Peace is the main pillar of Aman’s philosophy and the meaning of its Sanskrit-derived name. The diverse natural landscapes that each Aman inhabits foster an environment of restorative escapism with carefully curated programmes of energising activities and mind-broadening experiences, ranging from invigorating cultural immersions to pulse-quickening adventures. From kitesurfing in the Philippines to e-biking in the Atlas Mountains or navigating vertiginous mountainsides in the American West and Thai boxing on the Phuket coast, Aman continues its mission to engage and excite with a host of new activities and experiences around the world.
On 7 September, the 10th anniversary of the Tour of the Dragon sees keen cyclists from around the world pedal to the peaks of Bhutan for one of the most demanding mountain-bike races in the world. The Tour of the Dragon covers 268km of spectacular Himalayan landscape in a single day. From 31 August to 7 September 2019, Aman is inviting competitors to combine the race with a 10-night stay across the five lodges of Amankora, travelling by bike between each one. Providing full support on race day, the stay will include a trip to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, a massage to relax tired muscles and all meals.
Alongside the introduction of a state-of-the-art new spa and fitness facilities earlier this year, Amanpuri opened Aman’s first Muay Thai boxing ring. Under the guidance of Amanpuri’s resident coaches, guests can practice ‘the art of eight limbs’, learning how to use their fists, elbows, knees and shins in self-defence – and improve mental and physical health in the process.
At the Beach Club, Amanpuri’s Mastercraft XStar performance boat is primed for wakesurfing adventures, enabling guests to experience the thrill of the waves even in the calmest waters. Specifically engineered for wakesurfing, the craft generates huge waves as it powers through the sea, making it equally suited to other adrenaline-fuelled watersports, including waterskiing and hydrofoil.
The opening of the Amanpulo Kite & Surf Centre this year made the Philippines island resort one of four Aman destinations to offer guests the chance to practice this acrobatic, high-adrenaline aerial watersport. Positioned to take maximum advantage of ‘Amihan’ – the northeasterly wind that brings ideal kitesurfing conditions to the Pamalican island’s lagoon from October to March – the centre is run by a team of seasoned ‘surfers including the renowned athlete Paula Rosales, recognised as one of the very best in Asia.
Amangiri has introduced a host of new ways to explore the rocky drama of the Utah desert. Aman’s network of Via Ferrata scrambling routes has been enhanced with the aptly named ‘Vertigo’ – a new route set to challenge even the most agile of climbers. As well as the usual metal-rung path along the rockface, Vertigo features a steep ladder climb and a head-spinning crossing over a bridge just six-inches wide. The reward for the effort – other than the rush of adrenaline – is 360º of spectacular desert panorama at the top.
For a more down-to-earth adventure, guests can now sign up to half- and full-day boat tours on Lake Powell, exploring the reservoir’s lesser-visited slot canyons by kayak or paddleboard. Back on land, a new fleet of e-bikes enables Amangiri’s guests to reach places that normal pedal-powered bicycles couldn’t – as well as making tours a possibility for less experienced riders. A three-hour guided ride takes in the ghost town of Paria and the spectacular Chinle Formation, where the badlands terrain is too difficult for unassisted bikes. Amangiri’s five-hour option takes riders out to Alstrom Point, one of the most astonishing lookout points over Lake Powell.
When deciding how to offer Thai boxing, Amangiri looked to nature. Unlike the Muay Thai ring at Amanpuri, the resort uses the spectacular natural area in Tower Butte. Reached in a scenic helicopter trip, the butte makes a breathtaking setting to practice the art of Thai boxing, led by Amangiri’s expert instructors.
At Amangani, explore the ruggedly beautiful landscape of Jackson Hole Mountain resort by Via Ferrata – the newly plotted ‘iron path’ climbing route high above the valley floor. Attached to a steel cable cross canyons on narrow suspended bridges, traverse sheer walls of granite on iron rungs, and experience the beauty of the alpine terrain along the way.
For Amangani’s guests who prefer to stick to ground level, the Jackson Hole area is criss-crossed with mountain biking trails of every level of difficulty, enabling guests to explore sections of the Grand Tetons National Park that are beyond the reach of cars or on foot. Amangani can also arrange horse riding along routes such as East Gros Ventre Butte, which affords superlative views of the Tetons and Jackson Hole, or further into the wilderness of the Rockies, for a taste of the Old West.
While staying at Amangani, diehard adrenaline junkies can experience the dizzying thrills of whitewater rafting on the Snake River or experience the horizon-expanding majesty of a tandem paraglide, descending from the highest reaches of Jackson Hole. Seen from the sky, the Wyoming wilderness becomes a patchwork of rugged granite bluffs, wildflower meadows and thick forest – the ultimate outdoor tailormade adventure.
In the peaceful Palmeraie on the edge of Marrakech, the modern Moroccan palace of Amanjena is the gateway to the Atlas Mountains, which guests can now explore with ease using the resort’s new fleet of e-bikes. Multilingual local expert Pierre-Alain leads e-bike excursions to the Atlas, taking in the rough and rugged terrain of the mountains, the lush beauty of the Kik Plateau and the peaceful and scenic lake of Lalla Takerkoust.
