Continuing to redefine the concept of luxury travel, Aman has launched an exclusive Private Jet Expedition with the world’s foremost luxury travel designer, Remote Lands from 15 April to 6 May 2018. This extraordinary journey will see just 16 guests journey in consummate comfort aboard an Airbus ACJ 319 to nine countries in 22 days, to discover their rich cultures and outstanding natural beauty. Destinations include Aman Tokyo in Japan, Amanyangyun in China, Amanoi in Vietnam, Amanpuri in Thailand, Amankora’s Paro and Thimphu lodges in Bhutan, Amanbagh in India, Amanzoe in Greece, Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro and Aman Venice in Italy.
Taking in bustling cities, lofty mountain peaks, idyllic beaches and spiritual havens, guests will be taken on an adventure to explore an array of destinations in the Aman way. The Airbus, originally designed for 126 passengers, has been refitted for just 16 offering living rooms with sumptuous leather seats that fold completely flat, bedrooms and bathrooms with showers. While time in the air will be swift and infinitely cossetting, days will pass languidly amid drifting cherry blossoms in Japan, swimming in Phuket’s Andaman Sea, trekking in the Himalayas or floating dreamily down Venice’s Grand Canal. Nights will be spent in unrivalled opulence at a selection of signature Aman destinations, with elegant cocktail and dinner parties throughout the adventure providing opportunities for guests to mingle. Every couple or solo traveller, however will have their own private car, driver and guide for all transfers and excursions, ensuring privacy and solitude whenever needed.
This exceptional journey begins on 15 April, with three nights in Tokyo, amid Sakura season, when the city turns a shade of pink by the flowering of its cherry blossoms. The city of fascinating contrasts: ancient palaces and manicured parks lie alongside gleaming skyscrapers; narrow alleys crammed with tiny bars tucked between serene temples; and world class restaurants, galleries and museums juxtaposed with a captivating pop culture scene. From the lofty sanctuary that is Aman Tokyo housed atop The Otemachi Tower, guests will enjoy sushi-making classes, lessons in the sword-fighting martial art known as laido and tea ceremonies, as well as private guided tours of the city’s finest attractions including Tsukiji Fish Market, the widely recognised Asakusa restaurant and the Imperial Palace Gardens. With a host of choices and activities to choose from, the Tokyo itinerary guarantees guests an illuminating glimpse into the most authentic and exhilarating aspects of Japan’s dynamic culture.
The next leg of the journey takes guests to Shanghai, one of Asia’s most dynamic metropolises offering world-class dining, shopping, arts and nightlife. Of the city’s many unique traits, perhaps the most striking is its mix of architectural styles: traditional Chinese, colonial European and ultra-modern. Over the course of a two-night stay (18 – 20 April), guests have the opportunity to admire the magnificent Yu Gardens, stroll the length of the Bund, explore the French Concession and browse the galleries of M50 Art District, among many other personalised excursions. The perfect foil to Shanghai’s intoxicating energy, Amanyangyun is set on 100 acres in a forest of giant camphor trees on the outskirts of the city, a haven of tranquility seemingly lost in time. Its graceful contemporary structures including 24 suites and six dining venues designed by Kerry Hill complement 26 Antique Villas. These historic Chinese houses were saved from the waters of Liao Fang Reservoir when they were moved stone by stone from Fuzhou, almost 700km away
From Shanghai, follows a two-night stay (20– 22 April) at a blissful beachside idyll on the remote shores of the East Sea on Vietnam’s dramatic coastline. Backed by the vast wilderness of Nui Chua National Park and renowned for its crystal seas and pearly white sand, Vinh Hy Bay is home to Amanoi and just a few tiny fishing villages. The resort is a destination unto itself, with standalone guest pavilions riding a ridge with views either of the ocean or the National Park’s undulating hills. A comprehensive Aman Spa and two recently unveiled, unique Spa Houses, offer an exclusive spa experience allowing guests to cocoon themselves away, their minds to quieten and heal from the outside in, within this meditative outpost. Guests can also cycle through local villages for the rush of the morning markets, snorkel in the pristine coral reefs of the marine reserve or hike to Goga Peak’s heights and prepare to indulge in paradise itself.
A short hop to Thailand is next on the itinerary for two nights (22 – 24 April), ensuring that any further appetite for golden-sand and balmy, turquoise water is well and truly satiated. Amanpuri claims a private peninsula on Phuket’s lauded west coast, its graceful Ayutthaya-inspired rooflines peeking through coconut palms above a beach, lapped by the Andaman Sea. A destination unto itself, Amanpuri’s gastronomic fare is second to none from authentic Thai cuisine incorporating Phuket’s abundance of natural produce to create fragrant curries and Thai salads to Nama, Aman’s first culinary concept and Japanese restaurant celebrating Japan’s UNESCO-recognised tradition of Washoku, featuring seafood, vibrant organic produce, with specialist ingredients sourced directly from the markets of Osaka and Kyoto. For adventurous guests who can tear themselves away from the resort’s magnificent restaurants, the stunning midnight-blue swimming pool and comprehensive Aman Spa, there are a range of activities in close proximity from cultural attractions and dive sites – among them the Similan Islands, Koh Phi Phi and the striking limestone pinnacles of Phang Nga Bay.
