This week SmartFlyer CEO Michael Holtz and his team of advisors from the Virtuoso travel agency share with us their insights and review of Aman New York, the group’s first city hotel in nearly a decade and first in the U.S.
As one of the most talked about hotel openings in Manhattan in recent memory, Aman New York is a hotel-meets-members-club that positioned itself in another echelon altogether from the moment it announced that its spaces would be exclusively open to hotel guests and Aman Club Founders. But rest assured, the intuitive service from which the brand built its cult following has not only been upheld in its New York unveiling but perhaps, elevated the bar even further. One of the pillars of the brand is that nothing is a no.
With an average staff-to-guest ratio of five to one, the Aman ethos empowers each team member to find creative ways to surprise and delight guests. Interestingly, in the months since opening, the New York outpost is finding that most check-ins are actually first-time Aman guests; they’re strategically using this first touch point with the brand as an opportunity to demonstrate the organization’s shared belief in offering experiences rooted in peace, seclusion, and an appreciation of beauty.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of guest loyalty, Aman junkies are comprised of travelers who aim to visit the brand’s thirty-four and counting properties spread across twenty countries. Aman junkies will rejoice that tranquility has been achieved in Aman’s second urban sanctuary, nearly a decade after opening Aman Tokyo in 2014.
The historic Crown Building anchors 57th Street and Fifth Avenue with a storied past dating back to its construction in 1921. Since, it has served as the home to the Museum of Modern Art, the Dior offices, and even Playboy Magazine through the early years. The transformation of the upper 20 floors of the building into a luxury hotel began with its purchase by Aman Resorts in partnership with a luxury real estate developer in 2015.
Seven years after the acquisition of some of the world’s most valuable real estate, and a reported $1.45 billion dollars later, Aman New York opened in August 2022.
Upon arrival at the 57th Street entrance, guests and members are greeted with a knowing nod–or, when booked by your SmartFlyer travel advisor, a personalized welcome from the hotel’s management team. Expect to be ushered to the elevator bank where you’ll get off on the 14th floor to be met by an East meets West design intrinsic to the Asian-inspired brand.
Belgian designer Jean-Michel Gathy has been with Aman since the brand’s inception in Thailand in 1988, and while his latest work in New York is distinct from his touch on the lavish Aman Venice or tranquil Amanwana in Indonesia, his approach continues to convey a generosity of space.
Mirrored ceilings and handmade Balinese panels give the already impressive Lounge Bar– buffering the check-in desk, dining outlets, and outdoor space–the illusion of feeling even more sweeping, yet still, impressively cozy. No detail in design was overlooked to optimize guest and member privacy.
One of our favorite features is the Garden Terrace’s awning which was inspired by the Marrakesh property, Amanjena; there is a metal grate shielding the New York terrace that serves as an optical illusion–like a burka, you can see out, but not in. The clever design allows guests to peer out onto landmarks like the LVMH building but remain in utter privacy.
Much in alignment with Mr. Gathy’s vision to create spaces where discreet meetings could be held, during our time on property, we noted several business meetings happening over hushed meals, coffees, and cocktails. With the chaos of the city slipping from your mind the moment you settle into the hotel; Aman New York truly is an ideal setting to conduct both business and pleasure. Subtle nods to nature are honored through ikebana–the Japanese art of arranging flowers, blossoms, branches, leaves, and stems. Kenji Takenaka is the property’s Ikebana Specialist and serendipitously, cousin to Aman Kyoto’s specialist.
Dining and Bars
Aman New York guests and Aman Club Founders are able to dining at several outlets on the property.
Those familiar with the brand are undoubtedly fans of Nama, a Japanese fine-dining concept. Omakase at Nama is offered during two seatings, one at five-thirty in the evening and the final at eight-thirty. The multi-course menu chosen by Chef Takuma Yonemaru is based on fresh ingredients sourced directly in Japan; we recommend working with your SmartFlyer advisor to snag seats at the counter so you can observe the theatre and inherent art laden in your food’s preparation.
For those who prefer Italian fare, Arva celebrates the warmth and conviviality of traditional family dining helmed by the Aman Venice chef, Dario Ossola. The Garden Terrace or Lounge Bar is also available to guests and members for more informal options. Alternatively, if you are hosting an event, there is a private dining room that can seat up to thirty guests.
The Jazz Club
But no matter where you dine, the ultimate night at Aman New York ends underground at The Jazz Club. From 11 pm onwards, prepare to be delighted by the DJ playing living room-style sets. We adore this venue for its unexpected electricity led by Creative Director Brian Newman, who has worked in the New York jazz club scene for over two decades. Cocktails here are inspired by other Aman hotels you know and love to ensure Aman junkies get that familiar taste of whichever property they consider their home away from home. And, don’t miss the grilled cheese with shaved truffles as a late-night bite.
