A restored ancient village and forest: Aman’s latest venture in China

Aman’s fourth destination in China, Amanyangyun, is the result of one of China’s boldest conservation initiatives. The retreat is comprised of a collection of antique Chinese homes, painstakingly restored and surrounded by a sacred forest of 10,000 camphor trees. At the centre is the Emperor Tree, the tallest camphor tree in China at 17 metres tall. 

Originally located in the city of Fuzhou, in the province of Jiangxi, the forest and 400-year-old village was threatened in the early 2000s by the construction of a reservoir. Aman began working with Fuzhou-born entrepreneur Ma Dadong to carefully take apart the village, piece-by-piece, and relocate it— along with the 10,000 trees and 80-tonne Emperor Tree— to the outskirts of Shanghai some 700 kilometres away. 

Kerry Hill Architects, who are also behind Aman Tokyo, assisted with the restoration of the 50 disassembled antique houses along with a team of engineers, architects and master craftsmen. 13 of the dwellings are now four-bedroom Antique Villas, measuring between 800 and 1000 square metres and featuring a private pool and traditional courtyard, while 12 of the historic homes have been converted into private Aman residences. In addition to the Antique Villas, there are 24 brand new 65 square metre Ming Courtyard Suites, each with two private courtyards. 

The complex is a modern recreation of the scholars’ studios of 17th century China, and is now a place where guests can practise traditional crafts such as calligraphy, enjoy a tea and incense ceremony in one of the elegant tea rooms or watch one of Amanyangyun’s frequent Kunqu Opera performances. 

Amanyangyun will open on 8 January 2018.

The exterior of one of the reconstructed four-bedroom villas.

The living room of an Antique Villa.

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