The Headless Horseman & The Billionaire

Kykuit, slimpaley.com

KYKUIT

Our timing was perfect.

In search of turning leaves (the spectacle is late this year in NYC) my older son and I decided to drive out and visit the Hudson Valley last weekend. (I’ve been in NY, just in case you were worried about me!)

But wait-not so fast…everything  sold out. :-(

Who’s giving up? pas moi.

With my boy having only one week day available, we managed to purchase tickets to tour famous Kykuit in Sleepy Hollow on Thursday morning.

Rain was forecast but said progeny was optimistically pessimistic about the weatherman’s ability to predict that far ahead.

Kykuit slimpaley.comThis was my Instagram photo of the moment we arrived, but in the space of a few minutes the mist lifted, the clouds dispersed and it turned out to be a stellar day.

So basically, my son is a genius.

Kykuit  slimpaley.comKykuit (Dutch for “Lookout”) is a stately stone home sitting high upon a picturesque knoll above the town of Sleepy Hollow.  After getting off to a very rough start, the house was finally completed in 1913.

Teaser; imagine taking almost 6 years and how much money(?) to build your dream home, finally moving in and having to move right back out due to so many design flaws. As I say, it’s always something…but that’s another story.

Kykuit was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family until Nelson R. bequeathed  his 1/3 share to The National Trust  for Historic Preservation upon his death in 1979.  The guide didn’t elaborate on who held the other shares.

Kykuit slimpaley.comIt was 1893, when John D. Rockefeller, encouraged by his brother William’s glowing reports of the Pocantico Hills, first bought the property. The family gradually acquired the surrounding land until they’d amassed almost 4,000 acres.

That’s on the Hudson people.

Did I mention money wasn’t an issue??

 Luckily for the public, the main house, gardens and carriage barn all opened for tours when the house transferred to the historic trust. The family still retains the rest of the property, keeping the huge “Children’s Playhouse” and other buildings dotted about the grounds for personal use. Happy Rockefeller, Nelson’s widow now in her 80′s, lives nearby.

Kykuit slimpaley.comImpressive, if not too surprising, the original landscaping plan was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of Central Park fame) More surprising was that John D. was less than thrilled with Olmsted’s efforts and in addition to taking much of the garden design upon himself, commissioned William Welles Bosworth to finish the grounds more to his taste.

The truth is that I could go on endlessly about the history behind all these great estates; Kykuit, Oak Alley, Vizcaya, The Breakers et al.  Fascinating reading if you’ve the time and inclination, but what I truly love about taking historic tours are the behind-the-parlour-door rhythms, quirky little tid-bits and not so occasional scandals you take away from the homes and their ghostly inhabitants. Hence the popularity of “Downton Abbey”.

window detail, Kykuit, slimpaley.comHaving a really great tour guide is like getting your hair done by the best gossipy celebrity hair stylist. Buckle up and get ready to dish the dirt!

What was it really like to have been America’s very first billionaire?

Uh…helloo…is that linoleum??

Why was John D. Rockefeller so infamously ‘tight with a dime’?

( Legend has it John D. literally gave out rolls of nickels and dimes (an estimated 30-40,000  over his lifetime) plus a brief lecture on the rewards of working hard and saving money to poor people in the street in an attempt to dispel his less than ‘Generous’ reputation)

That being said, he and his heirs were exceptionally philanthropic, particularly when it came to the Arts, and Conservation. The amount of money, land, buildings and art bestowed upon the State of NY by the Rockefeller family could well be unmatched.

Kykuit slimpaley.comA side view of the house reveals that Kykuit is much larger than it appears from the front.

The Rockefellers were a much less ostentatious bunch than their neighbours the Vanderbilts.

Let’s just say I doubt the Kardashians would have made the guest list.

KykuitI found one small image of the interior of Kykuit, but unfortunately no photos are allowed to be taken in the house-and I bonded too much with the guide to sneak any iphone pics ( hate when that happens)

Vintage surrey, slimpaley.com“Surrey with the Fringe On Top”

The  2 1/2 hour tour does include the massive old carriage house and stables where you are allowed to use your camera.

vintage CadillacWhat was it like to drive around in 40 ft long  Cadillacs? Check the separate windscreen for the back seat!

