Aman Hotels Luxury Yacht Coming In 2026

Aman Hotels Luxury Yacht Coming In 2026

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Luxury hotel groups starting their own cruise lines seem to be all the rage nowadays. With Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection having recently launched, and Four Seasons Yachts having recently been announced, Aman also wants in on the action…

Aman Group & Cruise Saudi building 600-foot yacht

Italy’s T. Mariotti shipyard has signed a contract to build a new luxury cruise ship, which is being promoted as the “first resort at sea” (though that’s… questionable). The cruise ship will be built for Neptune Co., which is a joint venture between luxury hotel group Aman and Cruise Saudi.

For now this is being referred to as Project Sama, though the name of the first ship will only be announced closer to the first sailing, anticipated in 2026. Aman’s cruise ship will be approximately 600 feet long, and 23,000 gross tons. It will feature 50 suites, each of which will have a balcony.

The ship is expected to have two helipads, a beach club, several dining options, a spa with a Japanese garden, and more.

For those not familiar, Cruise Saudi is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and is intended to promote the cruise and tourism industry in Saudi Arabia. The country is targeting having five cruise ports in the country, and welcoming a million cruise passengers by 2028.

There aren’t yet details about what kind of itineraries this ship will sail, though one has to wonder if this might be pretty Saudi Arabia-centric, given the ownership structure. I imagine that would limit the interest of many.

Rendering of Aman’s 600-foot luxury yacht

Aman has no appeal to me anymore

Back in the day, Aman was the most innovative luxury hotel group in the world. Aman opened properties where other brands would never even consider, often in the middle of nowhere. The brand was about offering incredibly luxurious experiences in areas that were otherwise untouched.

In 2014, Aman founder Adrian Zecha (who is a legend in the hospitality space) sold the brand, and ever since it has been going downhill, at least in terms of its direction. Most of the original properties are still open, but the new hotels that have been in the pipeline haven’t been inspired by passion to build a special experience, but rather have just been centered around trying to monetize the brand and turn it into a real estate play to sell residences to billionaires in already hot markets.

So while Aman used to open properties in places off the beaten path, Aman’s recently opened hotels and properties in the pipeline are in Bangkok, Los Cabos, Miami, New York, and Beverly Hills. Let me remind you of how Aman has long marketed itself:

‘Aman’ meaning ‘peace’ in Sanskrit, has for thirty years. provided guests with the opportunity to escape the frenetic pace of life and to retreat into a balanced, calmer, and more measured way of being.

Yes, nothing quite says escaping the frenetic pace of life like a property in Midtown Manhattan…

I suppose you can’t blame Aman’s current owner for wanting to maximize his return on investment, as I’m sure there are many people willing to pay for these residences and experiences. But it also makes me sad that a brand that was once so deeply rooted in creating special experiences is now simply targeting every market that already has way too many hotels.

While Aman used to be my favorite hotel group, personally it’s not a brand that interests me anymore:

  • I’ve stayed at many of the good “original” properties, and frankly my last few Aman stays haven’t been very good
  • I’ve had some unpleasant interactions with people trying to protect the CEO’s reputation, which I don’t want to get into too much, given the number of (questionable to me) defamation lawsuits that the CEO has filed
  • Aman used to be a brand frequented by people who enjoyed these unique hotel experiences, while nowadays it seems to be attracting a different crowd
  • Many of the great on-property managers have left the brand and moved on to greener pastures

While this is by no means an academic, peer-reviewed story, Curbed had an interesting story a while back about Aman New York and Aman’s founder, which is worth a read.

Amankila Bali

Bottom line

Aman will be getting into the luxury cruise space in 2026, with the launch of a 600-foot yacht. Given that this is a joint venture with Cruise Saudi (intended to promote cruising in Saudi Arabia), I’m curious to see what kind of itineraries this ship has. Regardless, you won’t find me on one of these cruises…

What do you make of Aman getting into the luxury cruise industry?

