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“Gorgeous Without Service to Match”
Review of Amangiri

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Amangiri
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Big Water
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 8, 2012

A place like this ought to be held to a high standard, and Amangiri doesn’t quite live up. The design is beautiful and the cement structures blend in with the surrounding mesas and plateaus. But for what you're paying, the service isn't quite up to par.
When you arrive, you're surrounded by a bunch of overzealous helpers. You meet about 5 people with whom you'll never interact again, and exchange the same pleasantries. They talk about the property too much, and the vibe seems more like they’re trying to sell you a time-share than the hands-off, less-is-more, relaxed welcome you’d want.
When we arrived, our room wasn't ready. They didn't offer an apology, and didn't come to our table at lunch, as promised, to tell us when it was ready. While we had arrived early (1PM), we had been in e-mail contact with the front desk that day, letting them know our arrival time, which should have been ample time for them to prepare. A better run hotel would have had the rooms ready. The tour of the property seemed artificially elongated, and the Amangiri welcomer who ran the tour only divulged that our room wasn’t ready once he absolutely had to. Why be disingenuous?
Breakfast is great, lunch is good, and dinner is overly pretentious. At lunch, the staff cleared some peoples’ plates before others were finished – oddly rude for a five-star resort. The dinner staff was better, and waited until all were finished. The waiters were friendly, but a little too robotically servile. The “wagyu burger” was nothing to write home about, but wasn’t bad either. Many of the things on the forced five-course tasting menu simply weren’t that tasty, and I would have preferred to have at least had the option of a normal menu.
When my nephew went into the gift shop to purchase a swimsuit, they had only a $160 one. When he said he’d have to talk to his father about purchasing it, the staff-member suggested he could just charge it to our room right away. To my nephew’s credit, he didn’t do so, but what a shady sell on Amangiri’s part.
The rooms are gorgeous, the views spectacular, and the beds are probably the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced. These rooms are obviously geared to couples, but since I was there with my father, brother, and nephew, I would have preferred the shower to have had a door. Sacrificing a shower door for the sake of minimalism is a bit too far.
In sum, the resort is so utterly gorgeous that I’d consider going back, but the service isn’t up to par with a five-star hotel in Europe or Asia.

We did two activities while at the resort:

Studhorse Via Ferrata:
Weeks before coming to Amangiri, we asked what would be a good climb for beginners to do while on the property. The hotel suggested the Studhorse Via Ferrata. When we got to Amangiri, however, it was another story. Multiple staff members (including the subcontracted guide acting on behalf of the staff) unsubtly tries to steer us away from Studhorse to a much simpler, less interesting hike, clearly deciding that Studhorse was not ideal for beginners. We were put in the annoying position of having to convince the hotel to allow us the very climb that they had encouraged us to do in our e-mail correspondence.
We asked for some sunblock at the front-desk, and waited as they frantically tried to open pretentious silver bottles. When they finally did open them, and we lathered up our faces, we found that it had been body-lotion and not sunblock. They offered no apology, gave a sort of “whoops” smile, and tried to give us tissues (which would have been worthless) instead of towels to wipe it off. After all that, we had to prompt them again to give us sunblock once we had cleaned our faces off.
Once we were finally on our hike, the guide, Melanie, was fantastic. She taught us newbies how to get proper footholds, climb up slick-rock, and do our first via ferrata. She was friendly, knowledgeable, and way overqualified for her job. It was probably the highlight of our entire trip. Once down, she told us that Studhorse was essentially the most difficult climb on the property. One wonders why the Amangiri staff didn’t seem to know that when we e-mailed them. That said, the climb is worth it, and rewards you with a beautiful view of Lake Powell and the Amangiri property. If we ever considered returning to Amangiri, it would be in part because Melanie was such a great guide.

