At the Aman resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands, guest villas come with infinity pools and butlers who serve you a private romantic dinner on the beach. In a remote Utah desert, Aman guests can “camp” in tented pavilions with plunge pools and king-size beds.
The Swiss company, owned by Russian real estate developer Vlad Doronin, was described by Forbes as “the world’s most preeminent resort brand” and attracts such notably affluent guests as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and George and Amal Clooney.
Launched in Thailand, Aman is known for its small resorts in exotic tropical locales or historically significant properties such as a 16th century palazzo in Venice.
Now the celebrity-beloved ultra-luxe hospitality brand is coming to Beverly Hills as part of a $2-billion garden-like residential complex called One Beverly Hills. Its developers revealed Thursday that Aman will operate the hotel, a private club and some Aman-branded residences in a lushly landscaped oasis next to the storied Beverly Hilton hotel, where stars gather for the annual Golden Globe Awards.
One Beverly Hills, announced in 2020, has city approval for a hotel with 42 rooms — all of them suites — and 37 hotel-branded condominiums, where owners can opt to receive hotel amenities such as room service meals and housekeeping.
The 17.5-acre One Beverly Hills property near Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, formerly occupied by a famed Robinsons-May department store, is considered one of the most desirable real estate development sites in the country but has lain fallow for years as previous plans to develop it failed to materialize.
The prime vacant lot was purchased for $445 million in 2018 by Alagem Capital Group, the locally based owner of the Beverly Hilton, and partner Cain International of London. The partners came up with a new plan that melds the existing Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills with fresh development designed by Norman Foster, an English lord perhaps best known for designing a landmark lipstick-like skyscraper in London known as the Gherkin and the hoop-shaped Apple Inc. headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
Foster’s plan calls for as many as 340 upscale residences in two towers as high as 32 stories. The buildings will be surrounded by eight acres of native plant gardens and water features woven with pathways, the bulk of which would be open to the public. There is also to be a 10-story building to house the Aman, its residences, the private Aman Club, a spa and restaurants.
Foster said in a 2020 interview that his plan harks back to a period in the 1930s when architects who came to Los Angeles “embraced the health aspects of the climate” by designing structures with balconies, terraces and other features intended to integrate the indoors and the outdoors. One Beverly Hills will follow suit, with the focus on the outside environment.
The building architecture is an extension of the greenery, he said. “The protagonist is the landscape, the garden.”
The condo towers of 28 and 32 stories would be “permeable” in terms of being able to be seen through, Foster said, and far enough apart to preserve sight lines from afar. The hotel would be set back from Wilshire Boulevard, partly on land formerly occupied by a 76-brand gas station that the developers acquired.
Cain and Alagem Capital partnered in 2018 and received city entitlements to build One Beverly Hills in 2021. The Beverly Hills City Council approved the project over the objection of Councilmember and former Mayor John Mirisch, who called the proposed development “elitist, exclusive and exclusionary.”
“Without affordable housing, the project has turned into a castle-fortress of exclusion,” Mirisch told the other four council members.
Construction is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2027, said Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International.
Partners Cain and Alagem have hired executive Larry Green, formerly the head of U.S. development for shopping center landlord Westfield, to oversee development. Among the large projects Green has shaped was the $1-billion makeover of nearby Westfield Century City in 2017.
Adding an ultra luxury hotel should boost the appeal of One Beverly Hills to travelers, who could choose among a Hilton, a Waldorf Astoria and an Aman, Goldstein said. “We think that we’ve got every base covered on the site.”
Rates at the Aman in Beverly Hills have yet to be set, but other Aman inns have reached some eye-popping benchmarks.
A night at Aman’s Amangiri desert resort in Canyon Point, Utah, starts at about $4,000, according to the hotel website. A room booked for Monday night through Hotels.com would start at $430 at the Beverly Hilton and $1,195 at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.
The 40-room ultra-luxury Amangani Jackson Hole recently sold for $79.5 million, or $1.99 million a room. It was one of the highest prices paid per room over the last two years in the U.S., real estate consultant Alan Reay said.
An Aman makes sense in Beverly Hills, Reay said. “They are as high-end a luxury hotel as I’ve ever seen.”
Aman operates 34 properties in 20 countries. The Beverly Hills hotel will be its fifth in the U.S. after Aman opens inns in New York in August and in Miami in 2024.
“Staying true to our DNA and the coveted Aman lifestyle,” Doronin said in a statement, “Aman Beverly Hills, nestled in its expansive botanical gardens, captures the legacy and heritage of Aman while connecting our guests with fascinating urban environments.”