A pocket of modernist luxury in a wild and wind-carved Utah landscape Amangiri hotel is a sleek sandstone hideaway at the heart of Navajo country – not the place you'd expect to find an incredible spa, excellent restaurant and every-whim-met indulgence. Choose from an array of minimalist suites or bed down in one of the canvas-roofed pavilions at Camp Sarika, a tented retreat set apart from the main hotel.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £3419.48 ($4,299), including tax at 22.83 per cent.
Except for the Mesa Home, rates include breakfast, lunch and dinner. You'll also get a yoga class, a Pilates mat class and two guided hikes each day, use of the Water Pavilion at the spa, plus private transfers to and from Page Municipal Airport.
Striking art works, jewellery and handicrafts are available from the Gallery, along with glossy destination guides and a range of Aman accessories.
At the hotel
Swimming pool; spa with five treatment rooms, water pavilion and watsu pool; steam and sauna rooms; fitness centre; communal living room; library and game room; desert lounge; DVD, CD and book libraries; art gallery and boutique; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, iPod dock, bathrobes, signature Amangiri sage-infused bath products, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
If you’re a sucker for sunset views, opt for a Mesa View Suite or the Sunset Canyon Pavilion at Camp Sarika, where the tented pavilions feel completely in tune with their dramatic and unspoiled surroundings. For the full rock-star experience, the Girijaala Suite has an enormous sky lounge and swimming pool, and the Amangiri Suite has an even grander pool as well as a dining table.
The heated swimming pool curves around an escarpment of sandstone rock, with a line of king-size loungers on decks that jut into the water on one side, and terraces of parasols and sun loungers on the other side. There’s a piping Jacuzzi to soak in, too, and a fire pit to warm up at in the winter months.
A 2,322sq m ode to relaxation and harmony, the Aman Spa at Amangiri channels Navajo culture and healing traditions in its extensive treatment menu. In addition to five treatment rooms, it has a spacious water pavilion with a swimming pool, steam room, dry sauna and cold plunge pool; two outdoor treatment terraces; fully equipped fitness centre; yoga pavilion with private classes and free group sessions; salon and floatation room.
Binoculars and cameras, naturally. Walking shoes and 40+ sunscreen for hiking over dunes and up rocks; Jackie O sunglasses and kaftans for poolside lounging. If you need to pack light, there are sun hats for everyone to borrow, plus hiking shoes available to those who book a private guided tour.
This epic escape welcomes little explorers too; a kids’ menu is available in the Pavilion, as are children’s books and games. Say the word and a licensed babysitter can also be booked. The swimming pool has steps, shallow waters and toys on request.
Dine outside by the pool in the sunshine or moonlight. Inside, we love the counter at the sleek black show kitchen, especially as the chef throws in a couple of mouthwatering surprise dishes.
Low-key layers; you’ll feel equally at-home in hiking sportswear as you will in elegant natural-toned linens.
The Pavilion is at the centre of this desert-surrounded bijoux resort and, here, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in an open-plan dining room and intimate lounges. The tables spill out onto a terrace and the swimming pool. A small, curated menu of locavore fare feeds appetites small and large and changed regularly. Sample Southwest staples such as tortilla chips and salsa, bison burgers and seasoned fries and mushrooms topped with a fried egg and served in a cast-iron pan. Be sure to call ahead of time for dinner, as reservations are required.
Utah may be a dry state but guests can be assured their favourite tipples will be available. Oenophiles will thrill at the floor-to-ceiling walnut wine cellar and its many offerings by glass or bottle. Cocktail lovers should try the Prickly Pear Margarita or a Sage Mojito.
There is an all-day menu of brunchy favourites as well as big-deal dishes and desserts available 6am–11pm (not yet available for Camp Sarika). The complimentary minibar is kept stocked with juices and savoury and sweet snacks too.
Set on 600 acres in the Southern Utah desert, near the shores of Lake Powell, Amangiri sits amid colourful and dramatic rock formations, an oasis of luxury.
Catch a commercial flight from Phoenix, Los Angeles or Denver to Page Municipal Airport in Arizona. It's approximately a 25-minute drive from the resort and a free transfer is included in the room rates. Flights from further afield can connect through Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. If flying private's more your style, you'll come in through Page's Lake Powell Jet Center. The hotel can help you with all the details.
Car transfers can be arranged to St George, Utah, Flagstaff and Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Most reputable car hire companies operate out of Phoenix and Las Vegas, as well.
Worth getting out of bed for
One of the highlights of staying in this unique resort is the world-class hiking and rock-climbing. Book a guided via ferrata excursion (Italian for ‘iron road’): there are five of these fixed climbing routes involving ladder rungs on Amangiri’s own mountain-sprinkled grounds. Or sign up for recreational or advanced biking. The expert in-house team of guides can teach guests the basics of GPS navigation, map reading, rope techniques and desert travel, as well as providing an introduction to the ecology, geology and human history of the area. For a relaxing dose of the Colorado River, seek out the peaceful stretch of river downstream of Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam, before the river takes its 250-mile journey through the Grand Canyon National Park; here you can experience the beauty of floating between 1,000-ft high walls of Navajo Sandstone. Pay a visit to the legendary Zion National Park, a peaceful preserve of ancient sandstone only an hour and a half by car through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Borrow one of the BMWs, and head to Horseshoe Bend, a 30-minute drive into Arizona. Here, the Colorado River makes a 300-degree turn 1,000 feet below: to get the best snapshot a) go between noon and 2pm when the sun is at its highest and b) make sure you don’t go too close to the edge.
