Review: What it’s Like to Stay at Aman’s Camp Sarika in Utah

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All over 9 a.m. on a sunny, but windy working day in distant Utah, I identified myself standing on an aerial stairway strung in between two sandstone towers additional than 400 toes over terra firma.

It’s portion of the Cave Peak by way of ferrata (Italian for “iron road”), a collection of metal rungs, ladders, and sky-significant bridges crisscrossing their namesake mountain that guide hikers to the summit. In advance of me, there were being nevertheless about 90 steps—fashioned out of metal pipes spaced 18 inches apart—and the only items blocking a drop have been a climbing harness and some surefootedness. My vertiginous climb was aspect of my itinerary during a 4-day stay at Aman Camp Sarika, a collection of 10 stand-by itself tented pavilions in Canyon Stage, Utah, right upcoming to the border of Arizona. The emphasis of my time there was to explore new ways to join with character in this desert landscape, although at that second I was additional anxious about the relationship amongst my carabiner and the cable that served as a handrail.

The Cave Peak Stairway has 120 steps and is 400 toes higher than the ground.

“Wasn’t that remarkable?” our guide, Christian, questioned minutes later, right after I took my final shaky action on to much more reliable floor. “And seem, from right here, you can see the hotel.”

I adopted his gaze, but for a instant saw practically nothing in the distant landscape but a patchwork quilt of camel-colored sand and shrubby sage established in advance of a commanding mesa with rust and rose-hued striations. Then it appeared: Camp Sarika, a collection of low-slung canvas pavilions that camouflage to their environment. The by using ferrata expertise did indeed get me closer to nature—for substantially of the climb I pretty much hugged the rocky deal with of the mountain—but finding out of my convenience zone was worthy of it to see a practically aerial perspective of the special lodging and the geological Disneyland I’d had arrive to take a look at.

Opened midpandemic in 2020, Camp Sarika is the new tented extension of the iconic house identified as Amangiri, which opened in 2009 to invite people to turn into immersed in some of the United States’ most otherworldly terrains. The likes of Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks have stayed listed here, and it’s so coveted that the significant year (spring by way of tumble) is often booked months in progress. Amangiri and Camp Sarika are 1 piece of the bigger Aman universe, a collection of 34 resorts and resorts in 20 countries—many of which are close to or inside UNESCO-shielded sites—each identified for their unique feeling of location and planet-course provider.

However Camp Sarika’s suites glance like canvas tents from the outdoors, guests aren’t just roughing it. Each just one- or two-bed room dwelling (1,882 and 2,825-square-ft, respectively) is fully enclosed and features a spacious lounge, bar, and dining space. Bogs have deep soaking tubs and both indoor and out of doors showers that deal with pure rock escarpments estimated to be 164 million years previous. I needed to commit all working day on my terrace, which was outfitted with a plunge pool, a telescope, and a cozy firepit space the place each early morning I observed the dawn paint the landscape in shades ranging from indigo to apricot.

A patio with chairs and a plunge pool near a rock formation.

Camp Sarika is an all-climate, 12 months-spherical tented camp.

The house is set within just a secluded canyon adjacent to Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, a 1.87-million-acre swath of protected land masking a great deal of southern Utah. It is an location with rich geological diversity, which include very low-lying desert and coniferous forest. In the 600 acres of the Colorado Plateau in which Camp Sarika and Amangiri reside, there are flat-topped mesas, mountains, rivers, and deserts. Also encompassing the vacation resort are five countrywide parks and the Navajo Country Reservation, the premier Native American reservation in the United States.

The by way of ferratas are managed by Experience Companions, Amangiri’s have in-house guideline service. In addition to screening guests’ mettle on the iron pathways, guides also get friends for hikes into well known nearby shielded websites, including Zion and Bryce Countrywide Parks.

For the reason that Amangiri has deep connections in the location, its team can create bespoke itineraries for guests, ranging from horseback riding in the desert to hot air ballooning above community lands. One particular early morning I ventured out with yet another Amangiri experience-partner Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tour. Our tutorial, Joseph Secody, took me to a trio of pretty much Seussian slot canyons in the Navajo Country. Mainly because Secody is Navajo, we were equipped to go to take a look at slot canyons many others simply cannot. As we hiked, Joseph spelled out how some of the canyons, like Antelope, are regarded as sacred web-sites of worship. He spoke about how all ended up formed in excess of hundreds of years by wind and drinking water, even though standard storytelling gives a various explanation of the wavelike visual appearance of the partitions.

“Those waves, we feel, are people’s issues,” Secody said, introducing that when persons release or overcome their stressors, they manifest as undulations on the walls and, in change, “something wonderful is created.”

My time with Secody was a single of the several strategies Camp Sarika and Amangiri made available me a further comprehending of the region’s millennia-previous cultural traditions. Each individual day, I experienced my selection of actions, which include hoop dancing, storytelling, and flute performances—all led by Navajo practitioners. One afternoon I participated in a aspiration-catcher workshop led by Pearl Seaton. Two other company and I sat about a desk in Camp Sarika’s airy cafe with ground-to-ceiling home windows, every single of us diligently looping a extensive string around a metal hoop to develop a world-wide-web-like look. Seaton explained how the webbing of the dream catchers filters out nightmares and how the different stones and seeds included into the layout help secure you as you snooze.

A plunge pool at night, with a mesa in the background

The all-natural rock escarpments that encompass Camp Sarika that are estimated to be 164 million years old.

Some Navajo traditions obtain their way into Amangiri’s spa, a mainly open-air facility wherever friends can sip greenthread leaf–based Navajo Tea and soak up the desertscape among treatments. Covering 25,000 sq. feet, the spa houses 5 treatment method rooms, two outdoor terraces, a drinking water pavilion with a sauna, a steam home, and a plunge pool. Following a massage that started out with a smudging (impressed by Navajo rituals) and later included oils designed with community wild juniper, I expended a great deal of the afternoon in the heated move pool. Tracing the strains in the close by butte with my eyes and observing swallows flit involving holes in the stone, I felt far more quiet and existing than I experienced in months.

Every night during the turndown company, Camp Sarika’s staff members leaves a various memento to get home: a sensory reminder, like a sage candle, or a visual just one, like a pictures reserve of the Southwest, or a cultural souvenir, this sort of as a single of Seaton’s dream catchers. One particular night time, the reward by my bed was a linen bag containing four significant aquamarine marbles. The accompanying notice stated the selection 4 is an significant amount in Navajo society, representing the “four seasons that rhythm a calendar year, 4 existence values that Navajo people today aspire to, four mountains that define Navajo Nation, and the four levels of one’s life.”

These exact marbles have been beforehand made use of in an artwork installation by Maya Lin in Camp Sarika’s lobby—bunches of the glass orbs depicted the close by Lake Powell, a substantial zigzagging artificial reservoir in an or else thirsty land. They now occupy a location on my desk at my household back again in Colorado, a everyday reminder of my chic journey in the American Southwest.