As the festive season approaches, Aman properties prepare to begin their celebrations. From the snowy mountain wilderness of Wyoming to the sun-blanched shores of Thailand, every Aman destination will celebrate in its own distinctive way, interweaving the cultural identity of its location with timeless international festive traditions.
This festive season guests of Aman can look forward to a calendar of events commencing in December, carefully designed with an assortment of gourmet experiences devised by Aman chefs, one-off masterclasses, craft workshops, exclusive music and dance performances, and fun-packed activities for families.
New Year’s Eve signals the end of Aman’s 30th anniversary, with many destinations honoring this milestone occasion with once-in-a-lifetime events and celebrations, ranging from dining and dancing in a 10th-Century Khmer temple in Cambodia, to a Caribbean evening of sensory spectacle and entertainment courtesy of a surprise, iconic music artist.
Poolside Loungers at Amanbagh (Picture Credit: Aman Resorts)
The climate of Rajasthan in December presents a dry and delightfully balmy time of year at Amanbagh, where guests will begin their festive celebrations with a candlelit dinner on 24th December 2018 accompanied by Rajasthani musicians.
Reindeer are few and far between in the Aravelli Hills, so Babu the camel will step into Rudolph’s reins on the 25th December 2018, carrying Santa Claus around Amanbagh’s magnificent gardens. On 26th and 31st December 2018, the local bangle maker will shift his workshop to the garden to teach guests how to mould colourful accessories from lac – a natural material secreted by the tiny red insects that suck resin from trees. A rangoli art session on 28thDecember 2018 explores the ancient tradition of creating intricate patterns on the thresholds of Indian homes; and the practice of henna body art takes centre stage on 30th December 2018.
The end of the year will be celebrated with a traditional Indian fair on 31st December 2018; a seven-course dinner enhanced by fortune tellers, fire dancers and Qawaali singers. 2019 begins with ‘the sport of kings’ – a camel polo match. In this exceptional adaptation to the age-old game, the camel, the ‘ship of the desert’ replaces the graceful horse.
In Central Java a series of festive celebrations will take place throughout December, with highlights including daily talks from Amanjiwo’s anthropologist Patrick Vanhoebrouck. A passionate expert on Javanese culture, Patrick will deliver fascinating talks on the history and significance of Borobudur and the ancient kingdoms of Java, as well as leading guest tours on request.
For children, Amanjiwo will host a series of traditional craft workshops over the festive period, including leaf weaving, mask painting, pottery and gingerbread house decorating, while guests of all ages are invited to try their hands at batik painting, Javanese cookery, and pot making with the master potters of the neighbouring Majaksingi Village.
24th December 2018 at Amanjiwo will be celebrated with a Kwali Feast served in traditional clay pots, celebrating the very best of Javanese flavours. The feast will be accompanied by a hypnotic Jatihlan dance performed by a local troupe, with horses made from woven bamboo and elaborately decorated. On 25th December 2018, Makan Malam (festive dinner) will be served in the grand dining room, with a choice of traditional Javanese and turkey options, while dancers and musicians perform excerpts from the 11th-century epic poem, the Ramayana. On 31st December 2018, Amanjiwo’s New Year’s Eve celebrations begin with sunset cocktails overlooking Borobudur and end in the early hours with champagne, live jazz and the release of wish-bearing lanterns into the sky. On New Year’s Day, a sunrise or sunset tour of Borobodur to mark the first day of the year can be arranged. A barbeque brunch with a range of local dishes, cold beers and coconuts will be served by the Pool Club.
AMAN VENICE, Italy
Venice is especially alluring in the winter months and festive season in La Serenissima is magical, with gondolas shrouded in mist and uncrowded piazzas. Throughout December, guests of Aman Venice can expect a special advent afternoon tea served daily in the Piano Nobile. Marking the feast of San Nicola on 6th December 2018, guests will be invited to leave a shoe outside their door in the hope the saint will leave a gift.
On 24th December 2018, afternoon tea will be accompanied by a piano performance featuring an instrument once used by Chopin, and guests are invited to attend midnight mass in either the spectacular Frari or the Basilica San Marco, with hot chocolate and panettone awaiting their return. On 25thDecember 2018 guests can choose to feast at lunch or dinner and enjoy a leisurely afternoon playing board games or watching films in the palazzo’s renowned Tiepolo Salon, which will be transformed into a screening room. On 26th December 2018, guests of Aman Venice are invited to wrap up warm and set out on the ‘Big Christmas Walk’ across bridges and backstreets to the tranquil island of Saint’Elena, returning via the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, home to some of the world’s most important works of modern art.
