Why we like it
- Situated in one of China’s most scenic locations with views of Jade Dragon Mountain
- Designed in the traditional architectural style of the Nakhi, the indigenous people of southwestern Yunnan
- Part of the resort is the carefully preserved Wenchang Palace, set in a traditional courtyard dating back to 1723
- Spectacular seasonal changes will delight photographers and nature lovers
- Just 35 suites means the hotel is intimate and service is exemplary
Swimming in the heated 20m outdoor pool at Amandayan feels like a throwback to another era, like enjoying a workout in a Ming dynasty tea house. This is what Amandayan is all about: taking you out of your comfort zone (but still very much in supreme luxury) and harking back to an older, gentler time, when life wasn't cluttered with the trappings of the 21st century. That's said, if you're determined to stay 'online', there's enough tech wizardry to ensure that you're connected to the rest of the world, even half way up a mountain. The accommodation is spread across 35 elegantly-appointed suites, many with stunning views across the region. Each is individually decorated with materials local to the area, such as Yunnan pine from Shagri-La, striking Nakhi embroidery and elaborate Dongba-wood carvings of flowers and birds. Floors are stone, while furniture (mostly wooden) is crafted from elm felled in the nearby Dong Bei region. Being an Aman property there is no fussy pretence here, simply three types of room to choose from: Courtyard suites are intensely relaxing with comfortable living areas; Deluxe suites offer larger terraces on the first floor, with rooftop views of the Old and New Towns of Lijiang and the mountains. Our pick is the Amandayan Suite, a two-bedroom apartment ideal for families or friends travelling together.
Deriving its name from the Sanskrit word for peace - Aman, and the historic name for Lijiang when it was first established by the ruling Mu family in the 13th century - Dayan, the hotel is the very definition of peaceful. Though it's close to Lijiang it’s a destination in itself, with its own Tea House meaning you can enjoy the Old Town away from the crowds, with one of the best vantages over Lijiang. The resort is full of history, such as the Wenchang Palace, part of which has been carefully preserved in a traditional courtyard dating back to 1725, with ancient trees, ornated carvings and colourful paintings adorning the rooftops and buildings. Once used as an examination hall, the palace is where scholars once sat the famous entrance examinations to enter the Chinese civil service. The facilities on site include both Chinese and western restaurants, a library, boutique and a private cinema with 30 reclining leather seats. There's also an incredible Aman spa, with four double treatment rooms, each with a relaxation area overlooking the swimming pool.
The storybook town of centuries-old Lijiang is famous for the multitude of sights in and around the area, such as the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the stunning wildflower-filled meadows and the migrating birds around Lashi Lake. Due to its situation at 2,400m above sea level guests will need to gently acclimatise to avoid the possibility of altitude sickness.