At Amangani, beneath an immense Wyoming sky where snaggle-toothed peaks punctuate billowy clouds in the nearly touchable distance, I look over the edge of the 35-meter infinity pool to see a herd of mule deer slip-sliding on an extant sheet of ice as if they were skating on a rink. They seem like the children of fellow guests come out to play, and for a storybook minute, I consider asking the mother deer if I can join the fun. But close-up wildlife encounters rarely go well, despite how huggable the animals seem, so I turn back to the long-as-a-river swimming pool, perched on a cliff thousands feet above the Snake River Valley and dive in.
Like a portal to the great outdoors, Amangani facilitates guests’ interaction with the landscape. As a sanctum, the hotel can be enjoyed as a pampering hideout, the sort of place one never leaves after checking in. But Amangani would rather be the oasis you return to after a day of action on the mountain, whether it’s winter skiing or summer horseback riding.
Amangani, the first of the storied Aman group’s North American properties, a veritable flagship of sorts, crowns a hilltop removed from the bustle of both Jackson Hole (the town) and Jackson Hole Ski Resort (aka the Village), the area’s best known ski area. Though merely 10 to 20 minutes from almost any attraction in the region, the hotel feels remote and isolated, as if it were a cabin in the woods—albeit a swanky, tri-level one composed of Oklahoma sandstone and Pacific redwood and sporting 40 suites, a restaurant, and a spa. Deriving sense of place from the terrain and Jackson Hole—a one-time Old West trapper town and downplayed, upscale haven with wooden sidewalks, understated boutiques, and a town square framed by artistic, ever-Instagrammable shed elk arches—Amangani, though contemporary, feels like it belongs in this place, as if it has perched here from the beginning of time. That’s its gift.
Like a portal to the great outdoors, Amangani facilitates guests’ interaction with the landscape. As a sanctum, the hotel can be enjoyed as a pampering hideout, the sort of place one never leaves after checking in. But Amangani would rather be the oasis you return to after a day of action on the mountain, whether it’s winter skiing or summer horseback riding. The hotel’s able, outdoorsy experts guide guests on wildlife safaris, ski jaunts, bicycle tours, dog sledding adventures, river rafting excursions, and more. The long-time general manager, Stuart Lang, even leads a morning hike to the bluff, sharing the secrets of a terrain he’s cherished for decades. Personable, cosseting, uncomplicated in the way resorts rarely manage, Amangani feels more like visiting family than being the guest at a hotel.
Home to three ski resorts and the gateway to both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, which celebrates its 150th birthday this year, the area caters to outdoor enthusiasts with a flair for action. From snowmobiling through house-high winter snow drifts to paragliding above rivers brimming with fish to casting a line with a zen attitude from the shore of a crystalline lake, activity options abound.
Palatially rustic suites with a slightly Asian elegance await. Sunken soaking tubs boast views of the sprawling valley, fireplaces make for cozy evenings, ample terraces invite meditative repose and wildlife spotting, Aman signature amenities scent the room, and seriously comfortable beds lull you to a good night’s sleep.
At Amangani, you can eat or drink anywhere—from the pool deck to your room to a masculine enclave known as The Library. The Grill, the resort’s only bonafide restaurant, also invites with its valley views and sense of belonging. Serving New American fare created from local ingredients, foraged finds, and products from local farms, the restaurant offers exquisite cuisine that manages to be both light and hearty. Resort food so often tends toward the mediocre, but that’s not the case at Amangani, where every bite I ate and every sip I took was swoon-worthy. Try the airy Ōra King salmon in a parmesan nut crust or the umami whispering mushroom steak for dinner after canny cocktails in the Grand Terrace Bar.
The Spa and Wellness Area
All stairs descend to the salubrious downstairs den that leads to the pool and holds a yoga room, fitness space, and diminutive spa complex. Using Aman’s own remarkable beauty products, treatments range from facials to massages, each arranged via a trifecta of promised results (grounding, nourishing, or purifying). I highly recommend the Après Ski Dream (which changes slightly in summer months). It incorporates an array of steps, including therapeutic CBD oil throughout, massage with amethyst crystals and warm basalt stone,s and application of Aman Purifying Argan Scalp and Hair Oil. An après champagne toast seals the deal.
Jackson Hole has two seasons: winter and summer. Summer begins when the snow melts. During the warmer times, guests may partake of expert, private wildlife tours, ensconced in a luxury SUV to see bears, coyotes, elk, deer, mountain lions, and wolves. (On my recent trip, I saw wolves, with Andrew, my esteemed and engaging guide). Horseback riding begins close to the resort, taking equestrians along the East Gros Ventre Butte. Myriad trails serve hikers and bikers, and the Snake River pleases both the adrenaline junkies who float down it and the tranquility seekers who fish it in peace. Winter activities center on the ski mountains (Jackson Hole Ski Resort, Snow King Mountain, and Grand Targhee Resort). Winter brings sleigh rides, snowshoe jaunts, and off-piste extravaganzas. With free transportation from the resort to Jackson Hole Ski Resort and a VIP lounge slope-side, Aman staff offers guests the royal treatment.