Today: Travel tip: How to become an Amanjunkie?
It is no secret that I am a devoted ‘Amanjunkie’ (in addition to being a Soneva addict). I am often using this term in my blog and my YouTube videos, but I realize that not all of you may be familiar with the term. The term includes the century old word “aman”, which means “peace, security, safety, shelter, protection” in the Sanskrit, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, Ge’ez, Amharic, Urdu and Persian languages. Today, Aman is better known as the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, operating 34 uberluxurious resorts and hotels in 21 destinations, ranging from the desert sands of Marrakech and the snowy peaks of Wyoming to the jungle-clad ruins of Siem Reap and the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean. You can find an overview of all the Aman Hotels & Resorts here.
The story of Aman goes back to three decades ago, when the company was founded by the Singapore based, Indonesian hotelier Adrian Zecha. The first Aman came into being through happy accident. Looking for a holiday home in Phuket (Thailand), Zecha came across a magnificent coconut grove on the island’s west coast, but his creative plans soon developed into an idea to build a small boutique resort. Zecha and his friends invested their own money in the venture as no banks would lend for the project due to the small number of planned rooms, and in 1988 the hotel opened under the name Amanpuri (meaning place of peace). A welcome reprieve from the unremarkable mega resorts that dominated the 1980s, Amanpuri was an instant hit, received a lot of press, and also raised the standard of five-star hotels to dizzying new heights (with the introduction of a culturally-rooted approach to service, private plunge pools and new amenities like in-room massages, all unheard of at the time).
Over the next three decades, the Aman branded slowly expanded with the opening of retreats all over the world, and also started developing and breeding a fan base of loyal travelers who plan their holidays according to the location of Aman resorts across the globe. Although I don’t know where this term comes from, these self-confessed fans became known as Amanjunkies. And the term even gained in popularity in recent years because of Instagram, where Amanjunkies try to outdo each other with the most artsy and serene photos of Aman resorts under the hashtag #amanjunkie.
Are you an Amanjunkie? If yes, leave a comment about your favorite Aman resort!
There are no conditions to become an Amanjunkie. You will simply become one during/after your first stay at an Aman resort. Indeed, once you stay at an Aman resort, you are hooked for life (and everything else will pale in comparison). Every Amanjunkie knows that all of the hotel group’s properties have seven things in common that set them apart from their competitors:
- Exceptional locations that will take your breath away, whether it be because of their natural beauty, urban setting or cultural importance.
- A visually stunning and often spartan minimalist design that evokes an ultra-sleek yet warm and intimate ambience.
- A fabulous pool area, which always comes with one or more super-large pools, a peaceful atmosphere, and – most of the time – terrific views.
- Fantastic food that would not be out of place in a 3 star Michelin restaurant in Paris, Hong Kong or New York.
- A small number of rooms (typically less than 60), enhancing the private and exclusive feel
- Personalised activities and excursions that will submerge you in the destination’s authentic vibe.
- Above all, impeccable service, with the staff always knowing what you want even before you do.
Aman resorts are among the most expensive hotels in the world, often charging more than $2000 USD per night. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Aman counts the rich and famous among its clientele, including A list celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Angelina Jolie, the Beckham family, and Bill Gates. Yet, Amanjunkies are not exclusively super-wealthy travelers; the truth is that many Amanjunkies, including myself, are not particularly wealthy but prefer to spend their money on a couple of nights at an Aman resort instead of a couple of weeks at a non-remarkable resort for the same price. When you stay at Aman, you pay for an experience unrivaled anywhere else, but also for life long memories. And despite the sky-high rates, guests – the wealthy and not so wealthy – keep coming back: 50% of all bookings at Aman resorts are repeat guests and the number of properties visited among Amanjunkies is something to tout and be proud of.
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. 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, which I explained here.
It remains to be seen whether Aman will be able to uphold its legendary reputation in the future. The brand, which built part of its fame on the remote and culturally immersed locations of its hotels, changed ownership in the past decade and has been slowing down its number of new hotel openings. One project to be excited about is Aman’s forthcoming debut in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2023. True to its pioneering spirit, the brand will develop three distinct resorts which will offer access to Saudi Arabia’s unspoilt landscapes and archaeological sites, which have long remained undiscovered. This development will include a tented camp, a resort close to Al Ula’s spectacular heritage areas; and a ranch-style desert resort nestled in an otherworldly setting. Another new Aman opening I am excited about as an Amanjunkie is Aman New York, which will open this August (bookings can be made here). However, all the other hotel openings that Aman has announced in the past years seem to capitalize on rather well established tourist destinations, like Bangkok, Miami, Beverly Hills and Cabo San Lucas.
Read my reviews of Aman hotels here:
- Review: Aman Sveti Stefan (Montenegro)
- Review of Amankila, Bali’s best luxury hotel
- Review of Amandari (Ubud, Bali)
- Review: Amanjiwo, Borobudur (Java, Indonesia)
- Review: PHENOMENAL Amanzoe (Peloponnese, Greece)
- Review of PHENOMENAL Amanwella (Tangalle, Sri Lanka)
- Review of Amangalla (Fort Galle, Sri Lanka)
- Review: Amanoi, the most exclusive hotel in Vietnam
- Hotel review: phenomenal Aman Tokyo (Japan)
- Hotel review: Amanemu, Shima Peninsula (Japan)
- Hotel review: ultraluxe Amanpuri, Phuket (Thailand)
- Review: Aman Venice (Italy)
- Hotel Review: Amanfayun, Hangzhou (China)
- Hotel review: Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing
- Hotel Review: Amanruya, Bodrum (Turkey)
- Hotel review: Amanyara (Turks & Caicos)