Here’s the thing… Thomas and I don’t do traditional gifts when it comes to the holidays / birthdays. Instead we like to plan a trip! Somewhere fun, adventurous and photo worthy! I’ve been wanting to do Amangiri + Antelope Canyon for a while now, so this past holiday season that’s what we opted for!
Earlier this spring we cashed in on our trip and headed out to the Southern Utah / Northern Arizona area for some epic hiking / luxury hotel vibes / spa life and food. It was glamorous, magical and definitely a bucket list item! Some how (even though I grew up in Arizona) I never made it up to Antelope Canyon. We’ve done other canyons around the area like Bryce and Zion, but never Antelope Canyon and after seeing it for the past few years all over my social media, I had had enough FOMO and decided to go!
First things first – no this post isn’t sponsored in any way. Amangiri is expensive and we saved up all our pennies to splurge on this trip! Was it worth it – 10000%. Was it magical – 20000%. Did I cry when we had to leave… obviously. Would I go back tomorrow, yes, especially if someone wanted to treat me to a week long vacation on their credit card! But in all honestly, we spent 3 nights in the desert and it was perfect. Totally peaceful, no noise, no TV’s, almost no cell phone time, incredible sunsets… you get it. We played board games (I lost at scrabble every night), spent time in/around the pool, visited the spa on the regular, and drank ALL THE WINE and margaritas.
Second – let’s talk about the food! I’ll be honest… I wasn’t expecting much. I don’t know why but I just wasn’t. And guess what… I was very wrong. The food was incredible. And included. In fact, all the food + non alcoholic beverages are included at all Aman properties, that’s just how it works. Booze, spa appointments and excursions are separate but everything else is included. We met a handful of different chefs while we were there, all incredibly nice. And spent one of our evenings at the chef’s table IN THE KITCHEN! Truly one of the most memorable meals. No menus, just them cooking for us based on whatever they thought we’d enjoy. 2 of the recipes were so incredible I’ve put the WGC spin on them and stashed them away from my next cookbook!!
Third – when it comes to excursions the hotel offers plenty of them! Their Via Ferratas (basically very easy rock climbing + a walk across a suspension bridge) is 100% worth it! But otherwise I planned all the excursions on my own! Less expensive and to be totally honest, I didn’t want to leave the hotel while we were there. We did excursions coming in and going out. The rest of the time was spent relaxing and soaking up the property! One thing you CANNOT miss is Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. And if you’ve never done Bryce and Zion – that’s worth a little extension too!
Antelope Canyon is busy and you have to go with a guide. Let’s just get that out of the way up front. While there are multiple tour companies you can book with – we went with this one and did the Upper Canyon tour. We skipped the photography tour because I didn’t want to shlep the tripods on our vacation and the photos are still insane! Here are a few tips. 1: do the morning tour – we did 10:00 and the light was perfect. 2: try to go in off season, Feb + March are less busy. 3: be the FIRST person in your group. I basically led the way through the canyon and didn’t have any issues with other random humans in my pics!
Horseshoe Bend on the other hand is easy to do on your own. No guide needed. Go mid-day because you won’t get any wonky shadows in your pics! It’s easy to do in 30 minutes, we hit it up on our way out of town and ate our packed lunches from the hotel at the lookout point.
And lastly – just look at this property. It’s a dream. If you get the chance to go to Amangiri, or any of the Aman properties for that matter, JUMP! Next on my list is Aman-i-khas to see the tigers!
I am so excited you are making one of my recipes and I would love to see how it turns out. Make sure to share it on instagram and tag me @whatsgabycookin so I can see your masterpiece!