→ Book now: Aman New York
I’ll admit it: I’m an “Aman junkie.” So are George and Amal Clooney, Bill Gates, and the Kardashians—at least, that’s what I hear. Sure, other hotel brands have their loyalty programs and their devotees, but this fixation on Aman resorts, born in the ‘80s on the picturesque shores of Phuket, Thailand, borders on obsession.
When an Aman opens, fans traipse around the world to experience whatever unique location, alluring design, and next-level service it has come up with next. There’s Amangiri in Utah, opened amid canyons and mesas in 2009, where staff greet you by name and hand you a cold cloth after your morning hike. And Amanyara in Turks & Caicos, embedded in a 18,000-acre nature reserve, where even the general manager will remember your seat and drink preference on the white-sand beach. And the palatial Amanjena in Marrakech, where dinner might be accompanied by a haunting live performance of Moroccan music by candlelight.
Aman properties are usually far from big cities and in sublime natural landscapes, from Bhutan to Greece. Exceptions include Aman Tokyo, set in the vertiginous Otemachi Tower, and Aman Kyoto, which is technically in a city but feels a world away, with its magical location in a forest near Kinkaku-ji temple. And now, there’s Aman New York.
Built as an urban sanctuary and opened in August 2022, the hotel is one of Manhattan’s most high-profile hotel openings in years. It was created as an escape from the city I call home—the crowds, the honking cars, the dizzying skyscrapers—but not from rich cultural traditions like jazz, architecture, and standout dining that make New York City unlike any other place on Earth.
Unsurprisingly, Aman pulled out all the stops for its Manhattan debut. The hotel occupies floors 7 to 14 of the iconic Crown building in Midtown—you know it, the building on Fifth Avenue with the gilded, pyramid-shaped roof. It’s one of America’s best examples of Beaux Arts architecture, built in 1921 by Warren & Wetmore, the masterminds of Grand Central Station. The 22 residences—some with headline-making price tags—are on floors 15 to 30; sprawling penthouses occupy the top five floors. Eighty-three suites fill floors 7 to 12, the smallest bookable room being 745 square feet. Starting rates are an eye-watering $3,200 a night—but the promise from the brand, Aman GMs have told me, is that a couple of nights at an Aman will feel like a week staying anywhere else.
Then there’s the 25,000-square-foot spa and wellness area, spread across floors 9 to 11. (There are even private “spa houses” for extra seclusion.) After a massage that left me covered head to toe in healing CBD oil, I spent time in the sauna and steam room. But my favorite spot was the 65-foot indoor swimming pool, which is flanked by fireplaces and daybeds. Except for the hotel’s subterranean Jazz Club (more on that in a minute), most of these spaces, including the two lobby restaurants, are only open to guests and Aman Club members. (Yes, there’s a waitlist, and membership will set you back $200,000—but Aman has plans to eventually open the restaurants to the public.)
Above all else, my own experiences with Aman hospitality have been defined by meaningful connections I’ve made with others, and I wondered if Aman New York would do the same. There was that time I stayed at Amansara in Cambodia, spending two days not only exploring Angkor Wat but also learning the heartbreaking personal stories of staff members who survived the country’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime. (At the end of my stay, a staff member surprised me with a framed photo of temple ruins to take home, and I burst into tears.) On a road trip to Amangani in Wyoming with my father, the retreat’s head guide showed us the sublime jagged Teton Range and bison, moose, and elk in Grand Teton National Park, and those moments together led to long-overdue father-daughter bonding. At Aman Tokyo, I ran into several fellow globe-trotters I hadn’t seen in years—the international community of Aman travelers does indeed feel small.
I entered the hotel on the ground level on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, two blocks from Central Park and near tony neighbors Tiffany & Co. and Bergdorf Goodman. A doorman escorted me to an elevator and pressed the button. Seconds later, I stepped into the lobby’s soaring atrium on the 14th floor. A rust-colored paper and bamboo sculpture by Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar floated above the lounge bar. The enormous outdoor terrace offered privacy and shade, with large seating areas flanked by young pines. I saw the façade of the Crown building rising directly above and glimpsed the world-famous Plaza Hotel nearby.
