9 month Asian tour with friends. In Central-China - having had enough of traveling in the big cities and using public transportation, we decided to buy a 3-wheeled motorbike and explore the less traveled roads of Shaanxi, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing and Sichuan provinces. During that amazing trip we became astonished by the unconditional hospitality and generosity of villagers, inviting us in their houses and spoil us with food and drinks, some of them even insisting that we could use their beds while the hosts would sleep in the hall. Their genuine interest in visitors, joy for life, living in the moment, carpe diem, was in big contrast with the Chinese we had encountered in the bigger cities.
After this amazing experience we continued our Asian trip and it was in Thailand where i met a very special friend who told me about his tai chi practice in the beautiful countryside of Yangshuo. I became excited to go back and explore more of this fascinating country. Wondering what would be the most interesting way to get there i decided to buy a mountain bike and cycle my way to China. It took me 2,5 months through the isolated northwest of Cambodia, to cross Laos from South to North and its amazing mountain region in the Northeast into Vietnam and then, with the counter at 3000 km, i finally had reached my destination, China.
I started to train tai chi intensively and in my search for a more quiet and relaxing place to live near the center and Li-river, in the same village of the tai chi school, i found a charming old little mansion of a senior farmers couple. After half a year of living there i decided to negotiate the rental fee for the whole house, and establish Yangshuo's first countryside hostel, and in June 2008 i signed the contract for 20 years. Soon after that i met my future wife Jenny.
Jenny, who originates from Changsha, the capital of Hunan province (known for its excellent cuisine) chose Yangshuo to do her internship and gain experience as a national guide before she obtained her bachelor degrees in travel and public relationship. Apart from being a very lovely and compassionate person, she is amazing in dealing with Chinese people.
During 1.5 years of renovations (a challenge on many aspects), we've welcomed our first son Tibo and in April 2010 we opened our hostel Carpe Diem. Its location, a short yet wonderful scenic walk along the Li-river, and just a few minutes from the center of Yangshuo, in a quiet and peaceful village away from the hustle and bustle of city life, certainly had contributed to its popularity.
Over one year after, at the time we welcomed Tibo's little sister Kimaya, we were offered the opportunity to take over what was considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels in the countryside of Yangshuo with beautiful suites with balconies, quality furnishings and real luxuries, like a sauna, jacuzzi, and a wonderful spacious terrace in the front, set between pomelo and orange trees, all in the same village, just a 100m away from our Carpe Diem Hostel.
Jenny and I had doubts if we would take on this new assignment at such an early stage, but not for long. It would give us the opportunity to provide a wider variety of accommodation and services to suit anyone's needs. We redesigned the common areas, gave it more character with classic Chinese design features, created an in-door restaurant and bar, and cleaned up the lovely pomelo garden previously used as a parking lot! On the 9th of July 2011, we proudly opened our new retreat for travellers looking for the comfort and amenities of a hotel but the personal approach and service of a guesthouse.
In April 2014, we welcomed our second son Kobe, and enjoyed another dream coming true. We found the opportunity to build and design our own retreat in the same village that will become the first countryside hotel with an elevator, rooftop restaurant and swimming pool. We expect the opening in April 2016. Raising a family and welcoming travellers from all over this wonderful globe in such a wonderful landscape is a dream coming true for both of us.
We hope you will enjoy your stay with us.