One of the most enjoyable places I ever styayed in
We are a couple aged over 60 and stayed at the "Koala" hostel in Huangshan city for 5 days end-April 2012. This was one of the most enjoyable places I have stayed in (compared to other places in the USA, Europe and China). Note that it is no longer called "Koala", because the owners split up: the Huangshan Old Street Hostel is the original one, owned and managed by one of the founders. That is the one we stayed in, not the new one that is now called "Koala". The first good thing about the Huangshan Old Street Hostel was the confirmation of our booking. We booked by internet three months in-advance and were surprised to get such an informative and friendly confirmation in perfect English (including excellent instructions how to get there). Getting there was an experience: we decided that instead of flying from Shanghai (too expensive) or going by train (too slow) we would go by public bus. Big advantages were that it was comfortable, cheap and you get to see 500 kilometers of changing countryside. Disadvantage: the bus did not take us to Huangshan bus station, but dropped all the passengers off at the city outskirts. Thanks to help from the locals and my own ability to speak a bit of Mandarin Chinese, we quickly got a taxi to take us the short ride to Old Street. Old Street (Lao Jie) is magic! We suddenly found ourselves taken back two hundred years or more, with a two minute walk to easily find the Old Street Youth hostel. The hostel reception staff were very friendly and spoke excellent English. The atmosphere is really cute, like an ideal typical old style youth hostel. We stayed in the biggest and best room, top floor, spacious, clean and comfortable with a four-poster bed and en-suite toilet and shower. Very good value-for money. The public lounge has comfortable sofas, wonderful background music and an excellent bar. Next to the lounge there's also a lovely balcony overlooking the old street where we had breakfast. In the evenings the flow of hot water in the shower was uneven, and when we complained they allowed us to use the shower in a different room and the boss personally came to check the problem. The most important thing: wonderful attentive staff who gave us excellent tips how and when to tour Huangshan mountain and four fascinating old towns nearby. Conclusion: highly recommended.