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?
- 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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