Pleasure / September 2015

Palace of Peace: Aman Canal Grande, Venice

Aman Canal Grande Venice, the sybaritic hotel group’s first venture into the urban fray, has taken precisely nothing from its longstanding promise to deliver unadulterated tranquillity to its blessed guests.

'Words are not mere vocal labels... superimposed upon an already given order of things.' - Ferdinand de Saussure

Aman, Aman, Aman. It is a mystical chant for the devoted, a rallying cry for the tribe of the initiated. These two syllables (meaning 'place of peace') have transcended their origin to become the singular evocation of a dream, the sonic expression of emotion and the semiotic representation of a life lived without compromise - in peace and everlasting beauty.

In contemporary culture, the Aman Resorts have attained a sort of mythological status, offering the perfect balance between extraordinary service, discreet luxury, ecological consciousness and the sense of ascending into a parallel universe where everyone is like-minded in their attitude towards taste and beauty. Lounge by the pool and you'll immediately fall into effortless conversation with a legendary watchmaker, supermodel, film star or business titan, all of whom have cast away their external armour and are interacting instead with the pure, unbridled, naive joy of belonging to the Aman world. The Aman today provides a sense of belonging to the world's global elite. In many ways, it acts as the ultimate discreet private club.

An amusing demonstration of Aman Resorts's extraordinary brand equity was recounted to me recently by a friend (a Singaporean business legend and partner to Adrian Zecha, whose anonymity I feel obliged to protect). He was transiting through Paris one day when he received a call from Pierangelo Bottinelli, the legendary Swiss financier whose family is also the single largest shareholder of the venerable Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet.

'He told me that I absolutely had to accompany him to this evening at some historic Swiss castle,' my friend explained. 'He insisted that it was the ultimate networking opportunity and that the absolute who's who of the European social/financial community would be there. To be honest, I was tired and I didn't want to go, but saying no to Pierangelo is all but impossible. Even worse, the event was black tie, so I had the arduous task of having to go and buy everything that afternoon - evening suit, cummerbund, patent shoes... Finally, I go to meet him and we drive up to this castle.

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Wei Koh

The Rake's Founder & Editorial Director.