Founded by Adrian Zecha in 1988, Amanresorts came into being when Zecha was looking for a holiday home in Phuket. He discovered the ideal location – a coconut plantation with no other developments in sight – when wandering along Pansea Beach on the island’s west coast. Plans to build a home on the site soon developed into an idea to build a small boutique resort in partnership with Anil Thadani and two other friends. They invested their own money in the venture as no banks would lend for the project due to the small number of planned rooms. At this time, resorts usually featured 500 rooms or more, and the boutique hotel concept was still in its infancy.
Amanpuri (Place of Peace) opened in January 1988 with 40 rooms and 30 private villas. From the positive response to this project, now Amanresorts’ flagship property, Zecha was encouraged to develop more resorts employing the same concept. While initially the resorts were concentrated in Asia (now including properties in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, French Polynesia, India, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand), over the last two decades the group has also opened resorts in France, Morocco, Montenegro, the Turks & Caicos Islands and the United States.
Amanresorts is owned by a holding company called Silverlink Holdings Limited. By 1992, the group had expanded to include several resorts in Indonesia, a resort on Bora Bora and one in the Alpine village of Courchevel 1850. In 1993, Clement Vaturi an old friend whose family controlled Hôtelière Immobilière (a Paris-listed public company) acquired 54% of the company and injected new capital.
In 1998, due to circumstances unrelated to Amanresorts, Vaturi’s controlling interest fell into the hands of Los Angeles-based Colony Capital, a real estate investment fund. A lawsuit between Vaturi and Colony Capital promised to drag on, putting on hold Zecha's plans to continue the expansion of Amanresorts indefinitely. Zecha therefore resigned from his position at Amanresorts and for the next two years pursued other interests.
In 2000, Colony Capital and Vaturi had settled their lawsuit and Vaturi sold his shareholding onto Lee Hing Development, a Hong Kong investment company. With controlling investors who he felt shared his vision once again, Zecha returned as chairman and CEO.
On 27 November 2007, Zecha announced that he had reached an agreement with DLF Ltd, India's largest real estate company, to form a partnership to acquire a controlling interest in Amanresorts. The entire transaction, when completed, is estimated to be valued at US$400 million with an assumed debt of approximately US$150 million.
Over the next seven years, Amanresorts launched retreats in Cambodia, India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean. On 27 November 2007, DLF Limited, India's largest real estate company, acquired Lee Hing’s controlling stake in Amanresorts for $400 million.
35% of Aman patrons originate from Europe, another 33% from Asia-Pacific, 30% from the Americas and 2% from the rest of the world.
Each resort is characterized by a small number of rooms (typically less than 55) and minimalist architecture designed to complement the resort’s natural and cultural setting. Indigenous building materials and techniques are used as much as possible. The staff count is typically four staff to one guest. There is no reception desk, lobby or bellboys. Amanresorts are designed to create the impression that guests are staying in a private residence.
Guest accommodation is typically provided in individual private villas, bungalows or tents (in the case of Aman-i-Khás in India and Amanwana in Indonesia), often featuring private pools and outdoor lounging and dining areas.
Some resorts have villas for rental or purchase. Such villas are available at Amanpuri in Thailand, Amanyara in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Amangani and Amangiri in the USA, Amanpulo in the Philippines and Amandari in Bali, for example.
As of 2010, the group operates the following resorts (in order of opening):
- Amanpuri on the island of Phuket, Thailand. Designed by Ed Tuttle (1988).
- Amandari at Kedewatan on the outskirts of Ubud, on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Designed by Peter Muller (1989).
- Hotel Bora Bora at Bora Bora in French Polynesia and currently undergoing renovation (1989).
- Le Mélézin at Courchevel 1850, France. Designed by Ed Tuttle (1992).
- Amanusa at Nusa Dua on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Designed by Kerry Hill and Danilo Capellini, interiors by Dale Keller (1992).
- Amankila near Manggis on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Designed by Ed Tuttle and Danilo Capellini (1992).
- Amanwana on Moyo Island, at the western end of Indonesia's Nusa Tenggara archipelago. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy (1993).
- Amanpulo on the island of Pamalican in the Philippines. Designed by Bobby Manosa (1993).
- Amanjiwo in Central Java, Indonesia. Designed by Ed Tuttle (1997).
- Amangani at East Gros Ventre Butte near Jackson Hole in USA. Designed by Ed Tuttle. The resort opened in 1998.
- Amanjena with 36 rooms, on Route de Ouarzazate on the outskirts of Marrakech in Morocco. Designed by Ed Tuttle (1998).
- Amansara in Siem Riep, Cambodia. Designed by Kerry Hill (2004).
- Aman-i-Khás in Rajasthan, India. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy (2003).
- Amankora has five lodges in Bhutan. Designed by Kerry Hill (2004).
- Amanbagh in Rajasthan, India. Designed by Ed Tuttle. The resort opened in 2005.
- Amangalla in Galle, Sri Lanka. Interiors designed by Kerry Hill (2005)
- Amanwella near the village of Tangalle on Sri Lanka’s south coast. Designed by Kerry Hill (2005).
- Amanyara on Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy. (2006)
- Aman at Summer Palace in Beijing, China. Technical assistance by Jean-Michel Gathy and interiors designed by Jaya Ibrahim. (2008).
- Villa Miločer. Phase one of Aman Sveti Stefan, located on the coast of Montenegro. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy (2008.)
- Aman New Delhi. Located on Lodhi Road in New Delhi, India. Designed by Kerry Hill (2009). - was previously the government-owned Lodhi Hotel
- Amantaka in Luang Prabang, Laos. (2009)
- Amangiri in Utah’s Four Corners Region, the USA. (2009)
- Amanfayun in Hangzhou, China. Interiors designed by Jaya Ibrahim (2010)
- Amanzoe in Peloponnese, Greece. Designed by Ed Tuttle (2012)
- Amanoi in Vinh Hy, Vietnam. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy (2013)
- http://www.cntraveller.com/magazine/the-gold-list-2010/aman-at-summer-palace" Gold List-2010." www.cntraveller..
- http://www.andrewharper.com/Consideration/Luxury-Travel/" Aman at Summer Palace - Andrew Harpers Hideaway of the Year 2010.
- "2006 Kerry Hill - RAIA Gold Medallist." www.architectureaustralia.com., March/April 2006.
- "Jaya & Associates is known throughout the world for sophisticated Asian interiors." http://www.sleepermagazine.co.uk., July/August 2009.
- Cohen, E. "Subtlety and Luxury - Jean-Michel Gathy does it again at Amanyara in the Turks and Caicos," Interior Design, July 1, 2006.
- Amanresorts website
- Amanyara Villas website
- Phoenicia Times Feb 2008
- Hartwick College The Gerry Family Papers