Kykuit Gardens, slimpaley.comA tour of the lower levels of the house features a pretty major art collection including works by Picasso, Lautrec, Calder, Giacometti, and Chagall. I must admit this was my least favourite part of the tour. I was underwhelmed, not by the art but the space, which isn’t very appealing. I couldn’t wait to get out and back up into the natural light, the gardens and the views, which are spectacular.

Kykuit, Sleepy Hollow, Slimpaley.comThe 9 hole golf course within the the 250 acres of walled and gated property surrounding Kykuit is gradually being forsaken. It costs $100,000 per  year to maintain…per hole.

That’s what the guide said. Pinky swear.

KykuitThe view from the front entrance.

The ‘flames’ flanking the urns are electrified. All the mod cons for Johnny D.

Fall Leaves slimpaley.comand the leaves were starting to turn in Sleepy Hollow. Does this look like a great Halloween street, or what?!

Kykuit slimpaley.com

Sleepy Hollow Church, slimpaley.comThe Old Dutch Church

Old Dutch Church, Sleepy Hollow, slimpaley.comA three minute jaunt uphill from the Kykuit Tour meeting area and you’ll arrive at the Old Dutch Church. One of the oldest cemeteries in the country, it’s chock full of famous residents, including  Brooke Astor, Elizabeth Arden, Walter Chrysler, Andrew Carnegie, Washington Irving, and William Rockefeller. That’s some after-party.

The Dutch cemetery, Sleepy HollowThe legendary characters of  Washington Irving’s “Sleepy Hollow” are also buried here (including the ghost of the headless horseman who is said to ride nightly) We saw the tombstones of the Van Tassel family (Katrina from the story) amongst many other intriguing  headstones, ranging from Teeny-tiny to Wow-Now That’s Impressive. I imagine the guided walking tour here is quite lively. No pun intended.

cemetery angel , slimpaley.comNothing like a stroll through a cemetery on a beautiful day to remind you to seize The Moment.

~

Sleepy Hollow is aprox. a 4o minute drive from upper Manhattan.

Guided tours of the cemetery are held on Sunday afternoons from the last week of May through October.

The Kykuit tour is run by ‘Historic Hudson Valley’. Tickets are in high demand, especially at this time of year and should be bought in advance.  Trust me.

Kykuit.jpgFor more information click HERE

Don’t forget to roll your dimes, keep your head & sleep tight!

xx

~

Byron & Bo

tempestuous sea

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more”- from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron

And now, for something completely new and fun

My First Interview!

I know! I actually stopped talking and listened too.

BD & SPB.D. & S.P. in Portugal.

My dear friend Bo Derek who, at the age of 56 (and may I add, a wee slip of a thing is our Bo, as you can see!) decided she was going to compete in the “Hellespont Swim” from the shores ofTurkey to Asia.

The Hellespont (or Dardanelles, as it’s now called) is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Every year, on the 30th of August, National Turkish Victory Day, the straits are closed to all vessels for just 90 minutes, allowing approximately 600 crazy brave humans to attempt this iconic swim.

Bo Derek

 I was so inspired by Bo’s feat that I asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing her story here with all of you dear Slim Paley readers.

So off we go!

SP; I remember when you first told me you’d decided to attempt the Hellespont Swim and I thought, well, ALL my friends can’t be sane…but truly, WHATEVER possessed you??!

BD; It’s all Slim Paley’s fault and that June 2012 post called “Swim”.  As I scrolled down thru all the gorgeous images, I remember thinking “I used to be a water person. Where did she go?”

