Aman vs. Relais & Châteaux

Old May 23, 14, 10:48 pm
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Aman vs. Relais & Châteaux

I've been an Amanjunkie for some time now but have lately discovered the charms of Relais & Châteaux. It's funny that I'm going the other way around but as a young solo traveler, I used to need everything ironed out to perfection which was why Aman was very attractive for me. I consider myself, hopefully, a more sophisticated traveler now, i.e. someone capable of making his own arrangements. All of a sudden, (luxury) boutique properties fit my needs entirely.

My question now is this... what does one get from the Aman experience that he won't from the Relais & Châteaux consortium (especially their highest end ones such as Ballyfin)?

Off the top of my head:
-Demi-Godlike powers in the area (connections with local government, authorities, etc)
-Aman Excursions (truly spectacular especially for the time pressed though I've experienced making such or even better arrangments myself through much researching and communication)
-Staff-to guest ratio and things magically getting cleaned/fixed every time one leaves the room

These are special indeed but I'm not sure if they're truly worth the price premium. Relais & Châteaux feels like "little Aman" without those things but same spirit of service and usually, absence of corporate travelers (just because their facilities are often not the most conducive for doing business). Please share your thoughts.
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Old May 23, 14, 11:18 pm
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is the timing of this thread a coincidence?
broaching subject of alternatives to amanresorts?
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...n-resorts.html

if you mean 'boutique = no facilities' then >
- amans have massive facilities for roomcount
- R&C has major focus on public restaurants

Originally Posted by TheBrownPrince View Post
price premium
some R&C are cheaper because they are older and not renovated
if cheaper alternatives, not ballyfin, which has comparisons to aman

Originally Posted by TheBrownPrince View Post
highest end ones such as Ballyfin
there is no other R&C like ballyfin

lower price or ballyfin/aman ?

Originally Posted by TheBrownPrince View Post
-connections
-Excursions
-Staff-to guest ratio and [housekeeping]
that is how you summarize service?
plus facilities as mentioned above

Originally Posted by TheBrownPrince View Post
same spirit of service
ive not seen any R&C fans here suggest that

because R&C is not a management company and has 583 hotels

and even management companies still have variation

if you have had amazing experiences at R&C, at least posting some properties (if not some detail) is something that would be of interest to most if not everyone here, and appreciated

(this was a great unique thread - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...ot-missed.html)

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 24, 14 at 12:39 am
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Old May 23, 14, 11:33 pm
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I have never stayed at a R&C property which was remotely like an Amanresort. The closest was perhaps Le Prince Maurice on Mauritius.

Amanresorts are a single chain, with an overriding ethos which involves service and design. R&C is essentially a consortium, a marketing device, to which hundreds of individually-owned and vastly different properties pay a large annual fee. Consequently, R&C properties are inconsistent - some can be excellent and full of character while others have been fast asleep for decades. I don't think there is much quality control within R&C - so standards vary a lot. That may well happen with Amanresorts.
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Old May 23, 14, 11:54 pm
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if the point is to avoid (major) chain hotels, one does not need R&C to do so

aman rates often 'include' lower occupancy - few if any others do this
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Old May 23, 14, 11:55 pm
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Kage,

Ok. I think "same spirit of service" was an exaggeration insulting to Aman but what I meant with this really is that you feel like a resident guest rather than just a visitor/number which even at some Four Seasons I feel like.

For example, little touches such as customizing the food with no set menu, having that food served at little pretty-ish nooks around the property, not having to see that bill after that meal and sign because you'll just see it when you check out. I've experienced this kind of thing at say Villa del Quar (Verona) and Fortaleza (Cascais). That's the sort of treatment and "informality" I've only come to expect at Amans.

*Oh and I forgot one added difference. While Aman has wonderful beds such as those coco-mats at Sveti, the R&C "antiques" I've slept in have sometimes been hit or miss. :-S

Last edited by TheBrownPrince; May 24, 14 at 12:01 am
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Old May 24, 14, 12:07 am
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Originally Posted by TheBrownPrince View Post
resident guest rather than just a visitor/number...treatment and "informality" I've only come to expect at Aman
ah, so you were using boutique for size. and size is clearly the biggest factor here, including with amanresorts, and amanpuri being the largest amanresort for example. but even within this 'style' there is still a huge range of what service is provided and the quality of the service.

Originally Posted by TheBrownPrince View Post
Villa del Quar
Fortaleza

not having to see that bill after that meal
great information. i dont remember this coming up as common among R&C. in either case were meals included in rate booked? (can be very common at R&C especially those with major public restaurants.)

many here would be interested in properties where this is the case, as this has come up before.

could be some interesting discussion.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 24, 14 at 1:43 am
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Old May 24, 14, 12:32 am
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I don't think those meals were included. Can't remember anymore. I think it's mainly because they usually just have one restaurant which is formal so the "informal" stuff can be more customized.

At Villa del Quar, I remember asking for a lunch menu and the waiter asked me what I'm in the mood for. I then just described what I wanted and he got back to me with the chef's suggestion complete with description of the ingredients. I said I'd like to eat at the little table beside the fence entrance of their vineyard. Shortly after he just set up the table. Aman could not have done this better (except maybe for the time I had to switch restaurant locations at Pulo mid-meal because the rain started pouring and they redid the table ("carbon copy" of the placement of everything) at a completely different venue.
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Old May 24, 14, 1:42 am
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a related thought - there are also luxury properties that go beyond including dinner at the hotel's public restaurant, and are all-inclusive. (like ballyfin although it does not include all alcohol.) most common in NZ/AU, plus safari-style properties. ive always been interested in properties that have dining private to guests, especially with full facilities. i enjoyed my stay at the lodge verbier, which is bookable by room only during summer and last minute during winter. although after my stay i will keep in mind another reason to explore 'backup' properties in the area - at very small properties, even if there can be privacy, the other guests/mix does matter. (much moreso than at properties that are not very small.)

good service at villa del quar, appreciate the post. its 11km to Arena di Verona (opera) and in-between feltrinelli and venice.

Originally Posted by TheBrownPrince View Post
they usually just have one restaurant which is formal so the "informal" stuff can be more customized.
hmm. that is certainly good to hear. (seems villa del quar casual restaurant only opened fairly recently in 2009.)

but is that true at R&C (and other) properties where it is basically a restaurant with michelin stars (especially michelin 3 star) etc that has a few rooms attached? well, some of them have some facilities. but the dining focus remains. and besides the idea of 'formal' versus 'informal' there is also the aspect of degustation/tasting-menu only where one does not have any choice. which is not a preference shared by all, and/or desired at all times.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 24, 14 at 2:04 am
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Old May 24, 14, 4:01 am
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
great information. i dont remember this coming up as common among R&C. in either case were meals included in rate booked? (can be very common at R&C especially those with major public restaurants.)

many here would be interested in properties where this is the case, as this has come up before.
As said, R&C is just a marketing system and there is a wide spread of variety amongst their hotels. But it can be true of any smallish luxury hotel that you don't get presented a bill during each meal. I even know of a wonderful Starwood Luxury property in Mexico that does this http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury...ropertyID=1381 . It is small and cosy and I wasn't presented with a bill for the entire week I stayed there. I was able to see the prices on the menu and I'm capable of addition so why is a bill needed when there is mutual respect between the host and the guest? That's the way it works in private clubs, and that's the way it can work at small luxury hotels.
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