I stayed at the Aman at Summer Palace for a week in July with my 14 year old son. I guess each traveller will have to weigh up cost versus the unique nature of the hotel. For me the uniqueness won. In a country not yet noted for fantastic customer service, the Aman staff are all well trained and happy to be of service. The architecture gives a feel of old China and the gardens are tranquil and beautiful. Another differentiator is the ability to enter the Summer Palace, located next door, at dawn and dusk (even have a picnic breakfast there). My son and I explored the backroads of this UNESCO world heritage site, long after the crowds had departed and it was magical. Knocking on the backdoor of the Aman after another circuit of the Summer Palace was a highlight. The restaurants were pricey yet served delicious Chinese fusion cooking. We also loved the cinema in the basement where we watched a private viewing of the Last Emperor, the day before we visited the Forbidden City
I guess you can really test a luxury hotel like the Aman when something goes wrong. It was not our original plan to stay here a week, we were in fact on our way to Mongolia. However my son suffered an epileptic seizure in the middle of dinner at the hotel. He had never experienced one of these before and I was very upset and unsure what to do. The hotel was exceptionally helpful during this crisis. They had first aiders on call immediately and quickly called an ambulence. The night manager accompanied us to the hospital and stayed for hours, translating documents and comments from nurses and doctors. The General Manager, Christine Hodder was also very helpful, getting documents couriered over from the hospital so that we could start a complex insurance claim. I was a little worried that after such a dramatic event we might feel awkward returning to the hotel but once again the staff were very kind and welcoming, putting my son at ease. He finally got to eat again the dinner that was disrupted by the medical emergency. I really can't praise the level of care and attention to detail enough.
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