At the beginning of a new decade, Aman is looking forward to a number of events including the arrival of Aman New York later this year, as well as the opening of Camp Sarika by Amangiri, a luxury encampment in the Utah desert, and a host of new life-enhancing experiences and thrilling adventures introduced across all properties.
Amankora’s five unique lodges are spread across different valleys within the Kingdom of Bhutan, a wild and spiritual place where happiness is revered and tranquility reigns. For the ultimate adventure in 2020, Amankora will offer guests the opportunity to push their physical, mental and spiritual boundaries and discover their true potential with an intense 10-night High Altitude Training Retreat.
Each valley will offer a new challenge, with guests covering 78 kilometres through hikes and cycle rides, with opportunities to relax and soothe tired muscles in the evenings in each lodge’s Aman Spa. Summer training will take place from May to August, while winter training will run from December 2020 to the end of February 2021.
The lodges have also introduced five new journeys for 2020. A Tiger’s Odyssey is a four-day journey in Paro, where the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery clings to the mountainside. Participants will explore this architectural wonder and many other heritage treasures in Bhutan’s ‘golden valley’, getting a fulfilling taste of the Land of the Thunder Dragon.
Named for the crown worn by Bhutan’s King, Return to the Raven is a six-day journey to Bhutan’s eastern gateways, starting and ending in Paro. Aimed at those planning to return to Bhutan to continue their pilgrimage of other valleys and to further explore the Kingdom, participants will venture deeper into the soul of the country in the valleys of Trongsa, Tang and Ura.
Designing a Kingdom is a 12-day journey through Bhutan’s fashion, art, architecture and design in pursuit of creative inspiration. The Kingdom has strict rules in place to retain its traditional art, design, architecture and national dress. Participants begin their journey in Thimphu before moving on to Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and finally, Paro.
The Flavours of the Valleys is a 12-day culinary odyssey and a delicious discovery of Bhutan’s diverse valleys. The Kingdom’s produce is as varied as its topography, and each valley has its own special dishes.
The Family Safari is a 12-day journey through the Kingdom. Known as the ‘roof of the world’, Bhutan boasts the world’s tallest mountains and is a mysterious land of forests, fortresses, farmhouses, flora and fauna – a place of discovery and adventure for the whole family. From herding yaks and hiking to making dumplings and learning archery, activities will cater to all ages.
Providing the ultimate Indian safari in the tiger-inhabited wilds of Ranthambore National Park, Aman-i-Khas has always been dedicated to preserving the environment and having a positive impact on the local community. The 10-tented luxury camp, open from October to the end of May each year, is pleased to announce a range of new additions in 2020.
Capturing images of wildlife has never been easier. Guests now have access to DSLR cameras and telephoto lenses (100-400mm) on every safari vehicle, as well as top of the line Leica binoculars. The camp has also purchased a new Leica telescope for bird-watching trips, outings on the lake, stargazing and wildlife spotting from the ramparts of Ranthambore Fort.
In environmental terms, the camp has achieved 100% reliance on heat pumps for hot water generation, including in the swimming pool, and is also in the process of installing a solar plant. The camp now recycles 100% of its waste, with no rubbish leaving the property. It further bottles its own water in glass, thereby reducing reliance on plastic. This year the tents will be upgraded with new canvas, and the old canvas will be recycled into tote bags for use around the camp.
The chefs have worked hard to increase local sourcing in 2020. Six local farmers supply the herbs and vegetables not grown on property, and a local family provides buffalo milk from which the camp’s chefs make yoghurt in clay pots. Ghee and garlic are also now sourced locally. New to 2020, the camp’s ‘Mushroom Hut’ successfully produces fresh oyster mushrooms and other varieties for inclusion in cuisine at Aman-i-Khas.
A lush oasis in Rajasthan’s rugged Aravalli Hills, Amanbagh has served as an idyllic base for exploring the surrounding villages, historic ruins and natural beauty of this ancient region for 15 years. To celebrate its 15th anniversary this month, the resort will plant 15 trees with guests and on 29 February will host the second ‘100,000 Steps for 100,000 Rupees’ fundraising challenge in support of the local Birkhari School.
