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Amanfayun Resort - Hangzhou, China | Hotel Review

Just Too Many Issues To Rate It Bombastic


Amanfayun Resort - Hangzhou, China: This is Aman Resorts second property in China and once again they have developed a unique property. Located a 50-minute drive from Hangzhou Airport, Amanfayun is an old Chinese village that has been transformed into Amanfayun, a luxury resort on the outskirts of Hangzhou.

We arranged for the car transfer from the airport to Amanfayun. We were met at the airport by an Amanfayun employee who spoke very little English but was able to help us gather our bags and took us out to the waiting 4x4 for the drive to the resort.

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Along the way to the resort we tried to chat with the Amanfayun representative but his limited English and our total lack of Chinese made trying to communicate just too frustrating. The driver spoke zero English. It would have been nice to ask question along the way to learn more about the Chinese countryside, but instead we sat in silence. It was an interesting drive but nothing amazing.

First Impression/Lobby: We were greeted at the car by an Amanfayun manager and we were escorted into the non-descript reception area where we completed our registration and then we were escorted to our villa.

The sense of peace and tranquility set us in the mood for what we thought would be an amazing stay at Amanfayun. Unfortunately, our experience would not end up as amazing as we thought it would.

The Villa: When I called to make our reservations; I was told all villas were unique and that villa 8 was one of the best villas due to its size and location. After just a few minutes of seeing the villa I thought to myself, if we were in one of the best villas, I would hate to be in one of the others! I was simply not impressed!

Our villa, villa 8, was once a traditional Chinese village home; even though it had been refurbished it still maintained the feel and design of the original home.

We entered into a closed courtyard surrounded by high walls. There was absolutely nothing in the courtyard, however we were told that there will eventually be outdoor furniture of some sort so that is becomes a usable part of the villa.

The house or as they called it the villa has two stories. The first floor has the extra large living room with three couches along the perimeter of the three walls. A small coffee table with two side chairs was strategically placed in front of the couch along the back wall, making for a more intimate seating area. The décor was completed with a small dining room table with two chairs. The overall feel, barren, empty and a lot of wasted space. This may be how a traditional village home may have been, but for me, it was a wasted room and a room we did not use even once during our short stay at Amanfayun.

The upstairs had a large bedroom with king bed, work desk and two large armoires that act as walls between the bedroom and the bathroom. The bathroom had dual sinks and a huge shower stall with two large rain shower heads as well as a semi-private toilet stall.

Located in outside our villa but still within our courtyard were two rooms; one for massage and another room with a huge wooden tub and shower. We found these rooms on our own. The young lady from reception who gave us a tour of our villa did not show these to us. Here was just one of the many areas that the staff failed to live up to the Aman Resorts high level of service.

The overall feel of the villa was dark and barren and offered no real views; you are either in the dark villa or behind the tall courtyard walls. Maybe that is what the old Chinese houses were like, but for a luxury resort, I was less than impressed

Room Service: Once again, the lack of English speaking employees was apparent and caused more issues. Trying to order breakfast was a chore in itself, honestly there is nothing more frustrating than struggling to place a simple breakfast order. The order, when it did arrive, arrived late, but at least it was accurate except for the forgotten toast.. The food, well, that is another story, average is about all I could rate it. Very sad

As for the set up; we asked the night before that they put a table and chairs out in the courtyard so we could enjoy the morning air (they still had not received their outdoor furniture, even three months after the officially opened) so they took our table and chairs from inside our living room (that made our empty looking living room look even emptier) and had them outside. I found it hard to believe there wasn’t any outdoor furniture on the property they could have used instead of taking it from our living room. It seemed management was ready for the opening or that the staff of Amanfayun just didn’t understand five star service.

Housekeeping: Other than failing to actually clean our room one day, I cannot complain about housekeeping’s job other than another night they locked us out of our room. Returning to our villa late at after dinner only to find out we could not get into our villa put a damper on our evening. And then going to the Tea House to call for assistance where no one spoke English only confounded things. A lot of these issues were just training issues, but when you stay at an Aman Resort (and pay the prices they charge), the guest just should not have to be bothered with these issues.

Concierge: I still am not sure if they have a dedicated concierge or not. When we wanted to arrange some activities during our stay we started with a young lady in reception. Through broken English she started making our plans but soon after she got busy with another guest and then called another young lady (who was fairly fluent in English ) and helped us make our plans. We asked her to send us an itinerary so we knew everything we discussed and had planned. She ripped a piece of paper out of a hotel information booklet and scribbled down three notes on the back of it. This was not the Aman service that I am used to. On one hand, she had good suggestions, on the other; the delivery and presentation were just more what I would expect from a three star property.

Restaurant: This is one area where Amanfayun failed to impress. Amanfayun had very limited dining options.

The Restaurant is their main restaurant and the only one that serves western food. For dinner I had the grilled fillet and my partner the suckling pig. The fillet was great; the pork was quite small but still tasty. Dessert was a warm apple tart with caramel sauce, a tad dull and predictable. The service, well it was hard to believe I was at a high-end property like Aman. The service was slow, confused and not to Aman standards.

The Tea House served up traditional Chinese fair. We had lunch there one day and not a single person there spoke any English. It was a lot of pointing and gesturing. In the end we ended up with a nice variety of fish and noodles and to be honest, I am not sure what the rest of it was. It was an experience for sure!

Steam House serves dumplings and other steamed fair but we did not try it. Had I know how good dumplings could be (I only learned after eating at Din Tai Fung in Shanghai) I would have tried it for sure.

Pool/Spa/Activities: Amanfayun does not have a pool and their list of activities is quite limited. The gym is fairly well equipped and the spa offers huge wooden tubs in private rooms (two of them) for soaking, steaming and relaxing. We had a similar tub in our spa room of our villa; a nice long soak (and a bottle of Champagne) was the perfect ending to one of our days.

Be sure to book a trip to West Lake in Hangzhou to see their amazing light and dance show. If you have never seen people dancing on a lake, and how many of us really have; then this is a must. It was 100 times better than I was expecting!

Check-Out: Once again, the English barrier added time and confusion to the checkout process; something that should have taken just minutes took an a huge chunk of time!

Overall Impression Amanfayun had been open for three months when we visited it and by our last day we were so frustrated with the lack of English speaking staff that we were more than ready to go. We talked to management and they shared with us the difficulties they have finding English speaking employees. This was our first time in China so we assumed that this was the truth and we tried to overlook the English issue.

As for the other issues, we chalked them up to “being new” but our next stop on our trip in China was to the Peninsula Hotel in Shanghai which had opened its doors just a few days prior to our stay. We quickly found out that just opening (in Amanfayun’s case three months earlier) and finding English speaking employees was not impossible and no excuse for the experiences we had at Amanfayun. Our rating for Amanfayun is between bombastic and not.

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

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