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The Summer Palace, located in the less frenetic outskirts of the bustling capital city of Beijing, housed the pleasure gardens of the dynastic emperors.
They are still an oasis (metaphorical and literal) of calm, with beautiful parkland, pagodas and even an enormous marble barge in one of the many lakes that dot the landscape.
That Aman managed to get permission to build a hotel adjoining the palace walls is impressive enough, but the no-expense-spared attention to detail makes this a serious - if seriously expensive - contender as the city's best hotel. The rooms are decked out in mock-Ming dynasty style with design details borrowed from the Forbidden City, and the bathrooms are contemporary, with huge baths and separate showers.
When not wandering around the Summer Palace gardens or the city itself, there are four restaurants, an underground spa and a 75ft swimming pool.
More authentic touches include a pavilion where musicians play the traditional erhu (violin) and guzheng (zither), and a library where a calligrapher can show you the beauty of highly stylised Mandarin text.
There is direct access from the hotel into the Summer Palace gardens; just ask where the door is.
Miranda, Original Traveller