Aman Hotel's Amanyangyun to open a gateway to the past
December 21, 2017: Amanyangyun, the fourth Aman destination in China, the first in Shanghai, and the only one with its dwellings to have travelled more than 700km, is set to open on January 8, 2018. It is the result of an ambitious 15-year conservation initiative, which saw the relocation of a forest and the reconstruction of a historic village.
The story begins in the city of Fuzhou in the province of Jiangxi, 700km from Shanghai, where construction of a new reservoir threatened the existence of thousands of camphor trees and dozens of homes dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Over the course of a decade, Fuzhou-born entrepreneur Ma Dadong and Aman worked together to ensure these relics of China’s ancient past would not be lost to history, overseeing the transportation and replanting of 10,000 trees – including the 80-tonne and 17 meter high Emperor Tree – and the stone-by-stone disassembly and rebuilding of 50 antique houses.
Reborn 27km southwest of Shanghai, these houses and trees now shape Amanyangyun, a 10 hectare retreat that presents a tranquil, nature-rich counterpart to the dynamic cosmopolitanism of its neighbouring city.
Fifty disassembled antique houses have been restored to create 26 ancient dwellings for Amanyangyun, seamlessly integrating contemporary comfort into the 400-year-old fabric of the buildings. Many of the Antique Villas still bear the legacy of their bygone owners, in the form of ornate stone carvings and inscriptions that depict family hopes and histories. Thirteen of the antique dwellings, now four-bedroom Antique Villas, measure between 800 and 1,000sq m, and include a private pool and Jacuzzi, as well as a courtyard – a signature feature of Chinese buildings of this age. Twelve of the historic homes rescued and restored from Jiangxi have been converted into refined Aman Residences to own.
Amanyangyun also provides 24 newly created Ming Courtyard Suites that harmoniously complement their historic counterparts, offering guests expansive, light-flooded bedrooms and living areas characterised by refined wooden interiors and Aman’s signature Asian-inflected minimalist design aesthetic.
The spiritual heart of Amanyangyun is Nan Shu Fang. Named after the royal reading pavilion in the Forbidden City, this cultural complex has been created from the final and most architecturally impressive antique building to have made the journey from Fuzhou. Enhanced with furniture crafted from the nanmu wood characteristic of Ming interiors, the pavilion is a modern-day recreation of the ‘scholars’ studios’ of 17th century China’s literati – a space to learn, contemplate and practise traditional crafts such as calligraphy, music and painting, or to watch one of Amanyangyun’s frequent Kunqu Opera performances.
Six dedicated rooms have been created to host traditional tea and incense ceremonies, while, directly facing the entrance, the Emperor Tree stands tall. Amanyangyun’s guests are invited to nourish the tree with water when they arrive.
The 2,840sq m Aman Spa is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the Aman collection. The complex houses eight treatment rooms, two double spa suites, extensive relaxation areas, a sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and two swimming pools; indoor and out. Two private Spa Houses offer a suite of thermal facilities, including a Russian banya and Turkish hammam. All unique to Aman, the treatment programmes and 15 specially developed spa journeys combine the ancient healing practices of traditional Chinese medicine with the pioneering advancements of 21st-century wellbeing technology. The main spa building is also home to the fitness and movement centre, installed with professional cardio and strength equipment, and houses a Pilates and yoga studio.
Amanyangyun’s Cultural Discovery Centre will offer a host of experiences, designed to help the resort’s younger guests unearth the rich culture of China. Nature programmes will take young guests on adventures to the resort’s wetland to learn about the unique ecosystem that surrounds them, while keen foodies can spend time on Amanyangyun’s organic herb and vegetable garden to learn about traditional Chinese farming techniques. Chinese lantern making, paper cutting, pottery moulding and tea ceremonies will also be organised, as well as Chinese shadow puppet shows. Children’s yoga and spa treatments can also be arranged, on request, for those who feel that a bit of pampering is in order after a day spent exploring. A light food and beverage menu will be available throughout the day, along with a snack bar.
The kitchens of Chinese restaurant Lazhu pay homage to Jiangxi province, the original home of
Amanyangyun’s camphor trees and Antique Villas. Combining dishes first conceived during the Ming and Qing Dynasties with Cantonese classics, the menu makes use of the region’s abundant soya plantations to offer an inventive array of tofu-based plates, as well as taking advantage of seasonal produce from Amanyangyun’s organic herb and vegetable garden.
Nama, close to the lake, brings the flavour-led simplicity of Japan’s washoku tradition to Amanyangyun. A menu of authentic, uncomplicated and elegant dishes combines the classic techniques of a Japanese kitchen with the finest and freshest ingredients available locally.
The lakeside Arva presides over a menu that draws inspiration from Italy’s farm-to-table gastronomic tradition, showcasing signature dishes and sharing plates in a warm and convivial atmosphere. Amanyangyun guests can head to The Bar for expertly crafted cocktails, afternoon tea and a live jazz soundtrack in front of an antique fireplace, or stroll up the picturesque path to the Cigar Lounge. In this copper- and oak-accented space, a selection of fine cigars from Cuba and the Dominican Republic await, along with a humidor and temperature-controlled wine cellar where guests may store their personal collection for future visits.