Feeling like an Empress - Aman at Summer Palace

Feeling like an Empress - Aman at Summer Palace

Reflecting the #history and #culture of the neighboring Summer Palace, Aman Resorts in Beijing, #China has exceeded the level of luxury and created a paradise of #relaxation. I never wanted to leave, and felt like an Empress in my very own Kingdom.


At a time when luxury travel is a regularly coined and overused term, Aman Resorts continue to embody the iconic representation of high end luxury and personal hospitality.

Aman Resorts continue to embody the iconic representation of high end luxury 

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Hotel Aman At Summer Palace

 1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace, Beijing, People's Republic of China
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Having stayed at a few of their properties in Sri Lanka and Indonesia I knew to expect nothing but a stunning property and flawless service, but the Beijing resort has something so unique that no other property in Beijing or, dare I say, in China, has achieved: the true Imperial surroundings of a 250 year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Summer Palace.

A regular in “Best of” lists the resort is attached to the hideaway residence of the Emperor during the hot summer months. But its location is not merely a geographical one. The rooms and courtyards were used at the turn of the 20th century to host visitors awaiting to see the Empress Dowager Cixi, they were the equivalent of the 19th century Palatial accommodation and effortlessly blend into the grandeur of the Summer Palace.

at the turn of the 20th century to host visitors awaiting to see the Empress Dowager Cixi

The original complex has been restored and guests sleep under manicured wooden roofs hand carved over a century ago. From the main reception to the rooms guests stroll through corridors and pavilions flanked by bamboo groves and colourful carved columns. The resort feels like a real size replica of Chinese water colour paintings.

feels like a real size replica of Chinese water colour paintings

A butler walks silently as if floating, a bird sings a delicate song from a swaying tree branch, a wild pomegranate drops on the perfect gardens. This must be what it was like to live like a king.

This must be what it was like to live like a king

Aman’s touch is apparent in the nightly turn down service, the delicate cultural gifts resting on the bed, the afternoon hand made cookies, the organic bathroom amenities, the silk bathrobes, the wonderful showers and the exquisite Ming Dynasty furnishings.

Above all, the level of service Aman has got us accustomed to, it is apparent in the way staff are always at hand to organise excursions or fulfill any guest’s wildest requests. Staff always remember you by name, they always know what your room is, what your daily schedule looks like and what your next request may be. All of this in an non intrusive manner. I have yet to find this in any other hotel chain, consistently.

The property also has a few dining options. The Imperial Chinese restaurant offers a glimpse into historical cuisine with perfectly prepared dishes with a steep price tag to match. Breakfast is served by the fish pond in surroundings so quiet one can mistakenly feel in heaven.

surroundings so quiet one can mistakenly feel in heaven

Because of its historical past, the rooms are organised around courtyards and pavilions some of which have direct access to the Summer Palace through a back door on the East Wing. This allows for unlimited and uninterrupted access to the grounds anytime of the day or night with a specially arranged guide provided by the resort. No queues, no bustle, no hassle. A small door opened in front of my room and I was transported to the times of the Emperor.

the rooms are organised around courtyards and pavilions

Old world charm and mystery is mixed with 21st century ultra-modern amenities in the basement of the resort. Aside from the magnificent Spa the complex also houses a 25m underground pool perfectly lit for relaxation, a yoga and pilates studio that is naturally lit and a state of the art 300 sqm gym.

Back on the surface, two areas particularly draw the magic of Old China. The Pavilion deck overlooking a small pond with floating waterlilies felt like a sanctuary of tranquillity after a day out in town fighting the summer crowds. Aman Resorts’ expected cultural sensitivity can be found in the library which hosts rare books about the Summer Palace. In the afternoons, calligraphy classes are on offer. The brush and ink is available in every room for guests to try their skill.

Aman at Summer Palace is a remarkably peaceful oasis in Beijing’s crowded streets and noisy market.

The Devil is in the Details

Rates starting at around $405 per night The restaurants serve exquisite food and are some of the priciest in town.

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