Summer might be coming to a close—but we’re not ready to say goodbye just yet. In this edition, we’re telling you about our favorite spots for ice cream and gelato in cities around the world. And speaking of seeing the world, what better way to do it than with friends? We’re showcasing a group of friends who’ve been doing it for a decade. And our very own Jonathan Garcia—on this year’s list of Travel Agent magazine’s 30Under30—talks to us about the future of travel and more.
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah, is one of the most awe-inspiring destination hotels I have ever seen or stayed in anywhere in the world. The natural landscape is exquisite, and the resort’s architecture and design blend in perfect harmony.
My boyfriend and I spent an unforgettable summer weekend at this desert dream. I still show off my pictures to anyone who is standing close enough. We flew from Los Angeles to Phoenix, where we boarded a small Great Lakes plane to Page, Arizona. Once we landed, we were met by a car and driver that whisked us to remote Canyon Point where this modern, yet timeless hotel awaited.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a welcome drink and escorted to the check-in area. Everything is built of natural materials – slate, rock and wood, and in each direction, the panoramic views of red rock mountains reminded me what beauty the U.S. has to offer. The Southwest is rugged and yet so peaceful at the same time. A bit of a juxtaposition. And Amangiri is no different.
The 34 luxury rooms and suites are simply stunning. Each has views of the sweeping plateaus and rock formations as far as you can see. The property is tucked into a valley, and it almost appears as if Mother Nature herself built it with forces of wind.
Once we settled in to our mesa-view suite, it was time to experience the restaurant. The service here is impeccable; attentive, yet not hovering. The cuisine is inspired by the Southwest, and food is all local, organic and of the highest quality. As a vegetarian, I often worry if my only options will be plain green salads. This was not at all the case. I got to enjoy delicious pastas, risottos, vegetable dishes, and creative salads. My carnivore boyfriend loved the American buffalo filet mignon..
Our lunch was quiet and romantic. We sat at a table directly facing the mesa, and a sense of calm came over me. Not once during lunch did either of us check our phones for emails. Unfortunately, this is not something that happens often, and I can only thank Amangiri for gifting me with a few days of peace and a true sense of togetherness with my boyfriend and with nature.
The pool is built around an enormous rock that we were told is about 159 million years old. After lunch, we spent a few hours in the hot desert sun, occasionally dipping into the pool to cool off. A server, who was otherwise hidden, popped out from time to time to make sure we had whatever we needed. I could get used to this!
Guests can rent out the house car for four hour stints. I had reserved the car for the following morning more than a month prior. As luck would have it, Amangiri had a delivery that very morning of a brand new BMW i8. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. We hopped in the car and sped off towards Antelope Canyon, which is an absolute must if staying here. It took us less than 30 minutes to arrive, check-in, and board a small tour bus to take us to the mouth of the entrance. I cannot say enough about the canyon’s jaw-dropping beauty. Words wouldn’t do it justice anyway.
For those looking for added adventure, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Horse Shoe Bend, and Monument Valley are all within driving distance. The Hoodoo Trail is one of the many cool hiking trails on the property’s 600 acres.
The rest of the weekend was a blur of amazing food and wine, spa treatments and pool time. No matter which direction we looked, we were met with sweeping landscapes and smiles from the staff.
My biggest tip to clients is don’t forget your camera! It can make even the most mediocre photographers look like they know what they’re doing with the changing colors and dancing rays of desert sun. —Thelma Abhyankar
For your desert dream getaway, contact Thelma at Thelma@firstinservice.com.