- As weeks of coronavirus lockdowns start to ease, travellers are looking ahead to future vacations.
- Aman Resorts COO Roland Fasel spoke to Business Insider about how the coronavirus will change the experience of staying at one of the luxury wellness retreat’s properties.
- At some of its resorts, Aman will “skip a key,” or only make every other room available for reservation, to maintain social distancing.
- Spa attendants will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, as well as gloves if guests request it.
- Aman is also expanding in-room spa services, private dining, and nature experiences.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Luxury wellness resort chain Aman Resorts has developed a cult following of “Aman junkies,” or repeat guests who don’t hesitate to shell out thousands of dollars per night to stay in Aman’s luxe suites or villas.
The global chain has more than 30 luxury wellness resorts in places like Japan, Morocco, Bhutan, Turkey, China, and Indonesia. It’s also known for hosting celebrities: Bill Gates, David Bowie, Mark Zuckerberg, Princess Diana, and the Kardashians have all reportedly stayed at Aman resorts. And a night at an Aman property doesn’t come cheap. At Amangiri in Utah, for example, the cheapest room available in July or August 2020 is a suite for $US3,562 a night.
But as states and countries are beginning to reopen, Aman is facing the same challenge that hotels, motels, and resorts around the world are up against: The task of assuring guests that it’s safe to stay at their properties in the midst of a pandemic.
Hotels across the world have announced heightened cleaning procedures and safety protocols like requiring staff to wear masks and gloves. Many major hotel brands, including Marriott – the world’s biggest hotel company – Best Western, Hilton, and Hyatt Hotels, have pledged to abide by the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s (AHLA) new Safe Stay guidelines for everything from contactless check-in to new cleaning standards.
Aman Resorts has developed its own COVID-19 protocols in partnership with Diversey, a provider of hygiene and cleaning technologies. Business Insider spoke to Aman’s chief operating officer, Roland Fasel, about what guests can expect next time they stay at an Aman property.
1. ‘Skipping a key’ to maintain social distancing
At some of its resorts that are reopening, including Amangiri in Utah, Aman will “skip a key”: They will only make every other room available for reservation, essentially limiting them to 50% occupancy, COO Roland Fasel told Business Insider.
The majority of Aman’s properties, however, are designed with standalone pavilions and villas, which make skipping a key unnecessary, Fasel said.
“Those that do have rooms closer together such as Amangiri or Amangalla and Aman Venice, which are both in historic buildings, we will be skipping a key,” Fasel said.
2. The new Aman spa: DIY in-room facials and attendants in PPE
The Aman brand is practically synonymous with wellness: Its resorts are known for their extensive spa facilities and immersive wellness retreats. But these offerings will look a bit different amid the pandemic.
All Aman spa therapists will wear masks, as well as gloves if the guest requests them, Fasel told Business Insider. Therapists will change their PPE between each treatment and treatment rooms will have a minimum 30-minute turnover time to ensure proper cleaning and sanitization.
Aman recommends that guests wear masks during treatments as well, and only one person is allowed at a time inside shared enclosed spaces like steam rooms and saunas.
On top of the new spa protocols, Aman has expanded its in-room spa services so that guests can get treatments in the privacy of their own rooms.
Guests staying in a villa or pavilion with a private pool can order water therapy such as watsu, as well as personal training and movement sessions.
Then there’s Aman’s new “in-room spa rituals” with the brand’s own skincare range that guests can do themselves, Aman’s director of spa, Yuki Kiyono, told Business Insider. Products will be displayed with an accompanying card that details how to apply each step.
“An example of this is the Korugi Facial, a five-minute ritual which comes with a detailed illustration,” Kiyono said.
3. A renewed focus on private dining, villas, and nature
Those who venture out to travel during the pandemic will increasingly want experiences around private dining, villas, and nature, Fasel told Business Insider.
“We feel privileged that our serene sanctuaries offer this,” he said.
At Amanyangyun in Shanghai, for example, guests are already enjoying private dining in the gardens, Fasel said. And at Amanoi in Vietnam, a new “Fitness in Nature” retreat is proving particularly popular.
Aman is boosting nature experiences for its guests in light of the pandemic, such as offering a new foraging trek combined with a kitchen garden tour and outdoor cooking class at its Amankila resort in Bali.
Travellers seeking wellness amenities will want those now more than ever, driving them to seek out places where they can improve their mental and physical well-being through spa and medical treatments, according to Fasel.
“There will be a rise in wellness travel with people realising, during this pandemic, how important and valuable good health is,” he said.
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