TAILORED CRUISES

Written by root. Posted in Featured Article, FEATURES

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Published on September 10, 2018 with No Comments

Aman takes luxury to the water.

Words GRACE OOI
Images AMAN RESORT

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Known for its brand of intimate luxe and elevating the guest experience – from Bhutan to Beijing and beyond – Aman now entices guests to discover its brand over the deep blue seas of the Indonesian archipelago. While major cruise lines are trying to win over the millennials – updating their onboard experiences with trampolines and air bikes – Aman’s Amandira is anything but off-the-rack.

The Amandira is a traditional wooden phinisi, hand-crafted in ironwood and teak by the Konjo tribe on Kalimantan Island. It weaves its way among the UNESCO-protected islands of the Flores Sea while bringing guests through waters filled with unique marine life. Measuring 52 metres from bow to stern, with two 36-metre masts and eight glorious, billowing sails, the beautiful teak cruiser cuts a magnificent picture as it sails past iconic landscapes few are ever privy to.

What makes Amandira even more exclusive is the fact that it sails only a few times each year. Each voyage is timed to optimise on Indonesia’s finest weather, though itineraries are flexible to accommodate any changes.

Onboard, guests are encouraged to create their own odyssey. The master cabin on the main deck is simplistic with its minimalist interiors. Yet it emanates a luxurious appeal with its glass walls that allow light to bathe the ensuite bathroom fitted with a huge rain shower and double basins. Two more twin deluxe cabins and two cabins with single bunk beds on the lower deck provide accommodation for another eight. Each room is designed to reflect the Aman resort experience, except on the vessel, guests wake up to a changing vista every day.

Days onboard are punctuated by scuba diving in the vibrant reefs of Raja Ampat, hiking up Gunung Api for a once-in-a-lifetime lookout over the Banda Islands, picnicking on the pristine white beaches of Gili Lawa Island or trekking to see the namesake dragons of Komodo Island. At night, the sprawling deck doubles as a dining room and as a bed of cushions where guests can watch shooting stars emerge in the sky or enjoy the soporific motion of the ocean under the expert hands of the onboard masseuse. Some days, magic happens and guests are transported to secret bays where tealights cast a surreal light from over cliffs and bedrocks as the crew sets up the grill and hosts everyone to a seafood dinner. In short, there are no schedules and guests are encouraged to do as they please, weather permitting.

Guests can expect Aman’s award-winning service from all 14 of the Amandira crew who are always on hand yet politely discreet in their presence. When you least expect it, chilled towels conjure up along with a glass of cold, fresh juice after every dive, trek or snorkel. At any beach stop, parasols, towels and day beds (and more chilled towels!) magically appear before your feet touches the sand. The kitchen crew too is equally amazing. Seafood spread is in abundance, but so too are local delights such as fried noodles and fried rice that celebrate the richness and diversity of the Indonesian islands.

For the ultimate Indonesian adventure, Amandira can be sailed in tandem with its sister boat, Amanikan. This 32-metre vessel pays homage to the history of Indonesian seafaring with rich wood and brass accents and sustainable furnishings, and also offers all the comfort and service of a world-class Aman resort. It can sleep six guests in the three above-deck cabins and the expansive foredeck, perfect for outdoor dining, makes Amanikan a favourite for weddings, family anniversaries and special events.

Both vessels chart five or seven-night voyages. This month, Amanikan sails to Labuan Bojo while in December, Amandira voyages to Raja Ampat. Team your voyage with a stay at Amanwana, the only resort on the island of Moyo, a nature reserve east of Bali. Whether pre- or post-expedition, Amanwana – with its 20 standalone tents, including a restaurant and spa pavilion – rounds up the Aman hospitality nicely.

 

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Bali 5x weekly. Discover things to do in Bali in www.muhibah.com.bn

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