Beijing, China

Aman Summer Palace

Rates from (ex tax)$392.43

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (CNY3,105.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Ming minimalism

Setting

Imperial pavilions

Boutique hotel Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing’s Qing Dynasty dwellings once served as waiting rooms for imperial audiences. Today, they’re the key to direct, exclusive access to the Summer Palace’s treasures. Tour the unspoiled gardens and pavilions before the crowds get too heavy, then retire to the hotel’s traditional courtyards, carved wood interiors and serene spa for a one-of-a-kind Beijing stay.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A private tour of the Summer Palace

Facilities

Photos Aman Summer Palace facilities

Need to know

Rooms

51, including 33 suites.

Check–Out

12 noon. Check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible subject to availability and a fee (half a night’s stay for check-out until 6pm and a full night’s stay for early check-in and later check-out).

Rates

Double rooms from $391.92 (CNY2,700), excluding tax at 15 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (CNY3,105.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include breakfast; choose from Continental, Chinese, low-calorie or American options alongside fresh fruit and fine teas. Cultural activities, a tea ceremony and soft drinks in the minibar are also included.

Also

The library is home to rare works on the Summer Palace and glossy photography books on the region. Chinese calligraphy demonstrations are hosted here and the hotel also runs free cultural activities at 4pm every day, ranging from paper-cutting to kite-making.

At the hotel

Gardens, spa, gym, Pilates studio, squash court, table tennnis, private cinema, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, Aroma Therapy toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Set in clusters of three pavilions surrounding a tranquil inner courtyard, rooms are dressed in natural hues and polished wood inspired by the Ming Dynasty. Deluxe Suites are serene and romantic, with imposing four-poster beds and inviting day-beds made for languid reclining. With deep sunken baths, double sinks and traditional lamps, their bathrooms have the intimate, cosseting feel of a bath house. Sprawling across three pavilions, the Imperial Suite is its own little compound, with drum-stool seating, a private spa treatment room and floor-to-ceiling carved-wood panels. Ask for a room in the courtyard closest to the palace’s wall: the sound of the daily Chinese opera performances (at 9, 10 and 11am) wafting over from the great stage will transport youto the heyday of the Chinese empire.

Poolside

Aman’s temperature-controlled 25m pool is an ink-blue, mirror-smooth affair, hidden away in an atmospheric subterranean retreat. Rows of loungers and raised day-beds await around its edges – a perfect excuse for a vitamin-packed treat from the juice bar after a few virtuous laps.

Spa

All rough-hewn stone and sleek wood, the Aman spa sprawls over two floors as an underground temple devoted solely to guests’ wellbeing. Each of the nine twin treatment suites has its own bath tub, shower, steam room and massage area. Get acquainted with your chi with treatments designed by the Qing Dynasty’s own Chinese medicine practice. Acupuncture, herbal poultices and cupping form the backbone of the spa’s treatment menu, but there’s plenty for those hungry for indulgence, too: try heated gemstone massages, wild jasmine wraps and ginger-rich scrubs. Kick-start a new regime in the fitness suite, an impressively hi-tech, sky-lit space kitted out with Technogym equipment and Pilates reformers, offering daily classes at 2pm. Forgot to pack a partner for the two squash courts? The hotel’s personal trainers will happily put you through your paces.

Packing tips

Bring a copy of Cixi’s biography to immerse yourself in the Empress Dowager’s life of intrigue and political machinations, which shaped the last throes of the Qing Dynasty.

Also

The private cinema shows films every day at 6pm. Sink into one of the deep leather seats with a bowl of popcorn, or book the space to yourself to play festival programmer. Guestrooms and Family Suites are accessible to disabled guests.

Children

Welcome, although extra beds are only available in Suites and above. Under-12s stay free (4-11s are charged CNY300 for breakfast each day); older children are charged CNY700 a night including breakfast.

Food and Drink

Photos Aman Summer Palace food and drink

Top Table

Arrange for breakfast to be served by the lake at The Summer Palace – you’ll have it all to yourselves before it opens to the public at 8.30am.

Dress Code

Diaphanous silks and impeccable tailoring.

Hotel restaurant

A foodie before her time, Empress Cixi was said to enjoy 128 dishes at every meal. The Chinese restaurant pays tribute to this imperial appetite with elegant comfort food: sample a feast of crispy pork skin, amber-hued Peking duck, stir-fried fish with asparagus and chef Jing Guang Gu’s perfectly balanced Szechuan chicken. Naoki’s set menus offer French-Japanese fusion at its best; try the sea bream sashimi and the green lobster salad. Breakfast is served in the Grill restaurant, where prime cuts of meat and fresh seafood are given a western treatment at lunch and dinner. Head to the lobby for afternoon tea in the dappled shade of a traditional courtyard.

