Amanemu, Japan

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    Amanemu is a modern-day interpretation of the ryokan, tastefully manifesting the philosophy of space and quietude that’s synonymous with the Aman group of hotels. Its 24 suites and four two-bedroom villas sit in isolated splendour amid the forests of Ise-Shima National Park, facing either a manicured garden or the pearl-bejeweled Ago Bay. An expanse of green and blue awaits whichever way you cast your eye – a welcome respite for urban dwellers.

    ARCHITECT Kerry Hill Architects | PHOTOGRAPHY Aman

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    Designed by Kerry Hill, Amanemu bears the same distinctive aesthetic as its sister properties – contemporary architecture that is respectfully traditional in its roots. It takes its inspiration from the minka farmhouses of the Edo period but, instead of thatch, symmetrical rows of charcoal tiles (resembling the waves of an ocean) are the design norm for the roofs. The hotel’s interiors are beset with Japanese hinoki cypress wood and woven bamboo furniture and lighting, framing an elegant composition against its black wood-panelled façade. Inside the suites, sliding screens open on to a deck with daybeds, maximising privacy and sweeping views of the surroundings. The en suite basalt stone tub takes plush to the next level with hot, cold and mineral-rich water – it’s a full-blown private onsen experience on tap. Literally.

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    Amanemu is purposefully designed to be a haven for those looking to rejuvenate, giving leisure-seekers little reason to step outside its cocoon. Hop on the hotel’s golf buggy and head over to the spa to revitalise body and mind with a hot stone therapy, surrender your senses to a water-based treatment at the watsu pool, or wade in the heated infinity pool that overlooks the bay. After a day of luxuriating in salts, reward yourself with a mojito infused with locally grown bayberries and marbled Matsusaka wagyu, a fine example of the gourmet heritage of the region once known as the breadbasket of the ancient Imperial Court. If exploring the world outside Amanemu is on your itinerary, drive for an hour to visit Ise Jingu; dating back to 4 BC, this is one of the holiest Shinto shrines in Japan and a site of over 1500 rituals a year. There are also plenty of mountain and coastal trails to trek near the hotel.

    There are few hotels in the world that can be deemed as a destination in their own right and Amanemu is one of them. Come for the promise of tranquillity in a pristine setting, stay for the onsen experience and top-class dining, and leave with a return date booked in.

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    With its watsu pool, a thermal spring garden, an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the bay, and two onsen pavillions, the Aman Spa is 2,000 square metres of bliss.

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