Every single centimetre of Amanyangyun is extraordinary – which is unsurprising, given it’s the result of a 15-year initiative to relocate a forest and reconstruct a historic village starring 50 Ming and Qing Dynasty houses. When guests arrive, they’re invited to water the ancient Emperor Tree that stands within the dazzling Nan Shufang heritage complex; the cultural adventures continue with tea- and incense-ceremonies, calligraphy classes and Chinese therapies in the incredible spa, home to a Turkish hammam and Russian banya (for starters). A trio of restaurants and a duo of bars mean you’ll take your taste buds on a trip, too.
Forty seven, including 24 suites, 14 pavilions and nine villas.
Noon; earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £505.49 (CNY4,399), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast for two, minibar soft drinks (topped up daily) and access to the gym, yoga studio and the Nan Shufang cultural complex – and one Nanshufang activity for two during your stay.
Global starchitects Kerry Hill Architects are responsible for this Chinese hotel maestro; landscapes come courtesy of Dan Pearson Studio.
At the hotel
Lake; Nan Shufang cultural complex; free WiFi, tea and incense rooms; sacred Emperor Tree; spa with hammam, Russian banya, fitness centre and Pilates and yoga studio; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV; DVD player; minibar.
Our favourite rooms
The light-filled Ming Courtyard Suites earn their name with not one but two private courtyards; interiors are styled with modern, minimal elegance and the al fresco bath is an undeniable boon. If you’ve got the to spare yuan, opt for one of the Antique Villas, which pay tribute to their 400-year-old heritage with original stone carvings and inscriptions depicting family hopes and histories. You’ll have 800–1,000 sq m to spread out in, plus a private pool, Jacuzzi and courtyard...
There are two jaw-dropping swimming pools, one al fresco and one indoors, both attached to the Aman Spa.
The vast Aman Spa sprawls around a garden courtyard, with 10 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy and reflexology suites, and bathhouses incorporating a Russian banya and a hammam. There’s a duo of pools, a state-of-the-art gym and a large yoga and Pilates studio overlooking a reflection pond. Pick from one of the unique-to-Aman therapies or indulge in one of the 15 spa journeys, which combine ancient Chinese-medicine healing practices with modern technology.
Come armed with a hunger for history and a thirst for tea.
The hotel has one room suited to wheelchair-users; its lobby, restaurant and communal areas shouldn’t pose any problems for wheelchairs.
Lucky little Smiths are very welcome: the Cultural Discovery Centre offers activities for juniors aged between five and 12.
Arva’s lakeside views are pretty dreamy; then again, Lazhu overlooks the woodland, gardens, a bamboo grove and the river...
Shanghai chic: silks, tailoring and a chignon, perhaps, for Mrs Smith.
There’s no risk of going hungry at Amanyangyun, where a trio of restaurants await. Tofu-championing Lazhu serves ambitious Jiangxi cuisine, inspired by Ming and Qing Dynasty dishes, alongside Cantonese classics; lakeside Arva is your choice for delicious Italian dishes whipped up by Aman Venice’s former chef; washoku (traditional Japanese flavours) are aced by Nama, which writes edible love letters to the region’s freshest, finest produce. The Bar will also treat your taste buds, particularly if you have a yen for afternoon tea...
Settle in by one of the antique fireplaces at the Bar. Stroll up the picturesque path that leads to the Cigar Lounge: an oak- and copper-accented space that houses a mob-worthy stash of cigars from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, plus a temperature-controlled wine cellar where guests can store their personal collection for future visits.
Enjoy breakfast between 6.30am and 10am; the restaurants close at midnight.
Order treats to your suite or villa 24/7; the selection includes burgers and sandwiches, smoked salmon, beef Wellington, congee, noodles, fresh juices, coffee, tea and more.
You’ll find Amanyangyun in a relocated camphor forest, just outside downtown Shanghai. However, the hotel’s story starts in Fuzhu, 700 kilometres away, where Amanyangyun’s trees and historic houses originally belonged.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is 58 kilometres away (an hour’s drive). Let Smith24 sort your flights and hotel transfers.
Hongqiao Train Station, which connects to Beijing and Shanghai, is a half-hour drive away.
Downtown Shanghai is a half-hour drive away; the hotel has plenty of guest parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
Make the most of the spoiling spa – Aman can ace wellness in its sleep – or burn off the dumpling calories by taking advantage of the hotel’s impressive fitness facilities. Watch a tea- or incense-ceremony at Nan Shufang cultural centre (named after the royal reading pavilion in the Forbidden City), where you can also try your hand at Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting. Set off for a stroll around the tranquil camphor forest, only returning for some food and drink at the hotel. (Budding chefs can take part in one of the bi-monthly Italian cookery classes on offer at Arva restaurant, with sessions such as pizza-, pasta- and mozzarella-making.) Shanghai’s historic Bund district – where cultural, dining and shopping lures await – is an easy drive away. The Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena is just a few minutes from the hotel by car; head there for a round of golf or catch an international tennis match. Explorers could roam further afield for the traditional canal town of Zhujiajiao and the cultural hubs of Suzhou and Hangzhou.
Having wined and dined at the hotel’s impressive array of restaurants, head into nearby Shanghai for more gourmet adventures. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet in Huangpu has one table with room for 10 lucky bottoms. Expect a wizard-worthy multi-sensory experience that fuses sight, sound and smell, so as to enhance its elegant French fine-dining offerings. Hakkasan is a global household name; see why by visiting the Shanghai outpost on the Bund.
Sip creative cocktails at speakeasy-style Speak Low, on Fuxing Middle Road in Huangpu Qu. You’ll have to hunt a little to scope out its door – clue: it’s tucked away within a in a bartending equipment shop – but it’s well worth the effort (especially if you order a Wang Lao Ji tea).
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 the and unpacked their calligraphy pens and tea, a full account of their forest break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Amanyangyun near Shanghai…
We’ll wager you’ve never bedded down in a restored historic village starring Qing and Ming Dynasty houses, painstaking reconstructed brick by ancient brick, set in a relocated camphor forest just outside of Shanghai. Change that by booking into Amanyangyun, which can’t fairly be described as a hotel – it’s China’s boldest ever conservation project. The hotel’s story starts in rural Fuzhou, 700 kilometres away, where thousands of trees and their neighbouring historic houses were threatened by a much-needed reservoir. A Fuzhou philanthropist had the genius idea of transporting 10 thousand trees and a historic village; Aman stepped in to help.
Kerry Hill Architects – also responsible for Aman Tokyo – and Dan Pearson Studios held the reins respectively for the architecture and landscaping (both of which are jaw-dropping). Granted, the hotel’s facilities are staggering – from the world-class spa to the fascinating cultural complex, forest grounds and trio of ravishing restaurants – but special mention has to go to those restored antique houses, which reveal their 400-year past with original stone carvings and inscriptions detailing family hopes and histories. It’s hard to believe that downtown Shanghai is a half-hour drive away...