Opening its doors this month is Amanyangyun – Aman’s fourth resort in China. This luxury accommodation is set just outside downtown Shanghai in a relocated ancient camphor forest.
The culmination of a 15-year conservation initiative between Chinese businessman and philanthropist Ma Dadong and the Russian hotel brand, the resort is Aman’s most ambitious and impressive project to date.
The story actually begins 700 kilometers away in rural Fuzhoh – a cultural heartland in eastern China’s Jiangxi province. Fuzhou is characterized by camphor forests and historic villages. When plans for a much-needed reservoir were approved in 2002, the fate of these remnants of Old China appeared to be sealed.
Ma Dadong, a Fuzhou native, was determined to prevent the destruction of these important fragments of Chinese history. He conceived a bold plan to relocate 50 Ming- and Qing-dynasty villas and ultimately thousands of the trees to Shanghai.
Saved from demolition, fifty Ming- and Qing-dynasty dwellings have been reassembled, brick by ancient brick, to create twenty-six villas and twenty-four one-bedroom suites, accompanied by five dining venues that include Chinese restaurant LAZHU, Italian restaurant ARVA, and Japanese restaurant NAMA. Guests can unwind in the sprawling Aman Spa, complete with 10 treatment rooms, bathhouses, as well as a state-of-the-art gym, and indoor and outdoor pools. Meaning ‘nourishing cloud’, yangyun is a reference to expanding the ‘cloud’ of the mind with knowledge – a philosophy borne by the story of the trees and dwellings at Amanyangyun’s heart.