Category Resorts/Spas

WARNING-Mile has “Hit the Wall”

All good things must come to an end. I refer to my post in Feb 2009 about the resort in Mile. I just returned from  a stay there and my report on this resort is not good.

After about a 2 year gap between visits to Mile, a lot has changed. First the city itself has changed from a little quaint farmer town into a huge city, crammed with new condo developments in every direction. I got lost just getting to the resort.

But far worse, the Huqian Resort has undergone big changes itself. The room rates are triple from before. One can expect rate increases, so that is still not the worst of it.

The beautiful and private hot springs on the property is history. Nothing but a dried out cement rockery. When I inquired about it, they cited the water shortage is the reason for shutting it down. Let me see…. underground hot spring water is dried up? Upon further questioning, they admitted that the “new” management policy was for hotel guests to walk down to the public hot springs area for your hot springs experience.  I assume the hotel is simply “cutting costs”, and their 5 star guests are made to walk 500 meters to the public facilities. As a hotel guest, you do not have to pay, but you get throngs of people, noise and hassle of walking there in your bath robe. As an added bonus, the staff at the hot springs are nasty, ill mannered lot who must not be happy with the hotel’s “new” arrangement. In a word the hot spring experience, which is a prime feature, is gone. They also had a huge indoor swimming pool in a separate round building. That building is currently under construction, where they have removed the swimming pool and it will become a “meeting hall”.

The rooms themselves are still the same, albeit a bit rundown now. The carpets and furniture are very stained, no batteries for the room safe, etc.

So for those of you who put off my advice to visit a top class resort for cheap, you lose. Right now my advice is to avoid this place. It has  lost it’s luster and declined into maybe a 3 star operation at 5 star prices. New management is going for maximum profits, reducing this once fantastic resort into a “business hotel”.

Such a shame! Time to move on.



Let’s break it down….. yes it’s green and long (very big anyway) and the mile part is the name of the town. Actually pronounced Mi-Ler. This little place is about 1.5 hrs drive from Kunming, in the area of the stone forest. The Honghe cigarette factory is located here, and certainly owns and operates this town’s very existence. In the middle of nowhere stands ultra modern buildings, a 495 acre man made ecological lake preserve filled with clean clear spring water. Their showcase piece is the Huquan Resort and Spa smack dab in the middle of this preserve. Lagoons, sandy beach fronts, natural hot springs, and water activities showcase this resort complex. The resort is “set” in water so from your room it is as if you are virtually living in the lake. This 5 star complex is about as lavish as it gets. The hotel is divided into 3 sections, each one boasting a little different architecture. We stayed in the B section which is the middle priced area and the one we liked even better than the A section. Our room with breakfast buffet was $40 a night. You couldn’t touch a place like this anywhere else for under $300. Check out the pictures for yourself. I was blown away when I awoke before sunrise and sat on my balcony looking towards the mountains. As the sun was rising, the moon was setting over the mountains. I felt I could reach out and touch it! Talk about the perfect getaway to get your mind and body realigned!  This is one of those “you got to be a local Kunming dude” to know this place even exists. In hindsight, I should probably keep this a secret.

update 3/14/09……..

I just returned from Mile (again) and this time stayed in the “A” building. Helen’s mom and dad invited us to enjoy time with them to show their appreciation to us for our help sending Helen to the USA. She will  travel to the USA next week to attend the university.  They would not allow us to pay for anything! I won’t forget the wonderful time we had, nor how gracious they were to us. I am finding so many dear friends living in this wonderful country.

We stayed in the “A” building which is the VIP section of this resort. Every detail of this resort is first class. There are very few places where you can say that nothing can be improved upon. This is definitely one of them. No doubt we will be making this one of our regular hangouts.

update 5/21/09

I just returned from Mile again. This time I discovered that the Yunnan Red Winery is located about 15km south of Mile. This is a must do while in Mile. Very interesting and you have the place almost all to yourself. I met the Marketing manager and his wife there. We spent several hours visiting with them and drinking lots of  delicious wines. Some which are not available except at the winery. I ended up buying 1000 RMB of wine and stumbled back to my beautiful room at the resort. As a sidenote, the room rates are going up, which is of no surprise. My room in the B section is now 340 RMB, up from 270 RMB. Still a bargin.

