Aman Resorts has some tempting spring offers for its Bali, Bhutan, Greece, India, Morocco and Turkey properties. If you've already booked yourself to one of these destinations in advance of the United Award Chart Devaluation or are simply tired of the arctic deep freeze in the U.S. East Coast and Midwest, I highly recommend indulging at least once in an Aman. Fair warning though: once you've experienced a stellar Aman Resort, you'll be looking for ways to stay at another Aman. Even if you just need a mini virtual vacation, enjoy the photos and put favorites on your bucket list.
1. Amankora, Bhutan: February 11-20 Photographic Journey with Basil Pao
While I'm no photographer, this Bhutan adventure sounds amazing. Basil Pao is renowned for shooting the breathtaking photographs for Michael Palin's BBC travel series, but in addition to his acclaimed photography, he's worked in the record industry, as an art director, and as one of the directors for the film “The Last Emperor.”
Basil’s Photographic Journey across Bhutan will be an intimate opportunity to learn from one of the world’s foremost travel photographers. Rather than being a lesson in using a camera, this journey will be like going on assignment with a professional – one who has worked in every kind of condition at the highest level for over 30 years. Basil will share his travel experiences and photographic tips during informal workshops and outdoor excursions. Many of these will be at sunrise and sunset when the light is particularly good. Participants should be competent with their own equipment, as the journey will be more about opening eyes to photographic possibilities than dwelling on technical details.
The Photographic Journey will take in four of Amankora’s five valleys, including Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey.
Itinerary: A Photographic Journey with Basil Pao
11-12 Feb 2014
Exploring the capital’s lanes, markets and Goembas (monasteries)
13 – 14 Feb 2014
Capturing nature at its finest where rare black-necked cranes spend the winter
Discovering Gangtey Goemba
15-16 Feb 2014
Photographing Punakha Dzong (monastic fortress) at the confluence of the Pho and Mo Rivers
17-19 Feb 2014
Climbing to Tiger’s Nest
Photographing Mount Jhomolhari at dawn and dusk
20 Feb 2014
2. Aman Bali Break Through April 30, 2014
We loved our stay at Amankila, with its stunning views, magical gamelan and Balinese dance performance by candlelight, superb service and great food, including the best breakfast in Bali of all the places we stayed. We opted for a morning cruise on Aman VI with a snorkeling expedition and delicious breakfast afterwards, but other choices for the Aman Bali Break include a tour of East Bali (one of the more authentic and least touristy areas of Bali) or a trek or cycling tour.
Rates start at $2700 + tax/service for a Garden Suite at Amankila or Amanusa or a Village Suite at Amandari, and in my view it's money well spent given the level of service and intimate nature of these resorts, as well as the inclusions.
The Aman Bali Break includes:
• Three nights’ accommodation at one or a combination of three Amanresorts in Bali
• Daily breakfast
• Airport and inter-resort transfers
• A choice of one activity per stay
The Aman Bali Break includes a complimentary activity. Each resort offers a choice of three:
– Rice terrace trek with a picnic breakfast in a hillside bale
– Three-hour tour of Bali’s craft villages (silver work, wood and stone carving) or
John Hardy’s silver atelier
– Visit to a traditional morning food market followed by a Balinese breakfast
– Morning cruise on Aman XVI or Aman XII
– East Bali tour
– East Bali trek or cycling tour
– Beach bale breakfast
– Uluwatu sunset tour
– One round of golf per person
3. Amanjena Winter Escape Through March 31, 2014
Marrakech conjures up images from the Arabian Nights, the exotic sights and sounds of the Medina, and also the breathtaking alpine scenery of the High Atlas Mountains. Amanjena, beautifully designed and set in an oasis of olive trees, is the perfect romantic getaway to a temperate clime, while much of Europe and the northern U.S. and Canada are still freezing. Rates start at 800 EUR + tax/service per night.
Amanjena, from its 32 rose-toned Pavilions that radiate from a central bassin, to its seven two-bedroom Maisons with zellij-tiled wall fountains and marble columns, echoes both the Berber villages of the High Atlas Mountains as well as the geometry and elegance of a sultan’s palace. Facilities include a library, spa with hammams, gym, tennis courts and two restaurants.
Largely surrounded by its original ramparts and 12th-century fortress walls of red earth, Marrakech is described by UNESCO as a “fully-preserved historic town”. A World Heritage Site, it presents a captivating inner world of winding lanes, old fondouks (inns), hammams(steambaths) and souks (shops) of every kind amidst the enticing smells of cumin, mint tea and barley bread baking in communal ovens. Providing insight into the fusion of African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences that form the cultural fabric of this dynamic desert city, Amanjena offers a variety of guided excursions on foot, bicycle or private car.
From 1 December 2013 to 31 March 2014:
• Guests staying for three nights or more will enjoy complimentary daily breakfast, a three-course lunch or dinner for two (excluding beverages) and round-trip airport transfers from Marrakech Airport.
• Guests staying for four nights or more will also enjoy a 50-minute massage.