Conversations (19)
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  1. iamhere Guest

    It depends I think if it is really part of the hotel group or not. If it is not then the company is selling the use of their name and brand.

  2. JetSetFly Guest

    @ben, since you stated you have stayed at 15+ Amans, can you list them and rank them and why? Also if you don’t mind, can you list the year you visited them? As I think it would be helpful to some of the readers here determine which Aman they want to visit or not to visit in the future.

    I’m guessing you probably got a threatening letter from his attorney for less than raving...

    @ben, since you stated you have stayed at 15+ Amans, can you list them and rank them and why? Also if you don’t mind, can you list the year you visited them? As I think it would be helpful to some of the readers here determine which Aman they want to visit or not to visit in the future.

    I’m guessing you probably got a threatening letter from his attorney for less than raving review(s) recently? It would certainly turn off plenty of people if they got those kind of letter unless they have more money than him. Thank god there is Reddit as well as TripAdvisor to counter his attorneys.

  3. Lou Guest

    How does Amankila and Amandari rank for you out of your 15+ Aman stays?

  4. Thomas MacKenzie Guest

    I Loved the Mystery of the Original Amandari ..... I guess all Great Secrets have to be ruined.
    AZ is a Genius.......it's impossible to duplicate his talent and passion.

  5. Miguel Marengo Guest

    Completely agree, aman is not what is used to be

  6. Grey Diamond

    It is quite interesting that you take such a strong stance against a hotel brand becoming more commercialised, when you go out of your way to stay almost exclusively at the most commercialised chain hotels no matter where in the world you are. No matter where you go, you tend to eschew the local hotel options, no matter how pleasant, and tend to stay in extremely commercial American chains.

    You have made a living...

    It is quite interesting that you take such a strong stance against a hotel brand becoming more commercialised, when you go out of your way to stay almost exclusively at the most commercialised chain hotels no matter where in the world you are. No matter where you go, you tend to eschew the local hotel options, no matter how pleasant, and tend to stay in extremely commercial American chains.

    You have made a living off of recommending these places and brands at the expense of the alternatives. And now the alternatives are becoming more commercialised and you are taking such a strong moral stance. Just seems a bit curious I suppose...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Grey -- Totally fair feedback, and frankly I didn't express myself well. There are some interactions I've had that have left a very bad taste in my mouth. I've updated the story somewhat to reflect that, but I'll just say that I have my reasons that the brand doesn't interest me anymore.

      The commercialization of the brand would make me less interested in the brand than in the past, but it's not the reason I'm completely over Aman.

  7. pstm91 Diamond

    Ben, I have been reading for a long time and will continue to do so (especially as long as you keep up the trip reports, like you're upcoming Aeroplan review). With that said, I find there is a ton of irony, hypocrisy, and contradictions in this blog from your past blogs.
    First off, why bash this project when at the same time you claim to be so excited about the FS yacht and the...

    Ben, I have been reading for a long time and will continue to do so (especially as long as you keep up the trip reports, like you're upcoming Aeroplan review). With that said, I find there is a ton of irony, hypocrisy, and contradictions in this blog from your past blogs.
    First off, why bash this project when at the same time you claim to be so excited about the FS yacht and the RC yacht? (even if RC is only because of the insane delays...) With only 50 cabins, it's still quite exclusive and will likely offer an amazing experience. This is coming from someone who would have to be paid to take a cruise...
    Secondly, while I can agree with not liking the new additions and thinking they do stray from the initial business model, just about all of the old properties are still there and are still excellent. The only people who would find them not excellent are "Aman junkies" who can compare service between 10+ other properties.
    Third, you state not wanting to stay at Aman's anymore on principal. What principal is that? You have claimed in many other blogs that you are open to traveling all over the world, no matter a country's stance on XYZ (usually in regards to LGBTQ treatment, understandably). Why has this suddenly changed, and why is Aman singled out vs. any other brand, airline, etc. owned by people you do not agree with?
    Fourth: As I said, I have been reading for a long time. Other than Aman Tokyo, I don't ever you staying at any other Aman in Asia. I highly recommend staying at a few in the region, and I can almost guarantee your perception will change. Amanpuri isn't the greatest Aman, and I don't love Phuket, but having a stay at the original property is certainly a very cool experience.
    This was a very long way to say I think you're being a bit unfair and overly critical of Aman. It's funny, because when I travel I tend to venture out and don't particularly care where I stay. However, there's no denying they are an incredible brand and have an attention to service and detail that is essentially unrivaled. It's fair to not like they are opening city properties, but this blog was a bit outlandish in its claims.

