My excitement bubbled over as I packed for my second visit to the much coveted Amangiri. This exclusive resort on the Arizona Utah border, has easily become a favorite destination and I couldn’t wait to arrive during a sunnier time of year. Let’s put it this way, my attitude shifted on my first visit from, “ahh we don’t need to spend that kind of money” to “can we stay another night?” Not surprisingly, we booked this follow-up visit to ‘my newfound happy place’ before the first trip had even ended! Yes, it’s that good. The exquisite nature and untouched beauty being the overarching main draw, but the impeccable service, delicious food, unique adventures, and a drop-dead gorgeous spa make it one for the books. Take a dive with me into this highly sought over destination and discover the unique frequency of Amangiri.
It does something to the soul, being in nature untouched. Stretching as far as the eye can see there are no other structures and no evidence of our highly structured civilization. I almost expected to see a native riding horseback across the land. If you had told me the year was in the 1800’s I wouldn’t have argued with you. Yet, there is also something so otherworldly about this land. It’s as if you were envisioning another planet, almost expecting a UFO type vehicle swooshing above the plane. That too would have felt familiar and in a strange sense fitting. ‘Mesmerizing’ easily capsulates the beauty and energy of not just the land but this perfectly designed resort to it environment. Every detail in resonance with its surroundings. As you approach Amangiri you have to be on the lookout for a simple, old wooden sign along the highway, the only thing marking your way to this hidden gem. Down the path you buzz an old gate, with strict security, only allowing access to the few exclusive and very lucky guests. Once through these gates, with no resort in sight, you travel on a road with jaw dropping views of the almost 600-acres of protected valley surrounding the resort. This desert, so different from my home in Arizona, is not littered with cacti but sage brush and towering plateaus. The developers of this property only achieved this crown jewel through an attractive land swap deal with the State that required the approval of both the Congress and Senate! Upon arrival at the property, the few imported aspen trees line the entrance, as the staff awaits you waving you’re arrival.
The Architecture & Décor
Every inch of the Amangiri’s main property and the accompanying Camp Sarika is seamlessly integrated into its surrounding. Hardly perceptible from a far, the concrete slab buildings almost appear to be another plateau from a distance. Large concrete windows, sans glass, envelop the property and give you the distinct feeling that you are looking at a painting rather than outside at the actual landscape. My whole visit had this very surreal quality to it. From the moment you walk in these stunning views await you, including its crown jewel the pool. The entire resort was designed around a rock jetting into what would become the pool, mimicking Horseshoe Bend (a must stop only about 15-minutes away). The pool, a focal point from the main restaurant on site, will have you drooling while dining, pinching yourself to make sure it’s real. Amangiri is an all-inclusive property (minus any spa or activities you choose) and the food is quite lovely. With servers from all parts of the world, there’s a distinctive international flare and with everything included you won’t be shy about trying that extra appetizer of indulging in a little desert. Feel like it in your room? No problem, they will immediately transport it to the privacy of your own room or you can even dine while star gazing on your private deck.
Never bashful about my love for healing therapies and self -care, I was sure to sign-up for a visit to the spa. Checking in, you’ll find yourself walking through a candle lite corridor and into a beautiful waiting area complete with a fireplace. I made sure to arrive early so I could enjoy the water circuit and private jacuzzi. Although these therapies I enjoy multiple times a week at The Starlight House, there was a distinctive flavor to soaking next to the beautiful sandstone rock. I selected the “Desert Calm” journey, which included a scrub with Sedona red clay, wrap, steam shower and facial. I have to say my favorite part was the scalp massage with warm sesame oil while soaking in my wrap. It required a hair wash after, but hey it was worth it!
Amangiri offers a plentitude of adventure activities and elite experiences for even the most seasoned traveler. From helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon to being dropped off on your private plateau for yoga, there is something for everyone. The ropes course is a favorite, but we selected a private slot canyon tour on our first visit, one of my bucket list items. The tour offered us breathtaking views of the canyons, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Our private driver also added loads of insight about the resort itself, the land and of course these canyons.
On our last morning, we decided to hike out to the cave on property. A short thirty-minute walk from the resort, we marveled a little more at the terrain and were pleasantly met at the cave by the resident artist. Working in the morning hours and inspired by ancient cave art, here is where she does her work that adorns the entire property. Grinding all her pigments on site from the land itself, Ulrike Arnold believes the land holds the story of this place. Just as crystals record and hold the memory of our planet, Arnold’s art portrays the raw heritage and ancestorial wisdom that was recorded here. My favorite was the sparkling pigment ground from meteorite dust, and which contains nickel that brought out a galactic feel. The stars at Amangiri are a distinct part of the experience and I was happy to see them incorporated into her work. The art not only graces the walls of Amangiri but is available for collectors at the onsite boutique.
There’s no doubt Amangiri will put a dent in your wallet, but once there you’ll relish in its beauty. There is a unique vibration to this place and land, you feel it almost immediately. The stillness and silence envelopes you and a deep feeling of peace and connection bubbles to the surface. It is exactly this presence that sticks with you. Presence with the land and with your relations. It’s a remembrance of what life was like before the hustle and bustle of constant doing and of our deep connection with all of life. Who can put a price tag on that?