One cannot help but feel a sense of exhilarating anticipation as the car creeps up the scenic, winding road to Amangani. Set on top of a butte, about 15 minutes from downtown Jackson,the sweeping views become more and more breathtaking as the ascent continues.
Once past the chaotic home construction and related vehicles near the end of the drive, one is faced with a multitude of choices... where to park? If one has done research before arrival, he or she knows what the building looks like: low, sprawling and sleek, fashioned out of stone and redwood, blending in with the hillside. What one doesn’t know is that the hotel is clustered together with buildings from Spring Creek Ranch and their restaurant, the Granary. It is confusing, because all of the promotional material suggests that the building is solitary. Instead, one arrives to a hodge-podge of buldings and parking areas, perched at the very top of the hill.
My partner and I spent our last night here on a two-week jaunt through Montana and Wyoming in early September. While we had hoped to spend all of our time in Jackson (5 nights) at Amangani, they were competely booked for a corporate event, so we had only one night here. We spent the first 4 nights at another property. All in all, I am happy that it worked out the way it did. With a base room rate of $950 for a deluxe suite, it was worth it for one night- any more nights that that, and I would have felt taken!
We finally figured out where to park and made our way to the front door. The entrance hall is near the top of the building, and the public rooms are tiered below. (If you have stayed in hotels along the Dalmation coast or in Positano, the effect is similar). The most exciting moment of our stay occurred as we entered the lobby and saw the immense view out through the grand center hall- mountains all around! It is reminscent of what happens at “Falling Water,” the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Pennsylvania - - - it is as if you squeeze through the keyhole to then expand into the main living space, with more than enough room to breathe. Nature, in all of her splendor, is right there for you to see through the massive windows.
The approach, the view, the architectural details: these are the reasons to visit Amangani. It is a real treat for the eyes. Service is excellent. The GM has instilled a feeling of welcome, warmth, and friendliness which emanates from all staff. Some have transferred from other Aman properties (Asia), some are local (young hottie transplants, mostly, who look like gussied-up ski bums) and some are working on J-1 visas for the season (cheap labor?). All in all, every person we encountered was genuinely pleasant, helpful, and competent. I still cannot get over how friendly everyone was.
The corner deluxe suite was magnificent. King bed with fireplace, day bed, huge dressing area - more than enough room for two. I understand the regular rooms, which are cheaper, only have a smaller terrace. Our wrap-around terrace could have easily held a cocktail party for 25 guests. Drawback- “Amangani Homes” construction noise nearby ruined any chance for daytime peace and quiet. It’s hard to embrace all of nature’s bounty with the sound of a table saw piercing the air between 8am and 4pm, although the strains of Ranchero music from the construction sites added a little to the atmosphere...
The heated pool and outdoor public spaces were expansive and comfortable. They also have an exercise room and a spa. The 60-minute, $140 massage was below average for me; my partner’s was excellent. Note that they include the therapist’s gratuity in your bill, so check it over before you hand him or her your cash for a tip.
The big problem with Amangani is that you are stuck up there on top of the hill for meals, unless you feel like driving down the butte into town. DO NOT EAT HERE or you will be sorely disappointed. The prices are a bit high and the food is “fake-fancy” mediocre. We cancelled our dinner reservation at the Amangani Grill after our below-average lunch. Navy bean soup and wilted caesar salad, with sliced garlic-stuffed olives strewn all over the top. Nearly broke a few teeth on the croutons.
We walked over to the Granary at Spring Creek Ranch for dinner instead, and that, too, was a distaster. So sad for our last night in Jackson. They were way understaffed, overworked, hassled (our waiter was freaking out). The food was terrible. (Did my USDA Prime NY Strip Steak come out of a portion-controlled plastic pouch with the grill cross-hatchings already embossed on it?) Nevertheless, I was impressed that they gave us a discount because the food came out so late. Thank you, Granary, for showing some class.
Breakfast at Amangani was OK, but nothing to write home about. I had eggs benedict, served atop smoked trout with a chipotle hollandaise sauce, with a nice side of asparagus, a mixed vegetable melange, and very good, crispy Idaho potatoes. For two, it was over $65 with tip (they include 18% service in the bill).
This will give you a picture of what Amangani is all about: the breakfast menu offers entrees from $15 to about $35, but there is a special egg entree on the menu which includes “one ounce of Osetra caviar and sour cream” for $210. Now, who is going to order THAT for breakfast? New money, not old.
All in all, I am happy to have experienced the place. If they improved the food, and included a great breakfast in their rates, like some other places in town, I might even return. Oh- and how about a coffee maker in the room?
Final verdict: One or two nights in a standard room for a splurge and to drink in the view, OK. More than that (and I don’t care how much money you have) you should have your head examined!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.