    1. pstm91 Diamond

      I also wanted to add that the Curbed story is interesting, but you certainly need to take it with a grain of salt. Curbed is owned by Vox, which 100% has an agenda. I wouldn't put too much weight into it. This article also falls into my 3rd point above. Why all of a sudden are you taking a stance here, but you'll fly Saudia, Royal Brunei, etc?

    2. Super Gold

      I happen to be a car nerd, and I liken this to when people got very mad that Porsche started making SUVs and cars other than the 911 and Boxster. They were so mad that Porsche dared "dilute" the brand and pander to the masses. After all, this is a company built around creating the best driving car possible, how can you do that with an SUV?! Meanwhile, while they were hooting and hollering, they...

      I happen to be a car nerd, and I liken this to when people got very mad that Porsche started making SUVs and cars other than the 911 and Boxster. They were so mad that Porsche dared "dilute" the brand and pander to the masses. After all, this is a company built around creating the best driving car possible, how can you do that with an SUV?! Meanwhile, while they were hooting and hollering, they conveniently missed that Porsche was now making record profits and able to fund incredible amounts of R&D into making the 911 the best it's ever been, adding additional variants that would never would have been financially possible before, and solidifying their future with the additional income.

      The takeaway from this is simple: there will always be purists who get upset about some invisible line they create in their mind that their favorite company crosses. They will make bold, dramatic statements online and yell everywhere that the company is ruined. Meanwhile, the people who enjoy the original product will continue to enjoy it, also knowing that company isn't going anywhere because it has supplemental sales growth elsewhere. So continue enjoying the Aman you know and love, and let Ben continue enjoying the things he loves. At the end of the day, neither of you are taking away from each other.

    3. pstm91 Diamond

      100% agree and perfect comparison. Only difference here is that Ben, again - while I love the blog - has stayed at like 3 or 4 Aman's. Hard to call that a purist. I suppose the headline "Aman Yacht" will get the clicks needed, though.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      @Super

      I actually feel that way with the Boxster.
      But yes, Boxster and their SUV saved the brand.

    5. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ pstm91 -- All fair feedback. First of all, I haven't stayed at three or four Amans. I've stayed at 15+. I think that qualifies me as an Amanjunkie. Second of all, I've updated the post with a bit more about why I take issue with Aman. I've had some very unpleasant interactions with the people trying to protect the CEO's reputation, which makes me just not want to stay at the brand anymore.

      I've...

      @ pstm91 -- All fair feedback. First of all, I haven't stayed at three or four Amans. I've stayed at 15+. I think that qualifies me as an Amanjunkie. Second of all, I've updated the post with a bit more about why I take issue with Aman. I've had some very unpleasant interactions with the people trying to protect the CEO's reputation, which makes me just not want to stay at the brand anymore.

      I've updated the post to reflect a couple of those points. All your points are fair, especially without that context. Hopefully you can trust that I have reasons beyond what I've written, though admittedly that's always challenging when writing a story like this.

    6. TravelinWilly Diamond

      “… I don't ever you staying at any other Aman in Asia.”

      Pretty sure Indonesia is in Asia.

      Same with Japan.

      Same with Thailand.

      Same with India.

      Same with the Philippines.

      You must be new here.

