A Grand Retreat to Amangiri’s Camp SarikaDate: 02/17/2023
The Aman name is known all across the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia – and I was lucky enough to enjoy North America’s very own Amangiri’s Camp Sarika right in the heart of Utah! Join me for this behind-the-scenes look at my visit below:
We all want to become closer to nature, and embrace the calming benefits that a good nature walk can bring. And although I know there are many ways to do this closer to home, my unforgettable trips to Amangiri few years ago has been living in my head ‘rent free’ – and so when the opportunity struck this past January to check out their new property Camp Sarika, I didn’t hesitate for a moment!
About Camp Sarika, by Amangiri
For 5 amazing nights, we (being, myself, my aunt, my mom, and Faro) together enjoyed a deeply luxurious communion with the wild and free-wheeling canyon setting of the camp–which if you don’t know is North America’s FIRST ‘all-weather tented camp’ with 10 one to two bedroom luxury tents set apart from the main hub of the Amangiri resort nearby.
I was supremely thankful to know, too, that it wouldn’t matter if the weather changed from a cool 40 degrees to upwards of 70. According to our tour of the place, the tent-style resort is set to withstand huge ranges in temperature topping 105 degrees Fahrenheit! We would be out in the desert in January, after all.
Luckily, we had incredible weather the whole time we were out there, and since peak season for visiting the resort is in April, we were able to enjoy the deeply peaceful setting without seeing much of anyone else–though I know tons of celebrities frequent the place. We even dared to dip into the quaint, private plunge pool attached to our room the first night we arrived!
Not that we spent much time in our rooms, to be sure. What with the immaculate wilds calling us, and my bucket list of canyons at the ready, we were eager and excited to get out of doors and into the scenic escapes we had heard so much about on our way there. The place is surrounded by three national parks as well as the Navajo Nation Reservation, so there was tons of opportunity to see, learn about, and explore the area.
Arriving at Camp Sarika, January 2023
When we pulled up to Amangiri, I immediately remembered why this is one of my favorite places on earth. I’ve come here a few times with Mom since it opened, and the aura of our previous, awesome stays made the property glow this time around.
On entering, we were greeted with tea and hot towels, and given a quick tour of the property–as well as keys to our own little motorized cart to get around in. Our concierge also made sure to give us great notes on the history of the land. It was exciting to learn more context about local Native American tribes, especially the Navajo peoples. In fact, we quickly learned that Amangiri offers cultural performances, programming, storytelling, and education to guests!
When we got to our tent – even though we were excited about the tokens and treasures offered by the resort, like salts and soaps, Navajo teas, and other artful tokens – none of us could stop ‘ooing’ and ‘awing’ at the incredible blue of the skyline against the stark oranges and tuscan browns of the canyon cliffs right out our door:
The thing about arriving amidst all that beauty is…it sure makes you hungry!
One of my 2023 new year intentions was to go out to new and exciting restaurants and try new and exciting foods, especially after so long without being able to! You can imagine my joy then, at being able to explore the extraordinary culinary offerings known to Amangirl worldwide.
Now, the dining room was open to us whenever we were hungry, but Mom and my Aunt decided to join in on that evening’s set dinner menu.
While we drooled over the options – I took in the view again where you could still see incredible blue sky from where we sat at these wonderful marbled stone tables, the crackling of fireplaces well-lit all around bringing a homely air to the place. As we ate and quietly appreciated the setting, we all talked about doing some star gazing from our room over slowly filling bellies.
As we were served, I would learn that everything we ate was grown or raised locally in Utah, which made for an even more scrumptious, holistic experience unlike anything you can get in Cali. The chef is just incredible, and didn’t mind working around my eating restrictions. Believe me, the set menus are NOT something to pass up if you’re on premises–since the restaurant is indeed open to guests only.
Which isn’t to say our bellies stayed full long…since after each of our incredible breakfasts, lunches, and dinners over our stay, we were already off enjoying the one-of-a-kind natural excursions we had really come for.
Every-time Mom and I visit amangiri, we try to accomplish something a little different. This time around, my goals were all about dragging myself (and my wheelchair…though sometimes it was Mom and Auntie dragging me, haha!) across the incredible canyon landscapes and ‘alleys’ created by stone formations known to the area. First on my list: Upper Antelope Canyon!
Upper Antelope Canyon
Although the entire Antelope Canyon – named for the animals that used to roam there – is accessible to guests so long as you have a guide (it is located on private land within the Navajo nation), we opted to stick to the Upper canyon area since it has ground-level entry and some metal stairs and walkways to help with accessibility.
Of course, it wasn’t always easy and I did get stuck a lot in the sand, but we all (literally) pulled through in good humor, and got some incredible photos to boot! I can’t tell you how strange and awesome it felt to be surrounded by canyon walls that were almost 120 feet high, and completely orange with sandstone:
Altogether, we were able to make it about 30% of the way through Upper Antelope, which is lucky since the most famous parts of the canyon are in that stretch. Breathing hard and ready for another great meal, we couldn’t stop pointing to different features of the rock faces and exclaiming our love and adoration and awe of them! I know that when I’m feeling better, and literally back on my feet, I will come back to see more of the Lower Antelope canyon–which isn’t accessible at all via wheelchair unfortunately.
Thankfully, there are some incredibly scenic opportunities for those who are completely confined to a wheelchair, and I made sure to explore those during this trip as well. For example, Horseshoe Bend is this enormous nature-made sculpture of layered rock, originally cut by the Colorado river into a horseshoe-shaped gully where water still flows to this day.
From the overlook, it was hard for us to imagine that at one time, the river would have been level with where we stood. Seeing endless miles of gulfed canyon behind the bend, I was struck by how much history I was standing on. That’s hundreds of years of water cutting into earth–and the result is as beautiful as it is spectacular. Another well-worth-it vantage that wasn’t so far away from our new ‘home’ base at Camp.
On our last full day, we agreed it would be fun to explore the area from new heights–especially since it isn’t every day you get to go up in a helicopter for an hour and a half!
Departing from Amangiri heli pad after an incredible breakfast, we joined our pilot for what turned into a surprisingly snow-filled adventure! Yes, Mom and I had explored the western side of the Grand Canyon many years ago, but this tour of the northern and southern rims of the Grand Canyon were unlike anything we’d seen before. From the ground we had seen nothing but sandy, orange rock–while from up above we found ourselves soaring over snow-capped canyons spanning miles. The contrast was incredible to behold:
If you have the chance to see the Grand Canyon by air…I would definitely recommend taking it!
Each day had been filled with incredible adventure, glorious food, and the wonderful company of my family–but what would a nature’s getaway be without an incredible spa experience? Certainly our bodies needed some extra relaxation after all our adventuring. I have to say that spa at amangiri is out of this world. There’s so many different treatments available in the most serene setting. All of ladies truly enjoyed few massages by talented therapists at the spa.
Going home, with promises to return!
Overall, this was definitely an amazing trip: my little pod of women needed to reset in a big way, and Camp Sarika offered us a pampered, authentic experience we couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. In just few days I had crossed so many big things off my bucket list. Certainly, it was the healing, regulating, and restorative retreat that I needed, and would recommend anyone partake in where possible!
Now, I know I’ll be going back again, which is why I am asking: have you been to Camp Sarika, or been in the area and think there’s something I need to try?
What was the highlight of your visit?
What was the best spa treatment you received?
I’ll be sure to test out your recommendations my next time out there, so don’t be shy about sharing through Instagram!
Until then, I wish you many nourishing meals and great connections with nature, wherever in the world you are.
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