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September 2019

Issue: September 2019

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Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
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Travel to Shanghai


Serenity in a Ming Dynasty retreat

1 September 2019

This restored, walled village provides a contemplative antidote to the bustle of Shanghai

The story of Amanyangyun begins in Jiangxi, the mountainous, cultural heartland of eastern China. The construction of a reservoir in the province threatened the area’s historical villages and cherished camphor trees, some of which had stood for more than a millennium.

Amanyangyun’s owner, Chinese philanthropist and billionaire Ma Dadong, was determined to preserve the history that was about to be destroyed in his native province. He decided to relocate the collection of ancient artefacts to the city of Shanghai in a bid to save the region’s vanishing past.

It took over a decade to relocate more than 30 villages comprised of 50 Ming and Qing dynasty houses and 10,000 camphor trees; the work so painstaking that each brick was numbered to ensure exact restoration. Over a decade later, the project has been realised in Amanyangyun – an Aman property just under an hour’s drive from central Shanghai and close to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town.

The property matches the global standards of a typical Aman offering – with amenities including five dining venues, a golf course minutes from the property and an extensive spa – but keeps cultural authenticity at its heart.

The architecture, led by Kerry Hill, embodies the essence of Chinese traditional culture, carefully blending the old with the new. Thirteen of the antique dwellings are now four-bedroom antique villas with heated pools and jacuzzis, together with 24 contemporary one-bedroom Ming Courtyard Suites. The suites are seamlessly interspersed throughout Amanyangyun’s expansive grounds, which guests can venture round at leisure; camphor-forested parkland that is starting to incorporate water terraces, lotus ponds and wildlife-rich wetlands. It is this recurring and careful tale of preservation – combined withglobal luxury standards and requisite attention to detail – that make Amanyangyun a destination worth examining.

Words: Maryanne Haggas