I’m showing my age here a bit but my first experience of an Aman was backpacking around Asia with a girlfriend before arriving at the newly opened Amanpuri in Phuket where her parents had taken a couple of rooms for the week. Bizarrely, backpacking has since lost its appeal…
If there’s a deity in the luxury hotel world, Adrian Zecha might just be him/her/it. On the first day (way back in 1988) Zecha created Amanpuri, a hotel in Thailand that transformed overnight what discerning guests could - and should - expect from a luxury hotel.
Amanpuri was certainly radical, with just 40 rooms, a smattering of private villas, an emphasis on elegant minimalism and stellar service and finally a pristine, remote location. Granted, that might not sound particularly radical a quarter of a century on, but at the time it most certainly was. The received wisdom back then was that luxury hotels needed to be big beasts with many hundreds of rooms to justify the high construction costs; while remote locations merely meant higher still maintenance costs. Zecha saw there was another way, and here we are, 27 years and 28 Amans later, eternally grateful for one man's vision.
The Aman Empire now spans four continents, 19 countries and even the occasional city, but wherever Aman's guests find themselves, they can be sure of the same high levels of service, comfort and elegance that bring them back time and again to the extent someone had to invent a word to describe such loyalty - Amanjunkies. Not content with re-inventing luxury hotel, Zecha only went an invented a new type of traveller as well. That's just showing off.