CHECK IT OUT AMANDAYAN, CHINA
Aman’s third resort in China has opened on a hillside above Lijiang’s UNESCO-protected old town in northwest Yunnan Province.
In keeping with the city’s fabled charm and the region’s outstanding natural beauty, Amandayan’s 35 suites are housed in traditional courtyard buildings affording terrace views of the town and distant snowcapped mountains; the property is also home to the lovely Wencheng Palace, dating from 1725.
Suite interiors are simple and elegant in typical Aman style where every detail references the resort’s location, in this instance embracing elements of traditional Naxi architecture. The timber-lined rooms are fashioned from Yunnan pine; bespoke furniture has been constructed from elm felled in the Don Bei region; and decorations include local embroidery and woodcarvings.
Featuring large living areas and luxury bathrooms, the suites are grouped around central courtyards making the perfect set-up for families or friends travelling together. Resort facilities include a library overlooking the old town, a boutique stocking local handicrafts, Lijiang’s only private cinema (seating 30), gym, heated swimming pool and a large day spa featuring six treatment rooms, each with a private relaxation area.
DON’T MISS: A Tui Na massage, using yoga-style stretches and acupressure techniques. It’s one of many locally inspired treatments on the spa menu.
DINING IN: Executive chef Steven Miao oversees Man Yi Xuan , serving dim sum at lunch, and Yunnan and Cantonese cuisines. Be sure to try his signature Yunnan hot pot. There is also an all-day dining lounge (Asian and Western fare using local organic meats, vegetables and wild picked mushrooms) and a very charming tea house serving traditional Chinese snacks and teas, and offering wonderful views over the town from the terrace. DINING OUT: The local cuisine is simple and tasty: hot pot, rice noodles, roti-style bread. Try this rustic fare at Li Shui Hui (J-Life Street, Lijiang) where the menu is bolstered by zinging fresh produce grown at the restaurant’s nearby farm.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Be sure to visit the Qing-dynasty Black Dragon Pool at the foot of Elephant Hill. The view from the white marble bridge over the pool towards the region’s highest peak, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, is considered one of the finest in China.
CHECKING IN: Introductory room rates from 4350 yuan ($900) plus taxes. More: amanresorts.com.
ALSO TRY: Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing; Banyan Tree Ringha; Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa.