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Amangiri

Aman Resorts' alien escape in the Utah desert

by Josh Rubin in Travel on 31 January 2013

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Forget interstellar travel—there's a transcendent resort currently taking bookings here on earth, and it's called Amangiri. Located just over the Arizona border in Canyon Point, UT, the hotel sprawls amongst imposing bluffs with sweeping views of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. While testing out the 2013 Range Rover on a recent trip, we spent our nights in the serene walls and spartan beauty of Amangiri, a place that completely redefines the word "getaway."

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The name translates as "peaceful mountain," and it's not hard to imagine why. As the story goes, Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha made an impromptu helicopter landing on a nearby mesa and spotted the rock formation that the resort now emanates from. He knew he had found the location of his next project, and was able to secure the 600-acre plot following a prolonged negotiation with the government. Construction was carried out with the desert in mind, thus the linear, modern walls blend chromatically into the red rock surroundings.

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It's hard not to love the rippled walls of the adjacent canyons or the turquoise hue of the nearby Lake Powell, and Amangiri really stands out for its integration into the native landscape: the complex's central pool surrounds a jutting rock, and the rear of the building faces out blankly on the open desert. The resort is designed to be as open as possible, and each suite offers a collapsing wall that opens up to immensely impressive vistas.

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Opened in the fall of 2009, Amangiri aims to be an escape to serenity, whether that be into the resort's glassy pools, treatment rooms, yoga studios or floatation pavilion. The surrounding area offers outdoor activities from balloon tours to kayaking, and dozens of trails open up the experience to horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. Don't think there's something there for you? Just spend a few minutes glossing the hotel's 40-page adventure guide and think again.

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Though our days were spent on drives with Range Rover, the evenings were our opportunity to enjoy the resort. The spa is an oasis within an oasis featuring a cave-like steam room and a cedar sauna with a window facing a view of the mountains. The treatment rooms are generously sized and appropriately lit to be as relaxing and warming as possible. The restaurant and lounge are housed in the main building which is one large open hall that is carefully divided in to different spaces by groupings of earthy, but modern furniture. The food is a celebration of local cuisine and ingredients with rustic preparations in an open kitchen. We were thrilled that they even serve green juice during breakfast. Also on-site is a well-curated library and gallery featuring local art and craft, including a selection of Navajo jewelry.

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Starting at $1,050 per night (with a max occupancy of four), a stay at an Amangiri suite doesn't come cheap. That said, the view alone is worth a splurge.

Images by Josh Rubin

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