New Year celebrations commence with an aperitivo, followed by an exquisite dinner on 31st December 2018, after which guests may take the hotel’s boat to watch the fireworks light up the sky over the Salute, before returning to enjoy an Italian new-year tradition, ‘zampone e lenticchie’.
Seven thousand feet above sea level, the snow-crested wilderness of Wyoming is one of the most wildly beautiful landscapes in which to celebrate the festive season. Amangani sustains a celebratory atmosphere daily from 21st December 2018, with tastings in the resort’s Zinc Bar every afternoon and live acoustic music played by local musicians in the Lounge in the evenings.
On 23rd December 2018, guests are invited to the Library to join the Amangani team as they decorate the Christmas tree, fueled by homemade seasonal cookies baked by the resort’s pastry chef. 24th December 2018 begins with an exclusive opportunity to accompany the General Manager on a morning ski run at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, while the afternoon brings a visit from Santa Claus, followed by a sumptuous traditional dinner in the evening. The annual torchlight parade on the 31st December 2018 from the Amangani Ski Lounge marks the beginning of the New Year’s Eve celebrations, which include a special dinner with a trio of strings, DJ and balloon drop.
Festive season at Amanemu is a gastronomic affair. From 22nd December 2018, Executive Chef Masanobu Inaba will serve a special dinner, featuring Wagyu beef, roast chicken and a delicious cook-at-the-table Shabu-Shabu hotpot made with Japanese crab. On 31st December 2018, New Year’s Eve celebrations will commence with an insightful talk from local guide Mr Lijma regarding the history of Ise Grande Shrine, one of the most sacred shrines in Japan located close to Amanemu. In Japan, soba noodles are a New-Year tradition – their long, thin shape is associated with the longevity of life. On the evening of 31stDecember 2018, Amanemu guests will tuck into a bowl of noodles just before midnight in the Bar Lounge before the champagne begins to flow and the celebrations commence.
2019 begins with sweet sake at sunrise, as guests join the Amanemu family to toast to health and happiness for the year ahead. Other Japanese New Year traditions include: mochitsuki (pounding rice to make sweet cakes, known as mochi) which will be marked with a live demonstration and tasting in the afternoon; and osechi (wooden boxes of auspicious or symbolic foods) which will be prepared by Chef Inaba and served throughout the day.
The end of 2018 will mark Amanpuri’s 30th festive season, and to commemorate its anniversary year, the resort’s celebratory agenda is more extravagant than ever, with a series of special events and celebrations planned from 11th December 2018 to 7th January 2019.
Tuesdays and Saturdays bring evening beach barbeques, with freshly shucked oysters and Pata Negra with Phuket lobsters, Bang Tao grouper and dry-aged prime beef. From 21st December 2018, Italian restaurant Arva presents a daily lunchtime feast of pastas, salads, grilled fish and meats, and live-made risottos at the Beach Club. Guests can head to the Latin American Lounge for fiery Mexican street food, tequila cocktails and magaritas on Jalisco Night (21st and 26th December 2018 and 2nd January 2019); join Nama Executive Chef Keiji Matoba for an ocean-fresh evening of sashimi, sushi, Matsusaka beef, sweet lobster and miso-marinated black cod at the Robata Grill Soirée (28th December 2018 and 4th January 2019); and settle down poolside for dinner alfresco at Arva (23rd December 2018, 1st and 6th January 2019), tucking into cicchetti, beef carpaccio, house-made pastas and more.
20th December 2018 is Capri Jazz Night at the Pool Terrace, as a live band will provide the soundtrack to a Mediterranean-inspired evening of wood-fired pizzas, fresh Phuket seafood and fresh Italian winter truffles. 24th December 2018 sees the return of Amanpuri’s White Starlight Dinner on the beach – a choir-accompanied global gastronomic extravaganza where everything from the dress code, is white. On 25th December 2018, be ready to welcome Santa Claus from 10am at the Amanpuri eco beach center followed by the lunch at the Pool Terrace unwind to the notes of a Bossa Nova band; The culinary focus shifts to North Africa on the 27th December 2018 for Casablanca – an evening inspired by the colors, sounds and spices of Morocco. Thailand steps back into the spotlight on 30th December 2018 with a celebration of Thai street food, paying homage to Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Market.
On New Year’s Eve, Amanpuri sees out its birthday year with a spectacular gala dinner and a sumptuous buffet with truffle, lobster and caviar. The entertainment and the cabaret show will be hosted by the renowned “Heart” from Ibiza. Midnight fireworks on the iconic Amanpuri stairs, and a Pool terrace after party, with DJ Ali Kuru and others resident Ibiza DJs keeping the beats until sunrise. Venetian flavors on 3rd January 2019, when Aman Venice’s Executive Chef Dario Ossola will temporarily transform the Beach Club into the Rialto Market. On 7th January 2019, Christmas on the Russian Orthodox calendar, Amanpuri celebrates with a Russian-inflected evening of frozen vodka, stroganoff, salmon and sturgeon under the stars.