Swim Lynn Sherr

BD; I was especially taken by the pretty blue cover of Lynn Sherr’s book “Swim-Why We Love The Water”, downloading it right then and there.  As Lynn writes so beautifully of our relationship with water and swimming, she recounts her own experience swimming the Hellespont.  Now called the Dardanelles, this stretch of water from the Black Sea to the Aegean separates Europe from Asia. Rich in history, famous for the battles of Troy and Gallipoli, Greek mythology tells us Leander used to swim across the Hellespont every night to visit his lover Hero, who would light a lamp to guide his way. (Leander drowned one night, btw)  Lord Byron was so taken by Leander’s love story that to prove the crossing was possible, became the first known person to make the swim (on his second attempt) in 1810.

So “what possessed me?” you ask. I was certainly moved by Lynn Sherr’s book and suppose I was ripe for a mid-life adventure. When my girlfriend, Shehkar, agreed to do the swim with me I was well and truly committed.

hellespont

SP; I seriously think I’d have taken one look at the extraordinarily choppy sea that day and made a dive for the nearest bar. Did you have even a moment where you thought “I just can’t do this”?

BD; Yes! In case of bad weather, as happened in 2010, (but really, what are the chances that would happen again?!) our back-up plan was to sit in a lovely Turkish cafe and drink Raki and welcome in the “strong” swimmers. In the days leading up to the 30th the weather was just gorgeous, the water still as glass. Shehk and I had a couple of practice swims, relaxed and made some new friends. Then, during our orientation on the night of the 29th, the organizers informed us the forecast for the race  was “rough” advising anyone with any doubts about their abilities to reconsider and not attempt the swim.

But…Shehkar and I decided that after a year of training, we should at least get our toes wet.

The day of the swim I woke before dawn and heard the wind before I saw it. Oh shit. No way. White caps on the water and wind whistling thru the windows of our modern hotel room. The Perfect Storm!

SP; Amazing that you both were still determined to go for it! How about once you were swimming-the distance was so much longer than expected, due to the conditions-was there any time you considered raising the white flag so to speak and be pulled to the safety of a fishing boat?

BD; At least a dozen times! What have I gotten myself into?  As we stood at the start of the race looking across to the Asian side, it looked so far away….impossible for a human to swim. But the “brochure” said “the swim is 2.7 miles-with the aid of currents, equivalent to a 1 1/2 mile swim”.  I glanced over at Shehk. We both knew we were over our heads and undertrained for that vast expanse of nasty water.

Lord Byron

SP; Lord Byron, well known to be an excellent swimmer despite suffering from a club foot, purportedly described his swim as more meaningful than anything he’d achieved, whether “political, poetical or rhetorical” Did you think about Lord Byron and all the attendant history in the crossing while you were swimming, or were you just concentrating on staying alive?! 

BD; That was the plan.  As a Slim Paley pioneer, I have, over the years acquired a new appreciation for Byron. I’d memorized the “I love nature more” bit from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and some Led Zeppelin songs, because other open water swimmers had shared they have their favorite sonnets and playlists to get them thru the tedium. Never got the chance.  Stroke, stroke, breathe.  Stroke, stroke, fuck! salt water instead of breath.  Start over. Stroke, stroke, breathe. For one hour and fifty four minutes, that’s all I remember. That and a tweet my neighbor Jimmy Connors sent me the night before the swim; “Go for it Bo. Remember your training.”  Simple, but the single mantra that kept going through my mind as I put one arm in front of the other. So much for poetry.  Honestly, I think the only reason I finished is because I didn’t think I would. This attitude allowed me to relax and take it one stroke at a time.  I thought, I’ll just keep going until I hit a wall.

SP; Lord Byron & Led Zeppelin-both ‘Mad, Bad & Dangerous to know’- I love that!

JCBo’s beau, John Corbett cheering her on

(J.C. ended up pulling 6 struggling men out of the water)

BD; All of a sudden, Corbett shows up along side me in a rescue boat, screaming, “You can do it love. You’re doing great! I’m so proud of you! Go!”

John Corbett & Bo Derek

SP; Were you aware you were staying so in synch with Shehkar or were you both shocked to find you’d finished only 5 minutes apart?

