The latest edition of Fortune magazine has a brilliantly forensic examination of the chaos that has descended on Aman Resorts, a company that gets its name from the Sanskrit word for “peace”. The story describes how the tranquility that once reigned at Aman has been destroyed by a battle for control that has thrown founder Adrian Zecha and his original team into a snake pit of completing interests in which law suits, allegations of fraud and threats of intimidation have been thrown around like confetti.
At stake is the soul of a company that has never made much money, but which has won loyal fans who appreciate the extraordinary and unique atmosphere at places like Amanoi, Amansara, Amantaka, and a Aman Summer Palace. It’s probable that the battle will end with the company under the control of investors who will have less respect for the autonomy and idiosyncrasies that are currently enjoyed by general managers at the Aman resorts in Asia and Europe, where staff have been encouraged to make each destination feel like a private home. Like so much in the luxury lifestyle industry, when creativity and avarice meet head on it’s usually greed that walks away triumphant, while artistry is left to lick its wounds and battle on with its confidence in ruins.