A Lynch family favorite and well-known by many of our clients and friends, Singapore-based Aman represents the pinnacle of world-class luxury hotel/resort hospitality. While the Peninsula, Four Seasons, Rosewood, and Mandarin may rule the 5-star deluxe hotel category, Aman alone occupies the elite level, with an understated sense of luxury, personal service, and unique, high-touch wellness and spa programs. Initially based in the Southeast Asia region, each resort is characterized by a small number of rooms (typically less than 50) and minimalist architecture, designed to complement the location’s natural setting and local culture. Reflecting Aman‘s attention to personal service, the staff to guest ratio is an incredible four to one!
Bev, Zen, and I have been fortunate enough to have stayed at many of Aman‘s global properties including Amankila (Bali), the first Aman resort Amanpuri (Phuket), Aman Tokyo, Amanemu (Japan), Amanpuri (Phuket), Amanwella (Sri Lanka), Amansara (Cambodia), Aman Summer Palace (China), Amanzoe (Greece), Amantaka (Laos), and the Amakora circuit in Bhutan. We have also had the pleasure of staying at Amangiri here in the United States (UT), please click here to view our Amangiri blog post, our very own domestic Aman option!
With just one location in Africa (Amanjena-Marrakech) and none yet in South America we anticipate more openings to come!
Pansea Beach, Thailand
Set in a lush hillside above a beautiful white sand beach, Amanpuri has been a Lynch family favorite the past several years. With such a contemporary, striking design, it is difficult to imagine that the Amanpuri was actually opened in 1988 (!) as the first “AMAN.” Somewhat similar to the Four Seasons Golden Triangle, the Amanpuri’s 40 luxury suites are accessed via some steep stairs and a maze of walkways (be careful at night!). In addition to relaxing at the understated 90+ ft. freshwater pool, we found chartering the hotel’s yachts/speedboats to the nearby Phi Phi Islands to be among our favorite AMAN experiences.
Ninh Thuận Province, Vietnam
We were most excited when Aman finally introduced their first property in Vietnam in 2013—long overdue! Designed by Malaysia-based Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gaithy, Amanoi is a larger, more expensive (and grandiose!) version of the other Southeast Asian Aman properties we have experienced. Adjacent to Nui Chua National Park and located on the crystal blue coastline of Vinh Hy Bay, the hotel’s 31 pavilions are spectacular, even by Aman’s demanding, aesthetically-pleasing standards. Among our favorites here are two infinity pools, the tennis courts, the remarkably white sand “Beach Club,” lovely spa, and high-tech gymnasium. Based on its remote location, there are very few Vietnamese cultural excursions available nearby. That said, we feel this is an ideal “paradise” for ending an enriching Southeast Asian private tour.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Though not our favorite AMAN hotel, the Amansara is among our top two favorite stays in all of Cambodia (!). Set in the grounds of former king Norodom Sihanouk’s guesthouse, this 24-suite walled compound includes all the bells and whistles that are unique to other Southeast Asian Aman properties. What stands out to us about Amansara is its quintessential location, being just 10 minutes from Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its serene, secluded style. Having stayed in one of the private pool suites, we heartily recommend its privacy and generous sitting area/amenities. In addition to a very nice 58’ outdoor pool, we were quite impressed with the spa and the discretely placed 82’ lap pool. Fun fact: Mick Jagger stayed here at the same time as us, accompanied by someone who, according to the concierge, was “like…wife!”
Canyon Point, Utah
Set on the foothills of the southern part of the Escalante National Monument and completely secluded from the outside world, the Amangiri is like no other. The 34-room property has been described by many as the “best luxury hotel in America”, and we can see why! Directly translating to “peaceful mountain”, what makes Amangiri so special is its devotion to the local community and Navajo culture. The architecture is meticulously planned and every piece of furniture has a purpose of bringing Zen to each guest, with each room showcasing unrestricted views of the desert and canyon walls. We love this simplistic property in the heart of Utah’s picturesque desert landscape surrounded by canyon walls, and are truly thankful we have the option to indulge in our AMAN obsession without having to leave the country!
