In Jiangxi, a mountainous land just under 500 miles from Shanghai in China, construction started for a reservoir that came with the threat of damaging floods for centuries-old Ming and Qing dynasty-era homes and forests of ancient camphor trees.
The much-loved camphor trees with their calming scent are symbols of strength and contemplation, and when esteemed businessman Ma Dadong visited his hometown and saw some of the towering beauties already felled in preparation for the reservoir he was crushed.
Seeing himself as a guardian of the past and wanting to protect the sacred trees, he approached Amanresorts International to ask if they might be willing to open a new property that could utilize these homes and trees, and they agreed.
A team of experts went about devising a multi-year plan to salvage the gentle giants and the ornately detailed ancient homes. 10,000 of the oldest trees were chosen for relocation, as well as 50 of the homes. Not an easy feat to accomplish, given the complexity of the project and distance to the resort.
Treebeard would have been pleased.
The houses were disassembled carefully, transported to the site of the new hotel, and put back together under the watchful eyes of master craftsmen and engineers.
The delicate task of transporting the trees was then taken on, and they were replanted in native soil after reaching their new home. Transporting them must have been challenging due to their immense size. After special care and nursing however, almost 80 percent of the huge trees survived.
The video on Aman’s site about the project is worth a watch, and while I don’t have a direct link to the video you can go to the hotel’s page and scroll down a bit to find it – https://www.aman.com/shanghai.
What a truly incredible story, and hotel. The new Aman resort has been unofficially dubbed Aman Yangyun, and the amazing property steeped in history is due to open later this year in May 2017 in Maqiao, just outside of Shanghai. This makes the fourth Aman hotel in China, and the first in Shanghai.
The property set on 100 acres will have two pools, six dining venues, a contemplation garden, and 24 antique villas that each come with a private pool. According to Wikipedia, the word “aman” means protection, shelter, and peace in several different languages.
The resort with heart is dotted with the ancient trees, surely all feeling the true “Aman” of the property.
If you are as enchanted with this new property as I am, reservations are not yet being accepted for stays but you can contact them to get notified when booking opens.
I’d imagine that rates would at least be $1500 a night (unless using the 4th night free perk of Citi Prestige) but if trying to justify a stay, each of the 30 Aman properties worldwide (soon to be 31!) is unique and offers luxury far beyond the typical chain resort.
Known for privacy and space as well as careful integration with nature, even though I haven’t stayed at an Aman property yet I hope to do so someday. I love their commitment to preserving these trees and homes, and the properties are reportedly ideally located.
Have you stayed at an Aman property? If so, what did you think?