The fact that Amanresorts resonates with its guests is undeniable, but pinning down who that guest is proves to be much harder. Is it someone seeking rejuvenation at a 25,000-square-foot spa like the one at Amangiri (which even features a Floatation Pavilion for color-therapy-enhanced flotation treatments)? Or perhaps it’s the thrill of a tiger safari drive in Rajasthan’s Ranthambhore National Park they’re after? “Some are in search of an experience that is more sybaritic,” Zecha notes. “Others, something more adventurous.” Whether it’s downright pampering or cultural immersion — or some combination of both — that are on the agenda, Amanjunkies do have one quality in common: loyalty. They are, by definition, repeat customers, often bouncing from one far-flung Amanresort to the next.
Zecha seems to fit the Amanjunkie description himself: a man with limited time but plenty of passion for faraway cultures and places. From a wealthy Indonesian-Czech family, Zecha was schooled in sophistication from an early age. He dabbled in journalism, working at Time magazine in the late 1950s, before leaving to launch lifestyle publications in Asia. He later founded Regent International Hotels, one of Asia’s first luxury hotel groups, with two friends. Over the decades, he’s founded and held stakes in half a dozen luxury hotel and management companies. He was looking for a site to build a holiday home in Thailand when he stumbled across the peaceful, pristine stretch where Amanpuri sits today.
Indeed, Amanresorts properties are designed to feel like visiting a private residence or a friend’s vacation home, which visually translates as space and simplicity without stuffiness. It’s as though Amanresorts has patented a state of mind, and architects such as Ed Tuttle and Jean-Michel Gathy are engineering a mood as much as a site-specific property.