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“Imperial Experience!” 5 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 #48 of 5,435 Hotels in Beijing
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Imperial Experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

http://joellemagazine.com/early-morning-winter-walk/2345244

With a small basket of fruits, warm clothes, my camera and the beautiful map , we are heading 6 AM, to the back door of the Aman compound where The Summer Palace, situated at the doorsteps of my courtyard suite nb4 in the northwest suburb of Beijing covers an area of 290 hectares. I understand that the magnificent resort is offering me as a guest, the exclusive privilege to visits the Imperial garden at dawn and enjoy in his magnitude before it actually opens at 8Am for the public.

The West Hill and Jade Spring Hill silhouette against us are neatly visible among lush and tall ancient pines and cypresses , grand palaces and temples Longevity Hill. We are at the North of the Palace and the map is clear.

Halls Pavillons, corridors and towers spread throughout the garden are decorated with fine stone and bronze sculptures. We are now walking on the long Corridor and cross " The gate of dispelling clouds " , "The Pavillon of Mesmerizing Scenery ", " The Pavillon of Harmonizing with the Lake ", and the " Pavillon of Autumn Winter".

The magnificent Tower of Buddhist Incence stands high on the hillside facing south, looking down at the misty and rippling clear water in the Kumming Lake.

It's winter at the Summer Palace and the lake that covers about three quarters of the Imperial palace, is totally iced. They say Summer is the high season, but let me tell you the scenery is extremely romantic representing for some locals one of there celestial islands of East Sea China and a fairyland.

Originally built in 1750 by the emperor Qianlong to celebrate his mother's birthday, The Summer Palace was used at the time as a pleasure garden for emperors and empresses.

Appraised as the most perfectly preserved imperial garden with the richest man-made scenery and the most concentrated architecture in the world. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization in 1988 and has become a park of high culture value for tourists and a treasure of human civilization.

We are at the " Hall of Nourishing Pleasures" not far away from the "Hall of Benevolence and Longevity ". Walking in silence is a whimsical, magic and peaceful dream experience never felt before.

Finally in the small alley of the Aman property, like in Alice in Wonderland, a the small door opens after our bell ringing: and a small young man wearing dark glasses appears with a basket of warm towels and says in a perfect English with a touch of Chinese pronunciation " Your breakfast is waiting for you... How did you like your Imperial promenade?

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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179 reviews from our community

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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 (21)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013 via mobile

Room - room was a good size and was traditionally decorated. Each room is its own separate villa. Traditional Chinese architecture uses the courtyard structure, so there are villas on 3 sides of the square courtyard. They put red lanterns outside our villa to indicate that we were there to celebrate an occasion (our anniversary), which was cool. However, we had issues with our shower not draining that didn't resolved after our notifying the front desk, and our toilet ran all night the first night (this did get fixed). Apparently you can't drink the water out of the faucet at the hotel (or anywhere in Beijing), but the hotel provided all the bottled water you could want in the room for no additional charge.

Spa/pool - the pictures are very close to reality. The pool is really cool, so go for a dip to beat the Beijing heat. The spa was nice but didn't really have a proper waiting area. I really enjoyed my traditional Chinese tui ma massage. I tried to arrange a private Pilates session on the day of, but they couldn't get in contact with the Pilates instructor. The studio looked beautiful. My husband played squash and ping pong with the gym staffer and had a great time in so doing.

Gifts - they give you great gifts each day in your room. There was not really a need to buy cheesy souvenirs on our trip because the aman was thoughtful enough to provide really neat traditional gifts to us (and we got especially beautiful ones because it was our anniversary, I think!).

Food - breakfast was awesome (we ate western style breakfasts). The Cantonese restaurant was good, but, even though we think of ourselves as experimental with food, some of the food was really out there for us. The western restaurant was good for dinner.

Location - as everyone else mentioned, the property is adjacent to the summer palace and has a secret door to enter the property, which is great. It also allows you to get to more remote sections of the Great Wall with a shorter drive to avoid throngs of tourists. The downside to the location is that it's a 30+ minute drive from the hotel to downtown to see the sights. There is a subway nearby, though, which could be a shorter trip.

