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.
- 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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