Inside Camp Sarika in Amangiri – a unique resort town in southern Utah
VSANYON POINT, UTAH – As I climbed a final iron rung to reach the top of a Utah mountain peak, trembling with fear, I saw my suite at Camp Sarika in Amangiri, glowing in the light of the desert sun through the southwest mesa rock formations.
Camp Sarika is an extension of the famous Amangiri resort (at least by those in the know). Camp Sarika is an enclave of luxury tent-like lodges set in the rugged wilderness that offers guests an intimate sanctuary amidst beautiful nature. With all the bells and whistles of a five star luxury resort.
Of course, Amangiri’s utterly scenic terrain and unique setting have dazzled celebrity cameras, putting this resort on the bucket list of many savvy travelers. But it wasn’t until I found myself clinging to the side of a mountain by nothing but a steel cable that I fully understood the magic of the Camp Sarika experience. This existential clarity, of course, came between times of struggling with myself (both physically and mentally) to hold it together.
The appeal of this unexpected destination goes beyond celebrity hype. Instead, it’s about the juxtaposition between the rugged lessons of nature and extravagant luxury.
This is where the Wild West meets extreme indulgence – a winning and unparalleled combination providing guests with the restorative journey that many seek on an unusual vacation.
Amangiri Sarika Solitude Camp
After a day of stimulating outdoor excursions, my trip came full circle as I settled back into the comfort of my 800 square foot tented lodge suite at Camp Sarika. The solace of my private luxury tent set in a captivating rock formation provided much-needed respite to my aching body.
Just a five minute drive or golf cart ride from the full resort of Amangiri, Camp Sarika is breathtaking. In fact, Camp Sarika has always been part of the plan of this complex since its opening. The collection of safari-style lodge suites are intended to provide remote seclusion while maintaining the same Amangiri resort standard.
Amangiri enlisted Luxury Frontiers, who have built some of the best tented suite structures in the world, to help bring Camp Sarika to life. Each of the one- and two-bedroom tents are built nestled into the rocks, with each window and corner framing a different slice of the desert view.
They are both aesthetically pleasing and dynamic tents, but they are also fully enclosed with air conditioning, running water and five-star amenities throughout. Imagine full separate living rooms and spacious bathrooms with indoor/outdoor tubs and showers. There are also expansive patios, plunge pools, outdoor showers, and fire pits to enhance the natural luxury.
At the heart of Camp Sarika is a main building with a dining hall featuring Amangiri’s deep gourmet cuisine. Expect a globally-inspired cuisine menu that showcases local, seasonal ingredients cooked over an open flame for campfire flavor. The breakfast menu brought perhaps the best eggs Benedict I have ever tasted, served on focaccia bread and drizzled with black truffle Hollandaise sauce.
Camp Sarika also includes its own swimming pool and spa treatment rooms among the 600 acres of Amangiri.
Whether soaking up the more immersive solitude of nature at Camp Sarika or basking in the contemporary coolness of Amangiri, guests enjoy the same amenities, dining and wellness offerings.
Yes, you are in a natural country without equal. But you are anything but rude.
The Amangiri experience
The majestic nature and elegance of Amangiri combine in this unparalleled setting. You can do anything to take a helicopter ride to the top of a plateau for a private yoga class to enjoy a decadent day of wellness treatments guided by Navajo natives. Each experience is influenced by the surrounding nature and completely tailor-made. Nothing is forbidden.
Start with a morning fitness class at sunrise, followed by guided hikes through the property’s collection of hiking trails. It’s a great way to get a taste of the earth’s history and geology. Then you can end the afternoon watching authentic Navajo hoop dancers while sipping on a crisp cocktail.
Of course, those who are up for something a little more challenging can hit the rock climbing trails. Led by one of Amangiri’s expert adventure guides.
For thrill seekers willing to take on a riskier challenge like the rock climbing excursion I did, the resort is marked by the Via Ferrata – a railway – a series of steel cables and ladders embedded in the vertices themselves.
The expansive mountainside trail allows climbers to scale otherwise impossible sections of terrain. Like the Cave Peak Staircase, a 120-step peak ladder suspended 500 feet above the ground between two peaks. This is a true adventure with breathtaking views, a once-in-a-lifetime exhilarating and rewarding experience only available to Amangiri customers.
If the wanderlust goes beyond the low-key gates, Amangiri is surrounded by the most concentrated area of national parks in the United States with plenty of natural attractions. The resort can arrange custom tours to Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, and more.
You can also get spa treatments at Camp Sarika or Aman Signature Spa. The focus on nourishing the mind, body and soul is paramount, even down to the Aman skincare line. The holistic menu of healing body treatments includes wellness offerings like sound baths, meditation, and flotation therapy.
The magic of nature
During the rest of my days at Camp Sarika, which were filled with lounging in the wonderful Aman Spa and savoring mouth-watering bites and sweet sips of cabernet, I was delighted by nature at every turn.
Even the works of art that dot the polished concrete walls of the Amangiri resort illustrate the transformative power of this natural land. The resort’s resident artist, Ulrike Arnold, takes pigment from the very rocks under the feet of Camp Sarika hikers to create vibrant masterpieces on canvas. I never realized how many colors can be found in the shimmering rocks until one of Arnold’s breathtaking 20ft canvases caught my eye while I was sipping a signature margarita at the serene Amangiri Desert Lounge.
Amangiri Resort is inspired by the country’s indigenous Navajo tribe who believe that the ridges and colors of canyons and rock formations reflect our own past. The idea is that every stunning color and curve of the mesas is a result of transforming the negative of life into something beautiful.
Now that’s transformative.