Not ones to rest on their laurels, Aman opened Amanemu in spring 2016 following the resounding success of Aman Tokyo. 'Nemu' translates as joy in Japanese and this marriage of Aman's renowned spa retreat aesthetics with traditional Japanese 'Ryokan' features is truly a delight to behold. Located in the south of Ise prefecture, this sleek resort epitomises rural bliss: a luxurious retreat set upon a scenic coastline, surrounded by picturesque rolling hills of an ancient woodland, far away from the stresses and strains of urban life.
Local materials and designs are seamlessly interwoven with minimalist luxury throughout the property. Brought to life by Kerry Hill architects’ vision, the aesthetic breathes fresh air into traditional Japanese wooden engineering. Every single room and suite is fitted with authentic sliding screen doors that open to reveal floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, which perfectly capture this killer combination of old and new.
Nutrient-rich hot springs feed the private baths in each of the 24 suites and villas, and in keeping with Japanese tradition there are also outdoor communal hot spring baths. These onsen lie scattered throughout the natural surroundings of the resort in various comfortable temperatures, overlooking the calm sea of Ago Bay. An impressive infinity pool provides more sea views, as do the well-appointed spa rooms, which arguably offer the most serene places in which to unwind, if one indulges in the treatments. If a massage using local cedar leaf and tangerine oil does not entice you, more active wellness activities can easily be arranged. Guests have access to a well-equipped gym and yoga studio with wonderful forest views. For the more adventurous, a golf resort is a short walk away, and Amanemu offers fishing trips with an expert angler, as well as cycling tours exploring the surrounding countryside.
As night falls, the outdoor sunken terraces are our first choice for relaxing in the evening as one can rest in front of the flickering fire to appreciate the phenomenal stargazing here, with a cocktail in hand.
Amanemu’s idyllic rural location is less than an hour off the bullet train track, making it an ideal place to stop off and unwind midway between the great cities of Tokyo and Kyoto. It is also an area of cultural and culinary legend, with hallowed Ise-Jingu shrine nearby and the ancient pilgrimage trails of the Kumano Kodo to the west. To the east lies Matsusaka which used to be the breadbasket of the Imperial Court and is still renowned throughout Japan for its beef. The area is also known for its pearl fisheries, and the suite terraces overlook the fishing bay with boats bobbing peacefully in view.
While Aman Tokyo is the superlative spa experience in the big city, Amanemu is set to become Japan's foremost modern rural retreat. If you would welcome a zen retreat in which to switch off and be fully immersed in the tranquil Japanese countryside without omitting the cutting-edge luxurious amenities and service that Aman delivers to the ninth degree, Amanemu will certainly not disappoint.
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- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
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- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India