Camp Sarika has just opened in Canyon Point, in the American state of Utah: ten ‘glamping tents’ in the middle of nowhere. Immediately the most ‘social distancing-proof’ luxury resort in America.
The opening of Camp Sarika, the latest and toughest creation from Amangiri, that super-luxurious desert resort in southern Utah, was eagerly awaited throughout the year. There are barely ten pavilions – no real ‘tents’ – spread over 243 acres of barren canyon land, ideal for a vacation where social distancing rules are a breeze.
Okay, we won’t be traveling to the US right away for the next few weeks. But since this new camp is already fully booked until the end of this year, it might not hurt to book now for 2021, or later?
Due to the pandemic, Camp Sarika could of course not be festively opened as planned, in April 2020. That did not happen until July, of course according to the current Covid protocols. Even today, staff wear masks everywhere – from the drivers to the therapists at the spa. Each guest’s temperature is measured at the entrance, and the decontamination procedures are so strict that they immediately instill confidence.
It is difficult to say what attracts Camp Sarika to the public. After all, most of them have completely withdrawn to their well-protected lodge.
But don’t gamble to know that this resort will attract the Silicon Valley wonder boys, or mega celebrities like Kylie Jenner or Justin Bieber, who are already familiar faces in Amangiri. But also tycoons from all over the world, who are looking for privacy.
Most arrive from Las Vegas, Phoenix or Los Angeles, after an enchanting road trip along the Grand Circle, or a little faster on a private jet that lands at a small airport in neighboring Arizona, 25 minutes from Camp Sarika.
Designers Luxury Frontiers
The reception and restaurant – where Chef Oren Currier runs a phenomenal grill kitchen – are just about the only places in this resort where you will find a sign of other human life. They are built in concrete and steel and have a minimalist design. There is also a large heated outdoor pool with loungers and two spa treatment rooms overlooking an imposing ocher-striped mountain wall.
To describe the one- and two-bedroom pavilions of Camp Sarika as ‘glamping tents’ is a bit too short. Under each canvas roof, made from recycled plastic bottles and able to withstand the weight of twelve tons of snow, is an interior space with concrete walls. And because you have to be able to stay here all year round, every pavilion has air conditioning – this is Utah.
The lodges were furnished by Designers Luxury Frontiers, which has offices in San Francisco and Johannesburg. They placed them more than a hundred meters apart, and connected them via a winding path that is unpaved, but can be driven on with a golf cart.
Some glamping tents overlook the table mountains that line the resort, but the best views are from the pavilions that beckon to the ever-expanding desert landscape, and the Grand Staircase.
Escalante National Monument, one of the attractions in Utah.
This resort targets Silicon Valley wonder boys or megacelebrities like Kylie Jenner or Justin Bieber.
The interior is understated and has an industrial feel, with those white canvas-covered walls and walnut furniture with leather trim. The glass doors at the front of the bed immediately draw your attention.
Above all, they offer a fantastic way to switch from night to day: wake up to your own private view of the majestic canyon landscape, and the occasional desert rabbit, especially daring to come by at sunrise.
The term ‘sarika’ is Sanskrit for ‘open space’ and ‘air’. Quite appropriate, you notice as soon as you venture onto your patio. In front of the private pool is a telescope, a little further there is a fireplace.
But above all, there is that view of that vast wilderness that cannot be caught in any sign of civilization. The only one who might have seen me dive naked into my pool was a lone coyote who seemed to be looking far away in vain for some shade.
If you are a guest at Camp Sarika, you will also enjoy the facilities of the nearby Amangiri resort. It is barely a five-minute drive with one of Amangiri’s SUVs. A drive that is worthwhile: the swimming pool there is surrounded by a steep table mountain of sandstone that is 165 million years old, and is often seen on the Instagram accounts of celebrities.
By the way, both vacation spots offer their guests the opportunity to explore the entire resort area, with hiking trails almost everywhere. The most difficult hiking trip is the Via Ferrata, where you climb hundreds of meters of rock face (with cables and sports), on a table mountain that you reach via a real spider web of suspension bridges high above the canyon.
After this trip your legs may feel spongy, so deep in your fibers fear creeps. But at the same time you involuntarily think: what an experience!
And yet, no matter how far the search is for a sign of life: Camp Sarika is not at all as isolated as it seems. Just under half an hour’s drive takes you to some of the most beautiful sights in the American West, such as the Horseshoe Bend that forces the Colorado River into a sharp twirl, or Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell, all natural sites that are wildly popular with tourists, day trippers or adventurous campers.
Camp Sarika is the ideal stopping point after a road trip from Las Vegas, Phoenix or Los Angeles.
Of course you could ask yourself the question: if you stay in your self-erected tent, doesn’t the starry sky over Utah put on an equally beautiful spectacle?
Of course that is the case, but it does something to a human being, that unbridled luxury in which you can wallow yourself while admiring the desert landscape, which is nowhere as breathtaking as here.