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“Dissappointing for an Aman”
Review of Amangiri

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Amangiri
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Big Water
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 29, 2013

I went to the Amangiri with my family for thanksgiving. This was the second Aman resort that I have stayed at (the Amanyara was the first). Needless to say expectations were high, however I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
For starters a warning on traveling: The only airport close to the resort is in Page AZ, and unfortunately the only airline that flies there is Great Lakes Airline. This airline has to win an award for worst airline. From the time we booked our flight to the time of our trip they changed the time of the flight twice, both times requiring us to change our flights to Phoenix on different airlines. Be warned.
The landscape around the hotel is spectacular. However I think the biggest problem with my stay is that I found the hotel itself to be very unattractive. The entire building was created from poured concrete and has sharp lines, dim lighting and stark unadorned walls. The resort’s bleak, bunker like aesthetic, combined with the surrounding desert landscape left me with the uncanny feeling that I was minutes away from witnessing the tanks of Rommel’s Afrikacorp roll across the desert to launch an assault on the hotel.
The rooms themselves were comfortable, and the mattresses among the best I’ve slept on in a resort. However the furniture in the rooms (and in the dinning room and common spaces) is uncomfortably low to the ground. My biggest complaint about the rooms is the showers. The showers have high ceilings and no doors, which are probably nice features in the summer. However in the fall or winter it means the showers never steam up or get hot, and any part of your body that is not directly under the water is frozen, and after the shower you must complete a mad dash to your towel to dry off and get dressed as quickly as possible.
On the more positive side the staff at the resort are excellent. Everyone is friendly, helpful, and on top of things. Which was good because management seemed to be non existent, aside from a brief appearance at the beginning of our stay operation of the resort appeared to be left to the staff. The food also happens to be very good. However the menu does not change. I feel like this was a mistake, since each meal started the same way, with the waiter going through the list of menu items that the kitchen was out of. The resort would be better served rotating through the menu.
All in all, its not a bad resort, and I’m probably nit picking, but I simply expected better from an Aman.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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22  Thank hmoore89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 22, 2013 via mobile

I've been to several Aman's across the globe and they are all surreal but THIS one is by far the best of the best. The setting is so dramatic that it brings tears to your eyes. The property is stunning with amazing architecture composed of wood, stone, and cement. Activities galore which keep you busy in this desert paradise. Yes it's outrageously expensive at $1,200 for a standard room but WELL worth it!! Do it!!!

Stayed: December 2013
5  Thank GlobalSwagger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2013

I am only giving 3 stars because I feel they charge top dollar and I did not feel that they fully met expectations. Of course I am not saying that this is a 3 star resort but it is charging 6 star prices and falling short.

The was our first experience with Aman. The booking process was diabolical. The response to each email I sent, came from a different person who always started by confirming how excited they were that I was interested in coming to an Aman hotel; however, in their excitement, they failed to read anything in the previous emails so that I ended up being asked for the same information over and over again. Q. how was I travelling to the resort? Answer: by car. Next Q - please could I provide flight details. Answer. we are arriving by car not plane. (no driving direction were ever provided which would have been really helpful). Having confirmed I was travelling with my husband and provided his name for their records, I was then asked again in a subsequent email to provide this information. I made the booking several months in advance and was told that they would charge my credit card 30 days in advance of our stay, but then promptly charged the full amount to my card the next day. Not the high level professional Aman experience I was expecting!

The good things about this resort are (1) the location. It is very relaxing, remote and natural. However, on the first day we arrived there was a large party from California staying, which definitely changed the dynamics of the place. It felt as if they "owned" the place. As we were being shown round, I noted that every single sunbed, in the sun, around the pool was occupied. I wasn't expecting to have to bag a sunbed at a resort like this. However, after this group left the hotel, it was mainly couples and as a result it was much quieter and more peaceful. (2) the food. We had read some slightly disparaging comments about the food before we went but we had no complaints whatsoever. We were very impressed with every meal we had. They could maybe cut down the size of some of their breakfasts. My husband ordered pancakes one morning and had to leave so much. Huge portions!! But breakfast, lunch and dinner were all excellent and cooked to perfection. (3) The pool is beautiful. A stunning focal point. (4) lots of quality snacks, water, soft drinks were complimentary in the room. Though I was really surprised that they had chosen not to put a coffee machine in the rooms, which would have been appreciated. (5) good housekeeping; (6) the guided walk to the cave. We did not do any other treks but we took the morning walk with Laura (?) and she was excellent - very interesting, great fun and knowledgeable & (7) ambience at dinner. The temperature really dropped in the evenings but the dining room areas had good roaring fires. Tables were set far enough apart that you were not encroaching on others conversations yet it felt cosy and intimate. One evening they had a musician playing some beautiful haunting music which was so atmospheric - when we returned to our room a copy of his cd had been left for us at turndown. Lovely touch.


