A stay at a Linden Centre hotel is an immersive experience into the rich, living communities of China’s countryside. Our mission is to promote a more genuine form of experiential and cultural tourism, and ensure that our neighbors are able to socially and financially benefit from our guests’ visits. We do this in a number of unique ways, including the preservation of tangible history via the restoration and re-purposing of the heritage sites that house our accommodations, the incorporation of the local community into our projects via employment, training and education, and the development of experiential programming that benefits both our visitors and our neighbors.
The Linden Centre was founded in 2008 by American couple Brian and Jeanee Linden in response to the pervasive destruction of China’s tangible and intangible cultural resources. The Lindens had been residents in China off and on since 1984, and their respect for China’s cultural traditions inspired them to create an alternative hospitality model. They gave up their jobs, sold their home in America, and searched throughout China for two years alongside their two young sons to find a heritage site that could be restored and serve as a foundation for community development and cultural pride. Their first site, the nationally protected heritage compound named after its builder Yang Pingxiang, quickly became a beloved destination for guests who wanted more than a newly constructed hotel isolated from its surrounding culture. The Lindens remain the only foreigners to revitalize such important national heritage structures in China.
In the decade since its inception, the Linden Centre has welcomed over 25,000 Chinese and foreign guests, including many ambassadors to China, corporate executives, national and provincial leaders, and internationally renowned artists and movie stars. These guests come to the Centre to delve further into the traditions of the local community and to learn from our innovative programming in topics such as the Spirit and History of Travel, Photography, Filmmaking, Culinary Arts (housed in our Xizhou Culinary School), Bird-watching, Environmental Protection Issues, and Yoga.
We aspire to influence China’s rapidly developing tourism industry- to better balance the benefits that accrue to the local communities, to attract guests not by the size of our bathtubs or televisions but by the soul and passion of our community and team. We honor and highlight the cultural fabric upon which our hotels have unfurled, instilling cultural pride in our communities and ensuring that families can remain and thrive. This sustainable approach has worked: the media and government has embraced us and continue to motivate our expansion, and we are honored to have received dozens of accolades as diverse as The Best Small Hotel in China by Tripadvisor, CNN’s Top Heritage Hotel in China, and US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Citation for Corporate Excellence.
In addition to our hotels, the Linden Centre has created educational compounds that attract world-class learning resources to China’s rural areas. We have partnered with renowned high schools such as Sidwell Friends from Washington, D.C., and Shanghai American School, with universities such as Middlebury College and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and with international organizations such as Princeton-in-Asia and Fulbright to create unparalleled learning programs in China’s hinterland.
Our guests along with our team serve as proud stewards of China’s cultural heritage. Through our guests’ curiosity and passion, our team and village neighbors are inspired to preserve and celebrate their traditions. We are honored to be your hosts.