Hotel bar

Retire to the Reflection Pavilion, a traditional red-framed structure with a picturesque terrace overlooking a peaceful lotus pond. All dark panelled wood and plush bar stools, the Cigar Room offers premium cigars and warming spirits.

Last orders

Lunch is served 11.30am–2.30pm, afternoon tea 2pm–4pm and dinner 6pm–10.30pm.

Room service

Pick from the restaurants’ menus during opening hours, after which a light menu of salads, sandwiches and soups is available around the clock.

Location

Photos Aman Summer Palace location
Address
Aman Summer Palace
No.1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace
100091
Beijing
China

Planes

Beijing Capital International Airport, an hour’s drive away, has daily domestic flights and services on most international airlines to Europe, the US and Asia.

Trains

Beijing West Train Station, a 40-minute drive away, serves high-speed trains to Hong Kong, Guanzhou and Shenzen, as well as destinations throughout the west of China. Subway lines 4 and 10 stop at Xiyuan and Beingongmen stations nearby.

Automobiles

Beijing’s heavy traffic is best left to the professionals. Taxis are cheap and plentiful, but the hotel has a car park if you insist on bringing your own wheels.

Worth getting out of bed for

First built in 1750, the Summer Palace has a long and rich history inextricably linked to the fortunes of the Qing Dynasty. This Unesco-listed landscape of palaces and classical gardens encircling the mirror-smooth Kunming Lake was once used as a retreat from the searing summer heat of the Forbidden City. You’d be forgiven for doing much the same and dedicating your time in Beijing to contemplative walks around the grounds, meditative sessions in the spa and gentle hikes through pine forests to the Ultimate Blessings pavilion, a picturesque spot for picnics and badminton. Once you’re ready to explore further, staff will happily arrange tours and visits to Beijing’s must-see sites, from maze-like hutongs to serene Buddhist temples and cutting-edge art galleries. Don’t miss the Temple of Heaven, a complex of 15th-century religious buildings representing the relationship between heaven and earth.

Local restaurants

 

You’ll find no shortage of gastronomic delights if you’re willing to travel into town, from sleek fine-dining establishments to cheap-and-cheerful noodle and dumpling joints. By the Tibetan Zhizhusi temple, the tasting menu of Temple Restaurant Beijing (+86 10 8400 2232) reads like a gastronome’s tour of the world: sample pea soup with caviar, tender suckling pig with a pumpkin purée and merguez-flanked lamb loin. On Maizidian Jie, Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu serves plump northern dumplings in rainbow hues (+86 10 6586 4967). Quench your  Peking duck cravings at Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant (+86 10 5169 0328), an upmarket pit stop where full-flavoured fowls are glazed and roasted to crispy perfection.

Reviews

Photos Aman Summer Palace reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in China and unpacked their mah jong and mooncakes, a full account of their luxury city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Aman Summer Palace…

When Empress Dowager Cixi set about rerouting navy funds to restore Beijing’s Summer Palace in the 19th century, she had in mind an exclusive retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Boutique hotel Aman Summer Palace is just that: an exclusive complex of traditional pavilions, handsome tiled roofs and genteel courtyards that were once the anteroom to imperial audiences. Courtiers waited up to five days for a minute of the Emperor’s time, but guests now have Aman’s flawless service and luxurious facilities at their beck and call. Arranged around nine peaceful courtyards linked by decorative corridors, rooms are decked out in elegant Ming Dynasty style, within easy reach of a superlative underground spa and fitness complex. The hotel’s three restaurants pay fitting tribute to the imperial kitchen that was once housed here, dishing out scintillating Chinese fare, sea-fresh Japanese morsels and a solid offering of Western favourites. Staff will happily arrange excursions to the pick of Beijing’s sites, but for an unforgettable glimpse of China’s history, sneak into the Summer Palace before the doors open to savour breakfast by Kunming Lake, as its rulers once did.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Aman Summer Palace’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Thank you Mr & Mrs Smith for organising a seamless stay at the Aman Summer Palace with my family recently. From our pick up in Beijing to drop off at the train station to catch our train to Shanghai it was a wonderful, spoiling experience. As ever with Aman it was a truly beautiful property. However the added extra from Mr & Mrs Smith of a private guide – and the ability to enter the Palace through a 'secret gate', thus avoiding any queues – made it perfect. The staff at Aman led by Vaipanya Kongkwanyuen were exemplary. They went the 'extra mile' when my mother mistakenly left a package, it was forwarded to our hotel in Shanghai post haste. There was a variety of restaurants available at the resort serving Chinese, Japanese and western cuisines. Sadly we didn't have time to take advantage of the many excursions offered by the resort. I would love to return when the lotus and magnolias are blooming. Thank you Mr Mrs Smith, thank you Aman Summer Palace.

Don’t expect

Raging nightlife

Rating

Stayed on 23 Dec 2016

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