During the coronavirus-induced closure of Amangiri, its general manager Julien Surget fielded countless requests from people begging to ride out their stay-at-home orders at the hotel. One even offered to buy out the property for a month. While their attempts were futile—following state restrictions and safety protocol, Amangiri closed for two months in March—they had the right idea.
The celebrity-adored Utah hideaway is seemingly in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but desert, sagebrush, and dramatic sandstone mesas that glow in hues of beige, burnt siena, and mauve following the arc of the sun. (For that reason, it’s also quite possibly the most Instagrammable hotel in North America.) With just 34 suites and one villa, Amangiri is made for social distancing. So too is its new sister property, Camp Sarika, an ultra-luxurious encampment of ten tented pavilions just a five minute drive from the main hotel.
Like many of their peers, Amangiri and Camp Sarika have been operating at reduced capacity since reopening in May to maximize safety. On any given day, there are no more than 60 guests on site. “Considering we’re on 600 acres, 10 acres per person isn’t a bad deal,” Surget says.
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U.S. Virgin Islands
As Covid-19 began tightening its grip on the western hemisphere in early spring, many hoped it would all go away by summer, and that they’d be leaping off that diving board at the Hotel du Cap come July. And as soon as restrictions began lifting in certain parts of the U.S., European bookings soared. Then the European Union effectively barred American travelers from entering the continent, crushing dreams of a dolce far niente summer spent ambling through charming Provencal villages, sunning under the iconic blue umbrellas at La Fontelina Capri, or wading in the pool of the Four Seasons Astir Palace in Athens.
But Europe’s sudden unavailability has come with a silver lining—domestic destinations like Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming and the Resort at Paws Up in Montana have leapt to the top of wishlists for travelers who generally spent their summers overseas. “People don’t realize there are so many great places to explore in the United States,” says Jack Ezon, cofounder and general manager of global travel agency Embark Beyond. “I joke that I have more clients that have seen Luang Prabang than have seen the Grand Canyon.”
Consider the merits of Camp Sarika in the fall. “The crowds are thinning out but the weather is predictably beautiful,” Surget says. From late August through October, temperatures are a balmy 80 to 90 degrees during the day, as opposed to 100 in the summer season when activities begin at the crack of dawn to avoid the scorching afternoon heat. Alfresco activities are plentiful, from the private fire pits and plunge pools that outfit each spacious pavilion to the unbelievably long list of parks, canyons, and monuments in the neighborhood—Camp Sarika is in the middle of the Grand Circle, home of the country’s highest concentration of national parks, including Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, and Arches.
And while the region has long been a popular summer destination, now with the prospect of kids not returning to a physical classroom in the fall (plus extended work-from-home policies) that might all change. “You can work from anywhere,” says Ezon, “so why not work from a better place with a better view?”
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