We provide access to a new class of C1- or C2-sym. host mols. (I) and (II) based on a spirobisindane skeleton. Whereas I is selective for short, rigid diamines, II prefers longer a,w-dications. Of all the amino acid Me esters, only those of lysine and arginine with the correct distance between their cationic groups form strong 1:1 complexes in DMSO with II. NMR titrns. reveal high assocn. consts. as well as discrimination between the enantiomers of lysine and arginine.