You are here: Home > Places > China > Beijing > Aman at Summer Palace - Beijing, China | Hotel Review

Aman at Summer Palace - Beijing, China | Hotel Review

Nice Property, but Service Not to Aman Standards


Aman at Summer Palace - Beijing, China: Located just steps from the iconic Summer Palace in Beijing, Aman at Summer Palace was where we would be spending our last few days while in China reviewing luxury hotels and resorts. Being fans of Aman Resorts, we couldn’t think of a better way to end our trip to China so we booked ourselves a suite and looked forward to a relaxing and if all worked out as expected, an amazing stay at this luxury Aman resort. Click here to see 43 pictures of Aman Resort at Summer Palace in Beijing.

First Impression/Lobby: Purely Asian, the lobby of Aman at Summer Palace was ornately decorated in authentic Chinese furnishings. A huge, innately carved wooden wall divider was the focal point of the lobby. Low sitting wooden couches and tables completed the lobby’s minimalist décor.

Share this review on Facebook.

Reception: Upon our arrival, we were shown to the small lobby area by a bellman who offered us seats at a table just off the lobby. We were then joined by a middle aged man who half heartedly welcomed us to Aman at Summer Palace and completed our registration. The man never introduced himself, nor did he give us any information about the property. We later we found out he was the Front Office Manager. It was definitely an odd arrival at what is supposed to be a luxury resort in Beijing.

The Suite: Our Courtyard Suite, one of the seven available at Aman at Summer Palace, was located a couple-minute walk from the main building. Housed in a long building, our suite shared an entrance with one other suite; the courtyard was open to whoever happened to pass through the area. It was not as private as we had expected, and for the price we were paying, it was even more disappointing. The thought we had to keep the drapes of our suite closed so we could have privacy was not a thought that sat well with us.

From the shared entrance, through what looked like beautiful, century-old doors, the suite opened into a small entrance fitted with a work desk and a table and two chairs. Each piece of furniture was slight and stark. The white walls, tall ceilings and medium colored wood trim and furniture kept with what I am sure was purely the style during the Ming Dynasty.

Through another set of doors, the suite opened into the bedroom. The bedroom had a large bed along the far wall with a small daybed/couch and table at the foot of the bed, steps from the entrance of the room. Two long wooden tables acted as nightstands, each with a tiny lamp crowned with a delicate red lampshade. On each side of the doors were large wooden armoires, one housed the mini-bar, the other housed the TV. A row of windows ran along the exterior wall, but as I mentioned earlier, for maximum privacy the drapes had to be closed. This made the suite dark and feel small.

The bathroom was located off the bedroom and by luxury hotel standards; the bathroom was very much on the large side. Twin basin sinks located on an extra long counter, a private toilet stall, a large shower stall and wardrobe completed one side of the bathroom. The other side of the bathroom had another wardrobe, a deep soaking tub, and a super long makeup table with a small mirror. The bathroom offered plenty of space, but most of it went to waste, unused. Too bad the suite wasn’t designed so that the extra space could have been added to the bedroom area where the extra room would have been welcomed.

Our suite at Aman at Summer Palace disappointed us. Instead of feeling inspired and fresh, we felt entrapped and hidden away. So far the only good thing about this Aman resort was its proximity to the Summer Palace.

Room Service: Similar to what we experienced in other luxury and five-star hotels in China, placing an order at Aman at Summer Palace was difficult due to the language barrier. After struggling to place our order, our food finally did arrive to our suite on time. The young Chinese man that delivered our meal was pleasant enough and tried his very best to understand our requests, but in the end our meal was incomplete. The dumplings we ordered were tasty, but far from high quality or superb tasting. Yet again, Aman at Summer Palace failed to live up to the Aman reputation.

Housekeeping: Housekeeping at Aman at Summer Palace is one area that passed with flying colors. Our suite was serviced twice a day as expected and each time the service was completed to spec.

Concierge: Aman at Summer Palace did not have a dedicated concierge, but instead used the front office staff to handle special arrangements and reservations. Since we only dined at the Aman restaurants while we were there, those reservation requests were handled flawlessly. However, our arrangements for a car transfer to the airport turned out to be a fiasco that took multiple calls and a visit to the front desk to get them properly arranged. Impressive? No, not at all.

Restaurants: Aman at Summer Palace offers a nice variety of dining options. The main building houses The Lounge where Continental breakfast and light meals are served. Naoki, the resort's French and Japanese fusion restaurant is stunning on the inside, the food though is another story. (Click here to read our restaurant review of Naoki, coming soon). The Grill serves Western dishes and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food and service at The Grill are both in keeping with Aman Resorts' high standards. The Chinese Restaurant, as you could guess, serves Chinese and specializes in Cantonese cuisine. The Bar, overlooking the pond and garden is a quiet retreat and a nice place to go to simply relax and unwind.

Pool/Spa/Activities: It was only on the afternoon of our last day that we learned the full range of activities available that Aman at Summer Palace had to offer. It would have been nice to have been told about all they had to offer when we arrived so we could have planned our time accordingly.

We would definitely have used the large 37 seat theater and a trip to the gorgeous indoor pool, fully equipped health club and spa would have been planned as well. We would have arranged for wine tasting and who knows, maybe smoked a cigar or two. Sadly, we did not find out all that Aman at Summer Palace had to offer until our last day.

Check-Out: Our final impression of Aman at Summer Palace was a slow and confusing check-out process. Random charges on our bill and a representative that moved at a snail’s pace made us late in heading to the airport. Once in the car and on our way, instead of wishing we could have extended our stay or reliving cherished memories, we were worried about making our flight. This is not the experience a guest wants when they leave a luxury property like Aman.

Overall Impression: Once a huge fan of Aman Resorts, we were leaving China with a much different feeling. We started our stay in China at Aman’s newest resort, Amanfayun in Hangzhou, and ended it at Aman at Summer Palace in Beijing. Both properties failed to impress and left us wanting more, much more.

Aman at Summer Palace offered little in the way of Aman’s standard of superior service. While the Ming Dynasty décor was not our taste, it did give the resort the authentic feel of old China and garnered the property its highest scores from us. But with that said, Aman at Summer Palace only gets a rating of Between Bombastic and Not.

Follow the links below to see our other Aman Resort reviews:
Amanfayun Resort – Hangzhou, China
Amanusa Resort – Bali, Indonesia
Amanpulo Resort – Pamalican Island, Philippines
Amanpuri Resort – Phuket, Thailand

Join us on Facebook!

5 Star and Luxury Hotel, Resort,
Restaurant, Airline and Travel Reviews,
Advice and Information - Independent and Unbiased

Share this article:

reddit Delicious Digg Mr. Wong Webnews Facebook StumbleUpon


Be the first to post a comment!