4. Aman India Journey Through April 30, 2014
India has long been on my wish list, and if I could somehow fit it in, I'd definitely go on this 6 night Aman India Journey, perhaps adding on an extra night at Amanbagh, since from clients I've heard especially wonderful things about Rajasthan and this Aman.
Rates start at $4875 + tax/service for the 6 nights, including daily breakfast for two (except at Aman-i-Khás where a compulsory board charge of US$145 + tax/service per person per day applies), and inter-resort transfers among The Lodhi, Amanbagh and Aman-i-Khás. One activity per resort per stay is also included: an anti-jetlag massage per person at The Lodhi, a camel village excursion for two at Amanbagh, and a safari for two at Aman-i-Khas.
Delhi is the classic gateway to India. Amanresorts therefore arranges for Aman guests to experience the capital with The Lodhi, situated just minutes from Rashtrapati Bhavan, the peaceful Lodhi gardens, Humayun’s Tomb and many other iconic sites.
A desert oasis in the rugged state of Rajasthan, Amanbagh lies in a verdant garden of mature palm, fruit and eucalyptus trees. Set within a walled compound that was once the staging area for the Maharajah of Alwar’s royal hunts, Amanbagh evokes the palatial grandeur of the Mughal Era, providing a tranquil refuge from which to explore the rich heritage of Rajasthan’s dramatic frontier region. Featuring a swimming pool and spa within the grounds, Amanbagh also offers excursions into the surrounding Aravalli Hills. These include private picnics in marble gorges, leisurely camel rides, visits to splendid forts and ruins, and cultural experiences in picturesque rural villages.
The tented camp of Aman-i-Khás lies in the heart of Rajasthan’s starkly beautiful wilds, on the outskirts of Ranthambore National Park. Spend your early mornings and late afternoons exploring the park in search of India’s elusive tigers and other wildlife such as chital deer and marsh crocodiles. Pass the rest of your day relaxing by the traditional step-well pool, within the spa tent, dining tent or lounge tent, or exploring the region further afield. As dusk falls, savour a rustic Rajasthani thali featuring fresh produce from the resort’s organic gardens, then toast the stars with your nightcap around the bonfire before retiring to your own tent.
5. Amanruya Sojurn Through April 30, 2014
Many U.S. visitors to Turkey never make it past Istanbul, but they're missing out on a serene couples' beach escape to Amanruya in Bodrum. Pool Terrace Cottage is something of an understatement for airy and spacious villas with high ceilings, rain showers, underfloor heating and fireplace for cooler months, lovely garden with daybed, and private marble pool. Don't miss the Beach Club, a short buggy ride away, as well as a trip to the magnificent ruins of Ephesus.
Rates are 800 EUR + tax/service per night for a Pool Terrace Cottage with Garden View, and 900 EUR + tax/service per night for a Pool Terrace Cottage with a partial sea view.
Stay for a minimum of two consecutive nights and enjoy the following inclusions:
• Daily full-board (excluding beverages for two)
• Complimentary round-trip private transfers between Amanruya and Bodrum Milas Airport
• Guaranteed early check-in and late check-out at the time of reservation.
Amanruya is located in a quiet valley on the Bodrum Peninsula overlooking the Aegean Sea. Guests can enjoy active distractions such as hiking or mountain biking on trails through forests and olive groves, wander through quaint villages, or explore the plethora of ancient ruins in the vicinity. The centuries-old cities of Ephesus, Didyma, Miletus and Priene are all within reach and the vibrant town of Bodrum lies just south of the resort. Within the grounds of Amanruya, guests can dine in a variety of locations, enjoying traditional Turkish foods, continental fare and Asian-inspired dishes – all made with the freshest seasonal produce. Taking time out in the Library Tower, relaxing in one of the spa suites or playing a game of tennis are other options.
6. Amanzo'e Spring Break Through May 31, 2014
Peak season for Amanzo'e, in Porto Heli on the Greek Peloponnese, is July and August. You can avoid the crowds and enjoy a more tranquil experience and better deal if you visit Amanzo'e earlier, in the spring, although the tradeoff is that it won't be as warm.
Rates for April 5-30 are 950 EUR + VAT per night, and rise to 1350 EUR + VAT for May 1-31.
Surrounded by undulating olive groves and overlooking the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, Amanzoe is just a 10-minute drive from the town of Porto Heli. Comprising 38 suites and a number of Aman Villas, the resort offers panoramic views of the Peloponnese countryside and coastline, a private Beach Club in a picturesque bay and an extensive Aman Spa. The Spa offers eight treatment pavilions as well as hydrotherapy facilities, a gym, yoga pavilion, Pilates studio and finishing salon. Every one of the resort’s 38 suites offers its own heated swimming pool.
Those staying three or more nights from 5 April to 31 May 2014 will receive the following benefits:
• Complimentary upgrade (subject to availability at the time of check in)
• Daily breakfast
• One complimentary lunch (excluding beverages) during stay
• One 60-minute massage per person per stay
• One way ground transfers between Athens/Athens International Airport and Amanzoe at a special rate of €250+ per car based on two adults
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