My first encounter with Aman began 25 years ago at Amandari in Bali. In an exotic atmosphere that not all that different from that of the surrounding villages, Amandari existed with an overwhelming balance of locality and sophistication, and I became instantly absorbed by it. Sometime later when visiting Amanjiwo, I was again awed by how the resort was designed and built to co-exist with the Unesco World Heritage Site of Borobudur.
My visits to these two Amans have changed my idea of a resort completely. The Aman concept does not simply rely on how attractive the place is – and this is undefeatable. On the day of the 25th anniversary of Amandari's opening, I flew to Bali once again by invitation. The smiles of the staff and villagers who I celebrated that night with still remain in my memory to this day.
Today, there are three Amans in Japan that are evolving toward the future.
Aman Tokyo, which possesses both modernism and dynamism and delicately praises Japanese tradition, has many things that cannot be matched by other hotels.
For example, a modest and small entrance that are easily overlooked, an overwhelmingly high atrium ceiling made with washi paper suddenly appearing after entering the hotel, and the unrivaled dining experience where the chefs put their hearts and souls into.
However, the staff at Aman Tokyo never seem to overly praise themselves, and instead, they are humbly committed to pursuing their way. I cannot help but cheer them on and wish them the best.
Amanemu stands on a hilltop in Ise-Shima National Park overlooking the shimmering ‘sea of pearls’.
When I visited, I was struck by the words of a plant expert, who was creating a garden on property. "We planted more than 1,000 trees and about 10,000 light saplings on the premises and we carefully selected them to make sure the were all familiar to the region.
The road to ‘reforestation’ is long, but I am certain that the original landscape will return in the next 50 years." What he said was symbolic of Aman’s philosophy of creating sanctuaries that respecting the surrounding environment, which has also been the brand’s ethos since its inception.
Amanemu’s is an unparalleled resort in many ways including the fact its spa has a vast hot spring, but it is designed to blend into the environment staying true to the brand’s DNA.