Despite founder Adrian Zecha’s documented distaste for hyperbole, talking about Amanresorts without pulling out the word fireworks is not an easy endeavor. Each property is a world in itself, a haven of cultural immersion where each day brings something completely new.
“Each of our resorts is quite different in location, look, mood and guest experience, yet each leaves an impression—an indelible mark,” says Trina Dingler Ebert, Amanresorts’ executive director. “At Amanresorts we have discovered there is an alternate path—that it is possible to build environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing resorts. That small is good for business as well as guests. That less is more.”
This corporate point of view has its roots, no doubt, with Zecha, who in 2001 told Time magazine: “All I want to do is provide an incredible, relaxed, stressless experience so people will have incredible memories of it.” In fact, his foray into this business began when he was looking for a private vacation home for himself. The first resort, Amanpuri (which means “place of peace”) opened in Phuket in 1988. Today, Amanresorts has 24 properties in China, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, French Polynesia, India, the Philippines, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Montenegro, France, Morocco, Turks & Caicos, Utah and Wyoming.
The brand’s variety of locations is as intrinsic to Amanresorts as the stay itself. “Amanresorts offers a range of experiences and offers, encouraging guests to look at their destinations anew through varied lenses,” explains Dingler Ebert. “Our resorts are in diverse locations geographically—some provide a more pampering alternative. Others focus on the culture and adventure of a destination.”
Winter bunnies, for instance, have Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, just rated among Conde Nast Traveler readers as the number one place to stay while skiing in North America. On the western edge of East Gros Ventre Butte, Amangani sits roughly 7,000 ft. above sea level, with mountain and valley views from each of its 40 suites. Besides a great spa and a heated outdoor pool, there’s the Amangani Ski Lounge, complete with ski concierge, located at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
This is a brand that allows clients much more than a vacation—it allows them to create incredible memories. “Travelers are seeking a worthwhile experience ‘outside the gate’ rather than just ‘inside the gate.’ At the Amans we are as concerned about the guest experience when they are outside the property as when they are within the grounds,” adds Dingler Ebert. “This added-value experience can take many forms, depending on individual preferences and lifestyles.”
Amanyara in Turks & Caicos, for example, is nestled on the shores of Northwest Point Marine National Park, which allows quick access to snorkeling and a variety of watersports. Its new Winter Offer provides clients who stay four nights or more at the property’s Pavillions or Villas complimentary daily breakfast and one dinner (excluding beverages); the package is valid through March 25 with some blackout dates.
Then there are programs such as the Discover Indochina package, which offers three nights at Amantaka in Luang Prabang, Laos and three nights at Amansara in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Rates start at $5,640 dbl for the six nights, with transportation between resorts and a wealth of extras such as guided tours, a river cruise, a cooking class, some meals, and more.
This year, Amanresorts is launching its 24th property, which happens to be its second hotel in China. “Amanfayun will offer guests a unique rural retreat on the outskirts of the historic Chinese city of Hangzhou, which is just a 20-minute drive from the city center,” says Dingler Ebert, adding that the hotel was named for a Tang Dynasty village that once inhabited the site. Hangzhou is regarded as China’s most beautiful city. Amanfayun is comprised of stone courtyard houses where tea farmers once lived and is tucked away amid temples and forests. Each room, suite and villa is a bit different from the rest, and most have either private or semi-private courtyards. There is also a tea house, cigar room, library, spa and rooms for tai chi, meditation and yoga.
Another unique experience in the works is the Komodo Expedition, a 7-night adventure through the wilderness and waters of Indonesia’s Komodo National Park on the new Amanikan, a 104-ft. Phinisi coastal cruise custom built for Amanresorts. The getaway ends with a 2-night stay at Amanwana on Moyo Island; prices are forthcoming.