The architecture of the hotel (exterior) is fitting for the landscape but personally I found the concrete interiors drab and more akin to a housing estate than a luxury hotel. Our room was comfortable and spacious. The problem is that the use of beautiful natural materials is not always an ideal choice for a hotel. The stone surrounding our basins was really badly stained by guests who have allowed lotions and potions to drip/spill, so although it was a quality product, the numerous stains/rings impaired the pure beauty of the material. Likewise the stone surrounding our sofa had been stained. It did feel as if we were staying in a "used" room rather than a pristine one.

The major issue we had was with regard to service. It is so amateurish and unprofessional. yes the individual members of staff are all very nice people but they currently lack the high standard of training/experience that should be in place. What also shocked us was the fact that there is no sommelier. We wanted to try some pretty nice wines, which were not inexpensive, and there was no one there who had any input. One girl told us that she was currently undergoing training. On another evening, the young guy had to admit that he hadn't tried very many wines on the list. I genuinely find that unacceptable. There should have been one person who was able to provide some guidance/suggestions about the wines on offer.

So the bottom line is whether this hotel is worth it. Given that their cheapest room rate is around $1400 per night (when you include taxes and service) I cannot honestly say that the service we received was worthy of such a price tag.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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64  Thank dee090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2013

To give some background to how great this place was for us, we had been in the US a week, our accommodation was being cancelled left right and centre owing the budget crisis and we had just stayed in a $80 motel! So my husband decided that we were going upmarket for our next night. We booked only a day in advance and arrived from a pretty stressful drive to utter calm and solitude. The staff who welcomed us in paid no attention to the fact that we looked like we had just stepped out of the desert (you would have been frowned upon in the UK!) we received a welcome drink, a tour of the hotel and spa and then our room, or should I say our suite, wow.
The room overlooked the expanse of scrub and rocks and you literally could not see anyone. We had a small fire place on our patio and we did sit out there in the dark just looking at the stars being warmed by the fire. We ate in the restaurant as there was no alternative as you are in the middle of nowhere. The food was very good with proper fining dining (british sized) portions. The staff were friendly and helpful throughout the stay and there was an astonomy evening which we attended and a hike to a cave the following morning. The breakfast was good and we enjoyed our short stay. I didnt get to take part in the yoga or use the spa, but the pool area was beautiful and we relaxed on the day beds when we arrived. All in all, would definitely go back - 2 or 3 nights would be ideal!
Weather wise, in the sunshine in October it was pretty warm, but chilly at night.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank rachellovelock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013

We greatly enjoyed this place although the weaner wasn't very good. The atmosphere is most relaxing and we were discreetly surrounded by most friendly and helpful staff. Beautiful view form the desert suite fire (ethanol) to warm our feet while sitting outside (end of November!). We loved hiking on resort grounds, Terry's snake/scorpion/tarantula acquaintance, lovely dinners near the hearth, relaxing back treatment, we could have stayed here much longer and will certainly come back for horse riding, yoga, swimming and QUIETUDE!

Room Tip: Desert suite has most amazing view!
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Lanval
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2013

We really enjoyed ourselves, and would recommend a few things before going. First, we arrived November 30th and although the temperature was slated to be 8-10 degrees C every day, it was very humid and felt much colder. The grounds made up for the lack of sun and we enjoyed hiking the various "on site" trails. The grounds are glorious, even in the cold! Our photos are beautiful despite the lack of sun.

Note: I know it seems obvious, but someone should have told us to bring proper hiking boots. Running shoes are not really adequate on all of the rock trails. Also, I brought too many nice, cashmere sweaters. Best to bring rugged sweaters at this time of year and or athletic fleece and a winter coat. The weather forecast was wrong everyday. Always said sun, and the sun was only out twice over the 5 days. Generally people dress up a bit for dinner, women wore nice sweaters, and pants, and the men wore the same. I didn't see any ties, or dinner jackets.

The food was really good, and this is coming from 2 picky New Yorkers who dine out at the best of NYC restaurants. I agree though, way too much salt. I sat at the chef's table (highly recommended) and saw one of the chefs put almost 2 handfuls of salt on every dish. Just ask for less salt. Keep in mind here, EVERYTHING is made on sight. All the breads, chips, salsa, everything is made in-house, even when we ordered a boxed lunch, the beef jerky and dried fruit were house-made- amazing!! If you are into juicing, order the beet, carrot, ginger juice with your breakfast.

