A traditional Indonesian phinisi boat is the latest project from cult travel brand Aman Resorts. We take a tour of the handsome teak decks of Amanikan and showcase its exotic mooring, the Amanwana resort on Moyo Island, Indonesia.

The latest innovation (or, more accurately, an innovation disguised as a regression) from Aman resorts, the pioneering luxury travel brand, is Amanikan, a 32-foot traditional Indonesian phinisi boat. Constructed from teak and rattan and fitted with antique brass fixtures, it is a motor cruiser that harks back to sailing yachts that were once used to transport goods from one island to another in Indonesia’s archipelago.

Attached to Amanwana, a luxury tented resort on Moyo Island, Indonesia, Amanikan is intended for cruises into the Komodo National Park and made its maiden voyage in July 2009. Its three guest cabins are all above deck, with the master stateroom and its private sun deck taking up the entire upper deck. The main lounge and dining areas are all located outdoors, built into the bow and foredeck.

While its construction might be historically accurate, Amanikan is hardly a lesson in back to basics luxury. Everything you might expect from the latest designer yacht is here and the entire vessel is styled in Aman’s signature Asian-meets-contemporary-elegance aesthetic. David Tang famously uses a traditional Chinese junk boat to travel from Hong Kong to his house on a neighbouring island, and Amanikan is arguably built in this vein.

We live in a golden age of boatbuilding: not only are orders for luxury yachts higher than ever before (despite the economic crisis), but significant developments are being made in naval architecture, with designers including Philippe Starck, John Pawson, Jeff Koons and Lord Foster reimagining what a boat should look like. Wally Hermes Yachts recently showcased its debut vessel, an extraordinary yacht that is nearly as wide as it is long, and Frank Gehry is soon to reveal his first boat commission.

In the midst of all this contemporary yacht design, the classically styled Amanikan is almost radical. Such a pioneering attitude to travel and design is typical of the Aman brand. Founded by Adrian Zecha, its first resort was Amanpuri in Thailand and the group now includes 22 resorts around the world. It is considered nothing but a trendsetter and where Aman goes other travel brands will follow. The boat builders of Indonesia have a lot to be grateful for.

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