You Probably Need a Weekend in Sedona, Uber-Relaxing by the Vortexes
L’Auberge de Sedona is the creekside inn here to soothe what ails you
People tend to be looking for something when they head out to the desert: clarity, distraction, an answer, a question worth asking. The desert strips everything back, digs into the elements, reminds us of what we need: shade, shelter, water. The desert is for wanderers and explorers, travelers seeking something beyond just a nice meal, a soft bed and a few great photographs.
Luckily, Sedona is the kind of desert that offers all three of those easy marks, along with that extra-special mystical element. It’s a tiny city of only 10,000 residents, but the magnificent red-rock buttes surrounding the area make it a must-see for visitors from across the globe.
With views of the towering, energy-charged red cliffs all-around, L’Auberge de Sedona is the idyllic spot to survey this magical little town. We crave the desert because it reveals what we can do without, but the best way to temper that challenge is with a nice soft place to land. Right on the banks of Oak Creek, this hotel is an unexpected oasis in the middle of nowhere, with just the right balance of spiritual offerings, luxurious accommodations, and world-class dining. Head out to the desert, yes, but don’t forget to schedule some pampering after those potentially grueling hikes. Here’s what makes L’Auberge our pick for hanging out in Sedona for a few days.
Creekside dining — well, creekside everything
Given the emphasis on rocks and heat, perhaps a peaceful creekside isn’t what most people have in mind when they think of this magical Arizona haven. But that’s the thing about tiny, remote cities: Sometimes they can surprise you more than a bustling metropolis. L’Auberge de Sedona is situated down in a valley, just a few steps away from the city’s main drag, where aura readings, crystal shops, and the signature pink jeep tours abound. Despite the relative proximity, it feels like a world away, and that’s partially due to the presence of an ever-flowing creek. In this desert climate, a creek is everything — sustenance, safety, comfort. The creek is a landmark that defines this hotel, with creekside dining, cabins and even a duck pond for reflection or meditation. Defined by its proximity to this tranquil water source, L’Auberge maximizes their best resource with views from nearly every building, and plenty of the guest rooms, too.
The resort offers several types of standalone cottages, complete with outdoor showers
Yes, there is an alternative room type at The Lodge, but do yourself a favor and book into a standalone cottage. Vista cottages are up on the cliffside, offering sweeping views of the creek and red rock cliffs, garden cottages are tucked away in the dreamy, quiet middle of the resort, and creekside cottages are pretty self-explanatory. Though views are nice and quiet is sometimes key, the creekside experience is uniquely private. With great distancing from the other bungalows, and a massive outdoor shower that’s walled in from outsiders, these cottages let you soak up the forest, the water, and the rest of the natural beauty from a totally private vantage. Oh, and a real wood-burning fireplace complete with plenty of firewood only makes the whole thing that much cozier. Opt for room service one night and experience a completely private dinner on each room’s ample outdoor deck.
World-class food and beverage, even in a remote desert town
Atmosphere aside, the dining experience at L’Auberge wouldn’t be as impressive if it didn’t deliver on the kind of food and beverage guests are accustomed to in larger markets. What’s the point of going on vacation if you’re leaving great food behind? Chef John Gapasin has a Bay Area background and brings a focus on local, seasonal items that are elevated beyond hotel fare at the on-site restaurant, Cress on Oak Creek. Daily soups, local greens, fresh pasta, and specialities like braised short rib or duck confit are standouts on the à la carte lunch and dinner menus — a fine dining prix fix complete with wine pairings is also available.
Exploring the red-rock buttes is an incomparable activity
For those who love hiking, Sedona is basically paradise. Whether it’s Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock or Courthouse Butte, even walking the paths in the shadows of these red cliffs is an experience like no other. Scaling the cliffs, on the other hand, takes a more experienced and seasoned adventurer, but plenty of people do it. If you’re not interested in getting into the dirt at all, the pink jeep tours allow visitors to take in all sights from the comfort of a car seat. And for those who want to tap into the highly touted healing energies of the rocks, spiritual guides like Sedona Mystical Tours will lead you through meditations and breathing exercises in the wilderness to get the most out of the surrounding vortexes (“swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing” … just read about it). When you’re done, hop into a spa treatment back at L’Auberge — the desert flower massage brings essential oils into the mix for an even more relaxing recovery.
On-site yoga, sound baths, crystal healing and spa treatments
Whether you’re settling in at the spa for a massage or a scrub, splurging on a facial or even exploring a reiki treatment, it’s definitely worth digging into all the metaphysical services that L’Auberge offers. When in the middle of a city known for its vortexes, right? For first-timers to sound healing, this can be a great place to experience a sound bath, which are hosted regularly on the property and are open to all guests. There’s also regular yoga classes, and crystal introduction and meditation, guided hikes, and even stargazing at night. That last one is a must for city dwellers — odds are you haven’t seen stars this bright in quite some time. Our (strong) rec: Get a good look while you can.
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