The "extra" trips: The Antelope Canyon tour- $650 with Raymond, was really worth the price. I had been there previously in the summer, when it is the best time to go (at noon) when there are beams of light in the slots. Our day was cold and dark, however, Raymond picked us up, took professional quality photos of us, using my Leica camera, which he knew how to work better than I! Yea, its a bit pricey, but what do you expect for hotel pick up, 4 hours of someone's time and the BEST photos ever, despite the dark day? Now, I cannot say the same about the $1000 Grand Canyon "Institute" tour. DO NOT DO!!! NOT WORTH $1000! Ok, so we had to drive ourselves in horrible fog, in the 6 series BMW with performance tires in the snow. Really should have had us take the 4x4, however, we had to pay for gas, and admission to get into the GC. Really? Should this not have been covered in the $1,000 plus tax? When we got there, at 10:30am, this woman named Slim Woodruff assumed we would be done at 1:30pm. We walked about 500 meters to some Kolb theatre and gave us a history lesson (boring), then took us for lunch at a D+ restaurant, which she weirdly took hers and stuffed into a tupperware container, AND tucked away the packed lunch the hotel made for her! I get not wasting food, but again, not what you would expect for $1k. She offered to walk us a little further or go for a hike. She knew I was really frightened of heights and took us to some spot that after the first few steps had to turn around. Not nice! My partner continued. So for $1000, I got a tour of some movie house, a bad lunch and walked about 5 minutes of the GC. We are in the process of complaining to the hotel as the "Institute" only charges $450 for a day long private tour. Not sure how the hotel is scooping $500+ for a government park activity. Anyway, I would suggest if you really want to go to the GC, borrow or rent a car, and walk around by yourself. There are plenty of signs on the site, so no need for a guide. The drive to the GC was frightening in a sports car. Had I known before I left I would have insisted on taking one of the BMW trucks. The snow and fog practically ruined the day. Considering the drive is about 6 hours return, really wasted a day we could have been enjoying the grounds of the Amangiri.

The spa: My massage, and another day, mani pedi, were great. Krista? Or Kristal? She did my mani /pedi then was the yoga instructor the next day. The yoga studio is amazing, heated floor, rocky view, did yoga twice. The yoga class with Krista was one of the best I have ever done.

The rooms: we had the Mesa view, which I recommend because our room was right next to the gym (also top notch) and spa. I would not have enjoyed walking form the other area of the hotel (desert suites) in my robe in the freezing cold, so glad we booked the Mesa suite. The room itself was true to the architecture of the hotel, cement, but cozy and warm and had an amazing view of the mesas outside. The room was very clean and not really a need to lock the door.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation. The Amangiri is a great place to relax, forget about all the stresses in life and let the staff take care of you. No pressure to shop, find cabs for dinner, make reservations, everything is done for you. Last year we spent Thanksgiving in St Bart's. It was almost double the price and had way more "issues" with the hotel than the Amangiri. Also, it is kind of nice to NOT have anywhere to go. The staff were super friendly and kind and yes they made a tiny mistake or two, but that is normal when you stay at a place for 5 days. They have no attitude and make you feel warm and welcome. The Amangiri is a great place for those who want an "active" vacation. After eating a delicious meal, there are many miles of beautiful trails to walk and burn off your lunch. The pool and gym were also amazing. I will go back, but in the warmer weather. We were advised September/October is the best time to go.

Apparently there were only about 60 guests when were were there. I believe 90 or so is capacity. We saw people but were not in each other's faces as the grounds are spacious and there is a lot to do.

Highly recommend!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank C N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2013

I went with my girlfriend for an indulgent, pampering, relaxing and adventurous five days away in nature (with the comforts of an Aman). My girlfriend had been to Amangiri before, and couldn't wait to go back. This was my first time at Amangiri, but had been to Amangani (Wyoming) several years ago, which was life changing! We are both well traveled and have experienced many beautiful locations and resorts.

Amangiri is on the top of our lists for multiple reasons. First, the location is superb and unparalled. The landscape is truly stunning. The natural beauty is out of this world! I was recently in Alaska, and I equate the vastness, the awesomeness, the natural wonder to the awe I felt in Alaska (of course, in a totally different way). I always thought the desert is my least favorite environment, but the location of Amangiri has changed my view forever.

Like many Amans (as I understand it), the architecture is beautiful. But it's not only beautiful, it is totally respectful of the natural environment in which is resides. The choice of colors, materials are consistent with the landscape, and complement it perfectly. The use of indoor/outdoor space is unique and truly lovely. You never even have to leave the premises to get the sense for the nature surrounding the resort. Just look at the pictures, and it gives you a sense.

The other amazing quality of the resort is that the land all around it is absolutely stunning. You can take one of many hikes, including a beautiful slot canyon of its own, a cave, and a trail around a beautiful mountain. There are many others which we didn't even take advantage of. The choices are bountiful. Also, the trails are beautifully done - marked with stacked stone, for example, keeping in line with the Aman respect for its natural surroundings.