Slot Canyon Hummer Adventure Tour:
There’s no way around this: it’s a massive rip-off. Amangiri subcontracts this out to Slot Canyon Hummer Adventures in Page, AZ and doubles the price, adding only hotel pick-up and drop-off. The so-called off-roading amounts to a couple of unnecessary, minor rides up the side of dunes, and one impressive ride up some rock at the end. You’re not actually off-roading to get somewhere, you’re off-roading parallel with a perfectly good, unpaved road. The whole exercise feels like a false, saccharine version of off-roading for those who don’t actually want to do it. The slot canyon is beautiful, and the only way to get there is booking a tour through this company. But it’s just not worth the cost. If you desperately must see this slot canyon (and again, it is beautiful), I’d suggest you book with the Hummer Adventure people directly and drive to meet the Hummer in Page, AZ. You’d save about half your money that way. That said, the guide wasn’t anything special, and couldn’t answer many questions, so you probably ought to forgo this tour altogether.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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16  Thank John K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 7, 2012

We stayed only one night at Amangiri as they were solidly booked during our available time so we were not able to fully appreciate all they offer, but the understated and elegant structure itself was worth the very high nightly rate. This resort is literally in the middle of nowhere -- the only sounds we heard were sounds of the desert, the extraordinary views from our patio were of the stark mountains and desert. There was nothing man-made within our view save the resort itself, it is an oasis in every sense of the word.

The rooms are spacious and quietly beautiful but trending toward design for design's sake and not for comfort, for example a chair that was stunning but too low and hard to be comfortable. The bathroom is huge and exquisite but lacks a towel bar -- where does one hang a damp towel between uses? Details aside, anyone who loves contemporary design would appreciate being part of this hotel even for one night. Our favorite feature was the doors to our patio that opened completely so that even when inside we felt as though we were part of the desert. A tiny little alcohol fireplace on the patio allowed us to finish our bottle of wine from dinner while watching the star-filled sky without any light pollution from civilization. (Amangiri uses large candles outdoors to minimize their night sky pollution.)

My husband loved the pool built around an enormous rock formation, I loved lounging beside the pool with my book. He had a fabulous massage while I enjoyed a long and relaxing bath in our huge bathtub with a lovely view of the desert.

The young and energetic staff is wonderful, friendly and helpful, although slightly less than 5 star professional. We felt this way about the food as well -- well intentioned but not quite up to the standard of a 5+ star resort where one is captive with no outside options. The menu was small with only a few choices, although they were enough for us. Would I be bored if the menu didn't change daily and I was staying a week? Absolutely. Others have commented on being served small portions and I agree, although I find portions elsewhere to be grossly huge.

Our expensive night was worth the price for the Aman experience, and when I win the lottery I will seriously consider returning for a longer stay. But I hope they will have installed a towel bar in the bathroom by that time.

Room Tip: All rooms seemed to be equally lovely, with different but stunning views.
  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank packingprincess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

I should begin this review by admitting that I am indeed and Aman-junkie. I love the ethos, the aesthetic and the execution of the chain. This hotel is no exception, as soon as you take the drive in it feels like another world. I am hard pressed to think of any hotel that has a more spectacular approach drive.

We stayed in a desert view suite which was magnificent. The stark concrete interior blended with the surroundings minimally while maximizing the ridiculous view. It is hard to overstate how wonderful the rooms are.

The pool is unlike any pool you will ever see. If i had to complain at all (and I'm totally nitpicking here) it's kept at 86 F which in the winter is a tad cold.

The spa was also wonderful, it's mostly outdoors so it can get a bit chilly in the winter but strategically placed fireplaces take care of the chill. Again if I chose to nitpick I would say the Hot tub is a little tiny (4 people max.)

Everywhere you look in the resort are spectacular vistas, sunrises, sunsets, midday shadows, star gazing, moonglows etc.

The service is also terrific. Forget your hiking boots? Don't worry they'll deliver a pair to your room. Want to enjoy smores on your patio over the fireplace? Pick up the phone. Free snacks and drinks in the room replenished everyday? Yep!

