The Amangiri resort, dubbed the “Billionaire Enclave in the High Desert” by Forbes, exudes elegance and charm amidst its expansive 600-acre natural landscape along the Arizona-Utah border. Resembling a desert paradise, this luxurious retreat is a true oasis from the hustle-bustle of city life. Its 34 exquisite eco-suites adorned in soft, neutral hues, effortlessly blend with the rugged mountains, creating a serene and tasteful ambiance. Unsurprisingly, celebrities such as Brad, Leo, and the Biebers are frequent guests at this desert haven. However, it is the stunning resort built around ancient rock formations dating back 164 million years, that’s truly the star of this region.
We spent a week at the exquisite Mesa Home, and it was a truly remarkable experience brimming with bespoke activities that allow city dwellers to reconnect with nature. We were spoiled with choices such as sunrise yoga, guided hikes in the mountains, hot air balloon rides, boat excursions, and horseback riding reminiscent of the iconic film “Lonesome Dove.” For adventurous souls, try rock climbing on the via ferrata, an Italian term meaning “iron path.” This climbing route is meticulously designed with steel cable rails anchored to the rock with iron rungs and sturdy cables, ensuring climbers’ safety as they ascend the breathtaking Studhorse Mesa.
BACK TO NATURE
I treasure the incredible memories of my first rock climbing adventure at the Amangiri with a group of friends and our two expert guides. Midway through the arduous three-hour ascent, I truly felt I couldn’t make it to the top. But determination and my desire to conquer the mountain pushed me forward– and I ultimately did it, albeit the last one to arrive. The panoramic view that awaited us was breathtaking. Standing high above the rocky mountains, it felt like we could touch the clouds. The excursion was far from over as we descended by crossing a scarily narrow metal aerial bridge spanning 200 feet, to return to the other side of the mountain. We finally arrived at the base an hour later. It was a truly memorable journey, one filled with challenges, but ultimately rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and the stunning, unmatched beauty of nature.
On another day, we embarked on a fun horseback ride through the vast desert, led by two friendly female wranglers sporting cowboy hats. As we trotted along, the gentle chatter and laughter of our group harmonized with the sound of the horses’ hooves on the dirt road. “I feel like I’m in a Western movie!” a friend exclaimed as we galloped into the sunset. We also enjoyed a picturesque hike at Buckskin Gulch, where we were surrounded by the majestic Navajo sandstone and the sculpted formations, shaped over centuries by the forces of wind and rain. In the sunlight, the curves of the rocks were bathed in a myriad of copper hues that mirrored the red rocks. Words cannot fully capture the amazing scenery before our eyes.
We enjoyed a luxurious stay at a private four-bedroom Mesa Home replete with a crackling fireplace, dining and living rooms, and a terrace leading to a 50-foot heated infinity pool. The tastefully designed rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that allow the morning light to filter in. Stepping onto the terrace at sunrise, the morning dew felt like a gentle embrace from nature. The mood is pure serenity. Best of all, this exquisite location is far from the hectic city pace that we gratefully left behind. The 34 Amangiri suites offered unobstructed dessert vistas, along with a host of modern amenities, including Bose speaker systems, heated towels, a soaking bathtub, a pool, and a Jacuzzi.
Within the Amangiri spa, guests are treated to a range of rejuvenating treatments that blend western therapies with Navajo healing traditions, including the Native American Ceremony. Before my 90-minute massage, the skilled masseur, Nick, lit dried sage leaves and gently waved the aroma for positive energy and cleansing the space. The treatment included a relaxing scalp massage and soothing reflexology, providing a truly indulgent experience after a day of adventurous rock climbing.
The exquisite in-house Amangiri restaurant is located within the Pavilion, the central hub of the resort where guests arrive for check-in. Making your way to the restaurant, you will be captivated by the expansive views of the untouched desert on one side, while on the other side, the iconic Entrada sandstone pool offers a stunning vista – an ideal spot to indulge in the resort’s renowned cast iron pancakes. The cuisine is seasonal and locally sourced, paying homage to Native American flavors with enticing dishes such as buffalo carpaccio and smoky pima grits. The talented chefs are more than willing to accommodate any special food requests, so don’t be shy to ask. On several evenings, Chef Josh and his team joined us at the Mesa Home, treating us to a mouth-watering four-course Southwestern feast paired with exquisite wines.
The Amangiri in Utah is a haven for those seeking an authentic desert wilderness experience that combines the ultimate in luxury with the breathtaking natural surroundings. Not only does the resort offer fun outdoor activities and unforgettable cuisine, this stunning location also serves as the perfect setting to reconnect with loved ones, and most importantly, with oneself.