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“Peace and tranquility in an historic "palace" with wonderful service”
Review of Aman Summer Palace

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Aman Summer Palace
Ranked #81 of 6,606 Hotels in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 4, 2012

Spend three nights in this property in Beijing as a long weekend getaway. Having never been to Beijing before I was keen to have a "traditional" accommodation experience rather than in a sometimes bland international five star hotel. The Aman did not fail to meet expectation.

The hotel offers a meet and greet service at the airport where you are escorted from the jetway, though customs to a CIP area where your car (a Volvo 4WD) is waiting. Customs and immigration was pretty straight forward so a car transfer would be enough. On arrival at the hotel you are greeted with warm tea and sat down and guided through a suggested itinerary. We had already organised our own tours so this was not required.

Check in was done in the room which occurred after a thorough tour of the property (more details later). We had received a double upgrade to a deluxe suite. The furnishings were fitting of the old palace feel (the traditional architecture is magical) and the court yards make it very private. The room had a seating area and king size bed. The bathroom was a great size, with dual vanities, huge shower and a cool bath tub. Interesting the toiletries (which were good) are in ceramic pots which are refilled - for environmental reasons I was told.....

The heating worked very well in both the bathroom (with heated floor) and the bedroom. The minibar (except wine and spirits) was included and we had daily snacks delivered too. Also there was a choice of two green teas and a cool pot to brew it in. Also, wireless internet was included and ran at a good speed.

We were fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your view!) to be staying in the quiet season. It was rare that we saw another guest! This was evident at each breakfast (where we were the only ones each time) and at our included candle lit dinner. Have to say that the food options were good at breakfast but the delivery of the food was VERY slow. For being the only peopl in the restaurant it took a long time for our food to come out. This was not the case at dinner oddly enough. The staff were terribly polite and professional at all times.

The hotel also has its own private deluxe (reclining home theatre style seats) cinema which seats up to 37. Guests can hire this during the day or night if not being used. We took advantage of this and a bottle of spanish red wine and had a great time in this private area.

The spa is also a beautiful space (and underground!). We had a traditional chinese massage and then spent some time in the jacuzzi and steam rooms (separated for men and women). The pool (also underground) is enormous and tranquil but probably not somewhere you want to spend a lot of time - no risk of sunburn!

We also had dinner at the Japanese French Fusion restaurant at the hotel and this was stunning! In fact we were extremely well looked after by the chef and the sommelier. Strongly urge you to have one of the tasting menus.

One wierd thing at the hotel is you never sign off an account (they knew what we were doing and who we were at all times). This seems lovely except that it is more difficult to check the bill when you are checking out if you have charged a number of things to the room.

They also hold various activities in the Cultural Pavilion of which we did Chinese Caligraphy. There is also story telling, kite making etc, etc. It is worth checking this out.

We did spend a lot of time at the hotel (outside of our tours to the Forbidden City, Great Wall and Summer Palace - through the hotel's private entrance). so were able to sample and explore what the hotel has to offer, which is a great deal.

I strongly recommend this property.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank wockinwod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 20, 2012

Superb location and surroundings. Old-fashioned style, yet new buildings made with MONEY. N hotel is worth spending 750-4000USD per night, but try the spa. Not the cheapest, but so so comfortable and pampering. Go for Thai Massage, best I've ever had.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled on business
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Thank umeeT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2012

The Aman at Summer Palace is a beautiful resort that lies outside the city center. The Aman lies right next to the Summer Palace, and part of the hotel was part of the Summer Palace. They also have a private entrance connecting the Aman to the Summer Palace. You just have to go to the concierge desk and let them know that you want to go to the Summer Palace. They'll walk you to the door and give you a cell phone to call them once you're done touring the Summer Palace. Check to make sure the phone works. After touring the Summer Palace, I returned to the private entrance, and tried calling the hotel only to find out that the phone number programmed into the phone was old or didn't work. I also tried calling the phone number for the Aman in the guidebook I had with me, but no one picked up. This wasn't a big deal just find the main gate and make a left turn. The road leads you right back to the Aman.

