Aman New York Near+Far rating: 9/10
Why stay at Aman New York
A discreet plaque marks the entrance to Aman New York, dubbed the world’s most expensive city hotel and the recent winner of the Best Hotel in the USA in the inaugural World’s 50 Best Hotels. Aman New York opened in 2022, bringing the quiet, understated luxury the brand is known for to the city that never sleeps, creating a serene and ultra-stylish urban oasis inspired by Japan and Southeast Asia but with New York City’s effervescent soul.
Aman New York is far removed from the tropical modernist resorts that made the brand a make with the world’s elite, but somehow it still manages to capture the essence in a historic Manhattan high-rise. How they’ve managed to create such a feeling of space is mind-boggling, especially amidst sirens and throngs of crowds on Fifth Avenue, but they have. This is a hotel that feels more like a private members club, and the facilities and well-heeled clientele are a testament to this. Stay here for the feeling of exclusivity and peace, to have, perhaps, the biggest standard suites in Manhattan, and for the pool – the glorious, 65-ft pool lined with roaring fireplaces. The hotel is open for guests and members only (membership is rumoured to carry a joining fee of $200,000), so expect a discreet and monied crowd. Aman New York is a resort where peace, serenity, hedonism and more are possible in the heart of one of the world’s most exciting and energetic cities.
The location: 8/10
Smack bang in the centre of Midtown Manhattan location isn’t the first choice you’d think of for Aman New York. The Upper East Side, or trendy Soho, perhaps, but the brand has embraced the best of Midtown- being near Central Park and Manhattan’s top sights while removing the noise and chaos and distancing itself from the tourist traps. Aman New York sits on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in the historic Crown Building, built circa 1921 and one of the most beautiful examples of Beaux-Arts architecture. For tourists, the location is fantastic – you’re a short stroll from Central Park, across the road from Bergdorf Goodman and a trot to Fifth Avenue and Madison with their arsenal of luxury shops. Thanks to traffic, Manhattan can often be a tedious drive from NYC’s John F Kennedy airport, but to add to the customer experience, Aman has partnered with Blade to offer helicopter journeys directly from the airport to just a short drive away from the hotel. The journey takes five minutes and runs twice an hour, with guests then only needing to endure a short drive to the hotel. Flights on the innovative helicopter-sharing service are available from just $195 each way.
Rooms and suites: 10/10
Space – an enigma in new New York City hotels – is something Aman took seriously when creating the boutique 83 suites at Aman New York. The smallest you’ll get is a 718 square foot – the size of a spacious apartment in NYC – going up to 2,770 square foot for the top suites like the Signature Suites. Hushed, dimly lit corridors give way to impossibly elegant suites, where upon entering for the first time, you can’t help but smile and let out a sigh of delight. For me, the sign is mainly for the fireplace and the 11ft height ceilings, creating a stylish inner sanctum of space and style in the heart of Manhattan. There’s the same dark, sultry Japanese-style interior with a painted wall paper mural running alongside one wall, which pops against the room’s classic shades of slate grey, black, oatmeal and fawn – typical of Aman’s style. The bathroom is cleverly hidden with a wrap-around Oriental-style screen – which, while they don’t offer much privacy, the shower and WC have solid doors to lock yourself away. The soaking tub is twice the size of a regular bath, and the vanity is stocked with a Dyson hairdryer – no touch has been overlooked.
The main room seamlessly blends technology into the tranquil experience – something which usually makes me groan, anticipating all that can go wrong in the simple search for turning lights or the television off, but Aman’s is faultless. An iPad controls the fireplace, the television, dimming of the lights, so you can control the suite from the huge marshmallow bed with the crispest white sheets known to man. After a day hitting NYC’s streets, there are few more peaceful and spacious suites to retire to, particularly thanks to the reinforced windows where sirens are barely audible. Soft drinks and snacks in the mini bars are complimentary, which is a lovely touch when searching for a quick handful of almonds or cool sparkling water.
Food and drink: 9/10
Three fantastic drinking and dining offerings keep guests fed, watered and entertained at Aman New York. Different from the main hotel spaces, which are zen hard to spot another guest in the dimly lit corridors, this is where the vibe is. There’s Aman’s classic and much-loved Nama – a signature of the brand which brings Aman’s eastern roots to the West. There’s the finest and freshest sushi, salads, and an array of uncomplicated, light and satisfying dishes, along with a Japanese Hinoki wood counter for hosting omakase fine dining experiences. But this is New York, and many travellers will be looking for the indulgence it evokes, and the place for that is Arva.
Aman’s Arva can also be found at Aman NYC – satiating the demand for killer cocktails, bold wines and indulgent Italian dishes. Meaning ‘cultivated land, or harvest, Arva brings the traditions and flavours of Italian with seasonal menus and hearty, rustic dishes like the freshet pasta, crispiest pizza and freshest seafood. The most vibrant spot, however, is The Jazz Club, a little-known secret in the hotel’s basement showing a more vivacious side to Aman. The quintessentially New York concept whisks guests into a world of hedonism and splendour with nightly live performances, including jazz, blues and DJS, who come together to create unrivalled celebration and nostalgia of years gone by. Breakfast – loaded with healthy and indulgent dishes and most smoothies, juices and hot drinks you can think of – is served in bright and breezy Arva, which opens up to a sweeping rooftop terrace bar and lounge offering beautiful views of Billionaire’s Row and Midtown (perfect for sundowners or a lunchtime drink), and a stylish lobby lounge serves coffees and matches. Arva and Nama are open to hotel guests and members only, while The Jazz Club is open to the public.
Spa and facilities: 10/10
Another sign, or squeal, of delight, was let off when first stepping into Aman’s pool area – hidden behind a double door below the main spa. You’re greeted by fragrance wafts of hot air, which clears to reveal a magnificent 65-foot pale blue swimming pool. Cream chairs and loungers frame the waters, separated by roaring fireplaces, and it’s easy to grab a book and spend a morning cocooned in this stunningly cosy space. The spa itself is spread across three floors and 25,000 sq ft, showing how serious wellness is to the brand. There’s also a hair and nail salon, sauna and steam, and yoga and pilates studio. As one would expect of a brand-new NYC hotel, there’s everything you could need for every muscle and every fitness goal. The main spa shop stocks the understatedly luxurious Aman Essentials line of active and loungewear, sunglasses and travel accessories, plus the brand’s skincare and fragrant candles. Treatments transcend the typical spa experience (though that’s available too), and we can’t recommend enough booking the two-hour Aman New York Signature Journey experience. Leave your experience in the hands of a therapist who will tailor it to exactly what you need. All our group emerges woozy with relaxation, having all had something a little different, from a TAIM-inspired massage to a Balinese experience. Of course, it was all exactly what we needed, both physically, and mentally.
The vibe: 9/10
Despite being open for less than a year, Aman New York has managed to build a soul and vibe to rival the city’s big-name members’ clubs. There’s this feeling of exclusivity, yet of being completely welcoming and laid-back, which is typical of Aman’s resorts – largely thanks to the friendly, chatty and personality-filled staff. You don’t feel out of place popping to the spa in a robe, and at the same time, you’ll feel just right dressed up for dinner. Entering the discreet street-level doors, you feel the troubles of city life dissipate as you’re transported into the world of Aman, and it’s truly sublime in every way. The most expensive city hotel in the world? Maybe. Completely worth it? Absolutely.
730 5th Ave, New York; suites from about AED7,900 a night; aman.com