The funds raised from this 75km walk will be used to renovate the school, update its supplies and educational materials and introduce art classes in addition to the reading and yoga lessons that Amanbagh already conducts. The resort previously created the school’s library and continues to add books in both Hindi and English.
To mark this milestone year, Amanbagh has also introduced a number of new activities. Guests can enjoy a 15km cycle through the villages and countryside of Ajabgarh, join a guide for a serene early morning walk and chai in a machan lookout post, and take part in a Chitta-Moksha ritual conducted by a local holy man seated beneath an ancient holy tree. This simple blessing ceremony aims to liberate the mind from internal and external stress, calming the spirit and enhancing creative thinking.
In addition to Amanbagh’s regular cooking classes, a new farm to fork journey has been introduced. Guests can pick their own vegetables from the resort’s organic gardens before creating a special dish with a chef for lunch. Almost 80% of the fresh produce used by the resort’s restaurants is grown on property.
A new temple walk will take in two small temples on the estate, as well as three more within a 1km radius of the resort. Walking through gardens, along a river bank and into the countryside, guests will hear the morning and evening aarti – bells and chanting – drifting from Barakhambi Temple, follow the 128 steps to Bharay Baba Temple, visit two temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, and finish at a temple honouring Lord Durga, where most of Amanbagh’s employees worship.
Just 10 minutes by car from the resort, Ajabgarh’s finest attractions are its 17th-century fort and temple, connected by an underground passage. Guests can now visit these atmospheric ruins in the late afternoon, then watch the sun set over the valley with Champagne and canapés from the top of the fort.
AMANERA, Dominican Republic
Perched on the coast above the iconic Playa Grande Beach, Amanera offers guests unprecedented access to the natural and cultural charms of this remarkable destination. Whether kitesurfing at Cabarete, playing 18 holes on the neighbouring Playa Grande golf course, horse riding along the beach or kayaking through mangroves, guests working up an appetite will appreciate the new Beach Club menu – a celebration of street food from around the world, as well as local flavours such as fish empanadas, made with the catch of the day.
Amanera’s new 2.5km oceanfront nature walk begins on a nearby farm in an orchard of orange and lime trees. The trail winds through beaches and mangroves, providing access to a secret beach on the rugged coastline. When guests finally reach Playa Caleton, the adventurous can jump from a 10m cliff into the ocean before tucking into a seafood barbecue cooked on the beach by Amanera’s chefs. 2020 also sees the introduction of a one-of-a-kind zipline experience.
Just over an hour by car from the resort, guests can now experience a 4,500-foot zip line with seven stations and two suspended bridges. Designed for both adults and children, the route zigzags above Monkey Jungle, where capuchin and squirrel monkeys are rehabilitated in pristine surrounds.
AMANYARA, Turks and Caicos
Overlooking the shores of Northwest Point Marine National Park on the west coast of Providenciales, Amanyara has always been actively involved in the conservation of turtles, coral and other marine life. In 2020, the resort welcomed a new Marine Biologist, Clare Atkinson.
Originally from the UK, Clare has a Master’s Degree in Marine Conservation and Policy. A specialist in sea turtle conservation, she has studied these gentle creatures on the beaches of Greece, Costa Rica and the Seychelles. At Amanyara Clare has introduced new environmental activities for guests from her base at the resort’s Nature Discovery Centre.
These new activities include a paddle boarding experience exploring the mangroves in Frenchman’s Creek, just south of the resort. While paddling down peaceful channels fringed with red mangroves, guests will learn about the importance of this unique ecosystem and spot green sea turtles and harmless juvenile lemon sharks. A picnic on a secluded beach with swimming and snorkelling will round off the adventure.
Another new initiative will be the Junior Marine Biologist programme. Launching from 17 February, the activity offers children three basic field studies ranging from fish surveys and sea turtle nesting, to coral health.
