Looking For Luxury Outdoor Adventures?
Head To Amangiri Resort In Utah
During the pandemic, I was looking for an escape from the city to be close with nature. So, when friends in New York invited me to join them at the Amangiri resort in Utah, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. The remote 600-acre retreat that Forbes magazine called the “Billionaire Enclave in the High Desert” looks like a desert Shangri-La and offers 34 eco-suites in muted tones, blending harmoniously with the rustic mountains. Celebrities like Brad, Leo, the Biebers and Kanye are regulars, though the real star is the stunning natural landscape of the Arizona-Utah borders where the resort is built around 164-million-year-old rock formations.
The allure here is also the personalized back-to-the-wild adventures that allow city slickers to connect with nature. Fees vary for each activity and guests can choose from yoga at sunrise to guided desert and mountain hikes, hot air balloon ride, and horseback riding à la Lonesome Dove style, just like in the movies. Those keen on one-of-a-kind adventures can try rock climbing via ferrata routes with fixed anchors and ropes leading up the 5,000-feet high Studhorse Mesa, the resort’s equivalent of Mount Everest. I’m much more comfortable in 4-inch Prada heels than hiking boots; but being in the desert surrounded by the beautiful canyons and mesas inspired me to do the unthinkable: go rock climbing.
BACK TO NATURE
Before the 3-hour rock climbing expedition, our two affable guides gave us safety instructions, then handed each of us a backpack containing a helmet, body harness, gloves and carabiners clips. My arms and legs fumbled along the rocks to maintain balance during the strenuous climb, where half-way through, I didn’t think I could go further. But the desire to reach the summit channeled my mind to focus on the ascent and ultimately brought me to the top, where red Navajo mountain peaks seem to touch the immense blue skies. The following day, we enjoyed horseback riding across the desert, led by two friendly female wranglers wearing cowboy hats. Our soft chatter and laughter blended with the sounds of horses’ hooves on the dirt road. “I feel like I’m in a Western movie!” a friend declared, as we galloped into the golden sunset. The fun activities continued on the fourth day, when we were ferried on a private boat ride to Lake Powell, where we saw sights that made the area worth visiting, including a freestanding 290-foot Rainbow Bridge arch, striking buttes and hidden canyons. Later that afternoon, two new guides led us on a 3-hour hike at Buckskin Gulch. They told us about the landscapes and rock formations that were carved into shapes by centuries of wind and rain. On each excursion, the Amangiri chefs packed delicious lunch boxes with hot and cold drinks, along with silverware and napkins that the guides brought along for us.