Now for the food. Well, if you travel to several amans you'll quickly notice the only real downside to these resorts is the food...and Amangiri is true to form. The food (included in our package) is never quite as good as you want it to be. The menu gets a little old if you're staying for more than a couple of days (we stayed a week.) It's very heavy and not a lot of options for the vegetarians. Breakfast and Lunch are better than the dinners. Desserts seem and afterthought and don't change at all. They seem to be pre-prepared and batched so they don't taste that fresh. And the coffee might as well be called tea.

That's where the negatives end.

Amangiri is a hikers paradise. The grounds are beyond beyond. It took an act of congress to make the resort and it was worth it. If you are moderately adventurous I highly recommend the Via-Ferattas which are basically assisted rock climbing hikes. The Studhorse trail in particular was amazing. You hike straight up the rock face and then on the surrounding ridge ending in a couple of slot canyons. Simply amazing. There were only a couple of scary parts but worth the elevated heart rate. There are 4 via ferattas in all now...each more amazing than the next.

You may have guessed, but I really liked Amangiri.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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16  Thank cjthekid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2011

This is one of the most romantic, gorgeous hotels you can visit in the US, especially if you want to experience a view of that landscape which is like no other. We splurged on a room with a plunge pool and in the back was a fireplace and it was just heaven. The hikes, the ropes courses, the spa, the horseback riding... it really feels like a getaway.

Room Tip: Splurge for a room with a plunge pool if you can
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Cindy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2011

Loved it, the architectural design is superb the setting unbeleivable, the walks, the food, the spa, would go back again tomorrow.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank AHuskyLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2011

Beautiful minimalist architecture in a secluded, stunning location.

We took two connecting flights from Phoenix to reach Page. Hired a car and drove to the resort - which was around 20 minutes from the airport. The last few kilometres drive into the resort from the main road are just magical. We stayed for three nights, however, would recommend four.

We Liked:

+ Exclusive location.
+ Dramatic entry experience.
+ Stunning desert environment - that envelops you.
+ Understated, elegant, minimalist design.
+ Large room - beautiful view to the desert landscape.
+ Well designed bathroom - bath with a view.
+ Well designed open wardrobe adjacent to vanities.
+ Large desk with views to the landscape.
+ Great linens - lovely robes.
+ Lovely main lounge area - open fireplaces and stunning views.
+ Chef's counter was fun for dining.
+ Walking around the rocky outcrops of the resort is an experience in itself.
+ Spa was beautifully designed - very pleasant staff.
+ Felt like you had the resort to yourself.
+ Stargazing into the night sky.
+ Sage - aromatic herb referenced throughout property.
+ Friendly staff.

We Disliked

- Not much!
- A coffee machine and tea making facilities would be a nice inclusion.
- F & B and service was hit & miss.
- The exterior methylated spirits fireplace on the terrace was a bit of a fizzle.

We made the mistake of driving down to the Grand Canyon. It was a long drive and really not worth it. Should have visited Lake Powell instead. We preferred the scenery at Amangiri over the Grand Canyon.

Amangiri - stunning destination - highly recommended.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank Elysia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2011

The location is spectacular and so is the range of activities. The helicopter ride is incredible and worth the cost to get an overall view of this extraordinary region. Being in the middle of nowhere they find it hard to attract good staff but the overall quality was fine. The food was a bit variable.

Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
1  Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amangiri

Address: 1 Kayenta Road, Canyon Point, Big Water, UT 84741
Location: United States > Utah > Big Water
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Big Water
Price Range: $1,702 - $3,707 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amangiri (peaceful mountain) is located on 600 acres in Canyon Point, Southern Utah. The resort is tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views towards the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Built around a central swimming pool with spectacular views, the resort blends into its dramatic surrounds of deep canyons and towering plateaus. Amangiri's Aman Spa features a floatation therapy pavilion, a water pavilion with sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool and step pool, a fitness centre and a yoga pavilion. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amangiri Hotel Big Water
Amangiri Utah/Big Water

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