The interiors, created by Jean Michel-Gathy of Denniston Architects (he also did Aman in Venice), feature natural materials like oak, walnut, and blue and brown marble. References to the brand’s origins in Asia include motifs resembling rattan baskets and floral arrangements echoing Japanese ikebana. During my early September visit, communal areas were so new I caught an occasional whiff of varnish. But my room was primed for luxuriating. Inspired by Japanese open-floor living, suites are bigger than many New York City apartments and have pivoting partition walls reminiscent of Japanese paper shoji screens. The focal point of each suite is a large-scale mural of washi paper and ink inspired by the 15th-century masterpiece Pine Trees by Hasegawa Tohaku. As a former student of brush painting and calligraphy, I loved feeling dwarfed by the scale of the ethereal scene on the textured wall.
Aman New York is the first hotel in the city to have working fireplaces in all guest rooms, and I wanted to spend the day in front of mine in the enormous bed. The soundproof glass—which hotel staff claim is at a decibel level of nine, quiet enough for a recording studio—diminished street noises. The bathroom, with heated floors, felt like a private wellness sanctuary, and I spent a predinner hour soaking in my freestanding bathtub. The toilets are Toto, the coveted tech-savvy porcelain thrones that include bidet functions, heated seats, and lids that open automatically as you approach them.
Had I not wanted to speak to anyone during my stay, I could have pulled that off easily in a place like Aman New York, built with privacy in mind. But I enjoyed the fact that I never felt like a stranger among staff or guests. During dinner at Arva, the seasonal Italian restaurant, while I was waiting for my carciofi alla giudia (Roman Jewish fried artichokes), the two suited gentlemen speaking French at an adjacent table saw me eyeing their burrata Pugliese. One offered me a piece, insisting I try it. (I later discovered he was none other than Aman’s COO, Roland Fasel.) Slim, the laid-back sommelier, picked up that I like Italian wines from small, sustainably run producers and led the way to some amazing discoveries.
I felt the same friendly vibe the next night at Nama, where the young chef Takuma Yonemaru serves washoku, or traditional Japanese cuisine. When I visited, Yonemaru hadn’t yet launched his omakase-style chef’s choice menu, presented at an elegant hinoki wood counter. Instead, I sat at the chef’s counter and tried the à la carte menu—the sashimi was sublime, and the Nama Land and Sea dish was an indulgent pairing of Alaskan king crab tempura and wagyu beef from Snake River Farms the Pacific Northwest. Knowing I love a good pairing with dinner, Slim found me again and helped me navigate the sake menu, telling me about small Japan-based producers, while Yonemaru and his energetic, all-Japanese team worked their culinary magic before me in the open kitchen.
As I wrapped up dinner, I started chatting with a staycationing New York City–based couple, one of whom often spends time in Mumbai. Soon we were discussing global politics, restaurants we’d all been to around the world, our past and upcoming travels, and cities we return to like Barcelona and Tokyo for the creativity they spark in us. We exchanged numbers so we could repeat our impromptu evening together sometime—a connection that felt sincere and lasting, and one that could only have happened when the hosts have set the stage so well.
Aman Jazz Club
For those not planning to check into Aman New York anytime soon but still want a dose of Aman hospitality, the Jazz Club is open to the public. The creative director of this speakeasy-inspired, minimalist venue is Brian Newman, Lady Gaga’s trumpet player, and entertainment ranges from jazz music to DJ sessions. It’s reached by a separate service elevator on 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues on the subterranean level of the Crown building. The minimalist space, lined with cushioned sofas and large semicircular banquettes that surround a low, intimate stage, shares the same sound system as the one at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room. It would make any audiophile swoon. Cocktails are named after other Aman hotels—the Beijing property inspired the Summer Palace, composed of jasmine-infused gin, champagne, white peach, and lemon—and the small bites menu ranges from wagyu beef to tuna tartare. Photography and videos are discouraged. Reserve a spot here.