Chinese massage


I had my first full blown Chinese massage last night. If there is one thing the Chinese understand……. it is the art of massage. The difference between Thai and Chinese massage is vast. This is one thing where nobody can touch the Chinese. They have this art down to a fine science.
It all started after I had dinner with my friends. They invited me to a small university campus next to Dianchi Lake for dinner. As it turned out, this was a private dinner prepared only for Mr. Ho and his guests. After a great meal, it was decided to go to the massage place in the city. Once we arrived to what appeared to me to be another restaurant, we were led up to the 3rd floor. It was almost 10pm where we were met by several employees where they took off our shoes and gave us “house shoes” to wear.  Then we were led into another room where there were oversized sofa chairs and ottomans all in rows. Maybe 4 side by side, and 10 rows total. Each chair had a little stand with an 8″ LCD TV pointing at the chair. The room was beautifully decorated in pastel browns and earth tones. The lighting was bright enough to clearly see, but low and relaxing also if that makes sense. Once we were seated, the staff served you whatever you wanted to drink, and we sat back and relaxed. I’m guessing 15 minutes passed and then we all got up and Mr. Ho said it’s time for our bath. So some staff people each escorted escalator and us to where we went up one floor and were met by more people who led us into a dressing room. Then a fellow helps you to get undressed, a little uncomfortable at first, but nice service. Now I am naked except for my house shoes. We are led into a room with a beautiful tile pool of hot mineral spring water. So we got in to soak. Everywhere you look in the building you cannot help to notice how beautiful and organized everything is laid out. Even your locker for the clothes is a digital prox reader lock that requires your attendant’s key fob AND your personal fob to open the door.
Another 10 minutes go by and we step out of the pool and walk into another room with 3 more pools! These are also natural hot springs but one has black water and the other two are like giant hot tubs with air jets.  The black water is the  “Chinese Medicine” water, which is supposed to help your blood and circulation. So I opted for the black water, and soaked in there another 15 minutes. There are your personal attendants standing by to serve you fresh squeezed juices, teas, and coffee, whatever you need.

We finally got out and were directed into a room with private cubicles with a massage table. I was told to lie down upon which a man came in and preceded to give me a massage and towel dry me at the same time. This lasted about 30 minutes. When he finished, I was covered with this oil that felt so nice on your skin. Well, next it was off to the sauna room. Again, a beautiful room, well appointed, including a 40” LCD TV set in the wall to watch if you like. I lasted about 10 minutes inside there and I was about to also try the steam room next door, but decided to skip it. So it was off to the showers! By now I am so relaxed I am looking forward to a good night’s sleep. After the shower, we put on house robes and were escorted back into the room with the comfortable chairs! This time there was a huge buffet laid out behind the rows of chairs, with all this wonderful Chinese cuisine laid out. I was still full from out dinner, so I just sat in the sofa chair and had some coffee. Once I sat down, a girl comes over to sit at my feet and proceeds to give me a pedicure and a foot massage that lasted about an hour. During this pampering, another girl stands behind me and takes out all these tools and starts working on my ears. So now I’m thinking this program is winding down, when we are then led upstairs to another area where it’s time for our “massage”. Jeez, I though I already got a massage. But noooooooo…….. Now comes the real deal!

Once inside this small low-lit room, I was introduced to my masseuse. She was a small beautiful girl and spoke no English. Still she was able to get me in position for the massage session without difficulty. This massage lasted about 1.5 hours. At this point all I can say is you just had to be there. I must say I never had my eyeballs massaged before. Every part of your body is assaulted with a pressure technique followed with a kind of rubbing something like a “traditional” massage. It is hard to describe, but they follow a very careful procedure that takes your whole body through an unforgettable experience.

By the way, all of this is completely non – sexual although they do not miss much before they finish with you. Now I am poured off the table and led back into the “sitting” room where we can eat more food and drink. All of us are sitting low in the chairs now, enjoying a drink. After 30 minutes of recuperation, we go back into the dressing room and change. You could shower first, but I wanted to leave the wonderful light oil on my skin, so I just got dressed. We all gathered outside in the lobby where I notice it was just past 2am. I can tell you I slept so good after arriving home.

Before leaving, I did notice at the front desk that the cost of this entire program was quite expensive (to Chinese standards). This deal will cost you 300RMB. That’s $37.50 USD.

This experience alone is well worth a trip to China!



I am about 30 minutes west of Kunming in a little town called Anning. It is the site of the worlds first hot spring. I am sitting next to this spring. This region around Kunming has many hot springs and rich mineral water from the thermal activity here. This area is very popular with tourists because of the hot springs and the special healing properties of this mineral water.
I walked around the little roads in the area and discovered this hot springs facility nestled in the pine forest. It is called the Jinfang Forest Pools. This place has about 15 spring pools built amongst the pine trees and each is filled with the hot spring water. The water temp is naturally around 118F. Then each pool is combined with various chinese medicinal herbs which colors the water and each has a different healing quality. They also have these pools at different temperatures to create the proper medical effects to your body. Then there is also a big central swimming pool with plain hot springs water. There is a restaurant , tea house, hotel and sauna facility as well.
I decided to spend New Years night here, so I got a room which has it’s own private hot springs pool in the garden outside my room. This was $85 for the room, breakfast, and entry into the main facility with all the pools. The day is clear, sunny, 70F and at night it dropped to about 50F. I chilled my Champagne in the toilet, and enjoyed New Years Eve soaking in my private hot tub under the clear night skies after dinner in the restaurant. What a perfect way to bring in the New Year! The next day I spent all afternoon soaking in the herbal hot springs going to each pool, some filled with flowers and others with oranges and fruit oils. I visited a Buddist Temple near the hotel and watched a lady cutting and drying tobacco which they grow here. Be sure to see the pics in the Anning folder!
So anyway, Happy New Year!