Aman Tokyo has again launched its annual Halloween Afternoon Tea in The Lounge. The savouries and sweets include ghost shaped macaroons, bat and witches hat cookies, spider web candy and a chocolate “bomb” with a surprise inside.
Available from now until October 31st 2019, 11.30am – 5pm.
¥4,600 (plus consumption tax and service charge)
For reservations call +81-3-5224-3339 or click here to reserve a table online
Aman is set to open its third hotel in Japan on November 1st 2019. Aman Kyoto is a sanctuary of 24 guest rooms and two two-bedroom villas set within a hidden garden.
Close to the Kinkaku-ji Temple, Aman Kyoto is set within 80 acres of grounds eight of which are exquisite gardens set between a small stream and a wooded hill. Stone pathways and steps meander through the garden leading to upper platforms bordered with yama momiji maples and kitayama-sugi (Japanese cedar).
Like Aman Tokyo and Amanemu has been designed by Kerry Hill Architects. Each of the guest rooms is a contemporary take on the traditional ryokan.
As with all Amans the Spa is central to the resort. Traditional onset bathing facilities will be available utilising natural spring water that flows nearby. A range of treatments featuring local resources such as Kyoto green tea, Tanba kuromame (black beans), local saké, and cold- pressed tsubaki (camellia) oil will be on offer.
Aman is synonymous with luxury resorts so it comes as a surprise when CEO Olivier Jolivet tells us they are not in the hotel business. “Aman is not a hospitality company, but a lifestyle brand that operates much like a club. It’s about like-minded people enjoying each other’s company,” he says when Chopstix meets him in Singapore – home to Aman HQ.
Residential sales, Jolivet says, are at the heart of the Aman business. “The majority of our private residence owners are ‘Amanjunkies’ who returned many times to our resorts, often with friends, and wanted to have a permanent piece of this lifestyle,” he says. “It gives our guests a sense of belonging and is a legacy that is passed onto the next generation.”
Real estate experts in Southeast Asia agree that demand for residences by luxury brand hotels in the region is on the increase fueled by High Net Worths.
At the very least they are second homes and often third or fourth. “Our guests are buying one, two or three residences,” says Jolivet whose customers are celebrities and Ultra High Net Worths.
The appeal is understandable: you’re buying into the ethos of your favourite hotel brand with added benefits such as 24 hour concierge services. Some are seeking privacy as well.
“Typically, the buyers residences managed by five star operators are end-users who want the hotel services,” says Julien Naouri, Director of Investments, Asia Pacific at Savills. “On the other hand, some buyers seek an investment return, where the unit is going back in the hotel unit managed pool.”
Sarkunan Subramaniam, Managing Director of Knight Frank Malaysia says it can be a combination of both: “Most buy as holiday homes for themselves as well as capital appreciation and rental yields.”
Having well known architects and interior designers linked to the property also increases the appeal, Willson Kalip, Country Head of Knight Frank Indonesia points out.
Currently Aman residences for sale include Amanoi in Vietnam where buyers have the chance to collaborate with star architect Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston on designing their home. Gathy is also working on the upcoming Four Seasons Bangkok residences, adjacent to a new Four Seasons hotel on the Chao Praya river. The all corner apartments are due to open in 2018.
A rendering of The Four Seasons Residences, Bangkok
Due to open around the same time, on the same stretch of the river is the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Residences where buyers will have the option of a full interior design service by renowned designer Joyce Wang who recently revamped the guest rooms at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.
Joyce Wang designed suite at The Landmark Oriental Hong Kong
“Hotel residences are often second or third homes so owners have a “plug and play” expectation,” says Wang. “The design has to function intuitively so they don’t have to learn new ways of operating a household, from light switches to bathroom and kitchen fittings. A hotel residence should make one feel pampered and looked after.”
This marks the first Mandarin Oriental residences in Southeast Asia with a second slated for Bali. Situated diagonally opposite the Mandarin Oriental hotel, each unit – ranging in size from 130 to 230 sq m and penthouses from 380 to 710 sq m – will have a river view.
A rendering of the Mandarin Oriental Residences, Bangkok
The Peninsula has chosen Shanghai for its first foray into residences. Based right next door to The Peninsula hotel, overlooking the Bund, it comprises an exclusive clutch of 36 one to four bedroomed apartments. All are designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon who was also responsible for the hotel and so share the same 1920s influenced aesthetic.
The Peninsula Residences Shanghai have similar designs to the hotel rooms
While residents can order room service and catering from the hotel’s chefs, they are given priority bookings at The Pen’s restaurants as well as the spa facilities. They also have access to its famous fleet of Rolls Royces.
Expect to see more Aman residences in city locations too. “We are listening to our customers, they are telling us that when they are travelling they want a pied-a-terre right in the centre,” says Jolivet.
Aman Tokyo suite
They’ll be based on the suites at the recently opened Aman Tokyo. These 141 sq m spaces encompass lounging, dining, sleeping and bathing areas in a minimalist apartment-like setting that can be cleverly divided or opened up by slick sliding doors.
As Jolivet puts it: “a perfectly managed, top of the top property that is a club of the happy few.”
Designers in Demand
Hong Konger Wang has designed projects in LA and London as well as her home town. Most recently she revamped the guest rooms at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong bringing a residential feel to them with the use of tactile, luxurious fabrics and creating different experience areas such installing a cocktail cabinet rather than a minibar.
Gathy is one of Aman’s go to architects and has also designed iconic resorts such as the Chedi Oman and the Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives. He is responsible for many hotel design trends including over water hammocks and spa like bathrooms.
The acclaimed French designer is behind stunning hotels such as the Shangri-La Paris, Grand Hotel Cap Ferat in the South of France and The Savoy, London and has brought a deluxe Art Deco yet contemporary feel to The Peninsula Shanghai hotel and Residences.
With Paris Haute Couture week upon us again, Chopstix takes another look at Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2016 couture show.
While some at the time described the set as “a doll’s house” or a “spa”, Chopstix sees it more as a traditional Japanese house. Which reminded us of an architectural tour of the Aman Tokyo, designed by Kerry Hill Architects.
The Japanese traditional house, we were told by an Aman spokeswoman, is designed to embrace nature; “We love nature and seeing the changes of the seasons.” Thus the importance of gardens, and in the absence of those, gardens are brought inside as at Aman Tokyo even with its urban tower location. Trees are brought inside such as the one used as a focus point in the lobby (below) and the tiny foliage displays that adorn the corridors leading to the guest rooms.
The houses are also designed to be opened up, as the Chanel one was, which again brings the outside – and therefore nature – in. In the suites at Aman Tokyo a sliding “hatch” door of traditional camphor wood and washi paper in the bathroom (below) opening on to a plant in the living area conveys this sentiment.
The Chanel couture set was the perfect backdrop for Karl Lagerfeld’s Japanese influenced collection including balloon sleeved jackets, long length pencil skirts and cork wedges reminiscent of okobo shoes.
[UPDATE: Aman Tokyo is slated to re open on July 1st 2020]
In the mini bar at the recently opened Aman Tokyo hotel is an exquisitely designed bottle of sake. Inside guests will discover the Aman Tokyo blend, created especially for the rarefied hotel group by the ancient brewers Masumi.
For Aman has chosen the award-winning brewers as the house sake for its first foray into Japan. There’s also a range of Masumi’s premium and super premium sakes at Aman Tokyo’s Restaurant and Bar; the newly opened Café, where locals queue for at least an hour for a taste of the Aman experience, serves a much in demand sparkling sake and any day now they’ll take delivery of a seasonal sake.