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“A little disappointing for an Aman property” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Aman at Summer Palace Beijing

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Aman at Summer Palace Beijing
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   No.1 Gongmenqian Street, Yiheyuan, Haidian District | Summer Palace, Beijing 100091, China (Zhongguancun)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #43 of 5,111 hotels in Beijing
Gilford, New Hampshire
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“A little disappointing for an Aman property”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

Let me begin with the good: As with all Aman resorts, the property itself is beautiful and flawlessly incorporated to its surroundings. It is a very peaceful space, especially when you can hear people singing or practicing an instrument on the other side of the wall. The property has its own door directly into the Summer Palace, which gives guests slightly longer access to the Summer Palace than the public, from sunup until sundown. As the Palace does become really packed with tourists, this is a very nice perk. We hired Jane, an Aman guide, to guide us through the Summer Palace starting at 7am, and it was already crowded. Jane was interesting and spoke excellent English - a lovely guide entirely. All staff members with whom I interacted were very nice and polite. Our suite was spacious, comfortable, and nicely styled. Also, they have a fantastic gym and pool. A good breakfast was included in the room rate.

Now for the downsides: Most of these comments may sound silly, and they are things that probably wouldn't bother me if this weren't an Aman resort, but I have come to expect absolutely flawless service at Amans. First, room cleaning occurred mid-afternoon every day, as it does at most hotels, regardless of my activities. As I said, this is usually fine, but at other Amans, I always loved that they always knew where we were and would take advantage of that. If we went to breakfast at 9, for example, housekeeping would be alerted, and by the time we got back to the room, our room would have been made up. Several times, I would come back from some activity expecting the room to have been done and it hadn't been. Not a big deal, but I expect more. Also, along the same lines, we never got turndown service because they never coordinated to do it while we were at dinner, and by the time we came back from dinner, we wanted to relax and put on do not disturb.

Speaking of dinner, we ate at the Chinese restaurants 2 nights. The menu is extensive, but hohum in my opinion. It's not my favorite cuisine though, so that is perhaps not a downside for everyone. The service is extraordinarily attentive, which is good, but it is almost too attentive. I actually wondered if it is a difference in service style between fine dining in the East and in the West. In New York, for example, if I ordered a nice bottle of wine to start my meal, I would want to relax and enjoy the wine a bit before the first course came out. Here, there seemed to be a great rush to get the drink order and get the food order and get everything out and everyone on their way. We ordered a bottle of wine and then food, and the first course actually came out before the wine. I almost didn't want the wine by the time it came out. Dishes were cleared while I was still chewing the last bite. Everything was extremely efficient, but I prefer a little more of a relaxed feeling with a nice dinner unless I have indicated that I need to rush. On a positive note, they were very accommodating to my partner's vegetarianism, as far as pointing out vegetarian items on the menu, as well as adjusting dishes that normally include meat.

Also on the dining side, I had lunch one day by the reflection pond. The setting was perfect, and my server was charming and friendly and provided great service. I ordered spinach salad and a burger. The spinach salad and all the sides that came with the burger were delicious. The burger itself though was so rare that I only ate the outside bits. I had ordered it medium. I hesitate to mention this because I know I could have always sent it back, and it is better to undercook a burger than overcook it I suppose, but it just would have been nice if they had gotten it right the first time. And I would have been fine even with medium rare, but this was so rare that I suspect it was actually uncooked in the middle. Like I said though, everything else about that meal was great, and burgers are difficult to gauge.

