Acclaimed film director, design enthusiast, globetrotter, Roland Emmerich knows a thing or two about luxury – read last week's interview with him as he describes his yacht-bound adventures through the Mediterranean (jealous, much?).
So, naturally, we begged him to tell us about his 3 Day* stay at the Amangiri, Utah (which happens to be top on our own destination wish list). Here were his impressions:
3 Days*: You recently spent 3 Days* in the Amangiri Hotel in Utah which is known for its cutting edge design and remarkable setting in the Utah desert. What struck you most about the property? Was it as you expected?
RE: Well, I’m a big fan of the Aman resorts. My boat was once run by the Amanpuri resort in Phuket, Thailand so I know how high their quality standards are.
I remember our mutual friend Caroline Seifert telling us about her stay at the Amangiri, this beautiful design hotel in Utah a few years ago.
I recall looking at her pictures, which were stunning and so I decided to visit it one day as well. I must admit, I was expecting a lot but it even surpassed my expectations. That’s mainly due to the setting in Utah’s desert, which is absolutely spectacular.
I spoke with the manager and found out the Aman group was in negotiations for this piece of land for almost 10 years until they finally received the permit to buy and build on it.
I really like how the architecture blends seamlessly into the raw beauty of the Utah desert. They built the whole hotel as a one-story line facing outwards into the desert.
Since every room is facing the same direction you have complete privacy despite the huge panoramic windows. Some of the rooms have private pools and the main pool is beautifully built into the rocks and heated to 30 degrees Celsius (which I love).
It’s very close to Lake Powell so you have a lot of options for activities. If you’re into horseback riding you’ll love it there. The resort owns horse stables on the land and I heard that the trail rides are incredible and well worth it. To be honest, my fiancé and I didn’t do much, but it was nice to know the options were there.
It’s a perfect romantic setting. But like all Aman resorts, it’s pretty pricey. They have an incredible spa, the whole vibe is very relaxing and it is a perfect couples getaway for a long weekend (3 Days*, see!).
3 Days*: That all sounds incredible. How would you describe the design of the hotel?
RE: The Aman Hotels all have a design philosophy that started with a Thai architect who built the first of their hotels, the Amanpuri.
The setting of that hotel on Phuket is also spectacular and the design stayed very true to the local architecture, environment and the style of the region there, just like the Amangiri.
They only use natural materials: in the Amangiri, for example they used local sandstone from the area and figured out how to make the whole complex blend completely into the landscape.
The water features at the Aman hotels are also unique. Part of the philosophy is that water is soothing for the soul and therefore water design has become an integral part of their design at every location. The Amangiri isn’t so much a place where you’d stay for weeks, but it is perfect for a short 3-day getaway to recharge.
3 Days*: What’s next on your bucket list? Any destinations you are dying to see as soon as possible?
RE: I really would like to go on a Safari in Africa for my honeymoon. I’m getting married this summer and would like to take my partner to Kenya and Tanzania. I’ve been on safaris in the Kruger National Park in South Africa and once in Namibia, but Kenya and Tanzania have always been a dream of mine.
Safari to me feels like the definition of adventure and might be one of the last possibilities to see such stunning wildlife in their natural habitat.
I’m not too keen on glamping on safari since I found a number of beautiful lodges around there. One is called the Giraffe Manor outside of Nairobi.
It’s a small hotel built in the style of a Scottish hunting lodge that also serves as a giraffe sanctuary. You pretty much live with giraffes during your stay. They will stick their heads through the windows and might take a bite of your breakfast if you’re not careful.
I’m also researching treehouse hotels where the whole operation is built into a tree, including the restaurant. Another accommodation I found interesting is built like an African village - it probably was one at some point – that has been transformed into a luxury hotel. They built (or left) all of the structures in the same style the local houses are built, mud walls and all.
One similar example is a hotel I visited in the Kruger National Park in South Africa called the Earth Lodge. It blends into the landscape in a way that makes it almost invisible and it is lit almost exclusively with candlelight. (*It’s been described as the most environmentally sensitive lodge in Africa) It’s a bizarre feeling to be staying in this luxurious resort with no or barely any electrical light.
3 Days*: Please take photos and we’ll interview you again after your honeymoon.
RE: Sounds like a plan.