Today (June 27, 2018): how to get maximum value when booking an Aman hotel?
Aman is the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, offering travel experiences unrivaled anywhere else. Meticulously designed to frame their natural settings, Aman hotels are renowned for breathtaking locations, locally inspired architecture, and ultimate privacy. Each welcomes guests as if to the home of a close friend, instilling a sense of peace and belonging amid some of the most diverse natural and historical landscapes. It is an approach that has changed little since 1988 when the first retreat was built on Phuket’s west coast. It was named Amanpuri, meaning ‘place of peace’, and Aman was born. Today, embracing more than 30 ultra-luxe hotels in 20 countries, Aman continues to seek out transformative experiences and awe-inspiring locations around the world. Among Aman’s habitués is a group of passionate repeat customers – self-proclaimed ‘Aman junkies’ (count me in) – who rave about the service and design aesthetic and whose travel plans are determined by Aman locations.
But with the group’s stellar reputation also comes a heavy price tag and staying at an Aman hotel requires you to dig deep in your pockets (with entry room rates well above $1000 USD per night at several properties). Unfortunately, Aman does not have a loyalty program, probably because their wealthy and loyal guests keep returning anyway. In addition, the brand does not compromise on exclusivity as you cannot book Aman hotels other than via the Aman website, luxury travel agents and some credit card companies (more on that below). So, it doesn’t make sense to start looking for the rate of an Aman hotel on aggregator websites like Hotelscombined and Trivago, since Aman won’t pop up in the search results anyway. However, there are some tips & tricks that can save you a few hundred dollars per night when staying at an Aman hotel. I hereby share with you the 3 best strategies – at least in my opinion – for booking a room (or even suite) into an Aman property. You can share your own tricks in the comments below.
1. BOOK VIA VIRTUOSO
Almost all Aman properties belong to the portfolio of Virtuoso. Virtuoso is not your classic hotel booking engine website. It’s the industry’s leading, invitation-only network of the world’s best luxury travel advisors, spanning over 26 countries and 9,000 travel advisors. So when you book an Aman hotel via Virtuoso, most of the time, you will be in touch with a Virtuoso travel agent who will make the booking for you. There are some Virtuoso travel agencies though that offer an online booking tool, such as Classic Travel, which has an excellent website and is my overall preferred Virtuoso travel agency for booking an Aman (or other luxury) hotel.
Booking an Aman hotel via Virtuoso instead of via the Aman website has the following benefits:
- The single best reason to book an Aman hotel through a Virtuoso travel agent is that it means value for money as you’ll get access to complimentary VIP perks, such as room upgrade, flexible check-in and check-out times, daily breakfast and a resort, spa, or food credit (or something else). While the exact perks differ from hotel to hotel, they can easily be worth a few hundred dollars per night.
- In most cases, the Virtuoso rate is identical to the Best Available Rate (BAR) found on the official Aman website, which is a flexible rate that can be cancelled without penalty. For that reason, you’re leaving money on the table if you book a paid stay at the best available rate (BAR) via the Aman website and not via Virtuoso.
2. BOOK VIA THE AMAN WEBSITE
Except for the Best Available Rates (BAR) – which are always best booked via a Virtuoso travel agent – it makes sense to check the Aman website for the presence of any offers, packages or special deals. You can check these deals by clicking on the “exclusives” tab on the top of the website of each Aman hotel. Several types of deals are offered:
- Single hotel package deals require a multi-day stay at one property and usually include a discount on the room rate and a few benefits such as airport transfers and complimentary wellness treatments.
- Multi-hotel package deals are offered in destinations where Aman manages multiple properties in close proximity to one another (e.g. Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, China, and Bhutan). The package deals usually offer a discounted stay when you visit multiple hotels during one itinerary in addition to complimentary transfers between the hotels and few other benefits (e.g. spa treatments).
This page on the official Aman website shows an overview of all currently available, Aman exclusive package deals. Let’s use Amanjiwo – one of the 4 ultraluxe hotels that Aman manages in Indonesia – as an example.
- When you would book a room for one night in August 2018 via the Amanjiwo website, this would cost you $800 USD per night (= best available rate, which excludes taxes and breakfast). When you book the same room via a Virtuoso travel agent, this will also cost you $800 USD per night but include breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a room upgrade, and a complimentary lunch for two.
- When you stay two nights at Amanjiwo instead of one, the room rates drops to $650 USD per night with the “Undiscovered Indonesia” deal. In addition to the exclusive discount, daily breakfast and airport transfers are also included in this package.
- Amanjiwo is located in the cultural heartland of Java. When you combine a stay at Amanjiwo with a stay at Amandari or Amankila on the legendary island of Bali and/or a stay at Amanwana, a tented camp on the serene nature reserve of Moyo Island, then you will enjoy additional benefits and discounts with the “Bali&Beyond package“, including daily breakfast at each resort, inter-resort transfers, full board at Amanwana, and one activity per resort:
- At Amankila: East Bali tour, trek or cycle tour
- At Amandari: Cycle from Amandari to Ubud, trekking, Amandari massage, guided tour of a local market, private Balinese dance class or afternoon tea at Sunset Point
- At Amanjiwo: Guided tour of Borobudur, Javanese massage, sunset martinis in the rice fields, hike in the Menoreh Hills, meditation in Mendut Temple or village tour by andong
- At Amanwana: Waterfall trip, one hour massage, private beach bbq, guided bat cave hike, bottom fishing, sunset cruise, guided snorkelling to Turtle Street, guided night time snorkelling, beach drop off or star-gazing cruise.
3. BOOK VIA YOUR CREDIT CARD CONCIERGE
When you own an American Express credit card, you can book almost any Aman hotel via Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. This will offer you the same benefits as when you would book the Aman hotel via a Virtuoso travel agent:
- Room upgrade upon arrival when available
- Daily (continental) breakfast for two people
- Guaranteed late 4pm check-out time
- Noon check-in when available
- A spa, food, and/or beverage credit (valued at a minimum of US$ 100 USD)
When you own a Citi Prestige Card (USA citizens only) you can make use of the fourth night free benefit: when you book a four night stay at an Aman property, you get reimbursed the cost of the fourth night, minus any taxes and service fees. The fourth night benefit is calculated based on the average nightly rate of your complete stay. Reservations must be made through Thankyou.com or the Citi Prestige Concierge and you must pay for your stay with your Citi Prestige Card, ThankYou points, or a combination of the two. There are a few things to be aware of, though:
- You can only use the fourth night free benefit when booking the best available rate (BAR), and not when booking one of the Aman exclusive multi-day packages which often represent a much better deal.
- You can’t combine the Citi Prestige fourth night free with the benefits offered via Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and/or Virtuoso. The latter often represent a much better deal