    7. pstm91 Diamond

      @Ben okay that is totally fair and I can understand that.

      @TravelinWilly I have been commenting here long enough that you should know that's not true. Before posting, I honestly couldn't think of/remember his Aman reviews other than Tokyo and Sveti Stefan. I even searched OMAAT quickly to see and only saw those + Anxiety, which is why I said that. I did search just now again and realized I missed Emu and Wella,...

      @Ben okay that is totally fair and I can understand that.

      @TravelinWilly I have been commenting here long enough that you should know that's not true. Before posting, I honestly couldn't think of/remember his Aman reviews other than Tokyo and Sveti Stefan. I even searched OMAAT quickly to see and only saw those + Anxiety, which is why I said that. I did search just now again and realized I missed Emu and Wella, but I still don't see others come up. @Ben - this is another plea to work on the search function for this site.

    8. pstm91 Diamond

      "saw those + Amanzoe*" - also please add an edit button!

  8. jfhscott Guest

    "I suppose you can’t blame Aman’s current owner for wanting to maximize his return on investment, as I’m sure there are many people willing to pay for these residences and experiences."

    But one day he will dilute the brand so severely that he kills the goose that lays the golden egg.

  9. Confusion2023! Guest

    I’m not quite sure why him distancing himself with Russia and not wanting to be labelled an Oligarch is an issue for you and reason to boycott the Aman brand

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Confusion2023! -- You read the Curbed story, and that's your only takeaway?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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pstm91 Diamond

Ben, I have been reading for a long time and will continue to do so (especially as long as you keep up the trip reports, like you're upcoming Aeroplan review). With that said, I find there is a ton of irony, hypocrisy, and contradictions in this blog from your past blogs. First off, why bash this project when at the same time you claim to be so excited about the FS yacht and the RC yacht? (even if RC is only because of the insane delays...) With only 50 cabins, it's still quite exclusive and will likely offer an amazing experience. This is coming from someone who would have to be paid to take a cruise... Secondly, while I can agree with not liking the new additions and thinking they do stray from the initial business model, just about all of the old properties are still there and are still excellent. The only people who would find them not excellent are "Aman junkies" who can compare service between 10+ other properties. Third, you state not wanting to stay at Aman's anymore on principal. What principal is that? You have claimed in many other blogs that you are open to traveling all over the world, no matter a country's stance on XYZ (usually in regards to LGBTQ treatment, understandably). Why has this suddenly changed, and why is Aman singled out vs. any other brand, airline, etc. owned by people you do not agree with? Fourth: As I said, I have been reading for a long time. Other than Aman Tokyo, I don't ever you staying at any other Aman in Asia. I highly recommend staying at a few in the region, and I can almost guarantee your perception will change. Amanpuri isn't the greatest Aman, and I don't love Phuket, but having a stay at the original property is certainly a very cool experience. This was a very long way to say I think you're being a bit unfair and overly critical of Aman. It's funny, because when I travel I tend to venture out and don't particularly care where I stay. However, there's no denying they are an incredible brand and have an attention to service and detail that is essentially unrivaled. It's fair to not like they are opening city properties, but this blog was a bit outlandish in its claims.

3
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ pstm91 -- All fair feedback. First of all, I haven't stayed at three or four Amans. I've stayed at 15+. I think that qualifies me as an Amanjunkie. Second of all, I've updated the post with a bit more about why I take issue with Aman. I've had some very unpleasant interactions with the people trying to protect the CEO's reputation, which makes me just not want to stay at the brand anymore. I've updated the post to reflect a couple of those points. All your points are fair, especially without that context. Hopefully you can trust that I have reasons beyond what I've written, though admittedly that's always challenging when writing a story like this.

2
jfhscott Guest

"I suppose you can’t blame Aman’s current owner for wanting to maximize his return on investment, as I’m sure there are many people willing to pay for these residences and experiences." But one day he will dilute the brand so severely that he kills the goose that lays the golden egg.

2
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