The toned-down design of Amandayan’s 35 luxurious suites clustered around tranquil courtyards is a quiet triumph of Aman’s philosophy in which a real sense of place becomes the defining element of the hotel experience.
Any Aman resort we visited so far is created around something extraordinary. It is often the location—a remote clifftop, as in Amanoi or Amankila, a direct access to a medieval palace, as in Beijing’s Aman at Summer Palace, or a unique site at the edge of a national park where tigers roam (e.g. Aman-I-Khas in Rajasthan). But the “special” factor also lies in the resort design. Amandayan follows this template expertly.
Architecture that belongs
Responsible for the vision of Amandayan was the architect Ed Tuttle, with interiors by the acclaimed Jaya Ibrahim. The creators incorporated within the resort the original building of the Wenchang Palace, dating back to 1725, carefully preserving its colourful paintings and ornate carvings. The rest of the hotel’s architecture seem to take cues from the Wenchang design—and complement it.
Local building traditions of the local Naxi people provided further inspiration. The decor features embroidery of the Naxi, as well as beautifully carved traditional Chinese latticework screens. The result is sleek and minimalist, yet warm in the use of pine and elm.
Embedded in Lijiang
Amandayan is built on a hilltop within the Old Town of Lijiang, one of China’s most picturesque destinations. Its quaint alleys, canals and streams, blossoming gardens and the typically-Chinese, sloping tiled roofs all echo in the resort’s design.
The best example of this is perhaps one of our favourite spots at the hotel: the main swimming pool set up. The reflective sheet of water, the wood panelling and passages around it, the colours and textures… somehow they all speak the same language as the old town.
Body and soul
The pool is an extension of the well-equipped spa, which has a gym, yoga pavilion, and four treatment rooms. Furnished with steam room, shower and bathtub, they are perfect for indulging in heavenly treatments that include a rice wine bath and spirulina body wrap.
But for us, the best place at Amandayan was always our first floor Deluxe Suite. Its spacious layout and unmistakably Chinese design made it a genuine pleasure to be in. We loved the terrace outside—which had a view over the resort’s rooftops and the mountains beyond—especially when we’d sit there with a glass of wine, immersed in a quiet conversation.