Amen/Aman: Soft side of rock hard

by Hilary Nangle on October 31, 2009

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Recession? What recession? Amangroupies take note: The newest in the ultra chic and haute, haute, haute chain of boutique resorts has opened just north of Page, Ariz., and Lake Powell, amidst 600 private, gated acres of rock canyons and plateaus. Like its siblings in the Amanresorts chain, the Amangiri, Sanskrit for peaceful mountain, is tricked out with amenities and facilities that put most high-end resorts to shame.

Aman_AmenroomRooms—uhm, suites—are especially private, yet have a wall of doors that open, without screening (roll-down available), to the outside world, allowing guests to slumber in softness while taking in those rockhard canyon views. Private suite terraces are outfitted with a gas grill, ideal for toasting marshmellows or taking the chill off a cool night. Some have private plunge pools and rooftop terraces, with beds for outdoor snoozing or star gazing.

There’s a 25,000-foot spa with indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, an expansive yoga studio plated with gold, a watsu pool, and a water pavilion with step pool, cold plunge pool, sauna, and steam room, and, well, just about every spa-type hoo-hah you could imagine and then some.

Aman_amen1The main pavilion has an expansive living space with multiple lounging areas, many with fireplaces, (indoors and out), dining areas, wine room, library, and open kitchen. On one side, views take in the expansive canyon lands; on the other, it opens to the pool, walled by a canyon cliff.

The resort’s location provides easy access–and, of course, it offers guided adventures–to Lake Powell, Zion National Park, Grand Staircase/Escalante, the Vermillion Cliffs, Monument Valle, and other sites on the Hopi and Navajo reservations. Its seclusion well off the highway screens it from the summer caravans of RVS and SUVs that pass by on the highway.

Aman_AmenBedDespite all its plusses,  during a walk-through last week, I found it lacking in warmth, both in the guest rooms and overall. On that overcast, rainy day, the outdoor walkways connecting guest suites and pavilions were wet and chilly, necessitating umbrellas or raincoats. On a snowy day, one would want a coat to move between buildings. And the rooms themselves, while chockfull of amenities and accented with gold tones and woodwork, share the minimalist decor that marks the Amanresorts’ properties I’ve previously toured.

But then, I didn’t stay overnight, ’cause, well, if you have to ask…opening rates begin at $600, room only.

All photos: Hilary Nangle

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