Ja'di' To'oh (in Navajo this means Antelope Springs) at 537 Marina Parkway may not be the most sophisticated eatery, but if you just want a casual burger or pizza, this floating restaurant accessible from land and water includes a bar and souvenir store. It’s perhaps not the kind of place Mr and Mrs Smith would usually head for a cocktail, but more the kind of place locals like to watch football. Open Thursday to Sunday for lunch and dinner from 11am–9pm.
I’d booked our room at luxury hotel Amangiri a mere 48 hours before arriving, and I couldn’t believe we’d finally hit our destination after a nine-hour, high-speed road trip from Los Angeles through the desert. The Amangiri experience begins the moment you turn off the main road, about two hours outside of a small town in Utah called Hurricane. You’ll probably think you’ve made a wrong turn, but keep going.
We arrived at dusk, in awe of the brilliant shades of purple spreading across the sky and the glowing red rocks that make up an almost fortress-like perimeter across the horizon. Eventually, we came upon a small gate with a metal call-box. I hit the buzzer, and a few moments later the box crackled to life: ‘Hello Mr Smith, we’ve been expecting you,’ said a woman’s voice, ‘please continue up the road into the canyon, past the log cabin’. The gate clicked open.
If I were a Bond villain, Amangiri would be my secret hideout. The massive slabs of concrete wall that make up the majority of the resort feel oddly at home in the vast emptiness of the rocky desert. The centerpiece is a strikingly beautiful pool constructed around a three-story, natural-rock formation that juts out unapologetically into the water. This seamless merging of natural beauty and man-made architecture make Amangiri (which means ‘peaceful mountain’) unlike any other property. Next to the pool is a great room that connects the two wings of guest suites and houses the reception area, dining room and living room. The first thing you’ll notice is the delightful scent of sage, so soothing it makes you want to curl up into a ball and take a nap. Which is okay, because four crackling fireplaces are surrounded by leather sofas and armchairs – an excellent setting for watching the sun slowly set with a glass of wine and some small plates.
We’d booked a Desert View suite, one of the lower-tier rooms available (yet still larger than most New York City apartments) and it didn’t disappoint. The suites all overlook the desert and mesa, offering guests total privacy through a perfectly curled layout stretching away on either side from the room at the property’s center. At check-in, one of the staff suggested we sit by our room’s fire pit and gaze up at the stars and that evening’s supermoon. Marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers were delivered, so we could make s’mores.
We dined at 9pm and were served by a charming New Zealander waitress, who recommended we share a feast of bison tartare, butternut-squash soup, filet mignon, seared scallops, and an arsenal of vegetable sides. Since the resort is in Utah – a nigh-on ‘dry state’ – Amangiri allows guests to BYOB (of wine), which we were happy to do. After a two-hour meal, we were ready for bed and took our time walking back to the room. While we’d been at dinner, the staff had lined the path back to our suite with lanterns. You’ll come to find these happenings less and less surprising during your stay; it’s almost as if Amangiri is staffed by magic elves, who slip in and out of the shadows to create these little, Instagram-worthy moments for guests.
At breakfast we sipped on matcha tea and helped ourselves to a buffet of fresh fruits, pastries, cheeses and made-to-order eggs. The tables are lined up next to a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that makes up one entire side of the great room. I’d have to guess that the glass is only transparent from the inside, since birds and rabbits explore the area carefree in search of breakfast just inches away from your feet.
There are plentiful activities to break up your day: guided hikes across Amangiri’s 600-plus acres of property, spa treatments, hot air-balloon rides, helicopter tours… The concierge team can make custom arrangements for off-site adventures to the neighboring slot canyons, the scenic Horseshoe Bend, or anything else you’re able to dream up. We opted for a morning hike to somewhere enigmatically dubbed ‘the cave’, and staff packed us a bagged lunch of sandwiches, fruit and lemonade. We enjoyed the hike in solitude but were eager to return to the pool and to sample the resort’s famous margaritas.
A few drinks later, Mrs Smith and I booked a spa appointment for later that evening. The spa is comprised of three structures beside a cliff towards the back of the property: a reception building which leads out into a courtyard; a locker and steam room building connected to a secluded plunge pool; and lastly a reflecting pool, connected to the structure with each massage studio. Our custom massages were some of the more memorable either of us had ever received; we drifted through dinner and right to sleep afterwards.
And then, sadly, it was time to go; our time at Amangiri had come to an end and the real world beckoned for us to return. While our car was loaded by the hotel porters, I noticed it had been washed and detailed, the cupholders stocked with fresh water, and a gift bag with snacks placed in the back seat. As the hotel faded from view I smiled to myself, and made a mental note to pick up some dried sage back home.