A Village Retreat with Modern Comforts at Guizhou's Well House

By Sophie Steiner, November 5, 2021

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The 600 year-old Dali Dong Village (大利侗寨), known as the Pearl Hidden in the Mountains, maintains its traditional architecture and pace of life while simultaneously appealing to travelers not wanting to forego modern comforts. 

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The timeworn wooden buildings flank a central river and well system, surrounded by terraced rice fields that reflect the humble lifestyle of the villagers that have lived there for generations. 

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Artisans line the cobbled walkways, weaving together seemingly simple colored strings into elaborate patterns of all shapes and sizes, while home-cooked food can be found in the welcoming shops near the town’s center. 

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Situated on the village’s mountainside, The Well House – a boutique hotel in the heart of Dali designed by Atlas Studio – bridges the gap between the traditional methods of building and current amenities to maintain the integrity that makes Dali what it is.

Contemporary elements, such as floor to ceiling windows, afford guests panoramic views across the town, as well as of the ancient well and Drum Tower. 

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The hotel is equipped with energy-efficient heating and weatherproofing to enhance the comfort inside the building, while still maintaining the aesthetic of the neighboring structures so as not to disturb the town’s skyline. 

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The rooms are decked out with up-to-date luxuries, plush bedding, Kalahari London toiletries and designer coffee and tea beverages, along with a local handicraft braided bracelet made by the Dong villagers.  

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Cedarwood, most common in the region, makes up the majority of the hotel’s structure, while hand-chosen burnt and blackened bricks add a textural contrast and an earthy feel.

By combining both old and new elements, The Well House is able to find a sustainable path forward that honors and values the past while providing for its future. 

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The Well House also provides guests with a full vacation experience – suggesting nearby activities, providing an interactive map of the area for visitors to explore on their own and offering a menu spanning regional specialty dishes featuring local seasonal produce, smoked pork and rice wine. A meal is never complete without a bowl of the most recent season’s freshly harvested rice. 

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A visit to The Well House is less about doing and more about being, immersing oneself in the local way of life and enjoying the relaxed surroundings. Nearby, guests can go on hikes for a bird’s eye view of the village, or visit neighboring Dong minority towns.

Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Rongjiang and Rongjiang Railway Station, this convenient visit belongs on every Guizhou itinerary. 

To book a room, contact The Well House house via phone at 139 8481 3317.


[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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