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Enchantment Resort, Sedona, AZ.

enchantment-resortLouise Speaks:  This resort was listed by itself in Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die” and is also mentioned in the international book.  Finally Patricia got it right.  This resort is something to see…and visit.  Set on 70 acres of panoramic natural terrain, Enchantment Resort  stands at the doorway of secluded Boynton Canyon…surrounded by red-rock formations known for inspiring the mind, body and spirit.

No one knows when the first humans arrived in Boynton Canyon, but this magnificent setting is part of the creation story told by the elders from various Arizona tribes. Ancient waters that covered the Southwest left behind incredible red rocks, which attracted long-ago people to this enchanting area.  Homesteader John Boeington, whose name became associated with the canyon, was only one of the early settlers.  Miners, ranchers and Native Americans who struggled to survive in the region were all drawn by the natural pageantry of the breathtaking red rock walls.  After Boeington left, other owners included a Montana rancher, Western novelist Zane Grey’s literary secretary, a mid-century resident who built a 9,000-square-foot mansion, and eventually tennis legend John Gardiner with plans for a hotel in Sedona.

In 1987 John Gardiner’s Tennis Ranch opened on these beautiful grounds, and guests from all over the world responded enthusiastically.  Enchantment Resort became an even more appropriate name, as travelers and critics alike discovered the compelling allure of architecture that reflects the spectacular setting amidst crimson monoliths and Coconino sandstone, cool pine forests and fields dotted with wildflowers.  The Enchantment Resort is the leading Sedona resort and spa, renowned in Arizona and beyond. Whether it’s for a family vacation, couple’s getaway, or focus-driven executive meeting, the southwest resort and hotel offers an abundance of amenities with stunning views. This Sedona luxury resort combines the unique natural beauty of Arizona’s red rocks with superb hotel accommodations, delicious dining, spa services and beautiful hiking trails all throughout Sedona.

Enchantment pays tribute to those who lived here first, with a Native American program unlike any other Sedona hotel. Guests enjoy exploring the hiking trails and ancient ruins amidst the secret mountain wilderness as a delightful contrast to the luxurious splendor of the resort’s world-class dining and destination spa.  It all adds up to a truly enchanting experience.  This land still belongs to the Yavapai Indian tribe.  They have given permission for the resort to conduct business, but there are rules and guidelines to follow.  For example, there is a section of the resort reserved specifically for special Indian rituals, many of the employees are from the Yavapai tribe, and even driving around the property comes with its own set of rules.  In a box canyon of towering cliffs, Enchantment sits on land sacred to Native Americans. The resort is committed to honoring and preserving this land and its heritage.

enchantment outdoorsIn June 2012, The Enchantment Resort reviled the finishing touches of its extensive renovation. Taking two years and $25 million to complete, the transformation touched on every aspect of the resort, including refurbishment of all 218 guest rooms; an expansion of the resort’s Meeting Village; the transformation of the Clubhouse; a larger pool area with 360-degree views; and a new retail boutique and outdoor spaces. Creating a warm and welcoming first impression for the Enchantment experience, guests encounter a totally new arrival experience. Greeted curbside by resort attendants, guests are instantly checked in via electronic tablets and escorted to their rooms via golf carts. A concierge corner is located just inside the Clubhouse entrance for guest requiring further assistance.

Enchantment Resort’s pool area features an expanded pool deck and terrace area with chaise lounges, umbrellas, and private cabanas for individuals and small groups. A whirlpool spa, a well-stocked pool bar with small bites and an adjacent game room keep things lively for both couples and families. A new activities center provides a multitude of offerings to complement any vacation including tennis, croquet, biking, guided hikes, Native American programs and more.

The guest rooms and casitas at the Enchantment Resort are not your typical rooms.  For example the Hacienda suite combines a 1,400 sq.ft. studio — featuring a living room, full kitchen and dining room, two queen pull-down beds, and bathroom — with one or two adjoining king or queen bedrooms.  There are no rooms available until June 2013 so I could not get a nightly rate.

-enchantment-guest-roomOne or two-bedroom Casa King  suites, are 470 sq. ft.   This suite comes with a coffee maker, robes, iPod docking station, and WiFi internet access. Orange juice and newspapers are delivered each morning and bottled water is always available in your room. Rooms come with satellite HD television with games and Pay-Per-View Movies and turn-down service is provided each evening.  All this for the small fee of $355.00 per night.

The versatile Casitas offer a variety of options from a deluxe studio, one or two-bedroom suite, or a suite with a private pool. Deluxe studios and suites include a fireplace, kitchenette and dining area.   These accommodations feature designs inspired by Native American traditions. Each room includes new state-of-the-art technologies as well as new furniture, linens, décor and outdoor patio furniture. Decorative fixtures derived from local jewelers, and artistic materials and details, are fused with uncomplicated lines and forms to maintain the balance between history and clean-lined comfort. These features are what make Enchantment Resort one of the most unique resorts to stay at in Sedona.  The one bedroom king Casita is 1,120 square feet and comes with a coffee maker, robes, iPod docking station, and WiFi internet access. Like with the casa,orange juice and newspapers are delivered each morning and bottled water is always available in your room. The casita comes with satellite HD television with games and Pay-Per-View Movies and turn-down service is provided each evening. What makes this a casita instead of a casa is that it comes with a gas fireplace, a built-in gas grill on your private deck, a kitchenette with a stove, microwave, and small fridge as well as a dining table for your dining pleasure.  You get all this for the small fee of $735.00 per night.  Now if you want to try one of their “packages”  those range in price from $444.00 per night for the “Family Getaway Package” to $1,030.00 per night for the “Journey at Enchantment”.  Although this place is beautiful, I’m not sure about those rates.

As part of the Enchantment Resort, Patricia mentioned two restaurants on the property. With doors just opening in June the launch of new restaurants and bars, Che-Ah-Chi , formerly named the Yavapai, View 180, and a Wine Bar, as well as the re-opening of  Tii Gavo, the resort’s casual dining restaurant are quickly gaining reputations as local gathering spots for epicurean and wine aficionados alike.  All establishments located in the newly renovated clubhouse offer distinctly different but equally fresh approaches to upscale dining at Enchantment.  We toured the Che-Ah-Chi and Tii Gavo but did not eat there as looking at the menu it was clear we could not afford to.  Again the views are breathtaking, but a sandwich is a sandwich and paying $39.00 for bread, meat and lettuce just seemed a bit much.

mii amoThe fiinal thing mentioned in Patricia’s book was the Mii Amo Spa  www.miiamo.com .  We were given a private tour and we were told this spa was like a resort inside a resort.  What I found to be a bit unusual is the spa also had guest room accommodations.  Everything was based around 3 to 7 day packages.  A 3 night package with a 450 sq ft with two queen beds or one King bed, was $1,050.00 per night.  That does includes two spa services per day, per person, breakfast, lunch and dinner at Mii amo Cafe, supplements and alcoholic beverages excluded.  You also receive an exclusive Mii amo robe, tote bag and sports water bottle, nightly turn down service and gift, use of all fitness facilities, scheduled fitness classes, and all scheduled lectures and activities. And for that price you also have use of the spa pool, lap pool, steam room, sauna, whirlpool, meditation areas and lounge areas.  If you are staying at the Enchantment Resort and want just a spa treatment, they range in price from $415.00 for a massage and facial to $670.00 for two 60 minute massages and one 75 minute hot stone massage.   I’m not really a “spa” person and for these prices I’m definetly not a spa person…give me a glass of wine and a hot tub and I’m good.

Yes without a doubt this was a beautiful resort.  The scenery and landscaping was beautiful.  The amenities were above reproach.  The staff couldn’t have been more accommodating to us if they tried, I mean they literally took us around the property by golf cart and gave us a history of the entire property.  The concierge called the Mii Amo Spa and arranged for us to have a private tour.  If this was how they treated us and we were not actual guests, I can only imagine how they would treat us if we were paying guest.  That being said, the Enchantment Resort gets an A rating, but I for one will never stay here unless I win the lottery.

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Thelma Speaks: I have friends that have stayed here and said it was an amazing place to enjoy! They had nothing but praise for every thing that they enjoyed doing while here. This is  a place of peace and quite.  Everywhere you go you feel the calm and natural beauty.  I can see why they were booked months ahead with all they have to offer.  The outdoor spaces were tree covered and had lots of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.  The spa was relaxing and offered all kinds of spa packages.  When you want something to eat there are several places to enjoy a fresh dish.  If you want to shop there are items in the gift shop.  I can’t imagine needing anything while you are enjoying your time at the Enchantment!  This is truely a place of peace and calm where you can relax from the stresses of daily life. I would stay here and enjoy the spa packages along with a glass of wine sitting outside on the patio with friends.  My vote is for an A+ for the relaxation and peace you find here.  I would stay here if I wanted a real treat!



