There is something indescribable about Amangiri. Nature and spirituality are connected in this unique and exclusive resort. For me, it’s the most beautiful hotel in the world—a well-thought harmony between ultra minimalism, nature and luxury.
Amangiri means “peaceful mountain,” the hotel is located in Canyon Point, in southern Utah close to the borders of states of Arizona and Utah. Its not easy to get there and its for one reason. You need to be isolated to know what rare luxury is about. The closest city and airport is Page in Arizona, (a 45-minute drive) but we decide to drive four hours and half from Las Vegas to get there. Yes, you should experience it in a lifetime. Leave Las Vegas via Interstate 100, cross the Apple Valley, arrive in the Navajo city Kanab and plunge into a magical moonscape of immense rock formations, mesas and rolling hills.
Developer Christoph Henkel made this project alive. His goal was to build something unique on this preserved holy land and it happenned through a vote of the American Congress. Overlooking starkly beautiful desert scenery and the South-west’s iconic flat-topped mesa rock formations, Amangiri opened in 2009. Designed by Architects Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette and Rick Joy, the resort is an ode to the ancient Navajo culture. Its an extraordinary contemporary interpretation of native Indian architecture. The resort spreads over 600 acres with 34 suites situated in two wings—desert and mesa—which sweep from each side of the resort’s main pavilion. The central building includes private and public dining rooms, a library, an art gallery and a cute little shop.
The poem “Wind and Water and Stone” of Mexican author and Poet Octavio Paz is engraved on a granite stone at the entrance of the main building. Welcome to Amangiri. Each detail takes your imagination to another level. The architects also designed all the interior features, furnishing and lighting. Every element reflects the landscape and the emblematic Native American culture. Navajo music, handcrafted rugs, noise of fireplaces, infinite candles lights, odors of sage mark your memory. While sitting in the Desert lounge in front of the mesa wrapped on a Navajo poncho, I was remembering the book “The Blessing Way” (that I love) written by Tony Hillerman. A perfect description of the beauty and immensity of the Wild West and Navajo tribe.
Experience the Wild.
My first ride in the USA was in the iconic Monument Valley (about 2,5 hours from the resort) – John Wayne’s western movies settings – with my family for my 20th birthday. Riding in the desert of Utah again make Amangiri even more a special place for me. Thank you, Lisa, for these two hours horseback experience, yes you have opted for a uncommon life full of simplicity. We ride through the immense rocks, admire the colors of the desert from red to ocher through the full palette of the beiges on an infinite blue sky. An unforgettable moment where we were galloping in total freedom in such impressive landscape.
The hotel offers daily hikes to give you a taste of hiking on Amangiri’s trail. You can choose to spend time with an adventure guide which offers a one to one personal introduction to the ecology, geology and human history of the area. Two hikes per day are scheduled. You can also decide to hike by yourself and visit the Broken Arrow Cave, an ancient site where 6,000 year old artifacts and petroglyphs were found. The site inspired the creation of “Earth” paintings, masterpieces Ulrike Arnold. The artist created an outdoor studio in front of the cave and made impressive paintings. Spirituality and nature is again connected here.
The spa also aims to reflect the healing traditions of the Navajo through the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. On the right side of the property, the spa is a destination unto itself. The entrance is reminiscent of nearby slot canyons and opens into an intimate reception with fireplaces, candles and Navajo music as well. A spread across 2,322 square meters, the spa pavilions, treatments rooms and terraces provide a serene setting for a delightful relaxation. Before getting a signature desert massage, the therapist begins the treatment by burning white sage and fanning the smoke all over my body with sacred intention. This is the part of the Amangiri spa experience and the Native American ritual that they name smudging. A deep and holistic approach where mind, body and nature again are connected. A wonderful feeling of reclusion and immersion.
While looking at the breathtaking scene from the desert view suite and making grilled marshmallows and s’mores on the private fireplace and intimate terrace, simplicity, serenity and raw surroundings have never been so chic. Dining is also part of the stay. Grandiose views of the desert and the infinite swimming pool built into impressive pink-grey rocks, an open kitchen with a wood fired oven, southwestern-inspired cuisine and tasty fresh seasonal ingredients, you will enjoy a maximum of rare elegance.
Well, I could never stop writing about this inspiring place for a creative mind. For me, Amangiri is a divine and refined sanctuary where minimalism and luxury are part of the relationship between man and nature. CP
Story published in FORBES.com on Feb 14, 2018
Picture credits : Jeremy Spierer
from our blog