Hamid Karzai

Western brand, Chinese characteristics: Club Med at Guilin

After 10 days of crisscrossing southwestern China by high-speed train with two young children in tow, exploring minority villages amid rugged scenery and often sleeping in grimy hotels, it was time for a break.

And what better way to decompress from our fascinating yet grueling family trek through one of China's less touristed regions than with a stay at a familiar Western holiday staple: Club Med.

We booked a four-night stay at the Club Med in Guilin, in the Guangxi region, an area best known for its otherworldly limestone karst outcroppings and a fishing tradition that uses cormorants to snare catches — scenes so famous they're depicted on China's 20-yuan notes.