21 Sep Space to Reflect with Aman
There are few things in our world more calm than the sky after the storm. Following times of turmoil and tension, we seek out stillness and embrace opportunities to slow down, reconnect and recalibrate. As the clouds clear and possibilities for travel and exploration return, Aman reawakens across Asia. From the coconut-palm coast of Sri Lanka to the ancient temples of Angkor, inspiring settings create atmospheres naturally conducive to reflection. Making every moment last longer and cultivating a sense of calm helps us engage with the present, heals the stresses of the past, and leaves us strengthened for the future.
Wherever they are found, Aman resorts are always designed to be a harmonious response to their setting, magnifying the natural beauty and serenity of their surroundings. Although each destination is different, they are united by their generous sense of space, their heartfelt connections to the community around them, and their restorative air of privacy and peace.
‘To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.’
Timeless Thai elegance
Overlooking the blue expanse of the Andaman Sea from a sheltered headland, this timeless retreat still feels as remote as can be, three decades after its coconut-grove serenity first inspired the idea of Aman. Evoking the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya in their architecture, Amanpuri’s private Villas are ideal sanctuaries for families to reconnect, each with their own swimming pool and a private sea-view perch on the peninsula. At the Eco Beach Centre and the Hot Spot, children and teens will find horizon-broadening activities from Thai dance and batik to skateboarding and DJing.
The unspoilt white sands and dramatic boulders of Pansea Beach are both an arena for contemplation and a gateway to ocean adventures, ranging from the gentle pace of Schiller biking and paddle boarding to the sheer adrenaline thrill of the Flyboard. Trying new experiences opens our minds to new ideas, shifting our perspectives and creating new possibilities – whether that’s learning to Scuba dive, watching the sun set from the deck of a boat, or simply taking the time to connect with nature.
Amanjiwo, Central Java
A higher, deeper contemplation
As the home of the world’s most important Buddhist sanctuary, Borobudur, Amanjiwo’s setting in Central Java is infused with a sense of the serene and the spiritual. The wonder of 9th-century architecture stands splendid against the backdrop of the gently rising Menoreh Hills, with hundreds of life-size Buddha statues and thousands of intricate stone carvings concealed within its ancient walls. There are few places in the world more suited to the contemplation of the mysteries of life and the universe, and Amanjiwo – born in Borobudur’s shadow – is designed such that its limestone buildings both echo and frame the ancient temple.
Amanjiwo may appear remote from the rest of the world, but the resort is deeply intertwined with the communities that surround it – and has grown even closer through the challenges of recent months. The Aman team meet frequently with local village leaders – the Bapak Kepala Desa – to discuss community-enrichment, local-economy and infrastructure initiatives, including developing a recycling system in the villages, fundraising for the nearby orphanage in Majaksingi, and employing local craftspeople to make small handmade batik pouches for hand sanitiser, wipes and face masks as gifts for guests.
Meditative Mughal palace
Carved from local pink marble and sandstone, Amanbagh’s scalloped arches and cupolas echo the regal spectacle of Rajasthan’s Mughal Empire. Here in the wilds of the Aravalli Hills, amid the resplendence of nature, the garden resort is an enclave of tranquillity, where palm, fruit and eucalyptus trees shade the sea sea-green central pool and the palatial Suites and Pavilions beyond. In this restorative setting, the Aman Spa’s therapists follow the ancient wellbeing philosophy of Ayurveda – the holistic health system in which the peace of the mind and the health of the body are inextricably connected. Restore balance and physical health through yoga, mindfulness meditation and individually tailored therapies.
The last few months have provided Amanbagh with an opportunity to deepen its already strong relationships with the rural villages that surround it. The sudden lockdown in India meant that 65 members of the team could not return home and had to live at the resort for up to 11 weeks. While continuing their online training in hospitality management, the team spent their time transforming the spa’s supply of calico (used for Ayurvedic poultices) into face masks for the local schoolchildren, and gathering twigs and branches for the villagers to use for firewood.
Fringed by a crescent of golden sand and acres of coconut trees, Amanwella is the late great architect Kerry Hill’s fresh-aired ode to minimalism. Its design evokes the seminal Tropical Modernist movement that evolved up in Sri Lanka in the mid-20th century: the clean-lined simplicity of modernism softened by airy open spaces and accented by warm indigenous materials. Large terraces overlook the Indian Ocean here on Sri Lanka’s sun-drenched south coast, a land of coconut and rice farming, stilt-fishing and Buddhist rituals punctuated by rock temples and artisan villages.
A visit to Amanwella is an invitation to slow down and take in the glories of the island setting: the palms towering over the iconic 150-foot swimming pool, the stillness of the sun-warmed sea, and the rainbow splendour of the reefs below. Not far from the resort, two national parks offer the chance to reconnect with nature and discover Sri Lanka’s extraordinary wildlife – from the wild elephants of Udawalawe to the leopards of Yala, home to the world’s largest concentration of the elusive cat.
Amansara, Siem Reap
A refined regal residence
Welcomed as though a guest of King Sihanouk, experience the elegance of New Khmer architecture through a stay in one this one-time royal residence’s Suites. Set in the heart of Siem Reap’s French Quarter, and 10 minutes from one of the most significant and stirring historic sites in the world – the temples of Angkor – Amansara maintains an ambience of spiritual solemnity, as though connected to a greater force, separate from the trivial concerns of the everyday world. The sensitively preserved mid-century minimalism of the pools, ponds and private courtyards are especially good for the soul.
While it has been closed to guests, Amansara’s team has turned to help the local community, delivering relief packages to vulnerable people and the active Buddhist temples of Angkor, clearing jungle trails, and donating blood to the local children’s hospital (assisted by a team visiting from Amanyara), as well as commissioning handwoven masks from a social enterprise dedicated to sustainable livelihoods for women in remote areas of Cambodia.