Shaxi Old Theatre Inn – a sustainable heritage hotel in Yunnan China
Shaxi Old Theatre Inn is a registered historic cultural landmark in Jianchuan County and the favorite Shaxi guesthouse of discerning travelers. Formerly the Dragonfly Guesthouse, it has since been completely renovated by American conservation group the Ginkgo Society, and has become an international multi-award-winning eco lodge. Enjoy homemade Shaxi cuisine prepared by our chef Duan Jipin, sample our outstanding wines from around the world and watch village life go by from the terrace overlooking rice fields below. Shaxi Old Theatre Inn is run by three local women from the Duan Village and are proud to share their unique Bai culture with visitors.
An authentic local experience with modern comforts
Built in 1782, the building that currently serves as our guestroom quarters were originally classrooms for the Duan Village temple school. We have just finished a major interior restoration that makes the Old Theatre the most comfortable of Shaxi hotels. The previously thin wooden interior walls are now updated with brick, rice husk plaster and stone wainscoting. This will retain the authentic look of the walls while adding two very important features of sound isolation between the rooms and passive heat in winter. You can see our renovation work on our Facebook page.
These improvements are unique among Shaxi hotels, as all other guesthouses must manage with un-insulated wooden walls. Shaxi Old Theatre Inn rooms all feature large and bright en suite bathrooms. We have five guest rooms in total and of these, two have twin beds while the rest have full size beds for two adults. With advance notice, our twin rooms can be re-configured to create a super king room with one oversize bed.
Our rooms feature:
- 24-hour hot water
- Handmade wool rugs
- Antique tribal embroidery
- 5-meter ceilings
- Hardwood floors
- Complementary tea and bottled water
- Electric blankets in Winter
- Antique cabinetry
- Hand-knitted wool slippers for Winter
- Laundry service
- Hair dryers
- Non-disposable soap, shampoo and shower gel
We also have a strict sustainability policy to protect the local environment, so guests will note our No Disposable, No Single-Use and Natural Septic Requirement principles.
At Shaxi Old Theatre Inn you’ll discover a quiet respite from China’s urban madness. Take a stroll through traditional Duan Village or explore the farmlands that surround us. The Old Town of Shaxi is just a 40 minute walk from Shaxi Old Theatre Inn, where you will find some of the best examples of surviving architecture from the days of the tea horse caravans. Enjoy vegetarian cuisine and stunning views of the valley at the Pear Orchard Temple, just a 10 minute bike ride from our beautiful property overlooking the Shaxi Valley.
We strongly recommend advance reservations!
With only five guestrooms and limited cooking staff, we are not a 24-hour establishment that can easily accommodate walk-in guests, especially during the busy harvest and planting seasons when our staff need time to work in their fields. Also please note that our room rates increase during national holidays when demand is extremely high. Those dates are:
- The week of May 1 (International Labor Day)
- The week of Oct 1 (China’s National Day)
- Chinese New Year (check your calendar as it changes from late January to late February)
Lonely Planet’s review of Shaxi Old Theatre Inn
“This quaint boutique guesthouse is part of a 200-year-old Chinese theatre and inn. It has been lovingly restored with modern rooms and a cafe that has retained the original flavour of the place. It’s located 3km north of Shāxī old town, you can rent a bike here for ¥20 to get you around.
Our independent authors have visited Shaxi Old Theatre Inn and selected this as one of our recommended accommodation in Shāxī.“
More from Lonely Planet on Shaxi
“The tiny hamlet of Shāxī, 120km northwest of Dàlǐ, is a hugely evocative throwback to the days of the Tea-Horse Roads. You can almost hear the clippety-clop of horses’ hooves and shouts of traders.
Shāxī is one of only three surviving caravan oases from the old Tea-Horse Roads that stretched from Yunnan to India. It’s by far the best preserved and the only one with a surviving market (held on Fridays).
The village’s wooden houses, courtyards and narrow, winding streets make it a popular location for period Chinese movies and TV shows (and day trippers), but this is still a wonderfully sleepy place where nightlife means sitting out under the canopy of stars and listening to the frogs croaking in the rice paddies.”