A recent summit of hospitality associations provided an opportunity for a quick visit to one of my favorite and most beautiful parts of the country, the towering red rocks and spectacular canyons of Arizona’s Upper Sonoran Desert.
Just under two hours from the buzz and energy of Phoenix, Sedona is one of the truly unique and memorable American destinations. The natural beauty is complemented by an historic and enjoyable town with many chances to experience the arts, cuisine, shopping and entertainment.
Staying at the Enchantment Resort allows you to be surrounded by the painted desert of Boynton Canyon. Here, I was first greeted by a real pro in the businesses, Joey, who made sure I knew what I needed to know to maximize a short stay, including the schedule for guided star-gazing that takes advantage of Sedona’s “Dark Sky” status.
With a room that opened directly onto a patio complete with gas grill that faced the imposing yet somehow calming canyon walls in shades of red that exploded into different colors as the sun started to set, Joey also pointed out one of the best attributes for a late arrival like myself: the room service option to order “Tastefully in the Raw” and cook your own steak and vegetables on your own terrace. No other dining option could have been more relaxing or enjoyable while I became acclimated to the enormity and sheer beauty of the canyon.
Enchantment mixes luxury service and appointments with the tasteful and comfortable casualness of the Southwest. Adobe haciendas include timbered ceilings, southwestern fabrics, working fireplaces and plenty of amenities including a kitchen and ample seating indoors and out. Coupled with top-notch restaurants and a View 180 outdoor lounge built to provide views of the sunsets, skies and red rock vistas, Enchantment can keep you amazed and delighted without ever leaving its 70 acres.
But Sedona is too special a place to pass up on a short stay, so if you are like me, you will want to get out into the desert. Although Enchantment has plenty of trailheads and room to explore, a little pre-reading led me to the Jordan Road Trail in Coconino National Forest on the other side of town for a short hike. The drive to the trailhead isn’t for the faint of heart or those who rented a vehicle that was a little low to the ground, but the payoff is worth it.
Driving into and around Sedona is easy, fast, stress-free and cinematic. Every local merchant and hospitality professional I met was genuinely friendly, helpful and welcoming. Although a destination that attracts 3 million people annually, Sedona and its environs don’t have that over-run, touristy feeling. Far from it. The best part about Sedona is its uncanny ability to make you relax, enjoy and appreciate your surroundings, even on the quickest of visits.
-OHLA Executive Director, Joe Savarise