Does Amangiri Live up to the Hype?

It was a combination of my husbands birthday along with feeling Covid stir-crazy that prompted me to plan a last minute trip to Amangiri in Utah.  You may already  be familiar with the incredibly high end Aman chain and their Instagrammable locales, but you may not have known that they took extraordinary measures to make the Amangiri Covid Safe for travelers.  First off, the resort itself is focused on being outdoors.  Keep in mind that Amangiri is on the  Utah/Arizona border, and it is HOT in August.  while we were there the temperature averaged about  105 F (albeit a dry heat).

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After closing down for a couple of months in March, Amangiri reopened in May at half capacity.  While the resort has 33 rooms in the main section, they are only booking 17 of those.  There is also a new section called Camp Sarika for very high end Glamping, and while there are 10 tents, they are only booking 5.  The dining tables both inside and out are very well spaced, and the entire staff is masked at all times.  The guests are not required to wear masks except when they are being driven in one of the hotel cars.  While we did not wear a mask during our visit, some guests did choose to wear them while indoors.

The approach to the resort is spectacular.  We opted to drive, but you can also fly into the Page, Arizona airport and get picked up by the hotel staff.

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The architecture is meant to blend in with the desert, and it is hard to describe just how perfectly it works, so I will let the photographs speak for themselves.

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Upon arrival we had to figure out where they were going to park our camper (you can read about the journey to the resort here). After that was sorted, we were led to our room for a quick check in.

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Amangiri lemonade was a good thirst quencher- did I mention the heat?

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When I booked the room, the only one available for the nights I wanted was the Mesa Suite.  For those familiar with the Aman brand, you know the rates are super pricey, and with the Covid shut down, they are even pricier.   Our stay was expensive, but we absolutely felt it was well worth the price.

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We booked through our Virtuoso agent (I was so excited to be able to book a trip again!!), and by doing so we received early check-in, late check-out, welcome gifts, and a total of $250 to be used towards spa services.

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Forgive the used towel in the photo below, it was not that way when we arrived.

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The open shower/bath tub area had an impressive view.

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The perspective from the bedroom gives you a good idea why it is called the Mesa View Suite.  We enjoyed watching a multitude of jackrabbits hopping by in the mornings.  Being the desert, there are also snakes.  My husband stopped at the room after breakfast one morning and saw staff members trying to wrangle a snake from the bushes in the room next to ours.  I made sure to keep my eyes down after that.

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Our first stop after we arrived was lunch.  All meals are included in the room rate, and there is a built in charge for gratuities as well, so you can just enjoy without too much thinking.

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There are two restaurants at Amangiri, the one in the main resort (where we mostly dined), and a new one at Camp Sarika.   The menu stays the same from day to day, but they are very accommodating as far as dietary restrictions.

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The grilled veggie tacos from the vegan menu were delicious, washed down with a skinny Margarita.

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While there were physical menus, the drinks list was on an iPad.  The wine prices were bordering on insane, so we mostly stuck to cocktails.

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The veggies and dips were a winner each day.

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My husband believes a burger is always the right choice.

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The main reception area was where you could find inside dining, drinks, the concierge and the small but nicely curated shop.

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The decor is  understated and tasteful, with. nothing competing with the landscape outside.

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After lunch we lounged by the pool.  There is a whole range of hikes nearby, but it was just too hot.  We will likely return during a cooler time of year.

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And just like that, it was time for dinner!

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If I had to pick one weak spot at Amangiri, its would have to be the food.  We visited the resort 10 years ago when it first opened, and were quite disappointed.  At that time both the service and the food  were truly lacking.  They have remedied the service piece  to be sure.  The staff was unfailingly gracious, enthusiastic, and helpful.  Our server Inah in particular was a gem.  As far as the  food goes, it is fresh, but it is not terribly well- executed, or innovative for that matter  The salmon I had requested “cooked through” was actually almost incinerated beyond recognition.

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The roasted mushrooms too were quite a bit salty…

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The highlight though was the S’mores Bar after dinner.  We had our pick from a veritable buffet of chocolate bars to create our own  masterpieces.  Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for the win!

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The next morning it was back to the pool.  We settled in on one of the cozy day beds. The crowd at the resort was a mix of couples and families.  The pool was the gathering place for everyone.

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We dined outside for breakfast, and once again, the food sounded good, and even looked good, but the desert açaí bowl I ordered fell flat.  Perhaps it was the early morning heat, but the yogurt was very warm and watery.

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My husbands avocado toast with a fried egg fared a bit better.

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After some productive pool time, we decided to enjoy the Spa.  All services are currently offered aside from facials.  My husband booked a massage (he was masked while on his back) and I had a very thorough manicure pedicure.  My husband did request a room with ventilation (large windows) for his massage and they accommodated him without question.  He would have preferred outside, but it was too hot.

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There is literally (natural) beauty in every corner.

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On my husband’s actual birthday (the staff went out of their way to shower him with good wishes all day,  including birthday pancakes at breakfast) we booked our dinner at Camp Sarika.  Before dinner though, we were invited to watch the sunset at the top of Sunset Trail, truly a breathtaking event.  We snacked on an array of goodies as well as a Prickly Pear Margarita.

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No exaggeration, I took 50 photos of the sun setting,  It was magical, and the photos don’t do it justice.

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Following the sunset we took a golf cart over to the restaurant at Camp Sarika which  blends in seamlessly  with the surroundings.

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Dinner was presented family style, and there was no shortage of tempting dishes.  Careful consideration was paid to dietary restrictions.  It was very good, but nothing knocked our socks off (aside from maybe my husband’s lobster mac & cheese).  There was a singer serenading the small collection of tables as well,  which was special

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Another round of happy birthday singing came with this yummy cake (gluten free so I could enjoy it as well).  The sommeliers recommendation for the meal was actually Whispering Angel, which we went along with.  Just to give an idea of wine prices at the resort, the Whispering Angel was $150 a bottle.

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We went to sleep well fed and very happy.  The next morning we had hoped to book a hot air balloon ride.  We were warned that the balloon only flew when the conditions were absolutely ideal, and that only occurred about 30% of the time.  We were told if it was a go we would get a call at 6 am and need to be ready at 6:15.  We were up at 5, checking the weather.  It all seemed perfect.  Unfortunately we got the call at 6:05 that the wind wasn’t quite right and we wouldn’t be flying.  One more thing we will do on a return visit.

We enjoyed a pleasant breakfast, more pool time, and then a late lunch before we were on our way.

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As we were driven to our camper with our luggage, we couldn’t help but snap a parting shot. It looked too perfect.

 

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The question remains, does the Amangiri live up to its hype?  More people told me that the Amangiri was on their “bucket list” than practically any other destination I have been to recently.  I believe the answer is yes.  The setting is truly incomparable, the staff exceedingly friendly and professional, and the facility itself impeccable.  The only minus for me was the food, though granted I have very high expectations.  The meals were fine, but should not be the reason you make the trip.  If you want to enjoy a place that is truly unique and beautiful beyond description, I would add Amangiri to your destination list.

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