Guests will board two G2000 – smaller private jets, for the northward journey into another Kingdom – the last remaining Buddhist realm of Bhutan. Swapping palm trees and beaches for snow-capped peaks and valleys strung with prayer flags, travellers will now experience one of the most intact cultures worldwide, in a country which values the happiness of its people more than its GDP. Over four nights (24 – 28 April), guests will explore the valleys of Thimpu and Paro, staying in two of Amankora’s five lodges spread across the western valleys of this majestic land.
Situated in a blue pine forest in the upper reaches of the Motithang area, the 16-suite Amankora Thimphu is close to the capital’s sights and shopping, whilst remaining a quiet retreat. Amankora Paro rests on the brush-covered hills of Paro Valley, near some of Bhutan’s most treasured historical sites including Taktsang, the fabled Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Whether marvelling at the purity of the Kingdom’s air and its breathtaking natural beauty while hiking, absorbing the spiritual peace of local monasteries, admiring Kyichu Llakhang, Paro Dzong and other ancient temples and fortresses, or simply appreciating the sunset painting the sky a myriad of pinks every evening, this magical place is sure to be a highlight for many on the expedition, especially the final day’s blessing with his Eminence Neyphug Trulku Rinpoche, a spiritual master and one of Bhutan’s greatest living teachers.
Travelling south again on the twin G2000 private jets will see travellers entering another land steeped in history and spirituality: India. The palatial haveli estate of Amanbagh lies in Rajasthan’s starkly beautiful Aravalli Hills, a scenic drive from Jaipur and a living reminder of the Mughal Era. Marble floors, domed cupolas, lush gardens, colourful villages and ancient ruins all contribute to setting a scene that could be drawn from centuries past, with gracious modern touches ensuring supreme comfort over the two-night stay (28 – 30 April). Guests will explore the so-called ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur by private car, driver and guide, visiting the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), Amber Fort and Johri Bazaar, cruise Mansarover Lake in a Kashmiri-built Shikara boat, discover the eerie ruins of deserted Bhangarh, City of Ghosts, and witness the Meena way of life in remote Ajabgarh, a tribal village that has maintained its people’s unique customs due to their isolation. Perhaps the simplest yet most profound experience offered by Amanbagh is the Cow Dust Tour – an evening drive: the dust kicked up by goats and cows returning home for the night turns dusk golden, lit by the smiles of locals.
Once again boarding the Airbus ACJ 319, guests leave the Indian Subcontinent and head to Greece, the historic cradle of Western Civilization. On arrival in Athens, helicopters await for the short flight from the capital to Amanzoe in the hills of the Peloponnese. This legendary peninsula is home to great archeological sites such as ancient Olympia and UNESCO-protected Epidaurus, and is equally fabled for its beaches, the cosmopolitan island of Spetses, and the region’s natural produce – from olives, pomegranates and honey, to wine and cheese. Inspired by classical Greek architecture, Amanzoe commands almost 360-degree views of the coast and the Aegean Sea from its hilltop setting, with its own private amphitheatre surrounded by olive groves, and a Beach Club and private beach on the shore. During the two-night stay (30 April – 2 May) guests can cruise the azure waters of the Argo-Saronic Gulf to Spetses to stroll the historic car-free streets and enjoy an exquisite seafood lunch in a local taverna. Guests can also explore the wonders of Athens, including the Acropolis and the Parthenon, with their private drivers and guides on the final day of their visit, visiting Epidaurus along the way.
Leaving the Aegean behind and venturing north along the Adriatic coastline, the next destination is Montenegro’s iconic islet of Sveti Stefan for a two-night stay (2 – 4 May). Incorporating a once fortified fishing village dating back to the 15th century on an islet, Villa Milocer – the former summer residence of Montenegrin royalty, a free-standing Aman Spa and multiple pink-hued beaches, Aman Sveti Stefan lies close to many of the country’s premier attractions. These include Skadar Lake, the historic towns of Budva and Perast, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kotor – one of the best-preserved medieval towns on the Adriatic. Guests can stroll its winding, cobbled streets and explore the medieval maze of museums, churches and cafe-strewn squares, before returning to Aman Sveti Stefan for farewell cocktails and dinner.
Day 20 of the expedition takes guests to their final destination, Venice, delivering them into the gracious embrace of a 16th century palazzo on the Grand Canal for the final two nights (4 – 6 May) of the expedition. As sumptuous and romantic as the city itself, Aman Venice is home to museum-quality treasures including Tiepolo frescoes, Sansovino fireplaces, gilded ceilings and centuries-old leather wall coverings. More home than hotel, the palazzo offers the rare privilege of space in the centre of the Floating City, one of the finest piano nobiles and two private gardens. Exploring the city with the hotel’s knowledgeable guides will curate magical moments whether visiting St Mark’s Basilica, Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace or Rialto Market. Bespoke cultural tours of the city’s impressive art galleries and collections can also be arranged. The expedition’s final dinner will be held in one of the palazzo’s opulent dining rooms, overlooking the Grand Canal as it reflects the setting sun.