By John O’Ceallaigh
Aman Resorts is going into cruising. Launching in 2025, the hotel group’s Project Sama will be a 183-metre (600ft) vessel comprising 50 suites, though given the brand’s expense and the cost of its properties, passengers can expect much of what they encounter on board to have been inspired by the superyacht experience rather than conventional cruising.
Helping with that will be SINOT Yacht Architecture & Design, a yacht-design firm that has been enlisted to elevate the experience on board. Their brief is to ensure Aman’s Eastern heritage and design philosophy is conveyed in a “timeless yet contemporary vessel, which has a harmonious balance between exterior and interior spaces.”
In practice that means the ship will have unexpected features such as a Japanese garden, alongside a cavernous Aman Spa. Those amenities will be coupled with various restaurants, a club lounge, a beach club and two helipads. Project Sama’s itineraries and pricing haven’t yet been confirmed, but the development is a joint venture between Aman and Cruise Saudi, of which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is a shareholder, and it’s a certainty that that country will feature on some routes.
That’s about as much as Aman is sharing on the venture currently, but the news comes at a very busy time for the company. The long-awaited, Jean-Michel Gathy-designed Aman New York should finally open in mid-2022, while plans are also in place to open Aman Miami and Aman Nai Lert Bangkok. More remote resorts will open soon in Saudi Arabia, while recently created Aman offshoot brand Janu will open properties in Montenegro and Tokyo between now and 2023.
Aman also already offers standalone exclusive-use charters in Indonesia aboard the custom-built, two-masted Phinisi sailing and diving vessel Amandira, which holds five cabins and is staffed by a crew of 14. It typically sails the Flores Sea, taking in UNESCO-protected Komodo National Park and the coral reefs of Raja Ampat. More details about Project Sama are expected to emerge in time, including a potential new name. ‘Sama’ means tranquillity in Sanskrit; I’ve been told Aman had also considered calling this new launch Project Samudra, with ‘Samudra’ meaning ocean in Sanskrit, so perhaps that’s a name we’ll see utilised in the future.
For more on what’s in store, see aman.com.
LUTE is a luxury-travel consultant and content agency that works with hotel groups, tour operators, tourist boards, airlines and more. You can learn more about LUTE here. For frequent luxury-travel updates, follow LUTE and LUTE founder John O’Ceallaigh on Instagram.