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“Afternoon Tea”
Review of Aman Summer Palace

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Aman Summer Palace
Ranked #74 of 6,547 Hotels in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 2, 2012

My teenage daughter and I went for afternoon tea before visiting the Summer Palace.

How to get there
It took us about an hour by taxi to get to the Aman from where we were staying at the Peninsula hotel in the center of the city. To return to the city, we easily found a taxi as we were leaving the grounds of the Summer Palace (around 3:00 on a summer weekday). We also noticed you can take a pedicab to the nearby subway station.

Reservations
We made reservations but there were only two groups having tea while we were there so a reservation may not be necessary.

Access to Summer Palace
There is a "secret" door between the hotel and the Summer Palace but it is only available to hotel guests. To reach the Summer Palace, you will have to walk for about 5 minutes...exit the hotel, turn right and then right again.

Hotel, tea, cost
The interior of the Aman is luxurious and quiet. The bar area where tea is served looks out at a garden and pond. There is a nice selection of teas and the assortment of sandwiches and sweets is amazing (for China) and tasty. See photos. The cost is 198 yuan per person (around $30 US).

Next time
On my next visit, I will walk through the Summer Palace before having tea since it would be really nice to relax at the quiet Aman after dealing with the heat and crowds of the Summer Palace.

Room Tip: The Aman is far from the city center making it a poor choice for sightseeing. The rooms are really e...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank pricklypoppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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139 - 145 of 299 reviews

Reviewed August 31, 2012

We spent a long weekend in Beijing and stayed there. We had a fabulous suite with an original Chinese bed but with a modern comfort. The room had century old vaulted wooden ceiling that were probably 20 ft high. The hotel has its own private entrance to the summer palace that is accessible anytime upon request. It means that after hours when the crowd has left you can walk around the parks and palace on your own - fantastic!
They have three very good restaurants we tried them all - recommend their Peking Duck.
If there was one drawback is the fact that give the age of the structure (even though everything has been recently renovated) there is not quite the privacy you would hope if your suite is part of a two suite house. But the authenticity of the buildings and rooms make up for that.
Note that the hotel location is great for visiting the summer palace but is located North East of the third outer ring of Beijing which can be a long journey if you need to go to the financial district (South Eastern corner of the city).
Prices is what you would expect for such luxury.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Marc V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

Aman offers a very special experience in Beijing. I was firstly attracted to it because it has the private access to Summer Palace, and soon enough I found the hotel itself is also a charming creature offering all the necessities to comfort your stay.

During our stay we went to cinema and swimming pool without seeing any other guests. The stay was very relaxing and comfortable. The room was clean, the staff were helpful, and most of the elements in this hotel fit the environment well. The hotel arrange some interesting activities for guests, such as Calligraphy.

We got into Summer Palace from very early in the morning when there were barely tourists, it looked indeed grand and elegant.

The food in this hotel is not at top notch, as well as the service in restaurants. The hotel is located a bit far from the city center, and the way to the hotel may not have very lovely view. The concierge always offer car booking service though, so don't worry if you don't have personal vehicle.

Overall it was a very nice stay. Looking forward to get back there someday.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Beilinbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2012

Here is China of the past, the lost empire. Welcome to Aman at Summer Palace! And guess what, you are the emperor...for the lenght of your stay. Served with discreet attention, lodged with grand style, nourished with delicate and flavored cooking. The Summer Palace and imperial Gardens are also yours, accessible to you once closed to (common...) visitors, through a small secret door that opens a world of splendor at the back of the hotel.
Enjoy!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank Pdefermor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2012

My wife, 2 year old and I stayed at the Summer Palace for 5 nights in late July and had a great time. Resort is beautiful - feels like you're back in time during the Emperor's rule. Service was also really amazing (what Aman resorts are really known for). Had read some reviews about staff not speaking good English but we didn't find this at all. Tour guide and drivers we had were also great.

Only downside is that you're not in the city center and it takes some time to get there. Hard to get taxis from the resort so you have to know this ahead of time and reserve one of their cars. But this is in my mind very much outweighed by being outside the hustle and bustle and having an amazing place to come back to.

Would highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank schluka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2012

We have stayed at a number of Four Seasons-hotels, Mandarin Oriental-hotels, Hyatt-hotels and so on - but this was our very first Aman stay. And we were completely blown away by the experience. Once you step into the hotel lobby you're transported into a fairy-tale-version of Old China. But not a Disney-version-of-old-China, more like entering Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon for real. The atmosphere of the place totally immersed us. Wow.

We stayed here for 4 nights and we loved it. The service, the room, the architecture and the beautiful hotel area. When it was raining one evening and we wanted a cab to a shopping mall the hotel wasn't able to get a taxi - "We can't get a hold of a taxi because of the rain - is it ok if one of the Managers drive you there for free?" Wow - I've never experienced anything like that before. There were small surprises like that all the time. Highly recommended.

A few things to think about

1) location - Except for the Summer Palace next door - there is quite a trek to get anywhere else. A 30-40 minute drive by car or 10 minutes walk to the nearest subway-station and then about 25-30 minutes subway-ride to central Beijing. We used the subway and we really didn't mind the commute. Also - Beijing is really spread out and even if you're staying in the city it will usually be a 20-40 trek to other parts of the city.

The big big plus about location is of course the hotel's secret door into the Summer Palace Park. You can have the whole park almost to yourself early morning or in the evening. Fantastic. And when you get back the staff wait for you with cold towels.

2) prices - yes it is expensive. The room rates aren't more expensive than top hotels in Tokyo or Hong Kong, but what was really expensive was the excursions the hotel offered (to the wall etc) - way to pricey for us.

3) English among the staff - some other people here have complained about lack of English knowledge among the staff. There were some smaller frustration about that, but in some ways that added to the atmosphere that this is a local chinese experience.

I've a number of photos from our stay at Aman among this set on Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/55096699@N07/sets/72157630299907562/

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mats F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2012

We stayed two nights at the Aman at Summer Palace and we thouroughly enjoyed our stay. The hotel representative met us at the airport and we had a nice drive to the hotel. We arrived late and we were quickly checked in and taken to our room. The hotel is beautifully designed and we had a nice room tucked in a courtyard. The bed was extremely comfortable and the shower was fantastic. My only complaint would be the slightly moldy smell in our bedroom (it had been raining quite a bit before we arrived) and the uncomfortable sofa that was the centerpiece of the room.
We had excellent service and the staff was extremely cordial. We had dinner at the Japanese fusion restaurant and enjoyed our meal. It was only a tasting menu and it would have been nice to have the option to order separate items. The setting is romantic beside the pool and the restaurant service was excellent. We also had a nice lunch at the Chinese restaurant and breakfast at the Grill.
The spa is serene and housed in the basement. I liked the dark, quiet feel and the massage was excellent. We slipped into the movie theater after the massage and enjoyed the end of a movie in silence as the only guests in the theater.
On the day of our departure our flight was delayed and we attempted to book another flight back to the US. The front desk staff was very helpful and polite and went out of their way to help us.
The hotel was perfect for us after an exhausting trip to Mongolia.We had already been to central Beijing and the Forbidden City so we enjoyed being outside of town. I would not recommend staying here if you planned to spend a lot of time touring central Beijing-- traffic is tough and the 30 minutes can quickly turn into over an hour in traffic.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank lwohara
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 #74 of 6,547 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range: $440 - $1,486 (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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