Amangani, located in the foothills of the Grand Tetons and right outside bustling Jackson Hole, evokes the spirit of the Old West and the healing properties of the natural world.
The Mountain Shoshone tribe lived seasonally in the high-elevation areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and art in the lobby pays tribute to its history.
When you enter a resort like Amangani, there is an instant grounding that settles in the soul. You might not be aware of it at first, but as your mind catches up with your body you feel it—a sense of calm, peace, tranquility and, dare we say, belonging. It may be the elemental elegance of redwood, faux fur, cowhide and sandstone at play in the interiors, or how the blues of the new fallen show reflect the sunset and sunrise on a panoramic stage as you enter, but one thing is clear: Amangani lets nature do the talking.
As the last snows of the season cast their spell on Snake River Valley, I arrive from Jackson Hole Airport to the smiling faces of the Amangani staff. They welcome me with a hot cider in hand and direct me to my suite, one of 40 rooms on the property. It is immediately apparent that everyone is genuinely happy here, not just cordial but engaging and personable. The superior suite mirrors the rugged refinement of the lobby, only sourcing the best materials for environs that feel purposeful and carefully curated as to not block the beauty outside our floor-to-ceiling door.
Panoramic views from the top of the lobby staircase capture the beauty of Amangani’s locale.
After resting from my travels, I head back to the lobby and down the grand staircase to meet general manager Stuart Lang for cocktails and conversation. On either side of me as I descend are roaring fireplaces being stoked by the attentive staff. I notice the lobby isn’t buzzing like a normal hotel, but instead little movement stirs as groups of people settle into their spots for the evening. Austere and restrictive luxury is vacant here, and in its place is a sense of self and understanding. The property was constructed in 1998, is privately owned as part of the Aman group of luxury resorts and, just like its name—aman is Sanskrit for “peaceful” and gani is Shoshone for “home”—it feels more like a home lodge than a hotel.
After a bracing gin martini we head to Amangani’s dining experience, The Grill. The menu, curated by chef Manuel Fernandez, features the best of Western culinary traditions and local, sustainable ingredients, adaptable to the seasons. With it being winter I start with chicories, persimmon, gooseberry, butternut, serrani and ricotta salad, then move on to the poached white hake with Jerusalem artichoke, Brussels, shimeji and bacon dashi, finishing the meal with impossible chocolate cake, with vanilla flan, cinnamon, Chantilly and pecan ice cream. No bill arrives at the conclusion of my meal as is custom to the ways of Amangani—it is a place where money, logistics and pretenses need not exist.
The suites at Amangani optimize mountain views with floor-to-ceiling windows and feature crisp, geometric lines, plenty of seating areas and optimal space for relaxation.
I awake the next morning to a full day of skiing planned, a clear mind and dry nostrils—gone is the Southern humidity I am accustomed to, thank goodness. After dressing and dining once again at The Grill—a coffee and the most beautiful and ripe avocado toast I have ever seen—I board the complimentary transport shuttle to Teton Village to meet with Beau, my ski instructor. At the base of the mountain, apart from all else, is the exclusive Amangani ski lounge, complete with the same cowhide and faux fur chairs, safe places to store your belongings, guides and all the refreshments you could need. What they say about the mountain is true: Skiing it is not for the faint of heart, and to enjoy it you need a level of skiing that takes years of grooming—perfect for those who have skied all the international resorts and want a challenge. Just like the staff at Amangani, Beau has the same sense of camaraderie, energy and genuine banter that is so rare in luxury situations. He leads us around the mountain, which is steeper than it is wide, coaching me on ways to improve my ski technique, season after season.
Back at the hotel, the hot tub and heated lap pool are calling my name. Alluring steam rises from the warm spa water and for a moment the picturesque mountains and infinity pool illusion put me in a deeply meditative state. Not only is this the most relaxed my mind and body have felt in almost a year, but my spirit is also at peace in this space, where I once again feel like I belong.
The 115-foot lap pool has the best view in the house and provides a perfect respite after a long day of exploring and adventures in Jackson Hole.
After a restful night’s sleep, I arise to another early start to my day. I meet with Jared right as the sun breaks the mountaintops. He will be taking me on my Amangani Signature Wildlife Tour, an experience that can only be described as the closest thing to an American safari. A mountaineer and outdoorsman, Jared has an answer and more to every question I ask. Never in my life would I have thought I would see a moose in arm’s reach from our BMW X7. Being the end of winter and moving toward spring, it is a time when mule deer and elk migrate to the valley and coyotes, bald eagles and bison are easy to spot. We get lucky, and right as we enter the Antelope Flats at the end of our five-hour tour, full-curl horned rams come stampeding into view on the roadside—the first rams Jared says he has seen all season.
Back at the lodge, I swap my excursion fit for a robe and settle in for a 60-minute massage at the Aman Spa, with dinner at an in-town hot spot, The Kitchen, on my mind. Though my time at Amangani is coming to an end, an impending event that commonly sparks anxiety, I couldn’t be more at peace—which, as present in its name, is all that Amangani is about. Superior suites from $1,100 per night.
Photography by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF AMAN