Open day to night, working fireplaces frame the Lounge Bar. There is a menu of light dishes, sharing plates, and cicchetti served alongside premium drinks, original cocktails, craft beers, spirits, and fine wines.
Welcoming year-round alfresco dining, the Garden Terrace, with its retractable glass roof, firepits, and water features – offers light meals and original cocktails served in a convivial atmosphere. A corner bar adds to the allure, with spectacular views overlooking the iconic crossroads of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue.
After a long night out, we can think of few things that would beat retreating upstairs to your oversized king custom-made Aman bed. While Aman New York opened to countless clickbait-style headlines about its record-setting entry-level rates, those don’t interest us nearly as much as the caliber of the product found across this all-suite property.
With 83 keys, the hotel has approximately double the number of suites of an average Aman (their properties typically hover around thirty), but, considerably less than most other five-star hotels within a stone’s throw of its Central Park adjacent location.
Even more impressive, accommodations begin at 775 square feet, making the spacious suites–each remarkably boasting its own fireplace–the largest in the city.
Ranging from 2,000-to-2,770 square feet, Ama Aman Suites are the largest in the hotel. Occupying the corners of floors 11 and 12, the top two floors of accommodation, they feature corner views of one of the most iconic meeting points, Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
Well-suited to longer stays and those looking for an abundance of private space, the Aman Suites comprise of one or two bedrooms, a dedicated office, kitchenette, and wet bar that lends itself to intimate entertaining.
The master bedrooms feature king-sized beds, separated from the remainder of the suite by a functioning fireplace, while second bedrooms offer extra-large twins.
The oversized living areas offer seating centered around two-coffee tables, where fabrics and textures create an inviting place to rest, situated next to a six-person dining table.
The suites also encompass separate walk-in wardrobes and dressing areas, bathrooms with walk-in steam and rain showers, oval bathtubs and double vanities and separate WCs for guests. Curated art collections adorn the walls while reproductions of Hasegawa Tohaku’s Pine Trees complete each space.
Corner Suites are available with one to three bedrooms, at 1,700-to-2,785 square feet, respectively by connecting to Studios and Junior Suites on Fifth Avenue. The suites offer views of the Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
Each suite comprises a separate bedroom and living area, with a functioning fireplace. Pivot panels with integrated mood lighting separate the bathroom and living areas, allowing guests to tailor the room to their liking while a large walk-in closet creates a home-from-home feel.
The suites also have a separate WC in addition to a large bathroom with walk-in steam shower, oval bathtub and double vanities. Japanese-inspired interiors include delicate ink-painted reproductions of Hasegawa Tohaku’s murals to create a zen-like feel.
Overlooking 57th Street, Grand Suites offer are available in one or two-bedrooms, either 1,000, or 1,445 square feet respectively.
The suites are inspired by Japanese-minimalism, with interior design blending wood, washi paper, stone and art by Hasegawa Tohaku creating a Zen-like atmosphere.
Suites are open plan in design, with a combined bedroom and living area, and pivot panels with integrated mood lighting separating the bathroom, where a walk-in steam shower, oval bathtub, double vanities, and separate walk-in closet provide ample room to retreat. A functioning fireplace brings a warm feel.
For those seeking a more holistic and guided experience, Aman New York is working with outside practitioners and healers to plan custom three and five-day immersion programs.
Spread across three entire floors, the 25,000-sq.ft. spa and wellness area mark the new flagship spa for Aman in the Western Hemisphere. The impressive facility showcases the brand’s commitment to wellness, particularly with its offering of medicinal treatments proctored by integrated medicine doctors.
Banya Spa House
Rooted in Eastern, European, and Scandinavian culture, the Banya is a wood-clad sauna with steam created by pouring water over heated rocks. The treatment includes time in the steam room where oak or birch leaves, known as venik, are used to massage, stimulate, and exfoliate the skin.
Hammam Spa House
Revered in Middle Eastern and North African cultures from Turkey to Morocco, the Hammam is a steam room with marble walls and a heated marble treatment table. The treatment includes a steam bath experience, body scrub, and invigorating massage to exfoliate and cleanse the skin.
For those seeking a more holistic and guided experience, Aman New York is working with visiting practitioners and healers to plan custom three and five-day immersion programs. Their most recent one saw them working with Bon Buddhist master and scholar Geshe Lam, who focused on breathwork and a journey to inner peace.
There is also a 3,000 square feet Fitness Centre overlooking 56th Street incorporating a Power Gym concept, with Technogym training equipment, an Infrared Zone featuring a VacuTherm Stepper, VacuTherm Treadmill, and Infrared Body Roll. The space also offers a double capacity Cryotherapy Chamber, Cellgym CellAir technology, and a Yoga and Pilates Studio with Reformer equipment. Private sessions in every conceivable fitness, movement and mindfulness modality are also available, whether with one of Aman New York’s experienced in-house personal trainers or an external visiting practitioner.