BD; We started the swim together and my plan was to come out if she did. I kept my eye on her for the first 20 minutes but then I got caught in the melee at one of the three buoys that must be passed to our right-or be disqualified. ‘Melee’? I was mowed down by the other 500 swimmers trying to starboard the buoy. Let me take a moment to make one thing clear. I am not a group activity person. Or, for that matter, a touch a stranger’s body parts person. All of a sudden I’ve got legs, arms, boobs and, er, speedos in my face!  I slammed into the orange ball and tried to set off over and over again, until I finally found a couple of big boy swimmers, rolled over on my back, wedged myself between their lengths and kicked like hell.

SP; Hmmm…a Bo Derek sandwich…I wonder if they had any idea who they were escorting!

BD; I never saw Shehk again until the end. I’m so happy we both finished for all the reasons you’d expect, but also, as Shehkar put it; “Imagine if one of us didn’t finish and for the rest of our lives we’d have to say, “Oh, I’m just so glad that she made it…I’m so happy for her”. Instead, I can say Shehk made it 5 minutes before I did, even while helping a panicked swimmer to safety.

Bo & Shehk

Bo & Shehkar moments after the race.

SP; So, let’s get real; After decades of being one of our most universally famous icons of beauty-how much pressure, if any, did you feel donning a swimsuit (and horror of horrors) a bathing cap on the world stage again?

bo derek Bo, then & now. Whatever!!

BD; Swimsuit? No problem. I’m 56 years old so expectations are set pretty low. And by the time you’ve trained for this swim, you’re more concerned about making it to the other continent than about how you look. And frankly, you look pretty good.  Not perfect. Not a “10”.  But strong-a trait I personally find very attractive in swimmers. I wore a black rash guard,for sun protection, of course. We were given a strap-on ankle device that times your effort. I fancied it gave my ensemble a bit of a navy seal look. Swim caps have a tightening/pulling effect that can work in your favor.

bathing caps

BD;But oh my! Those friggin’ swim goggles are not made for the skin of 56 year old eye area. They caused bags, bruises and even something called supra-orbital neuralgia that sends shocks of severe pain to your face. For training I usually swam with a goofy looking scuba mask, but on race day, because of the cursed conditions, I had to use proper goggles. I expect my retirement fund will come from inventing swim goggles for a certain age demographic.

In the end, our swim turned out to be 4 miles and because of the weather, we swam against or across currents the entire way.  When I made it to the finish, hobbling up the ramp with a pulled a groin muscle (just like real athlete) I wanted to curl up in a ball, cry a little and and vomit (swallowing that much saltwater makes one very sick)  but the news cameras were there, so I grabbed a stranger’s sunglasses to cover the goggle damage and babbled on to the press about how great the experience was.

SP; I know how hard you’ve trained all these months and I’ve been truly inspired by your determination and commitment. There were many men, twice your size, that didn’t see the finish line. Has completing the Hellespont swim sparked your desire to set even more challenging goals for yourself?

BD; I gave!  Shehk and I both gave.  We are one of the ‘strong swimmers’ now. Forever redefined. I hope this makes sense, but I feel like one of those women I would like to be like. I even suspect my stride has changed as I enter any pool or the sea because I swam the Hellespont.

Bo & Shehk

The Strong Swimmers celebrating their success

BD;Meanwhile, Shehk and I are both discussing a swim next year but I’d never attempt those conditions again.  Do they have a swim around the island of Capri?

SP; As a matter of fact, yes, with little stops along the course where you can buy sandals from boats!

BD; And does it matter that 40% of the swimmers, especially big, strong men twice our size and strength didn’t make the swim? Hell yes!

diana-nyad-great-swims_71176_600x450

The morning of August 31st (the day after the Hellespont Swim)  64yr. old Diana Nyad commenced her 5th bid to swim from Havana, Cuba to Florida, a distance of 110 miles (177 km).  Accompanied by a 35-person support team, without a shark cage, but protected from jellyfish by a silicone mask, full bodysuit, gloves & booties, Nyad successfully reached Key West, aprox. 53 hours after she began her epic swim.