2020 will also welcome freediving instructor Samantha Kildegaard. Hailing from Argentina and passionate about marine conservation, Samantha will offer a range of freediving courses including PADI accredited basic and certification courses.
Amanpulo encompasses the entire island of Pamalican in the Sulu Sea and is fringed by beaches and pristine coral reefs, providing the perfect tropical island retreat, ideal for kitesurfing. January 2020 celebrates the first anniversary of Amanpulo’s Kite & Surf Centre. New kiting areas include the neighbouring island of Manamoc, and special downwinder sessions have been introduced for advanced riders.
After a session on the water, guests can now dine at the newly unveiled Beachclub. The centrepiece of the redesign is the new bar, imagined and built to match its picture-perfect location. Along with an updated cocktail list, the menu now offers a range of Mediterranean-inspired dishes and Arva favourites, focusing on the bounty of the sea.
This year will also see the introduction of private turtle releasing experiences for guests who wish to participate in this once in a lifetime moment. Amanpulo has built a turtle nesting site designed to keep the eggs laid on the island’s shores safe from harm. When the hatchlings emerge, guests can join a guide to witness the turtles making their way into the ocean.
A serene seaside escape on Vietnam’s dramatic coastline, Amanoi provides unrivalled access to Nui Chua National Park. The resort’s remote location and its exceptional wellness facilities, make it a superb setting for getting back to nature, stargazing with the resort’s new telescope, and dedicating time to both mental and physical wellbeing.
Trekking is a rewarding way to experience the national park and a new route has been added this year. The Wild Cat Trek follows the trace of the wild civet and is a rewarding two-hour hike winding through the National Park’s virgin vegetation to a new viewpoint, which offers spectacular panoramas of Amanoi and its breathtaking natural setting.
Guests can also hike to the magnificent Ba Tang Waterfall, a four-hour outing that includes swimming and a picnic or choose the shorter and less demanding route to the Cau Gay province, taking in the traditional mud-and-straw houses of the eponymous Raglai village.
Amanoi has also introduced two new dining experiences offering different aspects of Vietnamese culture. The Sacred Cham Journey begins at dusk with a gentle walk to a hidden spot surrounded by nature. The Cham are renowned for their cuisine and – after an open-air feast – a Cham master will lead a blessing ceremony beneath the night sky.
In contrast to this alfresco experience, dining at local villager Ba Chin’s house in the neighbouring village of Thai An is to witness an authentic slice of Vietnamese life. This delightful traditional home is only 10 minutes from Amanoi by car and provides a picturesque setting for a family-style Vietnamese dinner for up to 10 guests.
Amanoi will host several new wellness experiences this year, including a Journey to Peace Retreat (11 – 17 October) led by renowned Buddhist spiritual master and scholar Geshe YongDong (Geshe La) where guests will be guided on a journey to spiritual enrichment and lasting inner tranquility.
AMAN TOKYO, Japan
An urban sanctuary offering a comprehensive Aman Spa, award-winning restaurants and some of the capital’s finest views, Aman Tokyo has introduced two exclusive new journeys in 2020 to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
The new Art Journey offers insider access to some of the finest galleries and exhibitions the city has to offer, as well as visits to bookstores, cafes and restaurants linked with Tokyo’s thriving art scene.
The journey includes the services of a private driver and car and an art specialist – the tour will take in The National Art Center Tokyo and Mori Art Museum, as well as a host of more exclusive spaces such as The Tomio Koyama Gallery in Roppongi, founded in 1996 to showcase the work of emerging and established artists from Japan and around the world. Assistance in purchasing artworks can also be provided.
The therapists at Aman Tokyo’s Aman Spa see the hotel’s fifth anniversary as an opportunity to focus on kuromoji, one of Japan’s best-loved natural ingredients; the spice bush, with a woody fragrance, known for its ability to calm the nerves and soothe the mind. Aman Tokyo’s new Kuromoji Journey comprises a body wrap of kuromoji clay and tea, followed by a tension-releasing body massage using Aman Tokyo’s signature kuromoji oil.
