This summer, Amanpuri welcomes Nicolas Ilickovic as their new General Manager who has over two decades of experience in the luxury hospitality sector. He began his career in 1998 in the events department at the Ritz-Carlton in Sydney and spent almost a decade in Australia working for a number of leading luxury hotel brands. Nicolas first joined Aman in 2007 as Senior Assistant Manager at Amanjena in Morocco. He subsequently helped lead the opening of three Aman resorts; Aman Summer Palace in Beijing, Amangiri in Utah and Amandayan in Lijiang, China, where he took on the role of General Manager in early 2015. Later that year, Nicolas returned to Amanjena in Morocco, this time in the role of General Manager, to oversee an extensive four-month renovation of the resort. Since then, he has successfully managed the daily operations of Amanjena, proving to be a passionate and driven hotelier.
In your opinion, What are the key things that Aman does successfully that's helped them become one of the best hotel brands in the world?
At Aman, we believe in creating a 'home away from home' for our guests and connecting them to the spirit of a given place. We do this through rigorous attention to detail and unparalleled levels of service and privacy. This unique formula coupled with a harmonious design in the most outstanding locations globally makes our brand unique.
What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury is constantly evolving so it is difficult to define it. I believe that hospitality has always been about the human touch and personal interaction, and this remains a key focus for us, as it has always done, in creating a luxury experience. We have a high staff to guest ratio which enables us to offer unparalleled services, unmatched by any other high-end hospitality brand. It is also widely acknowledged that one of the ultimate luxury markers today is personalization. For example, each of our guests are greeted by name on arrival, it is one of the things that is remarked on the most and it creates a sense of belonging. I also think that luxury is the ability to engage with transformational experiences, which Amanpuri's Holistic Wellness Centre offers.
Aman has their 'Aman Junkies', how do you attract the non-Aman Junkie?
The 'Aman Junkie' is a term coined by our guests rather than by us. We believe in approaching all existing and potential customers with compassion and look for those who are inquisitive, seeking compelling and unique experiences with cultural immersion and local authenticity. We attract this business by offering privacy, genuine service, harmonious design, local cuisine and authentic experiences.
What's the most important thing in running a luxury hotel when there are a lot of other good products out there?
The guest experience should be at the centre of everything a luxury hotel does. At Aman this means offering intuitive service which in turn creates a sense of belonging for the guest. People are also incredibly important. There is true passion and dedication with the team at Amanpuri and a sense of personal ownership of our resort which creates a welcoming environment.
Assuming we can travel again, what do you see the luxury segment looking like?
To assess what the luxury segment will look like you would need to review the market demand. People want travel experiences away from crowds with private dining, wellness, villas and nature key components. We feel privileged that our serene sanctuary of Amanpuri has been able to provide this for guests already. In numerous ways, our generosity of space and efforts to slow down time, have always been firmly ingrained in Aman's DNA, from the architecture and design of standalone pavilions with private pools, to the low room count and subtle services that now makes us a blueprint for the future of travel. In navigating through this new world, we will continue to place our guests and staff at the centre of everything that we do and feel safe in the knowledge that guests will find their sanctuary, a sense of calm and familiarity in our 'places of peace'. That is the enduring spirit of Aman.