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Sedona Resorts, Sedona, AZ

Amara Resort

Amara Resort

Louise Speaks:  As with most of Patricia’s suggestions, in her book “1000 Places To See Before You Die” she really likes to list resorts and restaurants.  She listed several in Sedona, so I’m going to lump them all together.

Right in town is the Amara Creekside Resort.  We weren’t able to see this one, as like I said earlier, there were so many tourists, and cars, and no parking, that we decided to go on to the others.  If we ever go back to Sedona and I remember we may take the time to visit this resort, and if so I will update this post. The first resort we visited was about 8 miles north of  Sedona and 20 miles south of Flagstaff .  The Garlands Oak Creek Lodge    www.garlandslodge.com is closed during the winter, but we were able to walk around the grounds and peak in windows.  Their normal season is March 30th thru November 17th.  They are also closed every Sunday night except for Memorial Day and Labor Day…I found these to be interesting hours.

-2-exteriorGarland’s Lodge provides a unique experience in an unforgettable setting, marrying the beauty of Sedona’s red rocks with the ever-changing seasons of Oak Creek Canyon. Sixteen cozy cabins nestle on ten lush acres of organic gardens and apple orchards.  The original homestead building dates back to the early 1900’s and still functions as the Lodge kitchen.  Garland’s Lodge is much more than just another Sedona bed and breakfast.  Afternoon tea, and sumptuous dinners and breakfasts are served in the historic main lodge, and are included in your stay. Loyal guests have forded Oak Creek since the 1930’s to reach this haven of peace and quiet. The Lodge is treasured for its preservation of simple pleasures and its insistence on exceptional quality in both cuisine and accommodations. Noticeably missing are televisions and telephones…in their place…serenity. Guests come to relax and recharge, many opting for yoga classes, massages, or facials available on the property.  Most lodgers depart with their “Garland’s dates” secured on their calendars for the following season.

Most of Oak Creek Canyon was homesteaded in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The first structure at the Lodge, now the kitchen, was built-in 1908 from pine trees felled above the property.  The Lodge was purchased in the late 1920’s by Frank and Catherine Todd, and their son, Bill.  Old timers in the area reminisce about wonderful chicken dinners served after the drive from Flagstaff.  Cabins were eventually built to accommodate these guests and the miners from Jerome who came to fish in Oak Creek.  The current dining room was added in 1943, verified by a buffalo nickel found under the cornerstone.

Bill and Georgiana Garland, and their children were old acquaintances of the Todds, having spent many summers in Oak Creek to escape the heat of Phoenix.  All elatedly agreed to purchase the Lodge as a family project when it was offered for sale in 1972.  Bill Garland brought the business expertise; Georgiana loaned family recipes, and pie making techniques.  The kids set to work, learning to garden, cook, and build cabins, determined to retain the original character of the place.   As the years went on, the family started Garland’s Navajo Rugs, Garland’s Indian Jewelry, and the Indian Gardens Trading Post.  Gary and Mary Garland stayed on to run the Lodge, and with their excellent staff, are proud to maintain this Arizona tradition.

King RoomAlthough the area was beautiful and serene, I found the nightly rates to be a bit high.  Small creekside cabins have sweet porches perched above Oak Creek and have one queen or king size bed.  Small cabins can accommodate 2 guests.  Large cabins have wood-burning fireplaces, a large sitting area in the bedroom with two queen size beds. These cabins can accommodate 2-4 guests.  The nightly rate for the small cabins  is between $265-$295.   The large cabins are $315 per night.  Both have taxes added plus a 15% gratuity.  Of course these rates do includes dinner, breakfast, and tea for two.

