Aman New York.
Aman New York.
Image: Supplied

It has been a long time coming, but August 2022 finally sees the opening of Aman New York. It’s the third American outpost for this ultra-luxury hotel brand and its first opening in a major US city. Aman first came to life on the coast of Phuket more than 30 years ago and has since grown to offer 34 elegant hotels and serene resorts across 20 countries. Though the brand remains focused on Asia, it’s evidently making a play for the US market, with three more resorts under development across North America and the Caribbean.

If you’re searching for a blow-the-bank stay in the Big Apple, and United’s new direct services certainly make the city more accessible than ever before, Aman New York will do nicely indeed.

The Setting

Aman New York occupies a plum position on the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, in a building dating back to 1921. The storied Crown Building was the work of Warren and Wetmore, the same architects behind the iconic Grand Central Station. That sense of Manhattan grandeur is matched by the enviable location, just two blocks from Central Park and in the midst of the boutique boulevard that is Fifth Avenue. There’s a subway station at the end of the block, but honestly,  if you can afford the Aman you probably have a town car waiting out front anyway.

Aman New York building.
Aman New York building.
Image: Supplied

The Suites

Aman is synonymous with both space and privacy, and Aman New York raises the bar considerably. This is a city that’s infamous for its poky hotel rooms, but most of the 83 suites here stretch to a decidedly roomy 75-squaremetres. Still not enough space? The signature Aman Suites are four times that.

Size aside, the décor is downright gorgeous, taking its cue from Japanese minimalism in a palette of earthily organic tones and textures. There are large-scale murals painted on rice paper by contemporary Japanese artist Ryoko Adachi, but of course, they’ll have to compete with the fantastic city views. And, if that wasn’t enough of a selling point, each suite boasts its own working fireplace.

Aman New York.
Aman New York.
Image: Supplied
Aman New York.
Aman New York.
Image: Supplied

The Restaurants

One thing I love about major world cities is this: locals love a good hotel bar. It’s something yet to properly catch on in SA , but in New York a hotel is more than a place to sleep. It’s a destination for wining, dining and after-work cocktails. Aman New York is no exception.

Designer Jean Michel Gathy took his cue from the thrumming heartbeat of the Big Apple in designing the public spaces, and even non-residents can stroll in for a drink on the expansive outdoor terrace, or a vinous discovery in the Wine Library. But perhaps the best reason to visit is a meal at Nama, Aman’s take on Japan’s washoku tradition of simple small plates of seasonal dishes. 

Aman New York.
Aman New York.
Image: Supplied

The Spa

Aman comes from the Sanskrit-derived word for ‘peace’, and there’s certainly no shortage of serenity on offer in the hotel’s three-storey wellness facility. It’s suitably OTT too, with a 20-metre indoor pool flanked by daybeds and fire-pits. For added privacy, two vast Spa Houses offer double treatment rooms and a private hammam, exclusive outdoor terraces, daybeds and a (nother) fireplace. No expense has been spared here, which is sure to reflect on the bill.

Aman New York.
Aman New York.
Image: Supplied

The Downside

This brings us to the downside. New York hotels have never been shy to charge, but a stay at Aman New York would make even an oligarch blush. Suites start from $3,200 (R52,692) per night and climb to an eye-watering $20,000 (R329,328) per night for the three-bedroom Corner Suite. That excludes room taxes that start at $482 (R7,937). It also, can you believe it, doesn’t even include breakfast. That will set you back another $114 (R1,877). Per person. 

Those rates are almost four times what you’ll pay at the Aman Tokyo, which offers similarly large rooms and an equally impeccable location. While the novelty factor of Aman New York may well attract the well-heeled and curious in these early days, those sky-high rates will surely come down to earth soon.

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