Except for the Summer Palace, the Aman isn't very close to anything else. There is no public transportation nearby, so you'll have to take a taxi. Peking University is relatively close, distance wise, but takes about 40 minutes to walk there. There is a subway station between the Aman and Peking University, but even that is about a 30 minute walk away. There is another university (I think it's a business school) a few blocks away. But other than that, it's all residential. If you walk around the alleys by the Aman you can find some good street food in the area. And the area surrounding the Aman is safe. I was having some trouble sleeping so I decided to talk a walk around the area in the middle of the night. The alleys are dark, and you will probably be alone, but I never felt unsafe. But once you get back out on the streets you'll still see people walking around, and some of the restaurants in the area were still open.

The Aman itself is a beautiful resort, and designed to look like part of the Summer Palace. You definitely feel like royalty walking around the resort. They have 3 restaurants (1 Chinese, 1 Asian fusion, 1 western/steak house), and they're all expensive. I tried the Chinese restaurant, and I wouldn't recommend it. There's better food a short walk away, including a strip mall with a couple of fast food places a couple blocks away from the front gate of the Summer Palace.

The staff are very friendly and were always smiling. At check in they give you a hot towel, and a complimentary drink of some kind. The girls working the front desk all have very good English, the guys working around the rest of the hotel don't speak it as well. The guy they have posted at the front gate doesn't speak English at all. At check in I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they had given me an upgrade. The suite they gave me was U shaped, and had it's own courtyard. One wing was the bedroom, and an area with cabinets, a dresser, and a vanity table. Another wing contained a hallway with two sinks, two mirrors, a shower through one door, a toilet through another door, and a free standing tub at the end of the hallway. And the other wing was the living room area, which had two cabinets. One cabinet holds a large flat screen TV, DVD player, and other things. The other cabinet holds the minibar. In the middle of the room is a square table with a long couch and some chairs on three sides. Behind the long couch is a long table with electrical outlets. They also have some implements I've never seen before. They have what I think is a wax kit with a seal, probably to seal the stationary they've provided if you plan on sending any letters home. They also have three books sitting on the table that tell you about the history of the hotel, and Beijing in general. The bedroom has a king size canopy bed, but is enclosed on three sides. So the only way to get into bed is to crawl over a bench they have at the foot of the bed.

The Aman also has a pool and fitness center in the same building as the concierge desk.

This is a great place to stay for a few days, just to check out the area the Summer Palace, and Peking University. But I wouldn't recommend this place for an extended stay. There are other hotels you can go to that are closer to the major tourist attractions in Beijing.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank TravelingDiver399
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2012

We stayed at Aman after visiting the Great Wall as the last stop on our trip, rather than returning to Beijing. I would tell everyone not to bother making this extra overnight stop. The location is at the Summer Palace and it is true that there is a private entrance to the Palace for hotel guests. A wing of the hotel was once part of the Palace. The architecture is totally evocative of the Summer Palace and beautiful on the outside. However, our suite, which was large, was dark and the living room furniture--in the Asian theme--was so uncomfortable there was no good place to sit--either on the chairs or sofa. The only way into the bed was to climb over the bench at the bottom of the bed as it was enclosed on 3 sides.

The indoor swimming pool with surrounding lounge chairs is beautiful but it is on the basement level with no windows so we found that unappealing. There are 2 restaurants for dinner and the French-Thai restaurant only had a tasting menu. The food was delicious but outrageously expensive. The Chinese restaurant was more moderately priced but the food was nothing special. Also, the decor throughout the public rooms is the same--Asian, very simple and not too comfortable.

The one outstanding plus is that the staff and service were terrific.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank discerningNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2012

