This is another in my series of Kudos! Posts that recognize the brilliance and refinement of some the world's best hospitality designers...This week it is the dynamic combination of Jean-Michel Gathy, of Denniston www.denniston.com, and Jaya Ibrahim www.jayainternational.com working together on the Aman at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
Not a city who's name conjures up the same level of sex appeal as say, Shanghai, for instance. However, if you find yourself in the capital, (and there are many great things to see, so don't miss it), the hotel par excellence is absolutely the Aman at the Summer Palace.
Built on the grounds of the Summer Palace, specifically the Qing dynasty pavilions, it has classical Chinese structure and detailing, but the new buildings are pitch perfect for the guest experience.
You can see the formality in the main entry courtyard, and all of the public buildings are fashioned after the royal palaces, with a rhythm of pavilions and open courtyards.
This is the center lobby pavilion, note the similarities to an actual pavilion at the Forbidden city...
Exquisite reference to classical detailing is everywhere, including all of the corridors!
Throughout the hotel is a sophisticated blending of contemporary elements into the classical structure of the royal palaces' envelope...
I simply loved this "Moon Gate"!
I also loved taking a tea service out in the musicians' courtyard, (and of course, making sure the koi were well fed...)
The guest rooms were warm, rich and dark, very inviting, with plenty of contemporary touches that made them easy places to linger....Like this classic draped bed alcove with divine sheeting and perfect reading lights..."Really? I have to get out of bed?"
"Fine, then I'll go luxuriate in the bathroom..."
Again, this is where Jaya and Jean Michel really did a masterful job of creating a modern experience, but retaining the references to classical Chinese decorative expression.
Where you really see them push the property up another notch is in the Spa, where they masterfully combined local materials in the sparest, but inviting ways...
But the Spa's true masterstroke is the pool, all completely underground, and very sexy....
Again, my hats' off to the team of Aman Resorts, Jean Michel Gathy and Jaya Ibrahim, who have created an exquisite oasis in the hustle and bustle of China's capital city... I look forward to returning!
Also, be sure to check out other wonderful projects in Asia that Jean-Michel and Jaya have done at:
And of course, I always look to see where the next Aman Resort is, as they are consistently "of the place" and a designer's dream....you can find others they have at: