There are many unprecedented things about Aman New York.
On the one hand, the 83-suite hotel, which officially opened on August 2 – even though it was still half under construction that week – commanded years of hype.
The new incarnation of the century-old Crown Building at 57th and Fifth is the most anticipated hotel opening the city has seen in the past decade.
Aman is a brand whose sprawling resorts cost over US$2,000 per night in any destination. Confidence in Aman’s ability to elevate New York’s already high luxury standards is so great that locals shelled out US$100,000 to become founding members of its world’s first Aman Club during a pre-opening period.
The registration cost has since doubled and does not include the annual fee of US$15,000.
Then there are the nightly rates. If it seemed like the new Ritz-Carlton NoMad, with its maximalist design and José Andrés restaurants, was pushing a limit by charging US$1,400 per night for an entry-level room, Aman is blowing it.
The humblest rooms in the hotel aren’t even sold on their own. At Aman New York, the 340 square foot studios can be booked only as an adjoining option for $20,000 per night in corner suites, to expand.
Instead, Premier Suites, which make up the bulk of the inventory and measure 75 square meters, are among the only reservations available through the end of the year.
Although the hotel officially states that prices for these rooms start at $3,200 per night, they are currently $4,200 per night for most weeknights and up to $5,500 per night on weekends through at the end of 2022.
It’s not because of their size. A similarly proportioned suite at the newly remodeled Carlyle commands less than half the price on the same dates. It is a product of Aman’s cachet and dedicated following.
The brand appeals to those who appreciate its understated luxury approach. It tends to fill architecturally significant buildings such as Beijing’s Summer Palaces and monumental Venetian palaces and make them feel like ultra-private residences for the few guests who can call them temporary homes.
“There is a big difference between us and everyone else,” says Aman’s CEO, Vlad Doronin.
“Not only will our customers be willing to pay luxury money for what we’ve built, but they’ll also be very happy with the value they’ve received when they leave.”
Doronin could say that for himself. He admits he “spared no expense” and blew his budget – estimated at around $300 million for the hotel alone, though Doronin says acquiring the building and adding residences brought the tab closer to $1.45 billion.
A vertical station
Aman New York’s facilities are indeed comprehensive enough to constitute a real wellness centre.
Rooms occupy just six floors of the building; the spa and wellness center takes up three – and includes space for cryotherapy chambers and an indoor pool. A fully functional medical office occupies the entire top floor of the spa.
More lavish are two public baths that are like private hot tubs within the spa. There, in apartment-like spaces with bedrooms and dining areas, small groups or couples can share a half- or full-day experience around a Moroccan hammam or a banya. Eastern Europe, priced at USD 8,500 per couple for the full day.
Either scrub is followed by dips in hot and cold outdoor plunge pools – located on a private garden terrace with a retractable roof – as well as personalized lunch menus and additional massages. If there’s an equivalent in New York, it’s in the $40 million Upper East Side townhouse.
The spa will eventually be open to non-guests, with signature two-hour treatments starting at US$785.
The same will be true for Aman New York’s two restaurants, located in a double-height lobby on the 14th floor. Arva and Nama will serve Italian and Japanese dishes respectively. For now, however, they will all be in soft-open mode limited to club members and overnight stayers.
There’s also a sprawling 650-square-meter terrace bar off the lobby that’s wrapped like an elaborate jewelry box in latticework sheets and bamboo slats, concealing retractable glass panels to enclose the space on days. cold or rainy.
Adorned with fire pits, Japanese trees and reflective water features, it’s destined to become an incredibly hot ticket for after-work drinks. It’s incredibly hot, that is, because Aman is forced to only let in a limited number of people who don’t pay the full nightly rate.
The goal, after all, isn’t to bring in locals, as most city hotels around the world try to do, but to keep enough people around to keep the vibe exclusive and private.
One space is already open to the public: an underground jazz club with programming curated by trumpeter Brian Newman, the conductor of Lady Gaga’s show in Las Vegas, among other accolades. It’s an intimate but glitzy space, with a sound system so rare that the only other public venue in New York City that claims to have it is Jazz at Lincoln Center.
A few areas will be restricted to club members, meaning even if you pay $20,000 for that corner suite, you still won’t be allowed in. These include a small cigar lounge tucked away behind a secret door in the lobby and a private wine bar. which will store obscure labels.
It’s all in the details
Each suite has been remodeled to have a working fireplace, oversized soaking tub, heated bathroom floor, and steam or rain shower, adding to the urban oasis vibe. Everything looks pricey down to the hangers in the leather-backed closets, which match the wood paneling elsewhere in the rooms.
Pivoting dividers resembling shoji screens create privacy around the bed or provide a more open floor plan between the living and sleeping areas.
Overall, the design leans heavily on the company’s Asian roots, with Japanese murals of pine trees and monochromatic furniture reminiscent of elements of nature.
“We didn’t cut corners,” Doronin said. “We had more challenges than I have ever encountered in a project, and I built some 80 buildings,” he continues, referring to both construction stoppages during pandemic closures and the crisis. of the supply chain that followed. But we haven’t made any compromises here.
What it’s worth
Doronin says that while New York is a destination that will help Aman grow its market share – the brand’s audience is currently only 37% American.
The hotel primarily sold its 2022 inventory to so-called “Amanjunkies,” a caste of devotees who collect stays at Aman hotels the way school kids in the 1980s collected baseball cards.
In fact, Doronin says 85% of his guests become repeat visitors. Few hotel brands can match that number, even when they offer point multipliers and free nights, which would be unthinkable in Doronin’s world.
By pairing Aman New York suites with condos – 22 units in total ranging from approximately US$5.9 million to US$75 million – and by adding a membership club model, Doronin has expanded the universe of Aman. Now, it’s not just a vacation; it’s a lifestyle.
“This opening is a major milestone for our brand,” he said.
This explains why Doronin has invested heavily in making Aman New York such a gem. – and why he is confident that consumers will adapt accordingly.
“My financial advisors kept asking me what I was thinking, creating something like a double-height lobby. This space could have been worth another $60 million in apartments. But I didn’t listen to them” he said, beaming, “This product is too big for the brand.”
This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here