On Bali’s eastern coast, Amankila has enhanced its Beach Club with a stash of new watersports equipment, allowing guests to try their skills at stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) or boogie boarding in the blue waters of the Lombok Strait. Surfers ranging from beginners to warriors of the waves can make the most of Bali’s year-round breaks, thanks to expert-led sessions from East Bali Surf and Sail.
Kayaks are available for guests keen to explore the unspoilt coastline and – this year – the resort introduces a fleet of Schiller Bikes (the recently invented aquatic cycle that resembles a cross between conventional bicycle and catamaran), which guests can use to glide across the waters at their leisure.
For thrill-seekers, Amankila is now offering white water rafting on the Telagawaja River, a classified IV river, located 45-minutes from the resort. The rafting is around two and a half hours long and available for anyone over the age of twelve.
For those looking for adventure on land, Amankila will arrange ATV tours (quad bikes), beginning just 10 minutes’ drive from the property. The two-hour tours take in the beautiful and varied landscape of East Bali, including mountain slopes, jungle trails, rice paddy hillsides and unspoilt local villages.
Central Bali and the Ubud region form a land of mountain and jungle, offering guests of the resort endless opportunity to venture into the wilds and explore. A trio of mountain peaks are accessible from Amandari, offering a challenge to amateur ramblers and sturdier-thighed mountaineers alike. The 1,717m summit of Mount Batur – the most popular in Bali – rewards the two-hour dawn trek with mesmerising sunrise views across rolling green valleys to Mount Ayung in East Bali.
At 2,150m, Mount Abang is Bali’s third highest, and known as ‘the virgin mountain’ for its comparatively untouched slopes. Presenting a more demanding 2.5-hour hike, passing through tropical forest dotted with temples, guests reach the cloud-touching panoramic peak, with its coastline horizon. Taller still is Mount Batukaru – at 2,275m, the second highest in Bali and strictly one for the fittest and most adventurous of hikers. Visible from Amandari, Batukaru is surrounded by Unesco-protected rice terraces and dense, wildlife-rich jungle. The five-hour trek to the top may be steep, but the coast-to-coast view awaiting at the top is more than worth the effort.
Deep in Central Java, near the architectural marvel of Borobudur, Mount Prau is one of a circle of volcanoes surrounding Amanjiwo – ‘the ring of fire’. In the cool of the late evening, Aman’s team of Javanese sherpas set off from Amanjiwo, leading the three-hour hike to the summit for a volcanic breakfast. By the time guests reach the final scramble to the peak, dawn is breaking, and the view from the crater as the sun breaches the horizon and bathes the jungle in golden light is among the world’s most memorable. A herbal salt bath and traditional pijat massage await guests on their return to the resort.
Rajasthan’s pink-stone palace is a one-time Mughal royal retreat, making its grounds the perfect venue to discover ‘the sport of kings’: camel polo. Aman’s expert instructors can have even the most inexperienced rider mounted and match-ready in just a short session, primed to put their newfound skills to the test in their first game.
Meanwhile, for those seeking to expand their horizons at a more sedate pace, Amanbagh’s new Yoga & Mindfulness Wellness Immersion combines daily Hatha and Vinyasa yoga with personalised nutrition, spa treatments, mindfulness classes, and enriching experiences including Ayruvedic cookery sessions, sunrise walks and fire meditations.
Amanyara, Turks & Caicos
The sunny golden-sand shores of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, have made Amanyara and its paradise-island surroundings renowned for relaxation, but the resort also provides ample opportunity to break a sweat and feel the burn. Guests making use of the Fitness Centre can now take advantage of a range of results-focused group classes, including: boxercise, which uses boxing-inspired exercise principles to deliver an intense workout in the resort’s boxing studio, and aqua therapy at the Spa Pool, an all-over fitness enhancer, using techniques to free the body in water.
Those looking to burn fat, improve endurance, increase speed, and aid weight loss, can try the high-intensity four-minute workouts of Tabata circuit training. For runners, Amanyara can arrange guided trail runs around a range of spellbindingly scenic island routes, matched to any level of fitness and experience. Restorative classes focusing on breathing and stretching are also ideal to ease and comfort both body and mind whilst unwinding tired muscles.
Amanera, Dominican Republic
Set amidst a tropical nature reserve and above a dramatic sandy coastline framing the Atlantic Ocean, Amanera’s focus is firmly on the outdoors. A new adrenaline-pumping canyoning trip to Rio Blanco in the heart of the mountains includes hiking, swimming, jumping and rappelling (as far as 150ft) amongst lush flora. For those with tired muscles after a couple of hours on the river, a donkey ride awaits to take you one short mile to where a hearty and traditional Dominican lunch will be served.
For those desiring a physically demanding workout within the resort, Amanera’s fitness offering now includes HIIT (High-Intensity Interval training) sessions that draw on elements of gymnastics, weightlifting, running and rowing to deliver rapid results – a total body workout designed to build strength, conditioning and endurance.
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