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February 04, 2023
When Aman Resorts gate crashed the 5-star market in 1987 it blew the gilt off luxury and ushered in a quieter understated hospitality.
Instead of overt excess, luxury could be less. Less bells, less whistles and most importantly, less other people. Here was a resort with fewer than 50 rooms where palatial minimalism met monastic serenity in stunning surroundings. Where all the staff knew your name, and you weren’t asked to sign any bills.
Now 34 resorts span 20 countries and in each, the temple-like tranquillity built into their design seems to slow and quieten the spirit to a more soulful awareness.
My first Aman experience was in Courchevel at Le Melezin, their fifth, and the only property that didn’t start with the Aman moniker. I wasn’t even familiar with the Amans in the far east at the time but loved Le Melezin which was so beautifully different and happily returned in the following years as our girls learnt to ski.
We travelled late November and split our stay across the two resorts on the quiet outskirts of Marrakech. Flights were under three hours and luckily, the airports efficient. Weather was a comfortable 28 degrees.
At Amanjena, acres of light salmon terracotta line the vast pool areas. No pressure to do or be, but anything you want will be provided.
Moving to the Mandarin Oriental for comparison, we immediately felt reconnected with global glitz in the lavishly decorated lobby areas.
But the scale of the private accommodation and refined service won us over pretty sharpish.
The one-bedroom villas are enormous both inside and out, with private pooled-courtyard having log fires, kitchen and more sofas and loungers than a DFS showroom. Had we known we’d have invited 50 friends.
No winner for us, as we’d happily return to either of them.
September 23, 2023
September 22, 2023
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