Canyon Calm

Known for the unique and stunning locations of its properties, Amanresorts has built a reputation on creating resorts that leave a lasting impression. Amangiri (Canyon Point, UT), which opened just a year ago, is no exception to that rule. The resort is set in the southwest region of the country, also known as the Four Corners, where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. There, the sparsely populated landscape makes for a dramatic setting with its deep canyons and towering plateaus. It also serves as the ideal venue for the resort’s Aman Spa, a 25,000-square-foot oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Although the spa’s dramatic locale is part of what makes it stand out, it also proved a challenge when it came time to staff the spa. According to spa director Steve Ellis, the closest major town is in Arizona, which made it especially difficult to find Utah-licensed therapists in the area. After hiring a local massage therapist living nearby in Page, AZ, Ellis was eventually able to recruit three independent contractors from St. George, UT, a popular spa destination. Several people in the area also got certified to work at the spa, which now employs three full-time therapists and 10 independent contractors.

In creating the menu, Ellis focused on offering treatments in which he knew his staff would shine. “I am also a therapist, so I wanted to highlight the skills of my therapists,” says Ellis. “Also, the Navajo culture is very prevalent in this area, so I wanted to include treatments that had roots in that way of life.” One of Ellis’s first hires was a young Navajo therapist who helped him understand the culture. As a result, he introduced four Spa Journeys ($300, 2 hours 30 minutes) that incorporate the four elements—earth, wind, fire, and water—as well as other sacred symbols that reflect Navajo healing traditions. Cedar and sage smudging is one borrowed tradition. “The Navajo believe that when you burn cedar and waft it over the body, the smoke then rises and leaves the room, cleansing it of negative energy,” says Ellis.

According to him, the Blue-South-Turquoise-Midday is the most popular Spa Journey. Because it includes a scrub, a wrap, and a facial, it gives guests a taste of everything. The Yellow-West-Gold-Twilight Journey is also popular on account of the extensive footwork it provides and hot stone massage. It concludes with floatation therapy in the Floatation Pavilion, which is also a draw for people looking for something a bit different. “Aside from the landscape, nothing gears up conversation like floatation therapy,” says Ellis.

Aman Spa also features a Water Pavilion, in which a variety of hydrotherapy treatments are available, as well as a Watsu pool, which is built into the rock face. Guests will also find the treatment rooms a study in good design. Each of the five walnut-lined treatment rooms features a foyer, a changing area, a treatment area, a steam room, a bathroom, and an individual music system. Two outdoor pavilions are also available for Traditional Thai Massage ($225, 90 minutes).

While the spa is designed to be an extension of the striking landscape, guests are tempted to explore their surroundings with guided hikes, rock climbing, canyoneering, and more. The spa recently introduced Full Moon Yoga, in which participants hike up a nearby mesa and do yoga under a full moon. According to Ellis, it can be a challenge “capturing” guests with so many activities available on and off property. Luckily, Aman Spa is a destination unto itself worth exploring.


OWNER: Canyon Land Equity


OPENED: October 2009

65% female
35% male

25,000 square feet; 7 treatment rooms

aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, energy work, facials, fitness, guided meditation, hammam, hand
and foot treatments, hydrotherapy, massage, nailcare, outdoor treatments, Pilates, prenatal services, reflexology, sound therapy, waxing, yoga

Spa Journeys ($300, 2 hours 30 minutes)

Spa Journeys ($300, 2 hours 30 minutes)

Aman, Amber Products, Clean + Easy, Essie, Perfect Sense, Zoya

IntelliSpa, Jade Yoga, Living Earth Crafts, Technogym

Rick Joy, Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnett (Phoenix)

Caterina Spiess-Reece, CSR Design (Glen Ellen, CA)