Located within 29,000 hectares of Nui Chua National Park, Amanoi ensures a memorable stay within the beauty of the surrounding untouched wilderness this festive season. On 25th December 2018, festivities include gingerbread man decorating, a visit from Santa and a festive recital in the Central Pavilion, performed by local children. A set menu dinner featuring local lobster, turkey and homemade mince pies will be served accompanied by a duo of Vietnamese guitarists.
On 28th December 2018 after an early-morning group trek to take in the spectacular bay views from the summit of Goga peak, guests will have their own chance to recreate the nation’s flavours with a spring roll cooking class led by Chef Duong or Sugar Lee. In the evening, the Amanoi sommeliers will welcome guests to the bar to embark on a delicious journey tasting an array of New World wines accompanied by tapas and canapés. New Year’s Eve begins with a cocktail and canapé reception, leading into a six-course tasting dinner, interspersed with a Carnival Show performance including live jazz, contemporary fan and hat dancers and a lion dance drumming troupe, with a DJ keeping the celebrations going into the early hours. On New Year’s Day, Amanoi’s guests will be invited to join the local Cham people for a sacred blessing in the Central Pavilion to secure their health, happiness and fortune in the year ahead.
Guests of Amansara can experience the magic of Khmer celebrations this festive season. Located on the fringes of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hotel’s signature experiences, including exclusive temple visits, monk-led meditation walks through the forest and scenic cruises to floating and stilted villages on Tonlé Sap Lake are especially memorable during the festive period. The particular highlights of the season take place on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
On New Year’s Eve, in the beautiful and intimate 10th-century Angkor temple of Prasat Kravan, guests are treated to an immersive culinary and cultural spectacle, with a Cambodian feast accompanied by a showcase of Khmer performing arts, including performances by Phare Circus acrobats and the Sacred Dancers of Angkor, bringing to life the stone apsaras on the temple’s walls. On 1st January 2019, Amansara welcomes the new year with a celebratory garden lunch party.
AMANYARA, Turks & Caicos
Over the festive period, children can take part in daily classes and activities including gingerbread house and cookie decoration, mocktail making, scavenger and candy cane hunts, tie-dye sessions and fashion shows. Meanwhile, adults can look forward to fitness-enhancing yoga, Pilates and core training on the beach; naturalist-led snorkeling trips around the coral reef; fun ‘Taste & Tell’ (blindfolded tasting) and ‘Sip & Paint’ events; a MasterChef cookery challenge; film screenings; and themed ‘Taste of Aman’ cocktail receptions – as well as an Amanyara festive tradition: the annual staff vs guests Olympics on 29thDecember 2018.
Guests can also expect to encounter a number of special guests during their stay this season, including Santa Claus, who will be arriving in time for brunch at the Beach Club on 25th December 2018, and a performance from a surprise, iconic music artist, who will headline Amanyara’s celebrations on New Year’s Eve, supported by international DJ Maggy Smiss, spinning the sounds into the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Located in east Bali, overlooking the Lombok Strait, Amankila invites its guests to enjoy the wonders and delights of the Karangasem Regency this festive season, including a series of cultural performances and special dinners culminating in an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration.
On 25th December 2018, all children staying at Amankila will be invited down to the beach to see Santa arrive by boat. They will spend the morning together playing a selection of fun activities and enjoying a picnic on Amankila’s beach. In the evening there will be a Cekpung performance by the main pool. This Balinese version of The Princess and the Frog, tells a story of a prince form the Kingdom of Jenggala and will be performed by the Manggis village cultural group. An optional, set-menu festive dinner including spiced pumpkin soup, roast duck and Christmas pudding will be served in the evening.
On New Year’s Eve, there will be a Kecak dance performance. This iconic Balinese dance incorporates a troupe of forty men and depicts a battle from the Ramayana scriptures, where the monkey-like Vanara joins Prince Rama in fighting the evil King Ravana. The performance will be followed by an eight course French Brassiere-style Degustation menu paired with French wines. After dinner, the festivities continue with a poolside fire show accompanied by musicians playing traditional instruments. As midnight approaches, bamboo Marimba artists will play on the build up to a firework display as the clock strikes midnight. After midnight, the party will continue in the bar.
This article is published on behalf of Aman Resorts. For more information about the Aman resorts and their bespoke experiences, please visit www.aman.com/destinations.