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Vacation mode

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-13 11:51

Two of Zhang Beidi's guests engage in rock climbing in Yangshuo, Guangxi.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Local flavor

Zhang Wenxuan, who is a Shanghai native, has been striving to give his guests a rural experience at his homestay sites in nearby Suzhou, Jiangsu province, since 2018. Like Guo, Zhang uses design elements to promote his homestay business in the city's Wujiang district.

"We offer a big space for families and friends to enjoy emotional connections 24 hours," Zhang says.

He lived in Shanghai for 20 years and says he found city life "fragmented relationships".

"You might give your friends a warm welcome (in a city) but then you have to say goodbye soon, as they stay at a hotel and you go home," Zhang says, adding that he hopes to restore the old-fashioned way for family and friends to hang out.

Zhang has rented old houses in Suzhou's Nanshe and Xiejialu villages, and turned them into homestays, where guests get the space for close interactions while being surrounded by nature. It takes about 1.5 hours to drive there from downtown Shanghai. He insists on maintaining the original rural architecture of the houses and builds on them further to accommodate requirements of urban guests. He says the existing buildings also show the area's history.

"I want my guests to feel the harmonious ambience of the neighborhood during their stay," Zhang says.

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