Kedewatan (Ubud), Indonesia
Notwithstanding the new luxury resorts opening up throughout Bali, Amandari is still our favorite. Overlooking the Ayung River Gorge (nice for river-rafting!) near the artist’s village of Ubud, the resort consists of 30 pavilion suites, many overlooking the adjacent lush, terrareal rice fields. We feel this property is the best way to be immersed in what UNESCO has recently recognized Bali for: its lush greenery and inland farming system (one of the new wonders of the world!). Similar to other Aman locations, the Amandari has an amazing spa, wonderful food featuring local delicacies, and a well-stocked library. Of special note here is the spectacular 100 ft. infinity pool. The pool, set against the idyllic, green environment is quite a picture – one that we will never forget!
Porto Heli, Greece
Set on an olive-tree covered hilltop complex of 38 pavilions, Amanzoe is Aman’s only Greece property and we feel worth the trek from Athens. Each suite contains soaring windows, bedrooms that open onto patios and plunge pools, and ultra-modern bathrooms (think huge showers!). In our opinion, the Amanzoe captures what it means to live at peace; with panoramic views of the Peloponnese coastline, access to nearby islands, and tantalizing architecture, the options for absolute serenity + relaxation are copious.
With Kyoto being our favorite city in Asia, we are most excited about the new 24-room Aman Kyoto, just opened in November 2019. The 80-acre site includes 72 acres of native forest and eight acres of traditional Japanese gardens. We are particularly impressed with the property’s location in the Takagamine district, walking distance to Kinkaku-ji (Golden Temple)! The property features spacious and light-filled interiors, similar to traditional ryokans; natural hot springs; and spectacular dining celebrating the unique culinary traditions of Japan using the finest local produce. With large floor-to-ceiling windows, the outside is brought in, allowing for a complete escape in total luxury.
Located in the 40-story Otemachi Tower in Tokyo, within walking distance of Ginza shopping and dining and the Otemachi Forest (Marunouchi’s Naki-dori tree-lined avenue), perhaps the most impressive sight of the Aman Tokyo is its magnificent lobby, with floor to ceiling windows that boast views of the Imperial Palace grounds and even Mt. Fuji on clear days!
Ise Shima National Park, Japan
Having first visited the Amanemu in 2016 when it first opened, we are big fans of this property. Set on the hills of Ago Bay (“Bay of Pearls”), Shima National Park, the area is known for its pearl cultivation and abundant seafood (especially oysters!). All of the 24 suites and villas include private hot spring baths. Very close by is perhaps the most venerated Shinto shrine in all of Japan, Ise-jingu, dating back to the 3rd century. Here you can enjoy beautiful hikes while practicing your “Shinrin-Yoku” (Forest Bathing) within this bucolic setting. The site of Ise -Jingu has long been considered sacred, due to its majestic, venerable Japanese cypress (cryptomeria) trees. Being 80 minutes by train to Nagoya and a mere 35 minutes via Shinkansen to Kyoto, Amanemu makes for a unique stopover as part of our Japan private tour.
Motithang area, Bhutan
Aman’s presence in Bhutan consists of five luxury lodges, collectively known as “Amankora” (combining the Sanskrit word for peace and kora or “circular pilgrimage” in Dzongkha), carefully chosen in the cultural hubs of central and western valleys of the country. Situated in a blue pine forest in the upper reaches of the Motithang area of the Thimphu Valley, we feel the 16-suite Amankora Thimphu is the highest quality lodge in the surrounding area.
Located on the Grand Canal with private access to Palazzo Ducale, the Aman Venice includes beautifully decorated public areas, with contrasting Rococo-style rooms designed in a more contemporary aesthetic. Opulent dining areas, lush, private gardens, silk wall covers, giant chandeliers, and meticulously-engraved ceilings help characterize the romantic 16th-century essence of Venice that AMAN built to encapsulate. Offering 24 suites, each unique in their size, view, furnishing, and decor, we can’t help but find the property akin to a luxury, historic museum of art. We particularly enjoyed the hotel’s rooftop terrace offering 360° views over the roofs of Venice.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Located in the UNESCO protected town of Luang Prabang, the lush green ground and personal family-oriented service at Amantaka always makes you feel at home. Roughly translating to mean “the teaching of the Buddha”, the Amantaka’s sensibility is one of deep spirituality, history, and beauty. The luxurious yet understated service is enough reason to visit, however, the relaxing atmosphere by the pool after a long day of site-seeing is hard to beat. Offering 24 spacious rooms and suites, we particularly enjoyed the aesthetic design with its earthy yet clean cut color scheme. For us, it’s the attention to detail that really sold this well rounded experience.