This August, the Aman New York made its much-anticipated debut in Manhattan’s 26-story Crown Building, the tony Fifth Avenue landmark next to Billionaires’ Row that originally opened in 1921 with resplendent Beaux Arts architecture by Warren and Wetmore, the studio that helped create Grand Central Terminal.
Contributed by Alicia Sheber
Long-time Aman collaborator Denniston Architects, led by founder Jean-Michel Gathy, added masterful design layers to the iconic framework, resulting in the brand’s first urban outpost in the U.S. and second overall after Tokyo opened in 2016.
With nightly rates from US$3,200 to US$30,000 and 83 suites ranging from 815 to 2025 square feet, each with at least one working fireplace, the hotel is New York’s priciest stay. The US$1.45 billion transformation includes an urban Aman Branded Residences, 22 in total, as well as the exclusive Aman Club costing US$200,000 to join plus US$15,000 in annual dues, which gives “Aman junkie” members booking priority and use of private club spaces. In New York, these include two lounges, a garden terrace, a cigar lounge and a wine room. Forthcoming Miami Beach and Beverly Hills properties, opening in 2024 and 2026 respectively, will feature Aman Clubs, and in time, some resort destinations will too, depending upon location and guest demand.
Like all Aman properties, the New York destination is imbued with Asian-inspired serenity that interprets the Sanskrit word “Aman,” or “peace.” Malaysia-based Denniston sensitively wove this style with restored Beaux Arts features throughout the hotel, including the Jazz Club; the three-story Aman Spa with its 65-foot-long pool; and five F&B venues, including the 14th-floor wraparound Garden Terrace, Washoku Japanese restaurant Nama, and Italian restaurant Arva. Arva aims to source 75% of ingredients locally through initiatives such as Bronx Fish Market, Grow NYC and Our Harvest, which represents more than 750 farmers and 100 farmers’ markets in the city.
“One of the largest investments was the retractable roof on the covered Garden Terrace,” said Vladislav Doronin, owner, chairman and CEO of Aman Group. “We commissioned a German company to make this so guests can benefit from our 7,000-square-foot outdoor oasis year-round.”
Another example of Aman’s prioritization of the guest experience is the voluminous double-height lobby lounge providing an airy, tranquil sanctuary at the heart of the hotel. “We could have put in several Aman Residences to the value of around US$60 million,” said Doronin, “but we decided to make a design-driven decision rather than a commercial one. The existing structure dictated a lot of the layout, and what was feasible to change, which was challenging. But together with Jean-Michel, we managed to achieve a good layout.”
Doronin and Gathy’s synergy stems from extensive experience working together. “The way we work is very collaborative,” Doronin says. “Jean-Michel and I have strong opinions about the masterplan, layout and interior design. We have passionate discussions which means we continue to push each other to deliver unique architecture, design and the essence of the Aman experience in every project.”