Geoffrey Grier is an American financier based in Hong Kong and Macau. Mr. Grier has lived in the Orient for over fifteen years and enjoys visiting far-flung and exotic locales throughout South East Asia. Grier is part of our Kiwi Insiders that travels the globe visiting properties in the Kiwi Collection, sharing his experiences.
Lana and I just returned from an exquisite Western New Year holiday to Beijing, China where we stayed at the Aman Summer Palace at Beijing. Quite a few of you responded rather skeptically, and with raised eyebrows, to the news of our plan to travel to northern China in the dead of winter. No doubt, the minus-ten to minus-fifteen degree frigid temperatures tend to dissuade most travelers from visiting Beijing at this time of year. However, Lana and I have found over the years that traveling contrary to the high-season flows and avoiding the pitfalls of mass tourist migrations yields far better results and satisfaction. Our recent trip to Beijing was a prime case in point.
Having just been to Beijing for the Olympics last August, I was really looking foward to returning there with Lana. This was probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of my 15th or so visit to the Chinese capital during my fifteen-plus years in Asia, and the pace of development and progress continues unabated – noticeable to the casual observer even in the middle of the winter holiday season. A couple of good friends – Philippe Kjellgren and Mark Swinton – played a large role in ensuring that we had the most delightful of holidays in Beijing – thank you both so very much.
I suppose I should be honoured, but Philippe refers to me as an Aman Resorts junkie – I imagine there are worse things to which one could find oneself addicted. Aman is simply the FINAL WORD in luxury accomodation – they have resorts in only the most far-flung, exotic locales (for instance, Bhutan, Siem Reap, Sri Lanka, India, Java, Bali, Tahiti, Pulo, Phuket) and I’ve been hooked for more than a decade.
Aman’s service is legendary, no other resort even approaches their excellence in service and friendliness.
My antennae began twitching of course, when last year I began to hear rumours that Aman had successfully negotiated with the Chinese government to open a resort inside the grounds of The Summer Palace in Beijing. I’d just like to say that we were treated to the most incredible hospitality, encouragement and professionalism during our stay with Aman Summer Palace at Beijing. Should any of you ever have the opportunity to stay at this little slice of heaven, please do not pass up the chance. It is truly one of the best hotels in Beijing.