Aman properties are a firm favourite amongst celebrities, as much for their privacy and staff’s discretion as for their boutique nature, and the original resort of Amanpuri in Phuket has a number of private residences with a very strict waiting list for the festive season. With all this in mind, Julie didn’t really know what to expect from her trip, so she was delighted to discover another side to Aman when she was privileged enough to experience three of its Indochina properties.
Each property features the typical Aman approach to design – which is minimal and uses as many natural, local materials as possible – and authenticity, each property is ably run by local staff, with a palpable flavour of the destination infusing the cuisine, beverages, spa products, music, vehicles and excursions. In addition, guests are provided with an impressive selection of diet and exercise programmes, meditation and spa therapies.
By far the most enjoyable part of what became her personal Aman Adventure, was exploring. Aman’s experienced Guides were only too keen to share their knowledge and exceeded all Julie's expectations – in addition to the main sites she was shown hidden temples, made extra stops to visit markets and was given tips and advice for taking the best photographs. Best of all, she discovered, an alternate side to Aman, and really started to understand why this brand amongst so many others, has earned itself a legion of followers, known as the 'Amanjunkies'.
Each Aman property indelibly links itself to its community and is committed to ‘giving back.' Julie visited a fishing community living on Lake Tonle Sap, saw performances from local dancers and orphans, plus of course, she stayed in an old hospital, Amantaka, and a Prince’s Holiday Home, Amansara, both ‘reborn' courtesy of the Aman touch. Other Aman 'touches' she experienced along the way, included a vintage car transfer in Cambodia, a private bicycle tour in Luang Prabang, a river cruise along the mighty Mekong River, receiving a Baci blessing and watching traditional Thai dancers in Phuket.
As a result of her trip, Julie felt that she had a better understanding, not just of the destinations or the unique character of each property, but the Aman brand – essentially authentic, driven by a strong sense of service, committed to meeting local obligations – and she applauds each property's dedication and commitment to the local people, history and culture – preserving these for future Amanjunkies to enjoy!