No matter what is going on in the world, we all need an escape physically and mentally. Vacation always allows me to recharge, be where my feet are, and really hone in on the present. It’s about about what I’m seeing with my two eyes, where I’m walking, what I’m tasting, drinking, and discussing with the person I’m lucky enough to travel with and/or meet in that new space. I focus deeply on work at home in Austin, so from the second I’m up in the air on that outbound flight, I pretty much stay in the clouds the whole time and can’t remember what email I might need to respond to for once.
My favorite vacation always encompasses a lot of walking and activity. Yes, Italy counts as exercise with all those steps. Recently, Sedona’s Red Rocks caught my eyes, and I knew that I had to be there at the end of December– especially when I saw the gorgeous amenities and private casitas at Enchantment Rock which is just a 20 minute drive from the center of town and sits on 70 acres of beauty. The exclusive canyon it is tucked into offers 3 restaurants, access to 2 popular hiking trails, a dedicated hiking Trail House (helps you plan out your hiking and biking trips or private tours), tennis courts, pools, a spa called Mii Amo (which is now under construction starting in 2021), and more. Most of the reason I fell in love with my entire Sedona trip is definitely because of Enchantment Resort, and its spectacular hospitality. I loved feeling like it was my fancy backyard for 4 nights and a view and space I could never get sick of being surrounded by. We went the last week of December which was in the 40’s during the day, but with the sunshine and a couple layers, it def felt like 50’s-60’s. I actually thought at one point, I get why people get sucked in here: all you “need” to do is go on a hike during the day, come home do a little work, and then it’s dinner time and your happiness of a day is complete! We also got a great COVID deal which was buy 3 nights get the 4th free or maybe it was just a holiday time deal? Below I break down the resort in terms of Food, Activities, Rooms, and Spa (which is going under renovations through 2022 but they are still offering select body treatments and skin care service from intuitive therapists for guests at the resort).
FOOD: (the restaurants are only open to hotel guests during COVID)
Upon arrival, you’re greeted by the young and friendly staff who all travel the grounds by golf carts and take you or show you to your suite. They are there to pick you up and drive you if you need a ride to the clubhouse where the restaurants are or anywhere else, but c’mon you can walk!
In the clubhouse is Ti Gavo which was my favorite and only open for lunch and dinner. They gave us complimentary welcome drinks – go for the Prickly Pear Margaritas which come with the best sweet and sour prickly pear candy on the rim (I bought some in the gift shop to take home!). They have a gorgeous overlook outside onto the property where you can see the canyons and vortex called Kachina Woman. Sit around the fire pit watching the sunset, other guests hitting tennis balls, or diving in the pool. It’s calming and serene. My favorite dishes here were: Chicken Tinga Quesadilla with Roasted Corn, Black Beans, Pico de Gallo, Guac; Shrimp Ceviche, the Yucca Fries which are thick, crispy, and tender at the same time; and the Salmon. I loved ordering their housemade Prickly Pear Soda and added Tito’s Vodka 😉 They also have an array of sandwiches and salads but we ate lunch at the spa the other days.
Che Ah Chi is the fancier, more expensive restaurant, open for breakfast and dinner, but I definitely liked the menu better. I liked Ti Gavo better for dinner because it offered more casual, craveable and southwestern ingredients. This was my favorite for breakfast though! You’ll see the sunlight shining in through the full length windows out to the rocks. Definitely order the Breakfast Sandwich which is an Open-Face Croissant with Prickly Pear Jalapeño Jam (sorry I’m leaning into PP so much), White Cheddar, Bacon, Sunny Side Up Egg, Side of Fruit. It’s buttery, warm, and the perfect breakfast before a long hike. The Huevos Rancheros also rock the boat!
While the spa is being renovated, I do hope they open a juice bar on the property in it’s place so you can get their great green drinks and acaii breakfast bowls made with berries and almond butter. We snacked on their Cauliflower Tacos for lunch, and I didn’t realize they were fully vegetarian. They were so good we got them two days in a row, and they even looked like al pastor! I need to get that recipe…
THE TRAIL HOUSE:
I wrote about all my favorite hikes in my first article about Sedona that includes where to eat outside the resort and where to get energetic bodywork. The hikes include Boynton Canyon Trail and Vista Trail (Kachina Woman) which you just use your key card for on property to access, Cathedral Rock which is 20 min away, Bear Mountain (7 min) and most difficult. We also took a little day drive toward Flagstaff and hiked the West Fork Trail.
We didn’t get to do the whole 3 hour hike due to losing daylight, but we walked about 2 hours and jumped through rivers, rock pathways over the water, and frozen ice spots that felt like we were ice skating in our hiking boots. Definitely need waterproof shoes for this one. I’d also say this one is the most kid friendly because it’s shaded and not steep. Drive a little further on the weekend to catch the Oak Creek Vista Overlook which offers an incredible Native American artisan market with handmade silver jewelry and colorful stones. It reminded me of Santa Fe. These people work so hard to make stand out products. They do not bargain. The view at the end goes deeeeep through the forest look out, and you can see the highway below. I recommend doing this one of your last days after you’ve hiked the big bucks and need a break!
We took advantage of the Trail House at the resort to book a private guided Full Moon Hike equipped with headlamps, our fun German guide who drove us to the site and all of his enriching stories about Sedona and the vortex/energy knowledge. They also have tips on mountain biking, electric bike rentals, and a retail space with outdoor apparel and snacks for your adventure. You can book online here and other excursions include: Native American Teachings Hike, Sunrise Hike, Tibetan Buddhist Stupa Hike, Yoga Hike, etc.
MII AMO SPA:
We both splurged on an Intentional Aromatherapy Massage where you choose from a table of colored cards that have intentions paired with their aromatherapy oils and blends. The 60 min treatment included a dry body brush exfoliation with a light massage and oil. I chose a yellowish orangish card that said “I am Passionate; I Attract Love.” It had a descriptive card with words such as Intimacy, Sensual, Mystic, and Rapture. On the back listed the drops of oils that it included: Ylang Ylang, Wild Cedar, Clove Bud, and we also got to keep a mini bottle of the oil to take home. I usually get sports massages to relieve tension in my muscles, so this was something much more caring and soft. I let my mind go and thought about my intention and goal for 2021, and at this point my mind was really quite and calm for maybe the first time of 2020. My friend Leslie got the same massage but with a different intention and her massage therapist gave her a whole history lesson of the vortexes, said a prayer and blew out a candle for her. While I learned this after mine and was a little envious and dissapointed I didn’t get that, I had to remind myself that perhaps what I needed was the calm and quiet for once and I got what I needed!
The spa has an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, indoor fire pit and pool, and a crystal room where we also went in to sit and think about intentions. I’m not sure what they have planned with the renovations but this was nice! We also participated in a Labyrinth Meditation Walk on NYE around 5:15 p.m. after our morning massage and afternoon Boynton Canyon walk. Our leader explained how a labyrinth is like a maze with all different twists, turns, paths and as we walked through it we should think about what we want to let go of on the way in and what we want to fill ourselves with on the way out. She explained how we won’t know which way to go which is a lot like… you guessed it: LIFE! I loved this message and a great end to a day of reflection, calmness, spirit, and growth from the year. The spa offered a lot of activities like this such as yoga, walks, and mediation.
We had a Double Queen Casita that came with a patio overlooking the canyon, a deep tub, and shower. You could have Orange Juice delivered to your door in the morning as well. The rooms and amenities are lovely, but nothing over the top like you might expect compared to the outdoor natural beauty and service. It was just what we needed! That being said, there are suites and larger bedrooms with private pools and fire places if you want more class.