Amangiri has graced these pages before — but it returns for good reason. For, whilst we’ve since travelled to other resorts in the Aman family — places where the levels of service and enjoyment are virtually unparalleled — few are as inescapably desirable or feature scenery and architecture as inimitable as Amangiri’s Camp Sarika. It is something exceedingly special, a truly unique retreat that could only exist in Utah, sitting pretty on nine-hundred private acres and surrounded by towering cliffs of rounded Navajo sandstone.
The sign that welcomes you to the site — easily-missed, nondescript, and no more than eight inches square — gives away nothing of the splendour and serenity that awaits. And, as you wind your way through the cliffs, passing formations of stone, the valley may reveal itself but the resort’s structures do not. To say that Amangiri’s architecture is in harmony with the landscape would be an understatement. It is exceptionally well-integrated, with structures of both the main resort and Camp Sarika (a newer, principally tented retreat, and our destination) all but camouflaged, designed to seamlessly blend in with their surroundings and use both natural materials and earthy tones to harmonize with the desert environment. There’s a sense of balance here, one that envelopes you in tranquility and serenity the moment you set foot on site.
Camp Sarika was added to Amangiri in 2020 and enjoys its own main building with reception and restaurant. There’s also a pool and 10 “pavilions,” which may look like desert tents but contain luxurious suites featuring one-, or two-bedroom layouts. Guests are welcome to utilize the spa, restaurant, or pool at the main resort, but this is either a long walk or a short cart ride away (in July’s 110 degree heat, the cart is welcome).
To say Camp Sarika raises “glamping” to new heights would be faint praise. The truth is, with each pavilion boasting a private plunge pool and gas fire pit, these structures are both exceedingly well-appointed and incredibly private (we couldn’t see our neighbours from any vantage point). The tented accommodation provides guests with a true escape into the heart of one of the world’s most rugged natural landscapes but never lets up on luxury or style. And inside, your living quarters exude elegance and refinement; each pavilion a sanctuary of indulgence with plush furnishings and spacious living areas.
But that’s what the Camp Sarika experience is all about: relaxation and rejuvenation. Guests are urged to spend their days unwinding by those private plunge pools or taking in the breathtaking vistas of towering mesas and vast canyons that stretch out in every direction. For those seeking a more active agenda, the camp also offers a range of outdoor activities to help guests connect more dynamically to the landscape. Guided hikes through the surrounding desert provide insight into the region’s unique geology and cultural history, while horseback rides and hot air balloon tours offer a fresh perspective on the awe-inspiring terrain of the area.
During a stay this summer, we had the opportunity to experience Upper Antelope Canyon with a Navajo guide, which yielded several truly memorable moments. To amp up our adrenaline, we also spent several hours tearing a high-speed ATV across the desert. And, thanks to the resort’s fleet of luxury sedans and SUVs, these activities were always seamlessly coordinated.
Dining, too, is a full-board gourmet affair at Camp Sarika, created to cater to even the most discerning palate. The camp’s restaurant showcases a culinary journey into the flavors of the Southwest by using locally sourced ingredients to craft dishes that are at once refined, authentic, and comforting. Guests can savor these exquisite plates against the dramatic backdrop of fiery desert sunsets, and personalised service ensures that every meal will be one to remember.
For those seeking a boost to their well-being, the Aman Spa at Amangiri is a sanctuary of relaxation, providing a variety of therapies that draw on ancient healing traditions and promote both harmony and rejuvenation — including massages, facials, and body treatments incorporating desert ingredients like sandalwood and tree oils.
When the day — whatever it may have held — comes to a close, guests gather around the communal fire pit at Camp Sarika, sharing stories and forging connections. The intimate size of the resort fosters this camaraderie and encourages guests to either form new and meaningful relationships or strengthen existing ones. And, as the darkening sky shrouds the desert in a sea of stars, the camp’s open-air pavilion becomes a hub of nightly entertainment, with stargazing sessions and live music bringing fresh energy to the exclusive setting.
Beyond these experiences and the luxury accommodation, Camp Sarika is set apart by its dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The resort is designed to have as light an ecological footprint as possible, employing innovative technologies and practices (including a ban on single-use plastics, and constant composting) that minimize its impact on the fragile ecosystem. And it’s this commitment to responsible tourism that allows guests to enjoy their natural surroundings in peace, safe in the knowledge that they are contributing to the desert’s preservation for generations to come.
And, though a stay at Camp Sarika is mostly placid, still, and contemplative, it is also a journey — one of enjoyment, relaxation, adventure, and connection with nature and fellow travellers. From the luxurious tented pavilions to the sumptuous spa and dining offerings, every aspect has been thoughtfully curated with guests in mind and promises to provide anyone lucky enough to check into the retreat with an escape from their everyday.