Buying into the villa lifestyle

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Occasionally, it's worthwhile to see how the other half lives. When I'm not writing about real estate and finance, I have a secret second life as a travel writer, and in October I was invited to the grand opening of Amanresorts' second property in the United States, Amangiri, located near the Utah-Arizona border. For those of you not familiar with the name, Amanresorts is a Singapore-based hotel chain with a collection of, one might say, intimate retreats. The number of rooms at the new Amangiri totals just 34 guest suites. How can a hotel make money with so few units? At Amangiri, room rates run from $600 to $3,000 a night -- in the off-season! This is not necessarily a turnoff to some people, as the Aman clientele are so loyal they are known as Aman-junkies. This all leads to the other way Aman makes money from its properties: It sells villas. At Amangiri, just a 10-minute drive from spectacular Lake Powell in Arizona and about a half-hour drive from Bryce and Zion nati...