Few miles away from the crowded Beijing, the Aman at Summer Palace takes you back to the golden age of Chinese Emperors and their stunning Summer Palace residence. Staying there, be sure that your vision of the busy China will be completely different.
For once, let’s go straight to the point: Aman at Summer Palace is absolutely amazing and worth every single penny you can spend. Actually, it’s been awhile since my last Wow factor and this one was huge ; the peaceful location in the middle of the famous Summer Palace, the rooms built in ancient Oriental-style preserved buildings, the beautiful courtyards and the stunning Aman service have turned my short stay into a magical moment. The perfect retreat for hardworkers and urban people ; turn off your smartphone, say goodbye to your email boxes and enter in the impressive Golden Age of China.
This is probably the most astonishing part of this resort ; common areas are set into some ancient Summer Palace residences, very well preserved – especially ceiling paints – and peaceful, which is something really awesome for China. It’s hard to describe the overall atmosphere, but I think night pictures will give a taste of how “out-of-world” you can feel in that hotel. The only place with modern design is the indoor pool and Spa area where you can relax in a quiet ambience in case of bad weather ; most of time, you will prefer to take a chair at the Reflexion Pavilion and enjoy the birds songs close to the lotus pond. Also, Aman at Summer Palace organizes daily complementary cultural activities so you definitely can’t get bored there, even during long stay.
One tip: upon call request, a butler will bring you to a “secret” door that gives direct access to the tourist part of the Summer Palace where you can walk around the lake and climb to Yu Feng pagoda.
All 51 rooms and suites are distributed in courtyards, which offer lot of privacy and enhance the resort experience. We had a Deluxe Suite in courtyard #2 – where only 2 suites are located – and we actually felt like in a private villa with it small garden. Just amazing. Outdoor building is completely preserved with no sign of technology, while indoor is a mix between modern and ancient inspired by Ming dynasty, composed by a huge bathroom with free-standing bathtube and a large living-room + bedroom. Be prepared to wake-up early thanks to the lovely birds :)
We experimented lunch and dinner at Reflection Pavilion, which proposes international “casual” food and it was very nice ; I especially recommend their Orient Burger with both Asian and American tastes. On the other hand we went at The Grill for breakfast where we enjoyed fresh fruit and cooked eggs along the courtyard pond ; here again, the Wow factor takes you.
Level of exigency
Aman service is worldwide renowned and Aman at Summer Palace is no exception ; chinese staff is well trained, prompt to help you and brilliantly suit five-star standards. Check-in/check-out were smooth and easy, while housekeeping was faultless (even if a bit long). Not a showy and arrogant luxury service, but a warm and helpful one.
Stay from April 30th to May 1st 2015
The Aman at Summer Palace opened in 2008 and is composed of 18 guestrooms and 33 suites. We stayed in a Deluxe Suite (courtyard #2) – around 80sqm – which public rate is 9.900 RMB/night.