A nature retreat on Shanghai’s outskirts

Amanyangyun's story begins in the city of Fuzhou, 435 miles 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-ton emperor tree — and the stone-by-stone disassembly and rebuilding of 50 antique houses. 

Resettled 17 miles southwest of Shanghai, these houses and trees now make up Amanyangyun, a 25-acre nature retreat with amazing architecture and Aman's signature level of service.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • The big draw of Amanyangyun is its proximity to nature. Walking through the grounds beneath the canopy of ancient camphor trees is a kind of restorative meditation in itself.
  • The massive 30,569-square-foot Aman Spa is home to both a Russian-style banya and Turkish-style hammam, offering the best in multicultural relaxation.
  • Housed in a restored villa from Jiangxi province, Nan Shufang is the hotel’s cultural center. Check out the daily scheduled calendar of gratis activities, including tea ceremonies and calligraphy.
  • During the warmer months, outside dining options at Amanyangyun are plentiful. The floating afternoon tea and outdoor hotpot experiences at Yinlu restaurant are particular highlights.

Things to Know

  • Though the scheduled lessons at Nan Shunfang cultural center are for adults, there are separate art- and craft-focused activities for kids ages five to 12 in the Culture Discovery Center, including kite-making and pottery.
  • Communing with nature is a popular pastime for locals from Shanghai and other surrounding cities, resulting in high hotel occupancy on weekends and public holidays. For even more quiet, try to come mid-week to avoid the crowds.
  • The oldest of the camphor trees saved from Jiangxi is known as the King Tree, a giant that sits at the center of the grounds with a red bow circling its more than six-foot-wide trunk. A photo with the King Tree is almost a requirement for hotel guests.
  • Amanyangyun’s location in Shanghai’s outer Minhang District is nowhere near public transport, making it a destination in and of itself. This is not the best place to strike out and explore the city, but rather a good place to escape from it.

The Rooms

  • The property includes 13 rebuilt ancient villas and 24 newly built suites, all imagined by Australian designer Kerry Hill, who maintained the architectural integrity of the 300- to 500-year-old homes. For example, the original external bricks, roof tiles and wooden pillars remain unchanged, but the interiors have been updated to reflect modern needs, including heated floors, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.
  • The 13 ancient villas are less like rooms and more akin to walled villages, each containing a reconstructed two-bedroom villa, a newly built three-bedroom addition, as well as lotus ponds, swimming pools and a Jacuzzi in the landscaped gardens.
  • Each bathroom features a hefty tub made from Hebei black granite. Before the roof was placed on each villa, the hunks of rock were lowered in from above and the bathtub then was carved from the stone onsite.
  • Look above the front door of the ancient villas to see brickwork and tile decorations that include sculptures and Chinese characters. These details traditionally convey the wishes of the original occupants for their future generations.

The Restaurants

  • Chinese restaurant La Zhu serves a mix of the spicy but little-known cuisine of Jiangxi province, the original home of the property’s camphor trees and ancient villas, and Chaoshan fare from Guangdong province.
  • An onsite organic garden, a view of which is available from the seven private dining rooms of La Zhu, supplies vegetables and herbs for the luxury hotel's restaurants.
  • Dine on seasonally inspired Italian fare at lakeside spot Arva. Spring plates might include asparagus e nocciole (with hazelnut and oranges), calamarata (Italian sausage and black cabbage pasta) or branzino with white asparagus.
  • For a memorable dinner, hot pot restaurant Yin Lu can serve a floating feast on a bamboo raft on the property's man-made lake — a scenic setting for this interactive dining experience.

Indoor pool
Meeting rooms
Outdoor pool
Getting There
6161 Yuanjiang Road, Shanghai, 201111 China
PVG (55 min)   SHA (45 min)  
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