Amangiri resort (Canyon Point, Utah)
To lay eyes upon Amangiri is to doubt its very existence. Is it an illusion, a mirage? This mind-blowing fortress of 34 luxe suites and villas, planted in the middle of the harsh Utah desert, is so otherworldly, it's like the villain's lair in a James Bond movie. Lucky for us, there were no bad guys to be found on our visit, only the most attentive and friendly staff we've ever experienced.
As with any other luxury resort, the main draw for visitors to Amangiri (which means "peaceful mountain" in the local Native American tongue) is to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. That is a feat easily accomplished in this desolate part of the Utah desert, where the nearest town is Page, Arizona, just across the border, 10 miles away. It's so quiet and tranquil that the only noise you'll hear is the wind whistling through the nearby canyon walls (or perhaps the ringing in your ears). Built in 2009, the modern minimalist architecture is made of pure cement that was painstakingly poured seven times to create the perfect color match with the surrounding stone. The stunning heated pool (which steams like a haunted cauldron in winter months) hugs the 160 million-year-old rock formation in the center. We recommend a midnight dip – the sky is so clear and full of stars that you'd think you're swimming inside a planetarium.
Amangiri is also a 25,000-square-foot spa with massage rooms overlooking the desert, an über-relaxing flotation pool (for those who want to relax harder than ever before), and a handful of private hot tubs tucked against the desert slick rock. We didn't opt for treatment and instead strapped on climbing harnesses to try out one of the four on-site Via Ferrata. This Italian invention, which translates to "iron road," is a network of fixed cables and ladders that allow guests to safely climb the steep canyon walls. Once on top of the towering 500-foot plateau, you're treated to views of Lake Powell, Navajo Mountain, and Amangiri. You'll wish you brought your squirrel suit for the express route to the bottom, but climbing down the way you came works as well.
If heights aren't your thing, you can join the daily nature walks, where you'll learn all about the local critters, as well as a history of the Navajo and Hopi tribes who once inhabited this area. We explored a nearby slot canyon and were blown away by the funky rock formations. These bizarre canyons were formed by millions of years of water erosion, and as you wander deeper into the tight canyons, you might that think that you're on an alien planet from 'Star Trek.'
Even though Amangiri is light-years away from the nearest fancy food shop, it somehow manages to find the most mouth-watering ingredients for its exquisite meals, which range from crispy wood-fired pizza to exotic seafood dishes. We ate like kings every night (we felt like kings, too, lined up on the huge community table). And the dining room features floor-to-ceiling windows with vivid desert views that'll make you forget all about the 60-inch plasma back home. The perfect way to finish the evening is to scoot over to one of the many roaring fireplaces and cozy up with a nice Hot Toddy while gazing out at an endless sea of stars. [Suites start from $1,050 per night; amanresorts.com]