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.
- 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