Consistently described as the best hotel chain in the world, Aman Resorts consists of 29 exclusive properties which, despite all being completely unique, share the brand’s core traits of outstanding service, small room numbers, world-class facilities and beautiful surroundings, whether those be forests, jungles, deserts, cities or snow-capped mountains. The most important shared trait of all Aman properties is the exquisite service; a beguiling combination of discretion and read-your-mind attentiveness, every need will be met before you even became aware of it. As if to counter the growing problem of luxury hotels the world over increasingly merging into mirror images of one another, Aman properties are unique in the way every resort sensitively interacts with its environs; the majority of staff are always from the surrounding areas, buildings are designed to echo traditional building styles and materials, food is a tasteful blend of Western and local and each property offers a range of cultural activities that allow you to appreciate your destination in an authentic and sensitive manner. It is no surprise that there is an official term for those who appreciate everything Aman has to offer; nearly everyone who stays at an Aman immediately becomes an ‘Aman Junkie.’
In no particular order I have put together what I consider to be the Top 10 Aman Resorts worldwide.
1. Amankila, Bali
Literally meaning ‘peaceful hill’, Amankila delivers on its promise. With Bali’s Mount Agung behind you and the scenic Lombok Strait in front, Amankila’s array of suites can be described as ‘traditional beach hut’ meets luxury villa; all blend in seamlessly with their surroundings due to traditionally Indonesian alang alang thatched roofs and many boast striking sea views. Elevated jungle walkways link you back to the public areas, the resort’s beach and magnificent multi-tiered swimming pool. Very much a celebrity favourite, supermodel and ‘it’ girl, Cara Delevingne posted a video of herself enjoying the resort’s amazing pool.
One of the brand’s best kept secrets, Amanbagh in Rajasthan, literally translated as ‘peace garden’ is the ultimate oasis. Formally used as a royal hunting ground, this rural retreat successfully combines majestic Mughal architecture and best-of-the-best modern Aman style interiors. Dine on the rooftop, salute the sun at the nearby Bhangarh temple or ride the resort’s resident camel, but whatever you do, make sure to stay at one of the hotel’s Pool Villas; you’ll never want to leave.
See more photos of Amanbagh here.
3. Amangiri, Utah
Located in Canyon Point, near the border of Utah and Arizona, a stay at Amangiri guarantees killer views and uninterrupted calm. The resort’s suites, spa and swimming pool look out on to a never-ending quasi-Martian dramatic landscape and interiors blend in seamlessly with the desert’s soothing natural palette of sand, grey, cream and dusky pinks. An outdoor desert lounge, calming reflection pool, al fresco spa treatment pavilions and mountain-facing beauty salon combine to make Amangiri the ultimate oasis in which to unwind and return to reality refreshed. Another celebrity favourite, this is supposedly the secluded retreat where Victoria Beckham chose to see in her recent big birthday. She posted her snaps of the amazing views on her twitter page. Amangiri is also one of the hotels on my wishlist.
4. Amanjiwo, Java
Overlooking the world-famous 9th century Buddhist temples of Borobudur and surrounded by no less then four volcanoes, Amanjiwo‘s location is unbeatable; there is simply nowhere better to stay when visiting this historical and architectural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed in harmony with both its beautiful natural surroundings and the awesome stone carvings of Borobudur, Amanjiwo’s main building even boasts its own stupa.
5. Amanusa, Bali
A tranquil retreat located on the Bali’ southern coast, Amanusa is perfect for those looking to combine peaceful days with busy nights. Both Legian and Seminyak are not far away meaning that shopping, nightlife and dining opportunities are easily achievable; not something that can be said for many Aman Resorts. In addition to a vast swimming pool, beach club and fantastic golf, Amanusa boasts vast stone terraces which provide endless views of the peninsula and surrounding forests.
6. Aman-i-Khas, Rajasthan
Perhaps best known as the backdrop to Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s ill-fated Indian wedding, Aman-i-Khas, in Ranthambore National Park, former hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur, is a tented wilderness camp with a difference. Aman-i-Khas’s 10 luxury tents aren’t just for sleeping; inspired by the grand travelling tents of the Moghul era each one comes with opulent day beds, soaking tubs, dressing rooms and cooler chests for drinks. After a hard day of game drives in your open-top jeep, relax by the camp’s open fire or indulge in the resort’s spa tent.
See more photos of Aman-i-Khas here.
Facing a crescent shaped beach just outside the quaint Sri Lankan town of Tangalle, Amanwella couldn’t be more different from the country’s other Aman Resort, Amangalla. Instead of channeling ‘colonial chic’, Amanwella is all sexy seventies-style minimalism. The resort’s 30 suites all boast plunge pools and terraces making Amanwella the perfect place for private and peaceful relaxation.
8. Amangalla, Galle
One of the most elegant colonial style hotels in the world, Amangalla is located within the walls of Galle Fort, which dates from the 17th century. Combining both British and Dutch colonial influences, Amangalla is the epitome of chic; glossy wooden floors, crisp white linen, historic memorabilia and timeless antiques all transport you to the past while the luxurious Aman facilities keep you firmly in the present. Enjoy afternoon tea on the breezy veranda, have drinks in the zaal (pictured below), relax in the hotel’s baths or enjoy exploring the historic fort by foot; whatever you do, rest assured it will be done in style.
9. Amanfuyan, Hangzhou
Designed to resemble a traditional Chinese village, Amanfuyan is situated in close proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of West Lake, just outside Hangzhou. Comprising several authentic stone dwellings which are over 100 years old, the resort’s 47 rooms, suites and villas have been sensitively designed using local methods and building materials and interiors are a successful combination of Aman minimalism and traditional Chinese aesthetics. The resort is an alluring mix of stone pathways, shaded courtyards, tea plantations and natural forests, all combining to create an inherent sense of calm and tranquility.
10. Amanpuri, Phuket
The original Aman resort, Amanpuri in Phuket was were the legend was born. Showing no signs of slowing down, Amanpuri remains the favourite destination of those in the fast lane. Truly Thai in every way, from the wooden pavilions surrounded by coconut palms overlooking the perfect Andaman Sea, to the discreet service and world-class spa, Christmas and New Year is when the resort really gets into its own; you’ll find a mix of models, business tycoons and Hollywood A-listers at the bar. Leonardo di Caprio likes to rent out one of the private villas over the festive period and the resort is famously one of the favourite places the original party-girl and supermodel, Kate Moss, likes to let her hair down.
Since this article was written, several new Aman Resorts have opened their doors including Aman Grand Canal Venice and Amanoi in Vietnam, both which look sensational. Amanoi was designed by the hottest architect on the hotel block, Jean-Michel Gathy. Read more about him here. Next on the list is Aman Tokyo, which is due to open in late 2014.
Are you an Aman Junkie? Which Aman is your favourite? Which one is next on your wishlist? Tell me more…