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
Our group is crossing the Via Feretta metal bridge one-by-one. The thin metal aerial bridge spanning 200 feet is the longest of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere.
I treasure the fun 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 doubted I could continue. However, determination and my desire to conquer the mountain pushed me forward– and I ultimately made it to the top, albeit the last one. 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 descend by crossing a thin metal aerial bridge spanning 200 feet, to return to the other side of the mountain. Once we arrived at the base, our hearts were full of pride and accomplishment. It was a truly memorable journey, one filled with challenges, but ultimately rewarded with the unmatched beauty of nature.
On another day, we embarked on a mesmerizing horseback ride through the enchanting 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 delighted in a picturesque hike at Buckskin Gulch, where we were embraced by the surrounding 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 resplendent red rocks. Words cannot fully capture the dazzling scenery before our eyes.
The restaurant is inside the Pavilion, the heart of the resort where guests check in. You’ll pass a library, a sitting lounge with a roaring fireplace and just beyond is the restaurant with expansive window views of the unspoiled desert on one side; on the other is the iconic Entrada sandstone pool, my favorite spot to enjoy the resort’s famous cast iron pancakes. Food is locally sourced, seasonal and pays homage to Native American flavors, think buffalo carpaccio and smoky pima grits. The chefs accommodate any food requests, so don’t be shy to ask. We did, and to our delight, Chef Josh and his team arrived at the Mesa House where we stayed and created a delicious 4-course Southwestern meal paired with wine.
From couple’s massages to hot stone treatments to revive and invigorate, the Amangiri spa combines western therapies with healing traditions of the Navajo, one of such is the Native American Ceremony. Before my 90-minute massage, Nick, the masseur lit dried sage leaves and gently waved them around me for cleansing and to bring good vibes. The treatment included a relaxing scalp massage and reflexology that felt so soothing, especially after rock climbing.
The Amangiri in Utah is a haven for those seeking an authentic experience with nature. Not only does the resort offer fun outdoor adventures, it also provides precious time to reconnect with friends and loved ones.
Room rates: Range from $2,500 + per night, meals included
Four-Bedroom Mesa Home: The concierge team will provide rates, depending on availability.
How to get there: The resort is approximately 25 minutes from Page Municipal Airport (PGA), which is the closest airport serving direct private jet flights.
What to bring: Comfortable sneakers for the many fun outdoor activities. The Amangiri Resort is located in the dessert, so the weather may fluctuate throughout the day. It is best to bring clothing that are easy to layer or remove when the sun heats up.