Revealed here are a few of the unique celebrations and events taking place at five of Aman’s iconic properties.
I. AMANPURI, Phuket, Thailand
Tucked away on a private peninsula, Amanpuri is a “place of peace” and Aman’s founding resort, ideally located in the centre of Phuket’s fabled west coast. This year, dining takes centre stage, as Amanpuri leads Aman’s culinary vision with the recent introduction of a duo of new culinary concepts. These new concepts join the resort’s renowned Thai Restaurant, Beach Club, Beach Terrace, as well as The Lounge inspired by the tastes and cocktails of Latin America. Begin the festive season with regular Beach BBQs and Nights at The Lounge. These include ‘Moroccan Souk’ at the Beach Club on 28 December, the ‘Rialto Market Dinner’ at the Beach Club on 4 January; and a Studio 54-inspired Beach BBQ on 6 January.
Christmas will have carols around the resort’s spectacular main swimming pool. Chilled seafood, salt-crusted sea bass and roast turkey with all the trimmings will be served in an exotic garden setting alongside the pool, with the beach just steps away. Christmas Day itself will see decadent traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas lunches and dinners served. New Year’s Eve will be celebrated with dinner and fireworks beside the main pool, followed by an after-party at the Beach Club. The last evening of 2017 will begin poolside with a dazzling ‘Tribal Carnival’ display of ethnic dances from Asia and South America. As the countdown gets near, guests will watch the magnificent firework display heralding the New Year and Aman’s 30th anniversary.
II. AMANPULO, Pamalican Island, Philippines
Pasko sa Pilipinas – or Christmas in the Philippines – is the nation’s favourite holiday. Amanpulo gears up to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Designed to complement the resort’s year-round activities and to delight all ages and tastes, Amanpulo will offer a full calendar of gourmet, adventure and pampering experiences to ensure a holiday guests will never forget. Festive meals will be celebrated in exemplary island style, with inspiration taken from around the world in cuisines with the best of the Philippines, Spain, Italy and Japan. Gourmet events will include a magnificent Italian antipasti spread and seafood BBQ; a Mediterranean-inspired dinner at the Picnic Grove on 28 December; and regular classes including Sunset Cocktail Making at the Beach Club, Cheese & Wine Pairing; Organic Herb & Cocktail Making; and a Rum, Chocolate & Cigar tasting.
Christmas Eve’s Dinner includes classic Filipino fiesta dishes such as roast-suckling pig and pancit noodles, will be held in the Picnic Grove with live music. A Seafood Christmas Fiesta lunch will be served at the Beach Club, and later a traditional Christmas dinner with roast turkey and all the trimmings can be enjoyed at the Clubhouse. During the New Year’s Eve, guests can experience Palawan’s beauty from the air on a chartered helicopter flight to Jewelmer, or cross the strait to Manamoc Island to hike up Mount English and explore the local village. The last evening of 2017 will begin poolside at the Clubhouse with a glamorous cocktail and canapé reception, or at the Beach Club toasting the setting sun.
III. AMANBAGH, Rajasthan, India
December and January are the most pleasant and popular months to visit Rajasthan, when summer’s intense heat has waned and the monsoon rains have blown away. With sun-kissed days and balmy nights, locals celebrate Christmas, getting into the spirit of the festive season with all the community, colour and soulful enthusiasm so typical of India’s “Land of Kings”. Tucked into Rajasthan’s starkly beautiful Aravalli Hills, Amanbagh has planned their take on festive traditions, including Babu the resident camel who replaces Rudolph as Santa’s noble red-nosed steed every year on Christmas Day. This year’s calendar of events showcases all these traditions alongside a plethora of cultural activities and gourmet dining experiences.
The Christmas Eve Gala Dinner is an event anticipated all year. The haveli mansion-inspired resort glows with light. Local musicians perform traditional music while Amanbagh’s chefs prepare a multi-course feast including both regional and international favourites. Christmas Day follows the same form, with traditional turkey and trimming offerings in every dining venue. New Year’s Eve is sure to be the highlight of Amanbagh’s festive season. Celebrated as a traditional Rajasthani fair, it offers a glimpse into the future with fortunetellers and palm readers, fire dancers and qawaali singers, and a seven-course banquet fit for a maharajah. Local jewelers will make crimson lac bangles, gifting to guests. Mehndi artists will decorate hands, faces and feet with henna artwork, while intricate rangoli patterns from coloured rice, flowers and powder will decorate courtyards and welcome guests.
IV. AMANSARA, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The deep sense of spiritual bliss that pervades the temples of Angkor sets the scene for a more spiritual festive period at Amansara. Guests can then enjoy an extended Christmas dinner menu with a selection of delicious Christmas desserts and wine pairing options in the understated festive atmosphere of the Dining Room. Offering unprecedented access to the temples with daily privately-guided sunrise and sunset excursions, Amansara would recommend that even Christmas Day should start with an early adventure to Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Bayon or perhaps even a secret temple forgotten by the guidebooks. Upon returning to the resort, Christmas day will be celebrated with a special al fresco brunch in the gardens, after which guests can relax by the pool, Spa or even cycle around Siem Reap.
New Year’s Eve will be hosted in the grounds of the atmospheric 10th-century temple of Prasat Kravan. Beautifully lit and surrounded by jungle, the temple will witness an al fresco Khmer banquet beneath the stars. Performances will include the Sacred Dancers of Angkor and the Cambodian Circus. Dishes will showcase the freshest, most unique Cambodian ingredients possible, and will include Beef Shank Caramel, a classic Khmer dish, Kampot Crab, coconut waffles and chili infused chocolate ganache. The evening will end with the floating of pratip offerings down the river, and then fireworks and Champagne back at the resort’s main swimming pool.
V. AMANYARA, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
As the Caribbean recovers from the after effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Turks & Caicos are eager to welcome visitors back to their shores this festive season. Perched on the secluded west coast of Providenciales, Amanyara is as pristine as ever, with its 800m expanse of beach lapped by the turquoise waters of a marine reserve teeming with sea life. Amanyara’s festive calendar celebrates ‘The Colours of the Turks & Caicos’. Offering possibly the most detailed and extensive of all Aman festive programmes – both for adults and a separate programme for younger guests – Amanyara’s seasonal activities and events kick off on 22 December and run through to 2 January. They include nature excursions, fitness programmes, sandcastle competitions, chocolate making, cooking competitions, conch knocking demonstrations, volleyball matches, Stand up Paddle relays and so much more.
Guests can enjoy guided eco-hikes, morning yoga or beach core training sessions, before learning more about the local coral reefs on a Reef Ball Snorkel. Other activities for children over the festive period include writing letters to Father Christmas, decorating gingerbread houses, and junior basketball. On the 25th, Father Christmas will make his entrance on to the island. On the 26th the Maskanoo Street Fair will be the main attraction, and the 28th will see a bonfire and live entertainment on the beach, and the 29th will entertain with Staff vs Guests Olympics mid-afternoon. The Junkanoo traditional street parade kicks off at sunset on the 30th, and the 31st.
With 2018 heralding the start of a new chapter for Aman, the brand looks forward to celebrating this festive season with friends old and new. Immersed in the cultural, natural and spiritual heritage of their destinations, these five resorts, along with every other Aman is simultaneously looking ahead at what the next decade will bring, constantly striving to offer guests fresh perspectives and original experiences.