Amangani hotel, a three-storey sweep of sandstone and redwood at the foot of the Teton range, is an effortlessly dramatic Rocky Mountain hideaway. In winter, it’s the ideal base for skiing the snow-packed slopes of Jackson Hole, but this all-suite Wyoming wilderness retreat has back-to-nature appeal all year round.
Forty suites, and four four-bedroom homes available to rent.
Noon, but flexible, subject to subsequent bookings and, potentially, a half-day charge. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £770.02 ($949), including tax at 18.6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of $2.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates don't include breakfast.
Amangani operates a ski lodge, 20 minutes away in Teton Village, where guests can borrow a kit, take lessons and test their skills on Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s 1,000 hectares of ski and snowboard terrain. The hotel lays on a free shuttle service, too.
Amangani is annually closed the Monday following the first Saturday in April for three weeks, and the second week in November.
At the hotel
Fitness centre, spa, library of books, DVDs and CDs, art gallery and boutique, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, iPod dock, minibar, coffee and tea service, free bottled water, custom bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Grand Teton Suite on the top (third) storey of the hotel is blessed with the most dramatic panoramas (which you can admire from the huge sunken bath), but space-wise, the ground-floor Sena Suite takes the cookie, with 725 square feet to play in. Since every suite looks out over the mountains, when it comes to views, there isn’t a bad room in the house. Ask for one of the four corner suites for the full wrap-around vista.
On a sandstone terrace overlooking the mountains, there’s a spectacular 35m pool and whirlpool tub. Both are heated, which makes for wonderful winter dips.
Book an après-ski (or sport or lengthy-flight) massage, seaweed body treatment or healing therapy at the resort spa. You can also request in-suite massages and treatments.
Some higher-tier rooms come with spotting scopes, but if you’re booked in elsewhere, bring some binoculars for wildlife-spotting and mountain close-ups. With sunsets like this, a camera goes without saying.
Two rooms are adapted to accommodate mobility-impaired guests
Very welcome. Cots are free for babies; extra beds for older children are US$100 a night. Babysitting costs US$20 an hour (four-hour minimum).
Customers have the option of donating US$2 (or more) a night to the Jackson Hole Land Trust, which works to preserve the landscape and wildlife of the area.
You can eat wherever you fancy in the hotel, but, during the day, the top spot’s out on the terrace.
You’d be welcomed in anything, but dress up for dinner. Don a Stetson if you really want to look the part.
High-ceilinged, redwood-walled eatery the Grill not only allows you to admire the local wildlife though its floor-to-ceiling windows, but to eat it too. Chef Rick Sordahl’s inventive American menu takes in elk sirloin chilli and bison ribs, as well as Kobe beef from Idaho and line-caught yellowfin tuna. At breakfast, don’t miss the macadamia-encrusted French toast.
With just six wrought iron bar stools and a handful of tables, Zinc Bar is a cosy spot. A guitarist strums his stuff on Thursday–Saturday evenings in season. Bison paintings and a huge Native American hide wall-hanging remind you you’re in Wyoming (as do the huckleberry martinis). There’s cocktail service by the pool, too.
Breakfast, 6–11am; lunch, 12–3pm; dinner, 5pm until the last guest’s eaten. And, if you get peckish in between, there’s always a lounge menu on offer.
Set at the foothills of the natural wonderland that is Grand Teton National Park, Armangani is a luxury base camp for skiers, hikers, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Jackson Hole Airport (www.jacksonholeairport.com) is just eight miles from the hotel and is reached by flight connections from Salt Lake City, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. Amangani can arrange transfers from $75 each way. Private flights are served by Jackson Hole Aviation and charter flights are also available.
Hiring a car would be handy for exploring the area, and free valet parking is available at the hotel. However, if you'd prefer to leave the driving to someone else, the hotel runs a shuttle service to Teton Village for slope-bound skiers.
Worth getting out of bed for
In winter, Jackson Hole is the place to ski. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has more than 1,000 hectares of slopes. Teton Village (20 minutes from the hotel) is the base for all alpine adventures and Amangani shuttles guests to and from its private ski lounge, where you can hire kit, arrange lessons and plan your day on the slopes. Snow-mobiling and snow-shoeing can also be arranged, as can horse-drawn sleigh rides through the National Elk Refuge. Outdoor pursuits are a year-round affair: hot-air ballooning, 4x4 wildlife safaris, and horse riding are all easily arranged. The Spring Creek Riding Stables There are two national parks within reach (Yellowstone and Grand Teton) for rambling and biking, and the Snake River is a trout fisherman’s fantasy (not to mention ideal for canoeists and rafters too). Spring Creek Ranch, which has stables and tennis courts, is the place to go for most activities. Jackson Hole has a pair of golf courses, too: Teton Pines Country Club and the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club.
Amangani’s eating is the hands-down best in the area, but if you need a change of scene, The Granary (+1 307 733 8833) next door isn’t bad for a cocktail or a bar meal. When you’re out and about in Jackson, don’t miss the Snake River Grill (+1 307 733 0557; www.snakerivergrill.com) in the main square. This wood-and-stone town institution serves up a chic take on hearty Western fare – steak tartare pizza, and the ilk. Trio (+1 307 734 8038; www.bistrotrio.com) is a smart American bistro with a mouthwatering menu of salads, pizza and local treats, such as elk medallions.
