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Aman Summer Palace
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Reviewed November 1, 2010

A gorgeous resort that is a little away from the main city area - not that far though, perhaps half an hour. And half hour in a city like Beijing isn't bad at all.

Pluses:
The summer palace was right behind the Aman resort, and you could literally walk though the back door of the resort if you had a guided tour.
A beautiful resort, gives you an idea of what living large in olden days China would have been like.
Not sure the kind of room i stayed in, but it was a suite, and i believe it was the most modest version of the rooms available
Service was generally excellent, by chinese standards
Food served in the restaurant was great, but service was a little too slow for our liking.
The grounds of the resort is great for walking or jogging. Beautiful
They have a great indoor pool, and more than functional room. Also a pilates room with lots of pilates machines - i suspect you would have to pay for pilates lesson and not allowed to used the room by yourself.
They even have a movie room with 2 daily screenings - once before dinner and once after dinner. Great comfortable seats - quite equivalent to Lazyboy.

Minus:
We had a little glitch and the shower was choked. And being 10.30pm at night, perhaps they are a little understaffed, it took a while for the housekeeping staff to come by to the room, and when they cleaned it up, they left the room without telling us they were leaving, and leave our door open. This is definitely not the kind of service that is expected of an Aman Resort.

Other than that, it was a fabulous trip.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank JazzyJas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2010

The hotel is fabulous. Staying there was like living in an old Peking courtyard and having the Summer Palace as your garden. Although the hotel was almost fully booked during the Mid-Autumn festival, we could hardly see any other quests in our courtyard. We were upgraded to suits, which are quite spacious. But the bed is bit short for me and my husband, maybe we are tall for the Asian standards--5'7 and 6.

The service, unfortunately, is far from a 7 star hotel standard. We needed a thermos bottle of hot water for our one-year-old son's formula and have to called different places to get one. Room assistant told us to call housekeeping and housekeeping said all the bottles were gone. When we were having breakfast in their Grill restaurant, it took very long time for the waiters to take our empty dishes away. We had to find spaces for our coffee among dirty dishes, which piled up quite high. Maybe the staff was too busy during the holiday, whenever we were asking something over the phone, they sounded impatient. But hotel service in China is in general very low. Aman's is already the best, according to the China standard. Do not expected you will get same service as in other Aman hotels.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank shadowplay6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2010

After so many years living and working in China I kind of lost the believe in 5 star service and overal deluxe resort experiences but the stay in the AMAN at Summerpalace proved me wrong.

The suite, the location, the details, the service, the food, the SPA, simply everything was fantastic. I was sad to leave and I will surely go back, because I felt welcomed by the amazing staff from the first moment.

Especially the Japanese lady at the reception, the somelier Krishna and the GM Mark gave us the most welcoming experience ever.

Try it, you will indulge like nowhere else!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kelingyun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2010

I stayed for two nights in a deluxe suite before visiting some friends in Beijing.

PROS:
- Probably the best service I've ever seen
- Beautiful, historic architecture

CONS
- None, other than the substantial price tag

SUMMARY
This was my first time staying at an Amanresorts property, and I will definitely be trying more of them in the future. Aman's style is very interesting - the staff-to-guest ratio must be incredibly high, and yet the service is very discreet. In fact, you don't have to see almost anyone (staff or guests) unless you want to. The decor is simple and comfortable, but still beautiful and highly localized. Despite the fact that most of the guests are probably very wealthy, everyone was very casually (but nicely) dressed. If you're looking for somewhere to stay that's luxurious and cultured, but you're put off by the stuffy/pretentious feeling of the Ritzes and Four Seasons of the world, this is the place for you. The only question is the price. In two

THE DETAILS
ARRIVAL: Taxi driver had a hard time finding the place (of course, I've never once had a taxi driver in Beijing that could find an address on the first try, so this wasn't much worse than usual). Once there, I was personally greeted by none other than the general manager of the hotel. I have never been greeted my the manager of a hotel in my life. I think they page him every time a new guest arrives and if he's free he stops by. Very impressive. If that wasn't enough, he ended up having drinks with me for 90 minutes later that night and explained the whole history of the hotel. Check-in was easy, someone takes you to your room and shows you where everything is, taking your credit card and passport after, and returning them very quickly.

ROOM: Although I paid for a basic suite, I was upgraded to a deluxe (a substantial price difference). I can't confirm this, but I got the impression Aman generally puts people in whatever the best available rooms are (the place seemed far from full). So if you're going during low season, you might be able to book a cheaper room and stay in a better one. The room is enormous, half of an historic chinese bungalow fronting on a courtyard. There is a dining area, a huge desk (complete with calligraphy set, in case you want to indulge in that art), a separate bedroom with a canopy bed, a dressing room with Ming armoires, and a hall-like bathroom with a clawfoot tub at the far end. A CD plays soft chinese music in the background. Amazingly, the music was so relaxing I left it on nearly my entire stay (usually I turn the crappy music from the hotel TV channel off before even putting my luggage down).

SERVICE: I think they have staff "hiding" all over the place, who just pop out of the woodwork unseen whenever anything needs to be done. Every time I left my room for more than 20 minutes it seemed someone had cleaned it, organized my shoes, dopped off laundry, or something. This is exactly what hotel service should be like - anything you need right when you need it, and everything taken care of behind the scenes (as opposed to staff constantly knocking on your door). The manager said they want it to feel like you're staying in a home, not a hotel, and they come close to pulling it off. All of the staff know who you are (no clue how they pull that off), so you never have to sign a bill for anything - they just keep track of all your charges until you leave.

AMENITIES: I stayed here almost two full days, I only ended up spending 3 hours touring the Summer Palace itself, and yet I was never bored. There's always something to do, and the place is perfectly designed to encourage you to just relax and do nothing. Practically, they have the following: A "secret" back door into the summer palace (no ticket needed), a full-service spa (best massage I've ever had), a pool, steam room, etc. There's apparently a movie theater, and they'll deliver DVDs on request to your room, but I never had time to try any of this.

FOOD: I ate at the "French Kaiseki" place the first night. I can't fully explain it, but I sat at a bar with a chef in front of me who served lots of little dishes that seemed to be fusions of all kinds of cuisines. Some of it was amazing, some was a little odd, and I think the combination was too much for me... I had pretty awful heartburn that night. But I'll give them points for creativity. The room service was quite good, and the chinese restaurant was also good. Overall, I'd say the food was good, but certainly not the best I've ever had in a hotel (whereas the service, decor, etc was all probably the best I've ever seen). If I had been staying longer, I would have headed into town to try other restaurants. One other thing: there never seemed to be more than one or two other people eating in any of the restaurants when I was there. Again, probably just because the hotel wasn't very full at that time (it was 100 degrees outside, after all).

LOCATION: I personally would NOT use this as my sole hotel in Beijing, especially not on a first visit - it's very far from the center of town. However, as a place to escape the city for a couple nights, and just relax and take in some culture and beauftiful scenery, the location is great. How many hotels are there situated in a formal imperial palace? The one other thing to keep in mind is that you're still close enough to Beijing to suffer from the air pollution outdoors here - although all the indoor spaces seemed incredibly clean and fresh.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled solo
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2  Thank hotelguy81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2010

Unbelievable location (private access to Summer Palace), sophisticated suites, amazing swimming pool (probably the best in China), excellent staff, famous restaurants. In one word : PERFECT

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank nicolas c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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