When considering where to take up your next post-pandemic vacation experience, one would do well to consider one of Aman’s superbly appointed and luxuriously spacious resorts around the world. Currently with 32 resorts in 20 countries and expanding to 40 resorts in 22 countries in the near future, Aman is maintaining its sense of exclusivity while adapting its offering to meet the needs of the modern ultra-luxury wayfarer.
We spoke with Aman’s Chief Operating Officer, Roland Fasel. Over his career Roland has had the singular focus of developing the worlds ultra-luxury hotel segment with many of the names synonymous with luxury accommodation. In these unprecedented times, Roland steers Aman into the future.
GPB: How would you describe the current shape of your industry, the consumer demands and how do you think these will change in the future?
Roland Fasel: One of the biggest challenges has been the uncertainty around when restrictions will be lifted and when borders or air travel will return, as every country is different. We expect that the pandemic will continue to reverberate through the industry for some time, but in the meantime,
we are focused on our short, mid and long-term plans. The demand for our hotels is mainly domestic and short haul at the moment but as countries open up this will change. For both domestic and international guests we have seen a significant increase in those driving to our destinations and flying privately such as German guests driving to Aman Venice.
GPB: Luxury travel has seen a surge of entrants and brands constantly looking to innovate, how has the Aman group lead the industry?
Roland Fasel: It is important to go back to Aman’s roots as the pioneer in this ultra-luxury and niche segment of hideaway resorts. In numerous ways, the generosity of space and efforts to slow down time, have always been firmly ingrained in Aman’s DNA, from the architecture and design of standalone pavilions with private pools, to the low room count and subtle service which now makes the brand a blueprint for the future of travel.
GPB: How do you expect the post COVID-19 luxury travel market to evolve over the next 12 months? and when do you anticipate a return to ‘normal’?
Roland Fasel: It’s too early to say when things will return to ‘normal’, however in the short term we have seen an increase in guests wanting to drive or fly privately to our destinations as well as a demand for in-room dining, medical wellness, experiences in nature and privacy. It will be interesting to see if these trends are still present as we approach the end of year and the popular festive period when usually larger groups spend time together. We believe that people may choose to travel less, but seek that one very special trip instead.
We have some really exciting developments in the pipeline, but we always make sure their concept is connected back to Aman’s roots as a brand.
GPB: What new trends are you foreseeing and how are you positioning the Aman group to take advantage of them?
Roland Fasel: During this pandemic, people have realised how important and valuable good health is. Travellers want to stay in places where you can improve your mental and physical wellbeing through retreats such as our Journey to Peace retreat at our Indochina properties. Medical wellness and preventative treatments are another focus we are already receiving enquiries for the Holistic Wellness Centre at Amanpuri which reopened 1 July. We have also launched a series of Immune Support retreats across several of our properties such as Amanbagh, India and Amanemu, Japan. Villas have always been a focus for Aman, over a third of our properties have residences, and in recent weeks we have seen an increase in demand for example at our property Amanzoe, Greece. It’s definitely a key area we continue to focus on, all our future openings have villas or apartments as part of the development We are also seeing an increase in long-stay bookings in our villas – families who are wanting to spend quality time together after being apart. The idea of a self-contained and fully staffed villa is especially appealing at this time.
GPB: With commercial travel being impacted, what do you see the role of private charter in assisting both business and leisure travel?
Roland Fasel: In November last year, we launched the Aman Private Jet as a result of seeing a demand in the number of clients wanting to travel in consummate privacy. It was a natural progression for Aman to offer this capability and take its renowned experience and un-parrelled levels of service to the skies, providing ease of travel between not only our resorts, but non-Aman destinations too. As a result of the crisis, this demand has only increased and we look forward to offering this service to more of our guests for both their business and leisure travel.
GPB: Anything new on the horizon that we should look forward to?
Roland Fasel: We have some really exciting developments in the pipeline, but we always make sure their concept is connected back to Aman’s roots as a brand. For example, Aman New York which will have one of the largest outdoor terraces allowing for extensive al fresco dining and another Aman Bangkok, located next of one of the capital’s largest green spaces.
Aman has reopened a number of its properties globally and is set to continue over the coming weeks. To enquire about preferential rates at an Aman property or for investment opportunities at Aman Residences, please contact us.