SP; Wasn’t it just the coolest that the incomparable Diana Nyad accomplished her history making 100 mile swim only three days later? Were you and Shehk in great company or what?! BTW, are there no jellyfish in the Hellespont? I’m afraid of jellyfish in my pool for God’s sake.

BD; Yes, I did get a jellyfish sting on the face during our practice swim, but nothing race day, thanks to the gods. It was amazing that Diana took off from Cuba to make swimming history so soon after our effort and my little 4-miler made me feel I could almost identify with her suffering. When you consider that after the Hellespont, I had a victory dinner & drinks, slept well, drove 4 hours to Istanbul, had another very chic victory dinner & drinks with friends, tucked into my bed at the Pera Palace Hotel (one of the 1,000 places to see before you die) and thought-all this time…she’s still swimming.

Pera_Palace_Hotel_Jumeirah_Kubbeli_Saloon

Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul

0003-0050

Benefits of Swimming

Many, many thanks to B.D. for sharing her adventure with us.

I hope you are as inspired as I am!

SWIM Post

Bo talks with Entertainment Tonight about her swim HERE

A fun account of the 2013 swim by a male swimmer (fyi-he didn’t succeed!) HERE

Keep Calm, Go Swim

Post mentioning Byron HERE

~

“Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog” by Casper David Friedrich, 1818

Uncredited photos via Pinterest.

~

It was my birthday

white rose bouquet

I tip-toed away and had a quiet little birthday this week. Not a momentous one, nothing ending in a “0″ or marking another decade. Just one of those that glide by with the swiftness of a bird’s wing, a gentle whoosh,silent … Continue reading

Ode to a Grecian Yearn

Greece window

Room with a View

One of our family’s favourite places in the entire world to holiday is Greece.

I started going when I lived in London in the 80′s.  My husband and I honeymooned there, and over the years we’ve returned many times with our two boys.

We are extremely blessed to have wonderful old friends there who graciously share their slice of heaven on earth with us during the summer.

I will readily admit I’m not nearly clever enough to comprehend what has happened with the Greek economy. I haven’t spent any time in Athens in several years, other than to pass through the airport, so I can’t speak to what the atmosphere is like there now.  All I can say is with the perfect weather, azure skies and sea, food one dreams about for the rest of the year and lovely, hospitable people, Greece simply can’t be beat as one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe.

greece, Slim Paley

And I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a little slice of heaven…

fried fish & french fries

and the food… O M G

Greece

Can you hear the song of the cicadas??

“Welcome back, Relax. Welcome back, Relax” (I speak Cicadian)

Their constant refrain, an audible perfume that instantly awakens your sense memory.

real Greek salad

I adore Greek salad, and it’s never quite the same anywhere else.

Except perhaps Vancouver, with their large Greek community, they know you never, ever add lettuce.

 (substitute “quelle horreur!” in Greek here)

Blue window shutters

It’s not an exaggeration to say there isn’t a smidgeon of their property that isn’t utterly divine. The family patriarch has a passion for design and attention to detail that knows no bounds. Every time we come home from visiting I am so filled with inspiration.

It gets my husband very worried.

But it’s not just the ambience…

fried aubergine

 Did I mention the food yet?

fresh mango sorbetMy friend helps herself to a serving of their house-made mango sorbet.

Do ya think they know our boys like sorbet?!

FYI, no dieting in Greece. It’s against the law.

Besides, everything is fresh, fresh, fresh so who cares about caloric intake?

~

L1140273

Just a quick aside-how do women in Europe get away with wearing lashings of jewelry with their bathing suits and look so chic?

Something I’ve yet to master. Mine gets burning hot, covered in sunscreen and looks like I’m trying way too hard.

But I digress…

Don’t get the wrong impression-it’s not all about food, drink, lazing about and angsting over my aquatic jewelry quotient.

Some of us manage to get pretty damn sporty.

890A0721

Younger Son wake boarding in Porto Heli (where Aman Resorts has just opened the “Amanzoe”-though we didn’t go see it)

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 11.07.26 PM

My ridonkulously adorable god daughter heating up the courts with her style.