Overall - the package we got included a summer palace, hutong, and Forbidden City tour, and we also arranged a Great Wall tour through the hotel. Both were great and were great reasons to choose the Aman. We were greeted at the gate of our plane at the airport by our transporter, and, again when we were dropped off at the airport, we were escorted by two air china reps all due to staying at the Aman. We were assigned one tour guide and one driver and car throughout our time there; this worked very well. However, there were a few service flaws that I expected not to encounter at an international resort chain like the aman (language barrier issues, no one manning the front desk early in the morning, not personally resolving the shower issue, not offering to have someone carry our luggage for us to the front for our morning departure when they knew exactly what time we were leaving, etc.).

But, overall, I'd recommend the hotel highly. It was a lovely traditional yet modernized base for our first visit to Beijing.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

This was our first trip to mainland China and our visit stay at an Aman property. The location adjacent to the Summer Palace is magical. Plan to visit toward the end of the day and you will have the Palace to yourself! The hotel setting is peaceful, sophisticated and charming. Our "room" was actually a small building with every comfort designed to incorporate traditional Chinese architecture with modern comforts. You feel like you are in your own special world. Staff are attentive, food and service are excellent. Spend time walking around and taking in the details. Definitely ride a bike. Nothing like biking in Beijing. This one one of the highlights of our trip and will seek out Aman resorts in the future.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2013

This sets the bar pretty high. The architecture and setting would be enough to blow me away, but then add the amazing underground pool, the gorgeous food and the cool bedrooms with every amenity. The staff were so nice to let me bring a friend in to spend time with us on our visit. They also let us bring in a swim instructor for my daughter. I wish I used the gym as it looked out of the future. Being a junkie I have met every general manager, and this one is the luckiest. Thanks for the calligraphy lessons and all the free drinks. We shall return!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2013

Stunning!!! One of the most amazing hotel/resort experiences that I have ever had! The building, the setting, interior design, restaurant and food, rooms, amenities, staff and the overall quality of the experience was outstanding and top notch in every way!. The direct access into Beijing's Summer Palace through a private entrance as well as the staff escorting you to your room at night while carrying beautiful Chinese lanterns made us feel like royalty from another era! I highly recommend this property for an authentic old-world Chinese experience with all the modern amenities you could ask for! Be sure to try the Peking duck in the restaurant!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Netherlands
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013 via mobile

We are Aman junkies and this location made us realize, again, why. Unique location, service at it's best level, rooms outsatnding in every detail and restaurants to die for.

As you could see from the other comments, this complex is next to the Summer palace. As we understand it, the current rooms were the old waiting rooms for a visit to the palace. It's one of those "how did they do it" moments, a visit we will forever remember. I won't mention the secret door again - very cool though. The attention for detail is fantastic as always with Aman. Nice maps of the location, little gifts, it all worked as clock work.

Let me mention the very high standard of quality in the restaurants for a moment. We ate at the Western and the Chinese restaurant and were blown away. The care, the service, the quality, all great. The chef was very vissable and we had several nice chats with him.

It's just the whole package which makes paying this amount of money worth it for us, every time with Aman.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

so when my parents were coming to China, I wanted to find them a hotel that would let them embrace the beautiful aspects of old China without experiencing any of the pitfalls of traditional Chinese hotels. That left, after hours of research, the Aman hotel. It is a 5+ star hotel, by far the nicest hotel in Beijing, and I've been in several very nice hotels. The customer service is fantastic. After there was some confusion during the airport pickup, they felt so badly they upgraded my parents to a suite.

My parents are used to 5 star US resorts, and they LOVED this hotel. It has character, it connects to the summer palace, and everything is pristine. As a resident of Beijing, I also loved it, as it was basically the ideal dream version of China- it highlights the best of Chinese architecture.

It is the best hotel in Beijing, and the price reflects that. However, normally I don't splurge, but on this, for the experience, its absolutely worth it.

Room Tip: Get a courtyard!
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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.
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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 Region > 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 #48 of 5,435 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Aman at Summer Palace Beijing 5*
Number of rooms: 51
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