Touchdown in Las Vegas! Adam and I gathered our luggage, loaded up the rental car, still a bit groggy from our early morning flight, and headed east. Our destination? Amangiri, a desert resort surrounded by 600 acres of uninhabited land located in Southern Utah roughly 20 minutes from Page, Arizona. As we zoomed along I-15 blasting our tunes the barren desert landscape began to grow with mesas. The farther we drove the larger they grew.
After a little over 4 hours of driving past cows, farms, and windmills we pulled off of US-89 onto Kayenta Road for a relatively short drive. Finally we found the entrance! We buzzed the intercom and the gates opened like we were entering the Emerald City. The 6 min trip down the driveway only fueled our anticipation. There it was, almost like it was carved straight out of the mesa. We were greeted by several staff members and then whisked away on a tour of the entire resort all while sipping on some sage lemonade.
First we toured the lobby and then were taken outside to the pool. Jutting out into the pool was a massive rock from the base of the mesa that Amangiri backs up to. Upon further inspection you see that the concrete of the resort blends seamlessly into the 165 million year old rock. Moving from pool, to spa, to eucalyptus sauna, to sensory deprivation chamber, to massage room, to desert sky lounge the place just got better and better.
The hard angles and straight masculine lines of Amangiri contrasted the soft flowing natural curves of nature yet the two seemed to be intertwined. Every piece of the design was clearly thought out. The way the light changed throughout the day caused different shadows to be cast across the walls.
Although Amangiri sits in a weird area of the country, where daylight savings is sometimes observed, they actually run on Mountain Standard Time. But the longer Adam and I were there the more time seemed to become irrelevant as we would drift between time zones. It was quite an experience as we headed back to our room from the spa. Upon exiting night had fallen, the clouds had cleared, and we were greeted to one of the most spectacular starry skies I’ve ever seen. We both stood frozen taking in the whole picture all while more stars appeared as our eyes adjusted to the dark.
We eventually made our way back to the room to get ready for dinner. Of course we sat outside by the pool under the sky. It was a very lucky night for us because the Perseids meteor shower was happening all under a new moon.
The next morning we inhaled a big breakfast and headed out to meet our cowboy leader, Dell, for a horseback ride of the grounds. During the ride we got very close to the base of the surrounding mesas where you could see just how massive these natural structures are. From the top of the hill we could see all of the land and even out to Lake Powell! Amangiri looked like some futuristic bunker built into the hills.
After our gallop through the mesas we returned to Amangiri for lunch and to pack our bags. From there we embarked with our Navajo guide to explore the famous slot canyons. Our 3 canyon tour took us through Antelope, Rattlesnake, and Owl Canyons. All of them formed from flooding and wind erosion that occurs in the area. They were originally found by a local farmer when some of her cows wandered into the canyons for some shade.
Still in awe at the beauty of the landscape, we returned to Amangiri to gather our bags and head out onto the next adventure; reflecting on all we’d seen.
Although Adam and I only had a little time at Amangiri we packed it full. I would highly recommend spending at least 2 nights there if you can to take full advantage of everything the resort offers. On your drive from or to Vegas there are plenty of beautiful parks to stop off in including Zion National Park. Should you decide to head south from Amangiri then you are only 20 minutes away from Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell Dam, and the slot canyons. 2 hours more will get you to the Grand Canyon Southern section.
Photography and editing by Nick Pierce