From the Garland Resort we headed back towards Sedona and stopped at the Lodge at Sedona  http://www.lodgeatsedona.com/      The Lodge was built-in 1959 for Sedona’s first doctor and his family which included his wife and 12 children.  The main part of the lodge was the original home.  The additional rooms have been added on over the years.  Surrounded by mountains, forests, and eerie red rock formations, The Lodge at Sedona offers you a quaint and serene place to stay, very close to town. The intimate, 14-room, Arizona stone-and-wood lodge provides a posh setting for getaways, retreats and corporate meetings.  Here you can enjoy sunset snacks in the fireplace lounge, celebration porch or on the outdoor terrace.   In the morning linger over a five-course breakfast, that is included in your stay.  Massage therapy is also available and the lodge offers health club privileges, including access to two swimming pools.

labyrinthElegantly casual, this newly renovated mission-style B&B sits on three secluded acres with expansive red rock views, mature juniper, sculpture gardens, fountains and a private labyrinth.   The labyrinth is part of the Sedona Experience and one of the largest in the united states.  Almost hidden, the labyrinth offers its guests and the general public a unique on-site amenity. Constructed completely of local riverbed rocks, the labyrinth is classified as a ” seven path classical labyrinth.” a type represented in many indigenous cultures throughout the world.  The design appears in Pima and Hopi Indian traditions in Arizona. The seven rings symbolize the seven sacred planets, the seven days of the week, the seven chakras of the body and the seven principles of the cosmos. The center of the labyrinth is often regarded as a place of meditation and prayer. The labyrinth was built by Taffy Lanser, an ordained minister who has constructed several labyrinths. On more than one occasion, guests of the luxury bed and breakfast inn have been seen during the early morning hours spending time in the labyrinth while still in their bathrobes. The labyrinth is open to the public every day from 11 am to 3 pm, free of charge

The 14 rooms at the lodge range in size, price and accommodations.  The Trading Post queen room offers thunder mountain and red rock views, has a warm western theme and is located on the second level.   There is an intimate reading alcove with louvered windows and includes high vaulted ceilings.  This room has NO television, but what do you expect for $219 per night?

roomThe Red Rock Crossing offers an extra spacious luxury king suite with two entrances. You will also find a private terrace with a hot tub for two under the stars. The suite has a massive & romantic red rock fireplace, stereo, flat screen TV with a DVD, CD & VCR player.  The four-poster pillow-top bed speaks romance from the moment you enter the room,    There is a luxurious private bathroom with personal mini-fridge, twin sinks, and twin massage showers. In the corner of the room you will find a  jetted spa tub for two, and the entire suite is decorated in mission decor, that has stained glass accents throughout the room.  Pretty luxurious room, but it should be for $349 per night.  All the rates do however include a gourmet breakfast for two plus Sunset hors d’oeuvres & snacks served daily.

FrontViewThe last resort we visited is Casa Sedona  http://www.casasedona.com/  Also located close to town in Sedona, this resort has a charm all to its own.  Casa Sedona has been an Arizona bed and breakfast inn since 1992.  The adobe style architecture was conceived by Mani Subra, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, and was designed to maximize the red rock views yet maintain an intimate feeling.  The result is unique and relaxing.  Sedona’s highest red rock peak, Thunder Mountain, dominates Casa Sedona’s skyline and, from the viewing decks, you’ll delight in red rock formations such as Cathedral Rock, Chimney Rock, Lizard Head, & Coffee Pot Rock.

If you just need a comfortable, cozy retreat you have found it!  Up ½ story, with no views, you will find the Pottery Room.  Mysterious native symbols adorn the hand-crafted pieces of art and pottery throughout the room creating a connection to the wonderful spirit that is the southwest.  Near sunset, open the door to your private  balcony and let in the golden  glow from Sedona’s famous sunsets as light reflects off the Red Rocks.  A woven copper queen size bed, is said to have healing powers that will ensure a restful nights sleep.  If that doesn’t do the trick soaking in the deep jetted tub will.  This cozy room features a queen size bed, single spa tub/shower combo, flat panel TV/DVD, refrigerator and a  small private balcony.  The nightly rate for this room is moondance-2aonly $179 and worth every penny.    If you want something more luxurious and romantic, you’ve got to stay in the Moondance Suite.  This magical room will make you feel like royalty with majestic panoramic red rock views.  Inside the massive columns of the king size bed you will feel as if you are surrounded in power and majesty.  To balance the strong masculine energy, a silky feminine canopy floats above.  Here you can indulge in the magical healing of water in your two-person spa, with a high window that lets in moonlight (or sunlight) while still preserving privacy.  Later, sit back and relax while you simply allow the playful dance of light in your fireplace transport you to places unknown.  This room truly transcends the ordinary.  If your timing is right, you may even catch a full moon rising over the Mogollon Rim from the viewing terrace right outside your door.  As the moon rises into a periwinkle sky, you may want to linger a little longer for some unparalleled Sedona dark skies stargazing!  This suite sounds expensive, but is actually quite affordable.  The nightly rate for the Moondance Suite is only $279.   Included with every room is a mild southwest breakfast served to the gentle sounds of local Sedona artists beneath a canopy of juniper, blue sky, and red rock views. On cooler high desert mornings, enjoy breakfast near the cozy fireplace while you meet new friends, or, choose a table for just the two of you.

