To say the Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing is an example of the Amanresorts group gone urban would be perhaps a bit misleading. This one is technically in a city, which is a departure from the usual Aman setting—whether on the beach in Bali or by the side of a mountain in Wyoming, one thing they all are is secluded. But while Beijing is one of the world’s biggest, most riotous cities, and only getting bigger, the experience the Summer Palace offers is hardly what you’d call an urban one.
It’s right next door to the Summer Palace proper, and occupies its own private compound, a collection of hundred-year-old guest houses surrounded by tranquil ponds and verdant gardens. It would have been an unforgivable crime against architecture to have spoiled this site with tacky luxury villas; all the same, the occasional well-integrated modern touch is more than welcome. The electronic gadgetry, easy to miss in a suite full of bamboo blinds and ornate hand-carved screens, is state-of-the-art, and the bathrooms are low-tech but very modern, with massive soaking tubs and separate showers.
The prevailing feeling on the grounds of the Aman at Summer Palace is one of quiet; unlike the busy tourist site next door, it’s closed to the public, and you’re far more likely to encounter one of some three hundred staffers than one of your fellow guests. There’s a massive hospitality infrastructure beneath the Summer Palace’s surface—both figuratively and literally, with the pools, spa and fitness center all located underground. If the trademark away-from-it-all Aman experience is what you’re after, it’s entirely possible here—the Summer Palace is perfectly self-sufficient. But the Beijing location means there’s a lot more available in the way of diversions. Wall tours, Palace and temple walks, even shopping excursions; the combination of Aman seclusion with big-city Beijing bustle is a uniquely formidable one.
15 Gongmenqian Street, Beijing
(86) 10 5987 9999
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