It won’t win any style awards, but The Silver Dollar Bar at the Wort Hotel (www.worthotel.com; +1 307 733 2190) is a Jackson landmark in the spirit of the Wild West, with 2,032 silver dollars inlaid into the bar counter. A great spot for an end-of-day beer.
Sky-high: my expectations of Jackson Hole. My dad – a travel journalist with a passion for skiing – told me it was pretty much his favourite mountain resort in the world. Its landscape year-round is so nature-calendar-in-the-making spectacular that a hotel would need to be very special not to spoil the magic.
Enter Amangani, the luxury hotel just a 15-minute drive from the mountain’s base station. I’ve been lucky enough to stay at the hotel’s sister property, the Amanjena in Marrakech, where I was treated like a queen and never wanted to leave. To top it off, a friend told me Angelina and Brad recently flew to Amangani – by private jet, of course – for a luxurious 24-hour getaway. Needless to say, I have mountain-high expectations.
So it is, that after an easy, early flight from LA, my Mr Smith and I are picked up at the town’s tiny little airport by a member of the hotel’s staff in the BMW SUV. As we pad our faces with steaming-hot eucalyptus-scented towels, we’re whisked through a thick blizzard – snowflakes the size of chicken nuggets – up the winding roads, to what looks to be a spectacular chalet perched atop a cliff.
The winning combination of Oklahoma sandstone, Pacific redwood and lofty architectural aspirations has resulted in a museum-worthy piece of modern American construction – the perfect counterbalance to the rugged sweep of the Teton Mountains opposite. The view, which we soak up once the storm subsides, spans an incredible 200 degrees across a snow-covered valley, out to stunning peaks far off in the distance.
Sure I’m a stickler for chic decor in hotels, but being slap-bang in Wyoming’s cowboy country can leave a person craving warm and rustic. Amangani nails it with a welcoming balance between luxurious and cosy; ski chalet and five-star hotel. The spicy smell of redwood – which lines many of the walls and the elevator – hits as soon as we walk through the doors, forcing us to take a deep inhale.
Fireplaces crackle, faux-fur covers armchairs, and Native American art peppers the nooks and crannies of the lounge. A darker, old-fashioned library is located just behind, and downstairs the spa, gym and yoga room face the mountains with floor-to-ceiling windows. And then we peer through those windows to a long, steaming open-air pool outside. Swimming in the snow? We’re in.
And don’t even think that you might freeze your tootsies off during the mad-dash from the hotel to the water: I learned the easy way that the stone underfoot is heated. Naturally.
Grill, the hotel’s restaurant, treats us to outrageously delicious dinner that night. I mean really, really outrageous. Mr Smith has pheasant, followed by Wagyu steak, which slices and tastes like butter. I opt for scallops, followed by lobster pasta. Fresh, cooked perfectly and served with interesting, taste-bud-tingling garnishes and sauces (the scallops are dressed in a tangy pomegranate jus), I heartily declare this as one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had. And honour is bestowed before we've decided on the hot peanut-butter-chocolate torte and Jack Daniels ice-cream – just to make sure we have plenty to work off on the slopes.
We rise early, realising a bit late that the altitude makes one drink feel like three. Luckily there are no major hangovers, so we nab the first hotel shuttle to the slopes at 8am and rent our skis at JH Sports. Super quick and organised, they offer equipment in great condition, which banishes memories of crashing about in European equivalents. Gear in hand, we pop into local’s favourite, Village Café, for their famous Tramline burrito. The breakfast of champions, it bursts with sausage, egg, cheese and a just-so slathering of hot sauce.
Snow as it did all night, freshly groomed runs await us in sparkling sunlight. Skiing at its very best conditions for our one and only day on the mountain: hallelujah! Mr Smith and I make our way to the summit via the aerial tram. Whether you ski the black-diamond runs down from there or not, try a Nutella-topped hot waffle from mountaintop hideaway Corbet’s Cabin. It melts in the mouth and is extra fortification against nippy days.
Pampering guests after action-packed days is Aman’s MO – and because the hotel is a short drive away – Amangani came up with the genius idea of opening a ski lounge at the base of the mountain, where Mr Smith procures two luscious, thick hot chocolates, and we relax while waiting for the shuttle. In true Aman Resorts style, staff are incredibly friendly, and universally ski and snowboard obsessives, eager to advise about the slopes and snow conditions. They even help us get our boots on and off, and shower us with hand-warmers and granola bars as we go.
Heading for the idyllic lodge on the cliff, I realise that Amangani has not just met, but wildly exceeded every expectation. Where to go from here? We start planning a return visit to this Jackson Hole hotel in summer for hiking, biking, ballooning, climbing and wildlife safaris in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Indeed, I demand an eyeful of elk, moose, grizzlies and countless species of birds on our return, please. Amangani, I know you won’t let me down.