Casa Sedona  Bed and Breakfast Inn is featured on the Travel Channel’s Best of the Best small inns and hotels.  The inn has also been named a “Top 12 Romantic Inn in North America” and has received the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award every year for more than a decade.  Just spend some  time here and you will agree it is a spectacular place to stay.

All these resorts were worth seeing and I would recommend staying at any of them if you can.  My personal favorite has to be Casa Sedona with my least favorite being the Garland at Oak Creek Lodge.  I generally base my opinion but what I get for my buck, and the best value here is Casa Sedona.  All this being said, I would rate Sedona Resorts as an A…you just can’t beat the beauty of Sedona.

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Thelma Speaks:

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Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ

chapel-of-the-holy-cross-195719Louise Speaks:  While in Sedona, a visit would not be complete without stopping at the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  This is another attraction I have visited many times and where I always bring relatives visiting from Canada.  The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic chapel built into the mesas of Sedona,  which was inspired and commissioned by sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude.  who went on a trip to New York City in 1932.  She observed that a cross could be seen in the newly constructed Empire State Building when viewed from a certain angle, and was inspired to build a church based on that design.  Staude kept an eye out all over Europe and the USA for the ideal location, and she was especially struck by the beauty of Sedona.   She decided to build her chapel here, which would be “a monument to faith.  Richard Hein was chosen as project architect, and the design was executed by architect August K. Strotz.  The chapel is built on Coconino parking-lotNational Forest land and the late Senator Barry Goldwater assisted Staude in obtaining a special-use permit.  The construction supervisor was Fred Courkos, who built the chapel in 18 months at a cost of $300,000.  The chapel was completed in 1956.  The parking lot and steep ramp to get to the church is a bit difficult but they do make it very accessible.  At times the parking lot is full so you have to walk a long way,m but they have golf carts and attendants if you need the assistance.

The American Institute of Architects gave the Chapel its Award of Honor in 1957. In the sculptor’s words, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal.  Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men and be a living reality.”   In 2007, Arizonans voted the Chapel to be one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona, and it is also the site of one of the so-called Sedona vortices.  The chapel’s most prominent feature is a cross that seems to have been wedged into the rock by some devout pilgrim, who later built a chapel around it.  It is an unforgettable sight from all angles.  Looking at it directly, it seems the rocks parted to embrace the structure.  From the side, it looks like it was dropped into place; from above, it resembles a diving board or runway where one might leap towards spirit.

Worshipers inside the Church of the Rock framed by a bright blue sky day.

Worshipers inside the Church of the Rock framed by a bright blue sky day.

Inside, the chapel is intimate and unadorned.  On the periphery, benches hug the angular walls.  In the center, are two rows of pews–seven on each side–that provide a place to pray or rest.  The feeling in the chapel is uplifting.  Wherever one sits, the eye is drawn to the cross in the center and to the floor-to-ceiling windows behind it, which provide a magnificent backdrop.  There is a wonderful gift shop downstairs that has everything you can imagine about the church and the Catholic faith.

Surrounding the chapel are the Mystic Hills, filled with ancient forms, animal faces such as Eagle Rock, and sacred imagery.  These energy-rich red-rock formations, which some say are a vortex, embrace the chapel in an arc from behind.  On the sides and in the front, Sedona sprawls out majestically, a sweeping landscape of red rocks, trees, and nestled houses.  Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are visible to the south, and Cathedral Rock is to the west.  From all angles, photogenic opportunities create unforgettable memories.  Patricia did good to mention this stop in her book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die”.   I would recommend this stop myself.  That being said,  the Chapel of the Holy Cross get a rating of an A+ and something you just have to see.

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