890A0833

Older Son’s girlfriend “C” or, as she is now known  “The Donkey Whisperer” working her magic.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 4.17.14 PM

Younger Son getting some “air” on the soccer pitch

890A0862

There are grapes to be picked for making wine…

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 11.12.35 PM

Books to be devoured daily by The Boyfriend of The Donkey Whisperer

cocktail bar, Greece

Cocktails to be mixed.

the cats in Greece

But I won’t be disingenuous, there’s a mighty high degree of relaxing going on in Greece.

Just as it should be on one’s hols.

Breakfast table Greece

The outdoor breakfast table before the first hungry morning shift ambles in.

Chicken coop

Breakfast eggs hot off the …ah… super fresh

Greek yoghurt & fresh fruits

and that Greek yoghurt, honey & figs right off the trees with a great cappuccino

Blue table setting Greece, Slim Paley

Seriously.

HEAVEN!

fresh greek salad

I’ll have a little glass of chilled retsina with that please

wine grapes, Greece

pink bouganvilea

Even the bougainvillea looks so much brighter in Greece than in California.

greek pastries with honey

Home-made pastries for desert.

Remember…worrying about calories-a Felony in Greece

sail boat in Greece

Sometimes we can even bring ourselves to leave our friend’s property, and tool about the islands

This pretty sailboat was in a bay we stopped in for lunch one day.

L1130956

Where of course I had to order my regular. And those teeny, tiny little fish sprinkled with salt and lemon that you munch like french fries.

Gone before I could get a pic.

Port of Hydra, Greece

Pulling into the port of Hydra in the late afternoon.

Squid hanging in Greek Tavern

Fresh squid/octopus? (difference??) hanging outside a tavern on the island of Spetses

traditional old Greek restaurant kitchen

Another one of our favourite spots to eat is a centuries old house in the hills where the proprietors, a lovely couple, make the food in their house kitchen and serve it outside on their porch.

very old kitchen in Greece

So charming and authentic. Is this not what traveling to distant lands is all about?

Not a Starbucks in sight.

Sunset in the Greek Islands

And to cap off the day with a cocktail while the sun slinks behind neighboring isles…

Negroni cocktail, Greece

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

cats in Greece

But why do the summer holidays always have to sneak by in the blink of an eye??

L1140028

I hope YOU are enjoying a languorous  August!

Happy Days xx SP

~

Anniversary at Amangiri

UtahSouthern Utah

~

Happy First Week of August!

Here in Santa Barbara we continue to wake up to grey, gloomy skies

morning after morning, after morning.

Sure, it clears by mid-day most of the time but at the risk of sounding like a TV commercial, it makes such a difference to start the day off with sunshine don’t you think?!

We had no such problem in Utah earlier this year, where we traveled with a few close friends to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

The colour of the sky in the photo above is true, no filter, nada.

flying over Lake Powell

Arriving by air you catch an amazing view of a turquoise Lake Powell and the striated cliffs of the surrounding canyons.

Amangiri hotel, Utah

My girlfriends check out the view as we arrive at the entrance of our hotel.

The Amangiri  has been on my Travel Wish List since it first opened 4-5 years ago so I was thrilled to experience it on such a momentous occasion.

And I do believe hitting the 25 year mark in marriage these days can be considered momentous!

The hotel was everything we had hoped for and more.

First off, may I say that the huge pool area is outrageous and was built around a boulder that’s about 9 billion years old.

Instagram

OK, I don’t remember exactly how old it is but something really mind bendingly crazy.

You can see why I never considered being a geologist. Or a museum docent.

Giri_Swimming Pool_Dusk_hp

(photo via Amangiri)

Travel, USA

The hotel sits in such a harmoniously unobtrusive manner that it’s barely visible until you’re almost directly upon it.

Way to go Amangiri architects.

Seriously.  I’ve had chin hairs more prominent.

cactus flower

The dashes of ultra saturated colours you glimpse here and there in the desert never fail to enthrall me.

hats & bags

Like all Aman resorts, the rooms are low-key, tasteful and chic.

