It was just past 9 AM and the Sybaritic Single, clad in Dior head to toe, stood proudly amidst the misty forests and craggy peaks of Bhutan, right next to the world-famous Tiger’s Nest monastery perched at 3,120 meters. Getting there was an adventure – halfway on a horseback, another few miles on foot.
He wished he wore hiking boots instead of cannage sandals, but he made it up nevertheless. Two minders from Amankora followed him every step of the way as they carried an entire culinary spread should their treasured guest ever feel peckish.
The luxury lodge itself (‘Aman’ means peace, and ‘Kora’ means circular journey) was quite different, offering its guests what some sprawling Turkish resorts would call “ultra all-inclusive”. Everything from exquisite fine dining and drinking to a chauffeur-driven car (loaded with more snacks) – even laundry and some spa treatments were offered complimentary. But unlike at the Turkish riviera, the quality was beyond excellent with Anton Rautenbach presiding over the kitchen and sending Michelin-grade dishes.
The one thing the Sybaritic Single skipped was yoga. Even on the most deluxe, extra-padded yoga mats, intimidating displays of bendiness aren’t for him. After all, his preferred mode of spiritual solace is a flûte of champagne rather than chakra opening.
The champagne list, surprisingly, was quite disappointing – the Sybaritic Single was happy he carried his own Krug and Cristal.
He could never guess the number of staff at the lodge – he barely saw any. Yet his suite, spacious enough to accommodate a Buddhist temple, was always immaculate, special touches awaited around as if placed a moment ago by someone invisible.
Inaugurated by Adrian Zecha back in 2004, Amankora looks as pristine as ever, where everything is über-luxe with a delicate balance, nothing over-the-top. It might sound easy to experience but is tough to define.
Was this the pinnacle of luxury? It certainly could be – and the fact that the Sybaritic Single was the only guest in the entire lodge on some nights added to the surreal feel.