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and hopefully, as with before, it will be the first of many.”

Affordable luxury

Each Azerai picks up on the local culture to create a point of differentiation



14 issue 2 2021

in 2019 and most recently, Azerai Ke Ga Bay in the east in March. They range from 46-122 bedrooms/suites and all have sizeable spas with six to 10 treatment rooms on top of additional wellness facilities and locally inspired therapies. The idea is to offer guests “simple elegance, refined design and discreet attentive service in places of unique beauty and cultural interest”. Rates start at around US$220 (€179, £155) a night compared to US$900 (€736, £637) at Aman’s Vietnamese property Amanoi. “Each of them is different because they relate to the local culture,” Zecha says. “And also because all of them, except the first one, are based on existing buildings.” To speed up the rollout Zecha says the future focus will be on refurbishments rather than building something from scratch.

About Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne Founded in 1893, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) has more than 25,000 alumni worldwide and over 120 nationalities among its students. It was one of the world’s first hospitality management schools, providing undergraduate and graduate programmes – including a Spa Management Major – at its campuses in Lausanne and Chur-Passugg, Switzerland, and in Singapore.


Azumi Setoda launched at the same time as Zecha’s third Azerai property, Azerai Ke Ga Bay in Vietnam. He first revealed the Azerai concept in 2017, three years after leaving Aman. “I didn’t want to do something too quickly after Aman,” he says. “I could have just continued something like it but with a different brand, but I didn’t want people to compare… So I thought ‘OK, let’s do an affordable Aman’. I thought it would be interesting because it’s a larger market.” The seeds were first sown six years earlier, he tells EHL, when a similar offering was trialled by GHM. “That was the Chedi in Bali,” he says. “It turned out to be a fantastic success and then became an Alila, which was subsequently bought by Hyatt.” All Azerais are located in Vietnam so far, although there was also one in Laos which was taken over by Minor. Azerai Can Tho debuted in southern Vietnam in early 2018, La Residence Hue in central Vietnam

I thought ‘let’s do an affordable Aman’ and target a larger market


Azerai’s room rates start at around US$200 a night