Travel: Take a Trip to Camp Sarika at Amangiri


Hidden in the rust-colored canyons of the Utah desert, just across the Arizona border, sits Amangiri.

One of the most renowned and exclusive all-inclusive resorts in the world, Amangiri is known amongst celebrities and mortals alike for its striking views, stark design elements, and scrumptious cuisine.

But within the grounds of Amangiri, you’ll find a hidden gem: Camp Sarika. This enclave of tented pavilions evokes a rustic, romantic retreat that gives guests a sense of solitude and serenity. Each of Camp Sarika’s 10 canvas-topped pavilions includes a private plunge pool and fireside outdoor seating area, perfect for evening s’mores under the vast, starry sky. Inside, guests can enjoy all of the comforts of a luxury hotel room. An inviting living and dining space—complete with a kitchenette and plenty of amenities—creates a comfortable spot to hang out between activities. The bathroom is a stunning blend of form and function, with sleek modern finishes (and a very fancy toilet), an indoor/ outdoor shower, and a luxurious soaking tub overlooking the desert.

The linens on the king bed, the interiors, and decor of the bedroom are nothing short of luxurious but flip a switch and your curtains will open to reveal the wide expanse of your desert surroundings. It’s a stunning contrast. The pavilions offer one- and two-bedroom accommodations, making them a fabulous family getaway locale or an intimate romantic hideaway. Stays at Camp Sarika include breakfast, lunch, and dinner two guests per room, in-room refreshments, daily scheduled wellness classes, and access to self-guided on-property experiences, plus a personal golf cart for easy access to everything Amangiri has to offer.

At the top of the trail that leads to the pavilions is Camp Sarika’s shared lounge. This gathering spot and watering hole allows guests to mix and mingle over meals or enjoy evening activities like Native American storytelling. Located in the main pavilion, The Restaurant serves a daily changing menu of wilderness-inspired cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fresh Utah-sourced produce and locally raised meats are used to create rustic-but- refined rotisserie and fire-pit dishes that make the perfect menu for dining in the desert—cozy, inviting, and delicious. Dinner is served family style, with perfect portions for everyone in your party. And lunch and breakfast offer up healthy, hearty fare that will sustain for the day’s activities.

Hop in your golf cart (or call for a ride) and head over to the main dining room at Amangiri for an equally delectable culinary experience. With window-lined walls on two sides—one overlooking the sweeping swath of sage-strewn desert between Amangiri and Camp Sarika and one overlooking the stunning resort pool, which surrounds a striking natural rock standing high above the loungers—it’s a stunning place for a meal or even a drink. (The sage mojitos are a memorable option.)

Here, enjoy a Native American-inspired tasting menu. The four-course Spirit of the Journey tasting menu with matched wines pays gastronomic tribute to the five tribes of the region. Dishes change and rotate, but standouts during this trip included the Black Oak Carrot Bisque, Rocky Mountain Elk Tartare, and Cast Iron Gambas “a la pla goong:” wood oven prawns with a delectable roasted chili paste that gives just the right touch of spice. The kitchen’s wood burning oven is famous for its morning cast iron pancake (enjoyed by actor Eugene Levy on the Amangiri episode of his Apple TV travel program, The Reluctant Traveler) but by night it’s the genesis of smoky meats and vegetables, including an ancho chili blackened cedar river beef and a dry aged duroc pork chop.

Activities abound at Camp Sarika and Amangiri. The property is surrounded by thousands of square miles of untouched land just waiting to be explored by foot or by hoof. Guests can make their way through 12 miles of designated trails and take in the stunning views of the area by foot. There are also guided hikes on more challenging terrain. Riding trails are also available on the resort grounds (and beyond them). Saddle up for a guided adventure to the top of a mesa overlooking the Arizona and Utah deserts.

Just a short distance from the resort is Lake Powell. Guests can arrange to enjoy this enormous reservoir by kayak or jet ski or sit back and let someone else take the wheel on a full- or half-day boat tour. UTVs and e-bikes offer even more alternatives for exploring the area. But true thrill-seekers bypass all of that for the resort’s signature activity: The Via Ferrata Challenge and Cave Peak Stairway. Invented by the Italians centuries ago, a via ferrata (or “iron road”) is a series of cables and ladder rungs fixed to the rock face to enable the ascent of steep mountain routes.

The Cave Peak Stairway is 120 steps straight up and sits 400 feet above the ground. Daring guests who take on the climb are rewarded with the most incredible views in the entire resort, spanning as far as the bird’s eye can see. If that’s still not high enough for you, take to the air with a private helicopter tour or hot air balloon ride.

For those who prefer relaxation over an adrenaline rush, the resort has plenty of options. Camp Sarika has its own private pool, just steps from the restaurant. Bask in the desert sun with a drink in hand while surrounded by the striking rock faces of the surrounding cliffs. There are also two spa suites where Campa Sarika guests can partake in a full menu of spa therapies.

Guests can also take full advantage of Amangiri’s Aman Spa, complete with five treatment rooms and two outdoor treatment areas, a steam room and a sauna, Pilates and yoga studio, a flotation pavilion with private relaxation area, a full gym, and an array of massages and beauty treatments.

Aman resorts are known for their ability to tie local culture into their extensive wellness programs, and Amangiri is a perfect example. Here, the surrounding natural elements, as well as the Native American culture, are woven throughout the spa and wellness experiences. Specialized treatments, called journeys, are a soothing way to find inner peace. The Desert Calm journey includes a gentle full-body exfoliation followed by a wrap made from Red Sedona Clay and natural botanicals to draw out toxins and nourish the skin. A scalp massage, hot steam shower, and Rejuvenating Oxygen Facial follow, along with acupressure to bring vitality back to the skin.

Beyond spa treatments, the resort also offers days-long wellness experiences. This month, it’s Journey to Peace: Awakening the mind. For this three-night experience, the desert plays a key role as participants are fully immersed in the untamed wilderness, allowing it to be a part of Geshe La’s lessons in discovering the true nature of mind through addressing the notions of vision, emptiness, and clarity.

Romance abounds here, with accommodations and surroundings that lend themselves to sweet moments at every turn. With its picturesque views, dazzling service, and exquisite cuisine, Camp Sarika and Amangiri are the perfect places to host a wedding, engagement, or honeymoon. Our pick is Raven’s Nest. A short hike or ride from Camp Sarika’s main pavilion, this private venue is nestled within the Entrada sandstone. The intimate space has room for 20 guests for a spectacular seated dinner or can host up to 30 for a standing drinks reception. Or reserve the space for two—it’s the ultimate spot to propose. (In fact, this writer was on property for a celebrity proposal that took place on this very spot.)

With three national parks and the Navajo Nation Reservation in its immediate proximity, Camp Sarika feels like an otherworldly portal into the Old West. Venture off the resort grounds for a day trip to the nearby Slot Canyons. By definition, these natural wonders are long, narrow channels or drainage ways with sheer rock walls that are typically eroded into either sandstone or other sedimentary rock, but they’re so much more. Nothing can prepare the uninitiated for the magic of these mystical passageways with their stunning colors and ancient origins. A local guide will take you through the weaving caverns, sharing stories of their creation and existence and taking the most beautiful souvenir photos you could ever ask for.

First-timers at this luxury desert oasis become lifelong devotees, and travelers all around the world tack the name to the top of their bucket list. It’s rare for a resort to live up to its own hype, but Camp Sarika does that—and surpasses it. Just like the desert surrounding it, Camp Sarika by Amangiri is a magical place that must be seen to be believed.

Share post:



More like this