Rarely do we use the word luxury, but often we reflect on what it truly means. At Aman, it’s a state of mind. And a precious chance to feel at peace in the present, thanks to the preservation of the past and a consideration of the future.
Cultural connections for travel in 2021
At a time when many people are looking forward to rekindling old connections and making new ones, we at Aman reflect on the communities and cultures that define us. Spiritual leaders to farming families, electric urban centres to peaceful island villages, – these are the connections that shape the spirit of Aman, the encounters that enrich us, and the experiences we have to look forward to in the year ahead…
VIETNAM & LAOS
Family connections at Amanoi
A few minutes from Amanoi, in the village of Thai An, a handful of families have been following in the footsteps of France’s master winemakers for generations, taking advantage of the area’s unique microclimate to cultivate their grapes. The head of a farming family, Ba Chin lives in a traditional village house with her children and grandchildren, and welcomes Aman guests to join them for dinner. Over a traditional meal prepared by Amanoi’s chefs, Ba Chin shares her tales of times past – opening a uniquely personal conduit to rural life in a bygone era.
Another local resident, Tuyen, has different stories to tell. A descendent of the Cham people, who once dominated the coast of southern Vietnam, Tuyen escorts guests around the ruins of the 13th-century temple complex of Po Klong Garai, bringing the fascinating lost kingdom to life. Later, enjoy the sunset as a Cham Master conducts a sacred blessing, and a traditional Cham family feast is served beneath the star-strewn sky.
Travel has always been a route to greater truths, and nowhere promises a clearer pathway than Luang Prabang, one of the most spiritually resonant cities in the world.
In the heart of the Unesco-protected town, at Amantaka’s Buddhist Learning Centre, Abbot Sengdao Santikaro holds daily private teachings and meditation, imparting the five principles of good living; while Senior monk Sombath Watsiphoutthabat’s hosts personalised tours of Wat Siphoutthabath.
Guests are also invited to take part in the city’s daily tak bat almsgiving, when monks silently make their way past the entrance to Amantaka to collect donations of sticky rice at dawn.
Amanpulo may be located on the private paradise island of Pamalican, but the resort’s continuing success is rooted in the neighbouring island of Manamoc, where the families of many members of the Aman team live.
Amanpulo works closely with local fishing villages to encourage the preservation of the marine environment, ensuring more than 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings make it safely back to the sea each year, and is deeply involved in supporting this remote island through a variety of infrastructure, health, education, and livelihood initiatives. Simply by staying at Amanpulo, guests – often without knowing – make an invaluable contribution to an island community that might not otherwise have survived.
Just 10 minutes from the jungle-ensconced ruins of Angkor, Amansara stands at the threshold between the wonders of modern day Siem Reap and the mysteries of an ancient civilisation, the Khmer Empire. With private access to Angkor Wat, Aman guests can experience the meditative stillness of the sacred site, and the intricate beauty of the bas reliefs, undisturbed by other visitors.
The temple complex’s expressively carved apsaras are vividly brought to life by the Sacred Dancers of Angkor, who perform regularly at Amansara. Their flawlessly choreographed, breath-stealingly elegant performances provide an income for the Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia, which works to support the day-to-day lives of the rural population and the sustainable development of health, education and small-scale income-creation projects for many villagers.
Beyond Marrakech and the oasis retreat of Amanjena lies the wilderness home of Morocco’s indigenous Berber communities – the otherworldly stone expanse of the Agafay Desert and the rugged Atlas Mountains beyond. Aman guests have opportunities to visit traditional Berber villages and join a local for mint tea beside their mud-walled desert home.
Those staying three nights or more can take advantage of a private experience in the depths of the desert, travelling by camel across the dunes to a hidden spot in the shadow of the Atlas peaks to enjoy a traditional Berber picnic beneath a tented canopy.
Dive beyond the surface of Tokyo’s vibrant and surprising art scene with a bespoke itinerary, tailored to tastes and interests by leading art specialists Renna Okubo and Wakako Tezen, both professional curators.
Immersive and eye-opening, the tour takes in some of the city’s leading galleries, but also ventures beyond the beaten bath to uncover independent art spaces and ateliers that few visitors have the opportunity to discover. Weaving in culturally resonant neighbourhoods, renowned bookshops and stationery suppliers, and stopping at cafés and restaurants of note, Aman Tokyo’s Art Journey offers an extraordinary opportunity for an intimate encounter with the creative soul of the city.
Later this year, Aman unveils a Manhattan landmark – an exceptional new urban retreat in the Crown Building on the storied corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Following in the footsteps of Aman Tokyo, this ambitious new sanctuary channels the spirit of Aman into one of the world’s most dynamic destinations, serving as a singular enclave of serenity in the electric heart of the city.
Designed with intuitive and understated elegance, 83 rooms and suites are some of the largest in the city. Aman’s first community of urban Residences occupy the upper floors; while below, guests and residents have access to a host of drinking and dining venues, a wraparound garden terrace, and an extraordinary three-storey spa.