This year, guests staying at Amantaka in Luang Prabang can deepen their understanding of Buddhism at the property’s new Buddhist Learning Centre. At the foot of sacred Mount Phousi, surrounded by the golden spires of ancient temples, guests can absorb the peace of this leafy sanctuary while learning more about the practices and principles of Buddhism. Abbot Sengdao Santikaro offers daily private teachings, explaining Buddhism’s five principles of good living and answering questions.
Meditation is offered daily and Senior Monk Sombath Watsiphoutthabat leads personalised tours of Wat Siphoutthabath. Guests can also take part in almsgiving at dawn, when 70 monks walk their daily route past the entrance of Amantaka and its tranquil gardens.
This year, Amanpuri announced the opening of its striking new Retail Pavilion created by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The new pavilion is a masterpiece of design, and its steeply pitched roof is in keeping with Amanpuri’s inspiration – the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya. Guests can browse and purchase an impeccably curated selection of items, exclusive to Aman through unique collaborations with renowned local and international artists and designers.
As well as designer swimwear, men’s and women’s resort-, active- and leisure-wear, and accessories ranging from cashmere scarves to sunglasses, the boutique offers both contemporary and fine jewellery from local Thai artists, Aman Skincare products, covetable handicraft items, homeware, and limited-edition furniture pieces also designed by Kengo Kuma. While at the property, guests can also browse Amanpuri’s new Art Gallery, which will showcase contemporary Thai art and antique artworks, objects and artefacts.
AMAN INDONESIA, Bali and Java
An Ultra Luxury Journey exploring Bali and Central Java is new for 2020 and is designed for families or those travelling with friends. Highlighting the finest aspects of four Aman properties in Indonesia (Amanjiwo in Java, Amankila, Amandari and Aman Villas at Nusa Dua in Bali) the experience includes three nights in each resort.
Transfers between properties will be via private helicopter and each destination will offer a 24-hour butler service, a 60-minute Aman signature massage and a complimentary activity during the stay.
Amanjena, a tranquil oasis inspired by the rose-hued buildings of old Marrakech, lies just outside the fabled Red City. To celebrate its 20th anniversary the resort has curated a selection of exciting new activities this year, enabling guests to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the destination.
These include new yoga and meditation sessions, a guided hike in the Atlas Mountains with a traditional lunch in a Berber house, cocktail and canapé evenings, cooking classes and off-the-beaten track adventures around the city in the sidecar of one of Amanjena’s new vintage motorbikes.
AMAN WELLNESS AROUND THE WORLD
Aman is pleased to announce a calendar of new holistic experiences at Aman destinations around the world in 2020; from highly personalised Wellness Immersions in the Turks and Caicos and Greece, to insightful and meaningful retreats in Bhutan, USA, Dominican Republic, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. 2020 sees the arrival of curated wellness experiences designed to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and re-energise body and mind, all in the unique and serene settings that Aman inhabits.
Aman was founded in 1988 with the vision of building a collection of intimate retreats with the unassuming, warm hospitality of a gracious private home. The first, Amanpuri (place of peace) in Phuket, Thailand, introduced the concept and, since then, Aman has grown to encompass 40* exquisitely serene hotels and resorts in 22 destinations across the world. The next Aman to open will be Aman New York (2020).
The introduction of Aman Skincare in 2018 continued the holistic journey beyond the perimeters of Aman’s havens. Offering a soothing journey to a place of beautifully scented repose and respite, Aman Skincare represents the spirit of Aman in a bottle. Cementing Aman’s commitment to providing guests with insightful and unique cultural experiences, Atma, launched in 2019, curates one-off events that are inspired by Aman destinations and designed to connect mind, body and spirit.
*Located in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, the Dominican Republic, France, Greece, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan (Niseko 2023), Laos, Mexico (2021), Montenegro, Morocco, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia (2023), Sri Lanka, Thailand (Bangkok 2022), Turkey, the Turks & Caicos Islands, the USA (New York 2020), (Miami 2023) and Vietnam.