The first Aman property, named Amanpuri, was built within a coconut grove on the western coast of Phuket, in 1987. Then came five Amanresorts in Indonesia, some tucked away in the hills, others along white-sand beaches. After building in the Philippines, Amanresorts opened its first (of two) U.S. property, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1998. Now there are 24 properties across the globe, each boasting a unique, typically unspoiled, setting; a pleasing design aesthetic based on regional cues; and a thoughtfully calibrated sense of space and privacy. Beyond that, though, Zecha maintains that there’s no particular formula.
If the brand’s aversion to cookie-cutter hospitality design is still refreshing today, it was nothing short of groundbreaking in the late 1980s, when Amanpuri’s Thai-style pavilions and villas debuted. It’s easy to forget how radical the Amanresorts concept of intimate resorts in faraway destinations might have been 24 years ago. “Lifestyle and business always involve a gamble,” Zecha notes, “and as Steve Jobs said, ‘A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’ We subscribe to what he said so well.”