Sep 12, 2022
UPON MY ARRIVAL AT the just-opened Aman New York, attentive staff whisk me so efficiently through the gold-latticed doors that I almost miss some important details. First, despite occupying prime position on Fifth Avenue, the hotel’s comparatively discrete entrance is located on 57th Street—presumably to offer high-profile guests more privacy for arrivals and departures. Second, I’m immediately enveloped by a silence and tranquility far removed from the madness of Midtown Manhattan. Privacy is a hallmark of Aman, but the level of serenity here is surprising. I’m told later the hotel is quiet enough to host a podcast studio—not that it ever would.
Naturally, this is exactly what Aman and long-time design partner Jean-Michel Gathy were going for with this glamorous vertical resort in New York’s historic Crown Building. A resplendent example of Beaux-Arts architecture, the property sits a stone’s throw from the city’s Billionaire Row, and Gathy has ensured that Aman New York, aesthetically, fits right in with its neighbors. And that’s before you get to the 22 Aman Residences that sit atop the building, or the five-story penthouse that, if it sells at its US$180 million contract price, will be the city’s most expensive private home.
Since taking the helm in 2014, chief executive Vladislav Doronin has expanded Aman’s offerings, developing new products like the leather line and new Aman New York fragrance, and creating members-only Aman Clubs (the New York location has a US$200,000 buy-in). City hotels are the latest venture. Aman has long been synonymous with resorts that offer privacy, luxury, and serenity in equal measure. Now, Doronin is betting the Aman experience will translate from remote destinations to urban locations without losing its signature charms. The brand’s first foray into big-city living was Aman Tokyo, which opened in 2014. It’s taken eight years for the brand’s second urban resort, Aman New York, to open—already they’re famously the most expensive hotel rooms in town. (A third is slated to open in Miami next year.)
What do you get for that rate? Even entry-level rooms offer every conceivable creature comfort. My favorite amenities are the glass-enclosed fireplace—they’re in every suite, and public spaces throughout the hotel—and the oversized soak tub, though I rate the Frette linens, too. Surprisingly, the expansive desk hides a pop-up TV. Aman is notorious for encouraging digital detoxes but here, the brand has bowed to the realities of its New York clientele. Still, Aman New York’s 83 guestrooms retain the brand’s trademark minimalist luxury and Asian-inspired aesthetic with a palette of creams, bronzes and whites elevated by materials such as oak, marble and natural stone. Playing to Aman’s roots, Asian design features are everywhere, from the Japanese-style ink murals and pivoting partition screens to the lattice motifs inspired by the region’s woven baskets.
Between my room, the restaurants and the spa, I easily manage to not leave the hotel for 48 hours. There’s a lingering lunch of stylish, unfussy Italian dishes—including a uniquely delicious mushroom-and-pistachio burrata—by chef Dario Ossola at Arva. But dinner at Nama, the uber-chic Japanese restaurant—and currently the hottest table in town—is a true delight. Here, chef Takuma Yonemaru plates palate-pleasing seasonal dishes inspired by Japan’s washoku culinary traditions. From super-fresh sushi to show-stopping mains (try the Lobster and Uni Ogonyaki and the Buta Kakuni pork belly), every dish is that symphony of flavors, textures and style that PR folks like to tout but, in my opinion, rarely achieve such artistic perfection.
Of course, it’s not an Aman experience without an overachieving spa. At Aman New York, the flagship “integrative health and wellness destination” is a 2,320-square-meter space set across three floors. The Aman New York Signature treatment is two hours of unadulterated pampering that can’t be found in any other of the brand’s spas. Fair warning: the nourishing 30-minute scrub and powerful 90-minute massage had my head in the clouds for the rest of the day, so don’t expect to go straight into a business meeting. The spa’s Aman Wellness Method is a functional medical tool for taking control of one’s health. Start with a wellness consultation—ask for David Beltran, who offers practical advice during my session—so that you can be guided to the perfect combination of clinical facilities, diagnostic tools, and specialists that are on hand to ensure you reach the absolute pink of health. The best part of the Aman Spa, though? The chic indoor pool boasting a fireplace and serious design cred.
This hotel—like luxury itself—is all about the details. Having gotten its start in Thailand, a country renowned for its hospitality, Aman spent decades refining every aspect of its offerings before arriving in the Big Apple. From a guest-experience perspective, this latest hotel is of a peak caliber more commonly found at top-tier five-star properties in Asia. With its sumptuous design, thoughtful offerings and personalized, discreet service, Aman New York is poised to set a new standard for not just room rates but also, from my divine experience, hospitality in the city.
www.aman.com/hotels/aman-new-york; doubles from US$3,000.
All photos courtesy of Aman New York.