Amanemu opens in Shima, Japan
Amanemu, Aman Resorts’ second property in Japan, has opened. The hotel, which sits within the relaxed, peaceful and contemplative Ise Shima National Park, embraces the national welcoming spirit ‘omotenashi’ blending warmth and respect, the Japanese way of hospitality and customer service.
Designed by Kerry Hill Architects, the architecture of the resort is based on a contemporary interpretation of Japanese Minka buildings, which incorporate traditional low-slung tiled roofs and dark-stained Japanese cedar exterior walls, reflective of the simple nature-influenced design of ryokans, Japan’s traditional bathing retreats. The resort’s winding driveway, leading to the welcome pavilion, curves up a small hill lined with maple and cherry trees, setting the scene for the rest of the property, rich in greenery and Japanese foliage.
The warm interior spaces offer elegant simplicity and have been carefully crafted in light shades of Japanese timber. Each stand-alone suite encompasses floor-to-ceiling windows with woven textile and timber sliding shutters, stretching from one end of the suite to the other, allowing for unobstructed views of the national park surrounding the resort. Custom-made furniture ensures a harmony between architecture and design, and incorporates white oak coffee tables, sofas and armchairs with neutral fabric tones.
Bathrooms follow the design of traditional Japanese baths, with charcoal-coloured basalt stone tiles, which draw the eye across the room to the private onsen with floor-to-ceiling windows and the vista out onto the private gardens. Again, in keeping with Japanese interior design, accessories are kept to a minimum so as not to distract from the view and the experience of taking a traditional Japanese bath, a unique cultural ritual.
Sunken terraces constructed with basalt stone, located between the restaurant and bar, are the ideal spot for an aperitif and feature glass covered fireplaces, whilst a 33-metre freshwater infinity pool close by provides stunning views over Ago Bay, dotted with pearl rafts floating on the calm sea.
The resort is accented with traditional Japanese art, namely intricate Kumiko artwork developed in Japan in the Asuka Era (600-700 AD) and passed down through generations of craftsmen. It is created using a delicate technique of assembling small wooden segments together using a chisel to form a larger piece without the use of nails or glue. In addition, the spa and two-bedroom villas feature unique pieces of artwork by Japanese Kimono and Obi artisan, Genbei Yamaguchi, who hails from a family at the helm of obi making for over 270 years in Kyoto. Genbei’s intricately designed obi, the broad sash worn around the waist of a kimono, decorate the walls as an ode to an age-old Japanese tradition of displaying treasured family heirlooms.
The restaurant, with its vaulted and coffered ceiling, gives a sense of space and draws on the authentic Japanese ‘izakaya’ style of informal sharing.