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Aman New York Is Now Manhattan's Most Exclusive Club

Aman New York Is Now Manhattan's Most Exclusive Club

Uncompromising. That is the word most frequently used during a tour of Aman New York, the hotly anticipated one percenter's refuge that finally opened its doors last month (with Mayor Eric Adams present to christen its arrival). Well when you have the resources and the time and are beholden to nobody's schedule, as was the case for Vladislav Doronin, the billionaire owner of the Aman brand, then sure, it costs nothing to be uncompromising.

Examples of this philosophy abound throughout the 117,000-square-foot space, which inhabits the upper floors of the historic Crown building on 57th and Fifth, making for an interesting juxtaposition between Aman's glossy modernism and its new home's old Beaux-Arts bones. It's all a sumptuous cocoon of exquisite textures, from the rice paper-lined louvre panels that adorn each suite, to the huge stones that have been carved into giant soaking tubs, to the lattice-patterned ceilings and floors meant to evoke the rattan baskets of Asia, to the straw marquetry finishes on each room's fireplace, and every hulking slab of bronze, brass, chocolate brown marble, and blackened steel in between. An anecdote is relayed about how the Japanese restaurant on site was basically complete when the owner abruptly changed his mind and decided to start the whole thing over from scratch, bringing in a whole new shipment of natural materials.

Not that anything less would fly with the Aman crowd: with rates starting at $3,200 a night for the lowest tier room, the hotel is strictly reserved for the tiny sliver of the population for whom compromise is an alien concept. This is also a crew that puts no price tag on plush privacy. Here, plebes can't even get past the front door for a martini in the soaring lobby bar, or on the 7,000-square-foot terrace with a retractable roof that overlooks Fifth Avenue—only guests, Aman Club members (initiation fee: $200,000; yes, there is a waitlist), and residents (there are 22 palaces in the sky above the hotel; twenty of them are sold, including the $180 million penthouse) are privy to these vaunted spaces. A consolation prize? The basement speakeasy cum jazz club—fortified with sound tech matched only by Jazz at Lincoln Center and Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show—will welcome all when it opens on September 6.

As for how a hotel with a reputation for five-figure zen could feasibly create a real sanctuary in the middle of Manhattan? Meander long enough through these hushed, dimly lit, perpetually aromatic (thanks to a house scent infused with cardamom and saffron and loftily entitled 'Alta'), walnut- and bamboo-lined halls and the city will fade away. In some corners you feel like you're in Bali; in others—like the aforementioned lobby bar, which could have been a set for the latest season of Westworld—maybe Tokyo. High-tech soundproofing is mainly to thank, of course. "What makes the Aman peaceful," adds its architect Jean-Michel Gathy, principal of Denniston, "is the layering of fabrics, high paneling, and the incorporation of a fireplace [in all 83 suites] to create a quiet environment within the guest rooms. You switch it on and feel like you're alone in the world."

And then the spa. Aman's middle-of-nowhere oases (see: Amangiri) are famous for their sprawling wellness temples. In New York, there would still be no—guess the word—compromise. Just like at its sister properties, the spa here clocks in at an impressive 25,000 square feet and takes up three floors. There is a 65-foot-long indoor pool, a cryotherapy chamber, and a gym equipped with machines that appear of such intimidating state-of-the-art caliber these must be what billionaires use to unlock the keys to immortality (on this particular afternoon two in-house trainers were installing a special water machine that pumps your H2O with electrolytes). A Harvard-trained doctor leads an Integrative Medicine program which offers IV drips, acupuncture, and plasma therapy. There are also two spa houses—which can be booked for an afternoon—with private terraces, outdoor hot tubs, and either a Turkish hammam or Latvian banya.

Despite the embarrassment of riches, Gathy stresses that the Aman DNA is still understated elegance. Everything goes back to creating that refuge. "You go down to the streets and are in the epicenter of the city, but when you want to come back and relax you have your own sanctuary," he says. And as much as Aman New York does its part to foster insularity and privacy and exclusivity, it won't be long before this geotag becomes the most recognizable—and feverishly coveted—Instagram backdrop in the world (see again: Amangiri). But when you're already safely ensconced in the creamy glow of your perfectly lit suite with the rest of Manhattan on mute, who cares?

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