A friend chose this location for a short 2-night trip to Beijing. This trip was over Thanksgiving, when Beijing is fairly cold. The word "resort" has a slightly different meaning under these circumstances, since people usually think of a warm sunny beach, etc. when they see that word.
The Aman at Summer Palace is hard to describe. It's low - not a multi-story building like a typical hotel. It's in a quiet area. It seemed very old-style Chinese, though I don't claim to know anything about that - it was just the feeling I got. The room we had was well-heated, nice bathroom with shower and tub, two sinks and mirrors, and about 3 armoires for storing our clothes. Everything just seemed homey and comfortable.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. We were in a section that was a bit of a walk from the front where the pool and restaurant are. Everyone looked up to say hello as we walked by.
One problem we had was figuring out where the restaurant was located. Although the staff pointed it all out the evening when we arrived, when we went looking in the morning we did not see any obvious signs. In a way, this added to the old-China feel, but it also was a bit confusing until we got oriented.
The food in the restaurant was good and they were flexible about special requests (my friends are vegetarian). Good variety of dishes. We did not take advantage of the other options available. It looked like there were some very nice venues, though.
I didn't think the secret door to the Summer Palace was a big deal when I read about it, but it really was kind of nice to walk less than 100 feet from our room and be in the Summer Palace park.
The fitness area and pool were nice. I jumped in the pool for a few minutes just to check it out. The pool area is large, with lots of places to lie down and relax, along with plenty of thick towels.
Overall I liked the Aman. If you're there for business, this might not be "efficient" since it's not right in the middle of the commercial areas. For a vacation though, it's fairly nice, though expensive (OK, I'm cheap, which is why I didn't rank the "Value" measure high).
By the way, I do not speak Mandarin and that was not a problem here. This did become a little scary when I got a regular cab to the airport early in the morning. The staff took care of it for me though and the trip was about 40 minutes.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank skaterdude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2011

Went to Aman Summer Palace end of August, early September for 4 days, 3 nights with my mom.. Always wanted to see the Great Wall of China..

An Aman representative picked us up from the airport and assisted us with our luggages and directed us to our transportation. Airport is around 45 minutes (?) from the Aman Summer Palace.. I wasnt sure who met us when we arrived at the Summer Palace if it was the General Manager or Assistant Manager, it wasnt as memorable as other Aman Resorts for some reason... We were directed to our room which was large and beautiful and unique (as in each Aman resort)... Right before we got settled, one of the front desk people asked me for initial deposit to the 4 day stay which took me aback because none of the other Aman resorts ive stayed at (Amansara, Amanpulo, Amanpuri, Amantaka) have asked me for deposit or to settle or take care of bill issues not even half an hour of settling into our room... apparently this was the policy in china... Fine... Then I went online through the free wifi and did not realize Facebook was banned in China amongst other websites... so these two experiences put a little damp on my overall wonderful trip to Beijing...

The restaurant inside the resort was excellent... I wanted to try the French restaurant adjacent and right next to the other restaurant but I dont think my mom appreciated French cuisine so we frequently dined on the other restaurant which was fine...

We got a private tour guide to take us around Summer Palace in which the resort has a back door entrance which was pretty cool... Summer Palace was breathtaking and the story behind it is magnificent.. The following day, we went to visit the Tianamen Square and Forbidden city and the Temple of heaven.. both were great places to visit although there was a lot of walking which did not suit my mom... We had lunch at M restaurant somewhere in Beijing which was decent... Our tour guide brought us to a local department store where my mom bought jade for herself and her sister/friends... We later went to watch an Acrobatic show which was most excellent! Highly recommend to watch this show... These performers were outstanding! Heading home, I didnt realize traffic in Beijing could be horrendous... It reminded me of LA...

The following day, we went to the Great Wall of china and we had a different tour guide.. This trip was memorable and just walking and being there at the Great Wall was a surreal experience...

The gym inside the resort is phenomenal and marvelous! I went there as often as I could to work out coz the gym was inviting and pleasing to be in!

Overall, it was a great experience and I loved the trip to Beijing and to the Aman Summer Palace.. Besides the two things I mentioned above, my ratings would have been a 5 STAR!!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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Thank JSanico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2011

The Aman at the Summer Palace in Beijing is up to the usual Aman standard. The Peking Duck in the Chinese Restaurant was superb. We ate it on four of the five nights we stayed in the Hotel.
The guest relations Manage Chie Shimizu and the Director of Food and bevaerage, Apple Wang both deserve a "mention in despatches" Well done to you and the Aman team.

.

Room Tip: All good !
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank nigelrapp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aman Summer Palace

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 Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #81 of 6,606 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range: $468 - $816 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Aman Summer Palace 5*
Number of rooms: 51
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just steps from the East Gate of the Summer Palace grounds lies Aman at Summer Palace - the ideal location from which to discover Beijing. Housed in a series of pavilions, the resort is only 15km from the Forbidden City. A serene retreat, the property provides easy access to such cultural landmarks as the Great Wall, The Temple of Heaven and the hutongs, as well as Beijing's restaurants, art galleries and other contemporary delights. ... more   less 
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