We just spent 4 nights in Yabuli. A nice way to end 2020 and get off to a fun start for 2021. We were there with 3 other expat families, all of us coming from Beijing.
- Getting there / Arrival / Check-in: We decided to take a sleeper train from Beijing (T17). Departed Beijing Central station at 1640 and arrive in Yabuli the next morning at ~0930. It was our first sleeper train here in China. ~17 hours. Overall, we'd definitely do it again, particularly when the timing worked out so nicely. Go with Soft Sleeper ticket, or don't take this option. We pre-arranged the transfer from Yabuli station to the resort. The driver was there when we arrived, and we made it to the resort in just under 30 minutes. Our rooms were not ready for check-in before lunch, but the staff took our big luggage for us, and we were able to explore the facilities and hang out until lunch. Since our departure plans required us to leave before lunch on our departure day, we were able to enjoy lunch on our arrival day for no additional charge. Frank (Front Desk Mgr.) was very helpful and accommodating to our group. After a relaxing lunch, Frank got in touch via WeChat to let us know our rooms were ready (around 1330).
- Food: We ate all of our meals in the Apple Garden restaurant. I was expecting to become a bit bored, but that was not the case. Full credit to their menu variety and quality. Across our whole group, I think everyone was surprised with how consistently good the food was. It is quite a spread, with something for everyone. The hours for the Apple Garden were set for each meal, with 2 to 2.5 hours for each meal. There was also almost always some "snack" set-up near the Forest Bar (the social hub of the resort). The 6PM set-up was something we would check out with a drink, then head to a later dinner after 7PM. There is also a Hot Pot restaurant, but it requires reservations, and we just didn't care enough about eating there to fix plans, so we skipped it.
-Bar: As one would expect at an "all-inclusive", they have a menu of offerings that are "included", and another menu of "top-shelf" selections that they are happy to serve you for an additional charge. The included options were more than adequate, with a good range of standard liquor, house wines, and Chinese beers. The Aperol Spritz seemed to be particularly popular (not a fan). The bar also has mocktails, coffee, tea, and kid's drink.
-Gym / Pool / Jacuzzi: The Gym is clean and simple. 2 nice treadmills, 2 stationary bikes, and 2 ellipticals (1 was "under maintenance). Also some barbells and a 3 station "universal" machine. The equipment seemed relatively new. I only used the treadmills, and they were perfectly adequate. Gym is accessible 24 hours, but when I went at 6AM, I could not find the light switch. Still, there was enough light to use the treadmill. For the pool, the hours were 10-12, then 1400-1700. You enter the pool through changing rooms (one for women, one for men). The changing room areas also have steam rooms and saunas, in addition to the lockers, toilets and showers. The pool looked to be about 20M in length. One swimming lane, and open area for swimming. Didn't see many people in the pool, but the temp was fine for swimming. The best feature was definitely the jacuzzi. It was just outside from the pool. Yes, outside in -20C temps. It is about a 15M walk from the door to the water. The jacuzzi can comfortably hold 10 people, as long as not too many are kids.
Skiing: We rented equipment there. For Skis, Poles, Boots, Helmet, and Goggles, the total was something like 500RMB for the day. So, if you have your own equipment, and can manage to haul it to Yabuli, you can definitely save some Yuan. FYI, Helmets are required to get on the lifts. The process to rent and return was actually quite smooth. Not all the staff speak English, but there were plenty of people willing to help out the foreigners. We went down to the ski hall around 1830 on the day before we want to ski to get set-up. We were given a locker and all the gear so that all we had to do on the following morning was come down, get kitted up, and walk out to the Gondola lift, which is about a 75M walk once you walk outside (super convenient). We skied for 2 days. My advice is to get out in the morning, before the classes start at 0930. The lifts open at 0800, so plenty of time to beat the rush. Since the trails are on the Eastern side of the mountain, the light on the trails is much better in the morning. After about 2PM, the Sun is already behind the mountain, so while it is not dark, the visibility on the trails is not as good. The Gondola has a midway point where you can get off if you just want to do the easiest run, or you can it to the top for some spectacular views. There is a coffee shop at the top and the start of the runs back down. Since it is a Gondola, you can also just ride up to the top without skis. Each person has a lift pass that is good starting on the day after check-in through your day of departure. I won't comment much on the quality of the skiing since that is highly subjective to past experiences and expectations. Suffice it to say that I agree with most others that it is probably among the best...in China.
The minor gripes (as feedback for the staff):
- Charging by the hour for using the pool tables? Really? I get the need to ensure the equipment is well maintained, and that there are only so many available, but there has to be a better approach.
- An adults only lounge (non-smoking), with easy access to the bar, would be a nice addition. Just a few too many little ones running around playing tag among the adults.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC