There isn't a hotel as much as it is an experience. Originally a guest compound attached to the Summer Palace, the Aman has been restored and adapted to be pretty much a fantasy destination. For us it began when they picked us up at the airport and we were taken down to our waiting Volvo SUV, which was in a basement level driveway at the end of a marble lined corridor at the airport. (Who knew this existed?) We then went to the Aman, where you pull around the gates into the courtyard and the staff immediately begins taking care of you. The GM has your itinerary ready for your approval or revision (we made changes, not a problem at all) and things are in motion to make your life better in any way possible.
We were given the orientation to the compound, which, to be honest, is way cooler than what you see on the web site. You are staying in an updated traditional Chinese mansion. When you come in, there is someone playing a traditional instrument in a lobby right out of the Qing dynasty and you are being served tea in delicate porcelain cups. And you haven't even checked in yet. Yes, it gets much better.
There are the several courtyards, beautifully laid out, that you walk through to get to your room. Spring for the suite if you can. Ours was the size of a small apartment with 20 ft. ceilings and a forest worth of antique woodwork. There is an underground Olympic sized pool, an amazing gym with great facilities, and and awesome movie theater that you can reserve. There are great restaurants. I highly recommend the Japanese-French fusion restaurant. They do a version of kaseiki cuisine with the multiple courses that was one of the best meals my partner and I have ever had in our lives, including kaseiki meals in Japan. I highly recommend the Discover Beijing package, which includes private tours of the Forbidden City, sights in Beijing, and the Summer Palace with a private driver. Oh, and the spa. Go to the spa. This has to be one of the most indulgent spas anywhere. (You get a spa treatment as part of the Discover Beijing package.)
Finally, there is the very cool part. The Aman has its own entrance directly into the Summer Palace. It's a little nondescript door from the hotel right into the Palace grounds. This is especially great at about 6 a.m., when you can go in there and almost nobody else is around. You get the unique treat of walking around the grounds of the Summer Palace with no crowds and watching the sun rise across the lake. That's the part that is even better than all of the pampering that the Aman does--and you will be pampered.
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