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A review of the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel in Gansu Province

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A review of the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel in Gansu Province

Standard room with king bed in the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel.

© 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
I visited Dunhuang with a small group - we were touring the area together but had come to visit the famous Buddhist art at the nearby Mogao Grottoes. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we found the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel to be a perfect place to stay in an absolutely fabulous setting. Nestled at the foot of the massive Mingsha Sand Dunes, the large geared-for-tourists hotel has just about anything you might need including a very large open roof terrace with views on the dunes. We took full advantage of this and had every possible meal and break right up there in the sun looking over the sand dunes. In fact, several of us relinquished chances to shower just to have more time in that delicious clean air under those blue skies. The views are intoxicating, as is the area, and there's really no better place to spend your downtime on the Silk Road than at the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel.

Hotel Location and Grounds

The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel is located 3 kilometers outside the small town of Dunhuang's city center. The hotel sits right at the edge of the Mingsha Sand Dunes which form a dramatic background to the hotel's interesting historically-inspired architecture.

The long-distance bus station is about 3 kilometers away and the train station and airport are 15 kilometers away. Taxis are easy to find and cheap but the hotel can also arrange transfers.

The hotel is massive with an enormous lobby complete with murals and maps. There are interconnecting buildings and a maze of passages that connect on multiple floors and gift stores fitted into every available corner. It is easy to get a little lost but the super-friendly staff smile and guide you and there are actually signs in English and Chinese directing folks. Just try to remember your room number!

Rooms

There are many types of rooms available at the hotel from the standard king-bed with en-suite bathrooms to suites, villas as well as dormitory rooms. So the hotel can comply with a full range of budgets.

Rooms are furnished simply but comfortably. During my stay, I had a standard room with a king-size bed. There were plenty of wardrobes and cabinets to put everything away (an amenity I always appreciate) as well as free wi-fi (another amenity that really should be standard everywhere). The floors are tile with Chinese carpets for comfort and the bathrooms are spare and tidy.

Families

Sitting on the terrace at the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel with a bottle of the local beer brew and a view of the Mingsha Dunes in the background.

© 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
The hotel welcomes families and kids should find the hotel really a fun experience with lots of halls and courtyards to explore.

Dining & Drinking

The hotel boasts several restaurants (and banquet halls which cater to large groups or corporate functions.) The two restaurants tourists will likely visit are the
  • Feng Yi Ting - a Chinese-style restaurant serving lunch and dinner.
  • Rooftop Terrace - the "coffee shop" where the buffet breakfast is served for all guests as well as snacks, lunch, dinner and drinks.

During our stay, we dined and drank exclusively at the Rooftop Terrace. With clear blue skies, bright sunshine and sweeping views of the dunes, we could take ourselves anywhere else. The breakfast buffet is ordinary, but fine. I would advise the noodle soups and the egg station. The ready-to-serve coffee was very satisfactory but if you want to pay extra, they do have a machine for cappuccinos and such.

The menu for lunch and dinner has a wide range of choices from typical Western dishes like ham & cheese and pasta to more local or recognizable Chinese dishes. I advise sticking to the Chinese dishes as these come out faster and are more palatable. The staff are eager to help you with special requests - the trick is making yourself understood. Try not to get frustrated as these good people are really trying to be helpful.

We had pre-dinner drinks one evening on the terrace and the beers are nice and cold. We had brought our own wine and they were perfectly happy to give us wine glasses.

Activities

If you're planning on staying in Dunhuang, then I presume you're there to visit the Mogao Caves. But there are quite a number of other activities around the area that the hotel can help you organize. It's worth tacking on an extra day or two to however long you're planning to see the caves.

Hotel-organized activities:

  • On-site activities include a fitness room, billiards room, table tennis, karaoke, sauna, foot massage and beauty center.
  • Mingsha Sunrise Breakfast - the hotel can organize breakfast on the dunes to watch the sunrise and see the magnificent dunes before they become overrun with tourists.
  • Gobi Sunset Dinner - a sunset dinner on the Gobi Desert sounds terribly romantic.
  • Gobi Campfire - a group campfire and fire dance on the Gobi Desert.

Activities in the area:

Booking

The massive Mingsha Dunes, as seen from the terrace at the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel.

© 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
The hotel has a good website where you can do online booking and even have a live chat with an agent. If there will be many of you, inquire about group rates.

Address: Dunyue Road, Dunhuang 736200 | 敦月路敦煌山庄
Telephone: +86 (0)937 8882088
Fax: +86 (0)937 8883245
Email: srdhhtl@163.com
Web: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel

While it is common in the travel industry for writers to be provided with free services, this review is based on the writer's experience at her own cost.

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