Here, my hat with the bag, hat & walking stick the room provides.

giri_room_big_shot1_alb

Stargazing bed, Amangiri Hotel, Utah

A star gazing bed on the roof of the only two-bedroom suite in the resort.

And you definitely want to be gazing skyward in the desert night.

Amangiri hotel, Utah

The complex is single-storied and designed so every room has both a beautiful bathroom with soaking tub, and a terrace with a fire pit facing out to the spectacular views.

890A7950

Two of my favourite words

spa

The spa does not disappoint. In fact, the technicians, despite their average age of, oh I’d say 19 (?!) were truly fantastic.

As were the yoga classes.

cocktails

Cocktails were generous, despite being poured in Utah.

IMG_4598

One cocktail and a 90 minute massage later, a spa-selfie is in order.

Do I really have to get dressed for dinner??

I dropped my phone on the concrete floor after this photo.

Relaxed much??

U.S. desert

The architecture, interior courtyards & walkways are full of interesting angles, shifts of light

IMG_4631

and spare, desert appropriate landscaping.

There isn’t a superfluous detail

IMG_4595

yet around every corner or slatted wall there’s something wonderful to discover

IMG_4589

The jacuzzi “amphitheatre” where we watched a movie projected against the wall one night.

IMG_4581

Peeking through the slats

890A8072

IMG_4640

If relaxing poolside with a book is not your thaing, there are plenty of opportunities to get all sporty, including some great hikes…

Utah desert

In the distance you see the cave we hiked to from the hotel.  (Peer pressure)

890A8108

Slim Paley Instagram

My instagram shot from the cave interior

photography lesson

The Amangiri also offers a 3 hour complimentary photography lesson and hike.

Here, my silhouette shot of the instructor

rock formations, Utah

who imparted some really interesting tips about lighting and composition…

In addition to a plethora of geological information that I’d completely forgotten by the time we drove back to the hotel.

But these mountains and rocks are like really super ancient and form and deform in fascinating(ish) ways at a pace I can relate to.

Instagram

On a more serious note, we also fell madly in love with how skinny we looked in our shadow selfies :-)

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is just a short drive away, so one day we rented a boat and explored. I had NO idea of the vastness of the lake. It looked nothing like what I was expecting!

Lake Powell, Utah

Unfortunately, it clouded over a little that afternoon but the scenery was breathtaking nonetheless.

We docked the boat at one point and hiked to Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge, Utah

One the U.S.’s National Monuments, Rainbow Bridge is truly a site to experience.

Hiking Utah

A couple of the boys hiking back from Rainbow.

Image

For the more adventurous in our group, there was also a rock-climbing excursion (pinions, clamps, helmets, the whole 9 yards)

The pay off was traversing this suspension bridge at the top.

Super.

Don’t strain your eyes looking for me in this photo.

I’m back at the spa. Looking for the piece of my phone.

890A8080

Desert ‘Roses’

Amangiri hotel Utah

As night descends  on the Amangiri, a thousand lanterns light the labyrinth of paths and destinations where one can enjoy cocktails, dinner, or a movie under the stars.

IMG_4608

and when it’s time to retire, simply hook the  braided horsehair “Privacy” rope across the entrance to your suite.

(Genius. SO stealing this. Not the actual rope, just the concept)

Slim Paley

We shall see you again beautiful  Southern Utah.

giri_swimming_pool3_alb

890A7976

Until then, thanks for the wonderful memories.

~

 Amangiri is located in the south west corner of the State of Utah, in the area referred to as ” The Four Corners”

The closest airport is in Page, Arizona, about a 25 minute drive from the hotel which provides complimentary shuttle services there and back.

For more information and photos of Amangiri click HERE

Happy Travels and Happy Weekend!

xxSP

~

*PS. I have no affiliation with, nor receive any compensation whatsoever from The Aman Resorts.

Sadly.

Even though I’m a really loyal client. And I never took that rope.

~