The Amanyangyun: From salvage to splendour
The story of the Amanyangyun is one to inspiration. A businessman by the name of Ma Dadong came across a village in the southern province of Jiangxi. Here 50 buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasty were to be destroyed along with thousands of trees to accommodate a dam. He took it upon himself to carry out the Herculean task of disassembling each of these buildings, uprooting 10,000 trees and transporting them to the outskirts of Shanghai, nearly 700km away! He set these down and provided for the basics (electricity, plumbing) to make them inhabitable and at the same time, fetch some value after being reassembled by experts, brick by brick. In 2009 he hosted a dinner to showcase his brilliant experiment with notable members of the real estate fraternity and in attendance was hotelier Adrian Zecha who seeded the idea of this being an Aman property.
Australian architect Kerry Hill has touched up the older buildings to make them more contemporary, with true Aman finesse. Today, Amanyangyun hosts 13 villas and 12 residences. At its heart is the Nan Shufang building that disseminates knowledge on Chinese literature and the fine arts of music, calligraphy, painting and tea-making. One can keep oneself entertained at the IMAX cinema that is contained within the premises. Or indulge in a conversation at the cigar lounge. Or shop at the boutique. One wouldn’t miss out on the treatments at the colossal spa, where you could also take a dip in either the indoor or outdoor pool.
Among the gastronomic exploits you can look forward to are Arva, an Italian restaurant, the Chinese restaurant, Lazu and the Japanese restaurant, Nama. You can grab a cocktail at the accompanying bar as well. It’s an ideal avenue for those who love to dabble in the arts and cultural wealth of ancient lands. With its very own forest, this legendary property is among the most authentic Chinese cultural hotels anywhere. That, with the luxurious pampering of
the Aman touch.
The Amanfayun: The ‘luxury’ village
The first thought that crosses your mind when you see Amanfayun is if somebody plucked it out of a fairytale and placed it in front of you. It’s not a collection of buildings or sprawling lawns or even a vintage mansion. Instead, it’s an entire, actual village. It once hosted those who tended tea fields, but today welcomes guests to its cosy luxurious houses. If you love the scent of exotic produce including tea, figs, chestnut and sprinkles of bamboo, here’s a naturally-scented habitat for you.
A total of 47 stone dwellings dot the expansive property in the picturesque Hangzhou area. It’s the perfect picture of what old China might have been. A half-hour drive from the city-centre will bring you to the predictable blend of natural and civilised life, one that Aman hotels are known for.
You’re welcomed by a cobblestone Fayun Pathway. The grounds of the property are no strangers to the monks from nearby monasteries – the grounds are so peaceful and authentic in their replication of rustic Chinese rural life. There are 42 rooms comprising of a mix of suites and villas. No two rooms are identical in the Amanfayun, making it one of the most different properties from the Aman chain.
Yet, there’s consistency in the amenities provided in the rooms. There are fine art pieces, ample sanitaryware and modern entertainment appliances such as television sets and iPod docks.
The nucleus of the Amanfayun is the Fayun Place, accessible only to guests. With tall ceilings and artistic interiors, it’s a great place to meet co-inhabitants of the property, especially in the Cigar Room. A main restaurant serves Western cuisine while the Steam House restaurant has an open kitchen that specialises in local delicacies. Along the Fayun pathway, you could indulge in treats from three village eateries, namely Hangzhou House, Tea House and Vegetarian House.
The spa is nestled in a peaceful setting with five separate areas. They consist of Reflexology House, Bath House, Fitness Centre, Finishing Salon and the Treatment House.
Both the Amanyangyun and the Amanfayun reflect the ethnic beauty of China, reminiscent of its ancient culture and beauty.