[CANYON POINT, ARIZONA] — About 30 minutes outside of Page, Arizona — home of the Lake Powell dam — is the second Aman Resorts property in the United States. Based in Asia, Aman is the best of the best hotel chains on the planet and they’ve been rapidly expanding to dream destinations all over the world, almost always in distant and spectacular locations like this one. Aman Resorts are known for their understated Zen architecture and vibe and this one fits right into that. The location and buildings are the heroes here. The hotel is isolated in its own valley, 600 acres set amid Utah’s most stunning scenery, surrounded by towering canyon walls, with no sign of man for miles. It. Is. Spectacular.
Every detail is perfectly and maniacally thought out. Every nook. Every cranny. Every doorknob. Every light. The architecture alone brings your blood pressure down to barely a murmur. The service style is equally understated and elegant and friendly. From the moment you weave through the canyons to arrive at the entrance, all the staff comes out to greet you on the front steps. From then on, you never have to say your name or room number, sign for anything, etc — they have some sort of system where they recognize you, your preferences from the day before and what your like and don’t like. THAT is the amazing thing that makes this extremely expensive property worth every single dollar.
Now, the setting. Canyons, canyons and dessert. Gentle hues of a beiges, browns, sands and creams abound, inside and out of the resort. All rooms face outward and you have unrestricted views of the nearby canyon walls. Nobody to interrupt your mellow. And at only 40+ rooms, the overall quiet of the place is what makes it hum. I just get relaxed thinking of it. The surrounding canyon lands are also the star at this adventure-based resort. There are numerous hikes on the property and the nearby national parks are there for the exploring. They’ll even charter a helicopter to pick you up on-site and whisk you up to all the world-class national parks like Zion and Bryce. But we barely left the place, there was so much to do and not do.
We went over Christmas of 2013 and it was the perfect antidote to the over-commercialized American Christmas. Ahhhhhhh. I tried to book again this year, but the popularity of the place has really skyrocketed and now this off-season is now peak season. But winter is an ideal time to escape and you can find greater availability outside of the Christmas holiday. The days are warmed with the sun and the nights cool. So being in the desert is palatable. I can’t imagine how hot it must get in the summer. Go here off-peak and you’ll nearly have the place to yourself.
The hotel’s website: http://www.amanresorts.com/amangiri/home.aspx
Google this property and you can see what everyone is talking about. Forbes. Travel & Leisure. Men’s Journal. Conde Nast Traveler, which really nails the pool shot that I couldn’t capture. There are hundreds more. They don’t just have a great PR firm, the site speaks volumes.
You’ve never seen a resort disappear into its surroundings like this one. All purposefully blending into its setting, letting the drama of the landscape speak volumes.
At night, all the sights you’re familiar with during the daytime look completely new, different and dramatic.
Every corner is well-thought out, maximizing the surrounding views and hitting you over the head with beauty.
The light changes the entire scenery by the hour, if not the minute, casting light and shadows like a day-long light show.
Each room faces outward, with unobstructed views of the canyon walls, further making you feel like you have the whole canyon to yourself. From the sun to the moon, you want to sleep with the curtains open.
The coolest thing about the design is the zen one-ness with the surroundings. The insides reflect the outsides and visa versa. Every corner, art directed for your pleasure.
Go to Google Maps and….google it. Check out the dramatic moonscape of the nearby canyons and how far removed you are from civilization. Nothing but you and the Earth.
There are secret surprises around every turn, like how this purpose-built nook reflects the sunset for just a short time of the day. All for your visual pleasure.
As if you hadn’t noticed yet, the pool takes centerstage, with the resort buildings wrapped gently around the imposing canyon walls. Takes your breath away.
The attention to detail is just astounding. At every turn.
This is view from the breakfast room. The mid-winter sun rises late so you can watch it reveal all the layers of colors in the canyon walls. Like a paintbrush illuminating a page before your eyes.
The best part of the hotel is the adventure component. You can arrange for guides to take you on tours that elevate your experience; well-educated peeps that teach you all about the history, the lore, and the geology.
One of the coolest and most decadent benefits included in Amangiri’s rich price: they have a fleet of spanking new BMW X6 SUVs that you can “loan” for exploring on your own. In keeping with “Aman Style”….you don’t have to rent them, sign them out, do a walk-thru or even pay for them. “You want to take the car for a while? Here you go…have fun.” You take it out for a half-day and when you return all they say is “How was your adventure? What’d you see?” You hand them the keys and that’s it. No paperwork. No walk-thrus to check for dings. THAT is what makes Aman different than all other places. It was like having TSA Pre…but with a $60,000 rental car….
Of course, the every-dwindling Lake Powell is right around the corner, there for you to explore.
Every nook….every cranny…designed to surprise you….
You’d think a room made of concrete would be cold, but when you’re in it, everything feels tactile, warm and cozy. More womb-like than parking garage. It messes with your head. And heated floors make you want to just curl up and take a nap.
Even in the peak of winter, the pool beckons you to jump in….
The rooms are plush and spacious and warm. And extremely private. Letting in the sun and moonlight, but not probing eyes.
Most of the Amangiri rooms have their own private outdoor seating area, complete with clean-burning ethanol fire pit, taking the chill off the cool evening air.
The items in the room are not just good looking, but functional things you can use. Thoughtful tools that you wouldn’t think you’d need, or bring.
This was an impossible shot to try to make work…I’m sure more accomplished photographers could figure it out. But even the generously-sized bathtub opens up onto the amazing views.
The wood fires are augmented with real sage, not some pumped in scent, casting a welcoming smell throughout the whole property. From the dining room to the shampoos to the spa.
On Google satellite view, you can see the amazing landscape that surrounds the entire property. Tons to explore….if you even want to leave the resort.
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