All in all, I was still pleased with my stay, especially with the unparalleled access to the Summer Palace. Now that I have taken advantage of that though, I think I will not splurge on this property on my next trip to Beijing. I still believe in the Aman brand and will not hesitate to continue exploring other Aman resorts though. I feel like small tweaks to ASP would bring it up to the level I expected.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Hawaii
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

We visited Beijing during a very busy time, but within the walls of the Aman we got completely lost in the property's tranquility, luxury and grand sense of place. Yes it is expensive and yes it is not "real" China, but for just a couple of days we were transported back in time and able to take in a little bit of fantasy. The secret "back door" into the Summer Palace made us feel like we were staying at the Palace itself. The private movie theater where the three if us watched Raise the Red Lantern, sipped cool cocktails and munched on popcorn was a special treat. I never work out on vacation, but the gym here was amazing so I had to take in a Pilates class--followed by some relaxation and lounging by the indoor pool. Oh, and the restaurants were amazing!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

This is a sensational property and you will be hard pressed to find anything better in Beijing. The location adjacent to the Summer Palace will give you a sense of staying in your very own palace with a back door opening onto the palace complex itself. The rooms were huge (we had a Deluxe Courtyard Suite) and deliciously appointed with beautiful furniture & that unmistakable Aman look. The building and the layout can feel a bit austere but I think is is appropriate in Beijing, the Imperial (& modern) Capital. The food was excellent (we ate in the Japanese/French fusion restaurant and the Grill) and the service, on the whole, was first rate. You will occasionally come across staff who's English isn't very polished and their mannerisms can feel a little cold and sharp but I find this often very normal in China and more often than not, the service is wonderfully warm and attentive.

We had an excellent itinerary put together by the hotel and a wonderful guide (Mae) was supplied who really made our excursions very informative and fun. My only criticism is that the hotel is far from the centre of town and our tour to Forbidden City left quite late, to avoid the shocking Beijing traffic, which resulted in us arriving at the peak of the tourist activity in the FC which was terrible. If you don't mind squeezing in with the locals, ask the hotel to arrange for you & your guide to travel to the FC by Metro and be there for when the doors open at 8am.

The spa was outstanding and the traditional Chinese massage was unbelievably good. The indoor pool is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful I've come across and worth a dip, regardless of the weather. The gym and Pilates studio are also amazing and private!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013 via mobile

This hotel supports a large staff and pays a big licence fee for its location. That means it is expensive in every way. That being said it is a little magical to go through the "secret door" straight into the Summer Palace.

The accommodation is lovely but other Aman's have better bathrooms. The staff is very good and set us up in the cinema for our own private screening of the Last Emporer feeding us popcorn. A wonderful if extremely expensive way to end 2 nights in Beijing.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Shanghai
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

I went on a busness trip to Beijing and decided to try Aman Summer Palace. I've read too much books and information of Aman all over the world. It's just beside the Summer Palace and have
a private access to the Summer Palace itself. How often can a person say that they actually stayed inside the Summer palace? It was truly magical!Try going there early in the morning or right before sunset to have the whole palace to yourself.Design of the hotel is implicit but rich.The facilities were arranged in the basement,and those old buidings keep their original appearance. Became a Aman-Junkies after this trip.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

Stayed over a weekend before starting meetings in Beijing on the Monday. Location is perfect for Summer Palace and Great Wall trips - both of which were organised to the last detail. The property is unique in the city - with a "secret door" that leads directly into the Summer Palace at any time. Given how chaotic and busy it can get when the tours arrive, this is a real plus - and the feeling of walking around Kunming Lake either before or after the hordes is really priceless. The incredible underground complex that contains the swimming pool, cinema, gym and spa and other amenities is discreetly hidden and the construction quality is exceptional. Food was first rate (Cantonese in particular), no request was too small or too large, and we felt immersed in Chinese culture with calligraphy lessons and a chance to ride the fabulous retro bikes that they had parked in the forecourt over to Beijing University. Austere yet incredibly chic decor - carried through to the dress-sense of the amazing manager and her staff. If price is any concern, probably best to stay elsewhere!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

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.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Aman at Summer Palace Beijing

Address: No.1 Gongmenqian Street, Yiheyuan, Haidian District | Summer Palace, Beijing 100091, China
Location: China > Beijing > Zhongguancun
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #43 of 5,111 hotels in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Aman at Summer Palace Beijing 5*
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