Lost Garden Guesthouse is set in two buildings just a short distance from Cuihu (Green Lake). It has delightful dcor and generally very good facilities. It also operates as a restaurant. As the name implies, it has a garden atmosphere and the main building has a roof garden. There's Wi-Fi throughout, and although the advertising claims it is a nonsmoking hostel, this is only partially true.
The hostel is very close to Cuihu, which is very popular with locals but probably too busy and commercial for most foreigners. There are many buses nearby and you can easily get to other parts of town. The hostel is quite easy to find once you have located it on the map. There are corner shops, small supermarkets, and some cheap to moderate eating places nearby.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The spacious rooms, all nonsmoking, are located in each building. The dorms have good solid bunks and softer-than-normal (for China) mattresses. Each bunk has a large amount of lock-up space, a shelf, power, and a light. Dorms do not have air conditioning, only fans, as it's not normally required in the "City of Eternal Spring." However the assigned dorm (A106) should have air conditioning to overcome the permanent dampness from having an en suite.
The en suite bathrooms as well as the shared ones though both buildings are good quality and have marble offcut tiles lining them. All sighted WCs are Western and all facilities are very clean and there seems to be no problem with hot-water supply. The one negative is that the frosting on the shower and WC glass walls does not provide great privacy.
The main commons are in building A -- there's a restaurant, which is smoke free, but nowhere else is. All the common areas become unavailable to hostelers at evening meal times when the rooms are needed for restaurant activity. This also has an impact on security, with outsiders roaming the building. In building B, there's a far less attractive roof patio promoted as available to those who don't want to order from the restaurant. It's also the only place to bring outside food and drink to escape the exorbitant drinks prices at reception (almost four times street prices for the basic Chinese beer).
There's no fridge or microwave, no games like pool, no TV/DVD, and only limited information for travelers. However, reception staff are knowledgeable and happy to answer questions, and will arrange all sorts of tickets ... at a price. There's a hand-laundry facility in building B or a way-overpriced laundry service (you'll pay the same price for them to do it as you would pay at other places for self-serve laundry).
Overall, this is basically not a bad hostel -- when it's a hostel and not a restaurant. The emphasis on the restaurant (including the drinks prices) is to the detriment of the budget traveling hosteler. At a minimum, the the terrace in building B should be upgraded for hosteler use. A combination of the lack of true common space and many guests having booked into a guesthouse together limit interaction and atmosphere. Also, the hostel advertises itself as nonsmoking, but apart from the small main restaurant room where outside food and drink is forbidden, there is nowhere for nonsmokers to relax in comfort except their rooms. Management says that most of the common area is open air (but in fact, it's quite enclosed), missing the point of what "nonsmoking" means when used in advertising.