Amangiri desert resort near Lake Powell.


There are not many hotels that guests are willing to pay upwards of $2500-per night and travel via non-jet connection to a barren desert landscape where locals talk of transcendental light therapy and a cocktail all but requires a prescription to get. But then again, Amangiri is one of only two US-located Aman resorts to date with an unparalleled architectural pedigree and hush-hush guest list from Beyonce and Gwenyth Paltrow to Angelina Jolie. Flying private into Page, Arizona lessens the stress of flying Great Lakes Aviation and its fleet of small turbo-prop planes that are as punctual as a burgeoning Hollywood starlet. From Page, it's a zippy drive through small town America, past Lake Powell and into a barren desert landscape of jetting rock formations with unpronounceable names and horizons that make even non-believers ponder the divine.

The single most architectural resort in North America, Amangiri is composed of a series of linear, concrete buildings with central pavilion wrapped in glass and swimming pool built around a sculptural outcropping hand-selected by Aman co-founder Adrian Zecha. Common areas bow to desert panoramas almost religiously with low-flung furniture and concrete fireplaces, but in their own spare, omnipotent way are just as majestic. Guests cluster in no more than groups of two or four, whispering as pan-flute music gives way to more modern acoustic tunes by night. Since opening, Amangiri has ditched its planned residential component for now and has opted to go all-inclusive meaning that room prices include dining whilst at the property. But with just one restaurant, we'd have preferred a rotating menu that changes a bit from day to day, or at least from lunch to dinner, especially for guests on longer stays.

We were most impressed with the Aman Spa during our stay, a glamorous 25,000-sqaure foot campus of meditation rooms, steam rooms with saunas and plunge pools wrapped around an outdoor pavilion where the...

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