That said, we did leave the resort a couple times - once to tour Antelope Slot Canyon an the other to Horseshoe Bend. Both were beautiful and worth doing/seeing, but it reminded me that there are other people in the area (we got used to staying at the resort property where you don't see another soul while walking/hiking!). We also appreciated the ease and flexibility of borrowing one of Amangiri's BMWs. They have a fleet (most in a metallic golden brown color, also keeping in the theme of the environment). We took the 650i for our drives, which was lovely.

One of the things we love about Amangiri is its understated luxury. It couldn't be more high end, but you can be comfortable walking around in Patagonia/North Face type clothes the entire time. The staff is also local, casual and authentically friendly. This feels totally right to me. I'm not in the middle of nature to feel pressure to pack, dress up or be all frou-frou. I do enough of that in my every day life in LA, NY, etc. And I don't need the staff to be all uptight. I love that they too are casual, friendly, and chat with you like a person. The walls are down in a respectful, lovely, warm way.

That said, the staff is there for your every need. Every whim was met with a smile and without hesitation. My girlfriend and I could be high maintenance (in our lovely way of course ;-)). As a vegan, I have various dietary restrictions. My girlfriend has the spiciest palette on the planet. At every meal, the kitchen whipped up something special for each of us. We rarely even ordered the menu. For my girlfriend, they would bring multiple types of chopped chilis (e.g., habaneros, Thai, ghost chilis). One time, I asked for some delicious chili corn muffins they had a couple nights before and my girlfriend wanted croissants. They didn't have either, but baked them fresh, just for us. On check out, I asked for a turndown gift from the first night (we missed turndown service that night). It was a pretty dreamcatcher. My girlfriend was like, "Ooh! My kids would like that - can we get six more?" Without hesitation, we had six more dreamcatchers in 90 seconds!

Back to the food: We loved the food, the menu. We often go to resorts where you're held captive to the resort food and usually tire of it after the first couple days. Not at Amangiri! We loved the food the entire time. Not just because of the kitchen's flexibility, but we enjoyed the menu through out the day. Breakfast was delicious (huevos rancheros, yum) and diverse, lunch also had a range of choices, and dinner was lovely and more sophisticated (of course, they would make a burger if you wanted too). The highlight was the special chef's dinner we had (a benefit of the Amex Centurion card). We met Chef Shon the night before, and discussed what we like. The next night, he made a special meal just for us. He served and explained every course himself. What a treat! The meal was absolutely delicious and beautiful. At the end of the meal, he came back out and chatted with us. We discovered that Chef Shon is not only talented, but incredibly intellectually curious, philosophical, and articulate. He takes his craft very seriously, and is continuously looking to learn, grow and improve. He mentors and coaches his staff. I was truly moved and inspired (it reminded me of Jiro Dreams of Sushi - great movie, BTW, on the lessons of seeking excellence). Chef Shon really pursues excellence in his own way. After meeting him, I realized that it's not only his technical skill as a chef, but his philosophical approach and the love he puts into the process that makes the food special. We were really honored to have a special meal and understanding of the process like that.

The spa is also beautiful. It looks mysterious and feels peaceful. Just lovely. The staff there is as nice as everywhere else. Really wonderful.

Lastly, we met the General Manager, Nicholas. We first met Nicholas because he offered to drive us to the trailhead of our first hike. He was super friendly, also has an interesting background. When we saw the new teepees on property (can't wait to stay there in the summer! viva glamping), he drove us to them and we walked around. It was nice of him to take the time! Since that first meeting, we saw him every day and chatted in a personal, fun and friendly way. I love hearing about how different people live, and I'm fascinated that he's out here in such a beautiful, but remote place (he's originally from the UK). I really love this kind of interaction you can have at an Aman. Makes for a unique and special experience.

Lastly, we enjoyed the daily activities they have. Completely optional, of course, but nice to have access to. One evening, we met a wildlife expert who brought rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, and a whole assortment of other snakes (including a very large boa constrictor). We got to hold them and snuggle with the reptiles (what the heck, you only live once). Another night, telescopes were set up for stargazing with a local guide. All good fun, and educational too.

In a nutshell, I can't recommend Amangiri more highly. I travel all the time for work in major cities around the world and stay at top, large hotels. For me, the Amans/Amangiri is a treat because it's a class above the rest. It's truly understated luxury. So, leave your uptightness, suits, and impatience at home, and come to Amangiri for beautiful nature, relax, and indulge yourself in casual luxury with friendly service where your every desire will be met (or, they'll at least try darn hard!). I can't wait to go back - and will, very soon!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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8  Thank MunchieTraveler
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: $1,628 - $3,654 (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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