Desert Sojourns – Amangiri

Advance planning and early reservations are essential for this divine desert destination – unless you don’t mind searing summer heat. Spring and late summer are ideal for a visit to one of the most iconic Aman properties; Amangiri is a remote hideaway tucked within the luminous canyons of the American SouthwestThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_4345-1024x768.jpg

Located in a protected valley with sweeping views, the resort offers both adrenaline-fueled adventure and a peaceful retreat. Set in the heart of the Grand Circle, the largest concentration of national parks in the United States, Amangiri is well located for explorations of the region’s rugged beauty. Panoramas stretch across the 810-acre estate. Amangiri’s geometric planes are hued with ocher, yellow and pink to blend with the cliff curve it sits within. Each Suite features a large living area that opens onto a terrace offering views that change color by the hour.

Delicate sensory sounds and visuals: from lighting – candle lanterns illuminating the extended passageways to the rooms, monumental walls with dripping water which alternately cascade into a small pond with a splash or gently onto a row of pebbles – each producing a distinct sound. Dripping, splashing, rippling water in fountains or reflecting pools – water elements are used extensively throughout the intimate resort.

Visuals – design can’t compete with nature, and Aman resorts manage the complimentary juxtaposition of a resort with the environment.  Narrow slots in between 30-foot walls, draw your gaze to the burnt orange and creamy white butte in the distance, the image is reflected off copper edges – clever and stimulating. Slot canyons are abundant in the area and the witty imagery is a whimsical ingenious reference.

Water, lighting, and sound – the afternoon wind adds to the mix: rippling the overhead wind sheets in the halls, the waves in the pool slap the side and cascade down to a hidden seating area. Amangiri is all about becoming one with nature.

View from Bed – Amangiri

LOCATION – In Utah, at the border of the four corners of the Southwest; the dramatic resort is the center of the Grand Circle, surrounded by such iconic attractions as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Staircase, Escalante and Bryce & Zion National Parks – finally a luxury property to use as a base for touring. Although I only left for daily hikes, as the resort landscape is unrivaled and captivating.  Positioned in an arc of enormous stratified rock, Amangiri nuzzles into a natural curve of the sandstone, barely discernible from the horizon. Two wings of suites are nestled into the base of the outcropping; the hues of the cement were modified six times by artist Ulrike Arnold to obtain the most striking resemblance to the surrounding landscape. Ulrike Arnold, whose oversize paintings are hung in the dining room travels the world working with the natural hues of landscape and stone.


Early-morning hot air balloon flights offer high-altitude dawn views

Launching directly from Amangiri, the flight takes in views of Lake Powell, Navajo Mountain, the Vermillion Cliffs and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Unearth fossils at one of the world’s richest paleontology sites

Explore Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with a paleontology interpreter, excavate the Tibbet Spring Bone Bed Quarry and visit nearby fossils and dinosaur tracks.

Lake Powell takes kayakers to extraordinary formations and landscapes

Straddling Arizona and Utah, this 189-mile reservoir boasts dramatic rock formations, deep Navajo history, and some of the most picturesque hiking and kayaking in America. Fringed by slot canyons and lofty mesas, Lake Powell’s more than 3,200km (2,000 miles) of shoreline and secluded bays provide boundless exploration. Straddling Arizona and Utah, this 189-mile reservoir boasts dramatic rock formations, deep Navajo history, and some of the most picturesque hiking and kayaking in America.

A powerboat transports you up-lake to a quiet area that affords access to some of the lake’s most beautiful, serene, and geographically unique pockets. Then what?  Stand-up paddle board along the 1900-mile-long shoreline, kayak on the glassy waters of the inlets, hike along the local sandstone or “slickrock,” and explore some of the lake’s natural caves, “hoodoo” rock towers, and 96 canyons. After a day of extraordinary adventure, we enjoy dinner on-board a luxury houseboat and take in a little stargazing by campfire before bed.

Discover the rich cultural heritage of the Navajo

Experiences range from tours with Navajo guides at slot canyons and Monument Valley to storytelling and ritual dances.

Experience the sweeping desert landscape on a horseback trail

Amangiri’s extensive trails and expert guides offer riding adventures for all levels.

Get up close with Amangiri’s majestic rock formations, courtesy of four via ferrata

Ladder rungs, fixed cables and a guide ensure safe climbing and a dramatic perspective of the valley.

Soak in the scenery, bliss out in the spa or fuel your passion for adventure- in this desert oasis. Highly recommend, Amangiri!

Amangiri Spa

Brekkie Basket- details, details, details!

The Beaumont – The Colony Grill Room

Although I am not necessarily an Art Deco devotee, the fabulous story behind The Beaumont Hotel in London provides enough intrigue to investigate. I am fascinated by the craft of storytelling and the art of incorporating a mythical story into building a posh property.

Favorite Manhattan at The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont

Two of my favorite high school authors were Fitzgerald and Hemingway, who wasn’t enthralled by the duo of writers of stories? Distinctly different, each vividly wrote of their times. Fitzgerald and Hemingway might have been visitors to The Colony Grill Room, had it been a London fixture during their era. I’ve written about various aspects of the hotel and am besotted with the amazing devotion to detail Jeremy King observed in his quest for perfection, matching the fictional backstory for his hotel. The fictional character, Jimmy Beaumont, was an entrepreneur who left New York in the 1920s at the height of prohibition. Wanting to replicate a classy New York style London hotel, he opened an establishment, a speakeasy in Mayfair, London paying tribute to the Art Deco aesthetic of the classic New York hotels and restaurants he loved. The Beaumont Hotel was born.

The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont

The Colony Grill Room, the main restaurant of The Beaumont depicts a lifestyle venerated in sophisticated Grill Rooms that were popular in New York in the 1920’s. Clubby and  masculine, furnished with cozy leather banquettes and miles of gleaming dark wood, the astonishing retro murals by San Francisco artist John Mattos dominate the walls of the restaurant. Honestly, once you enter the hotel, you feel as if you have stepped back into a very bewitching era. Black and white photographs evoking the glamorous 1920’s and 1930’s line the walls. Sports hero’s, fashion icons, celebrities all have a noted position. Lighting is low and glammy, one looks much younger in this cozy enclave!

The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont

The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont

The atmosphere is fun, sophisticated and elegant. Dining wasn’t forgotten, as the menu captures the spirit as well: Signature dishes include lobster à la Russe, New York hot dogs, omelet Arnold Bennett, chicken potpie, red velvet cake and do-it-yourself ice cream sundaes. Shocking to mention, my avocado salad consisting of creamy avocado wedges from Spain, dressed with a shake of Greek Olive Oil and watercress topping were the best avocados I have ever tasted…from a native Californian, this is almost a travesty.  The menu is served all day through dinner. Cocktails and entrees are served with polished professional flair. Bartender appropriately inquires if my Rye Manhattan should be prepared sweet or dry? Attention to detail in each and every aspect at The Beaumont. Am I in a movie?

I adored everything about The Beaumont and loved being transported to an era of chic glamor in The Colony Grill Room.

The Colony Grill Room, an intoxicating concoction of excellent people watching, decadent style, class, fine dining and well crafted libations!