L'Auberge de Sedona

L'Auberge de Sedona
301 L'Auberge Lane
Sedona, Arizona 86336
HISTORY:  Native peoples occupied this beautiful area as far back as 11,000 BC, judging from artifacts and art found in the area.  The Singua people, as they were known, were remembered for their pottery, basketry and masonry.  Later, after 1400 AD, the tribes of the Yavapai, Havasupai and Apache moved into the valley until forcibly removed to reservations in 1876 during the heyday of US western expansion.
The first Anglo-American to come to this area was John J. Thomson, who lived in the beautiful Oak Creek Canyon. Occupations at this time were mostly farmers, ranchers and apple growers. The founder and Postmaster of the town itself had a last name of Schnebly and he wanted to name the town after himself, but his quick thinking friends convinced him to think twice about that-luckily- so he named it after his wife instead.  Her first name was Sedona. Glad he listened.
Room Options: lodges (lower rates) to cottages (higher rates - especially ones closest to stream)
Offerings: free high speed internet, satellite and cable TV, free parking, 24 hour concierge, flat screen TV's, on-site exercise facility. 
Packages: Bed and Breakfast, Grand Canyon Trip Spa Package, Romance Package and Pink Jeep Tour. 
The Spa also offers various massages, body and energy treatments, facials and enhancements like aromatherapy and foot massages. The facility feels ethereal, and if you choose to have your treatment outside, you are serenaded by the Oak Creek.
Centrally located in town with easy walking distance to many sites and shopping.
A daily outdoor wake-up yoga class looking at the red rock formations while listening to the babble of the stream. Truly relaxing.
On site astronomer three nights a week- to view the stars through a high-powered telescope.
Morning coffee and scones offered gratis to begin your day right.
Swimming Pool area is outdoors and delightful.
Pets- Yes! Dogs allowed in certain rooms and come with all kinds of amenities like beds, food and toys.
What I Think:  This April morning when I awoke to my first day in Sedona, the only sounds I heard were the birds and the only thing I saw when I stepped out onto the extra large terrace to have my morning coffee were the spired, sandstone rock formations.  I sat down on the really comfortable chaise lounge to take in the view.  It feels like my ”own private Arizona.” I cannot get over the natural beauty. I just texted a picture of where I am having my coffee to my daughter with the title, ”Good morning Sedona.” You can see it below in the picture gallery.
ACCOMODATIONS: Our room, overlooking the Oak Creek Canyon, has a comfortable king sized bed with sumptuous covers that make it feel like home. There is a gas fireplace to take the chill off and the big screen TV. A Keurig coffee maker brews my morning coffee and above the bed is a ceiling fan for those hot nights and, my favorite- windows that actually open to let in the desert winds.  What a concept! The large, modern bathroom has an indoor and an outdoor shower. I tried the one outdoors and was bathed by the rising sun.  It was great to have the sky as my ceiling. The bathroom also has a jet tub. So relaxing. The space feels more like an apartment than a room. 
FOOD: The resort restaurant is charming and cozy, offering American and Mediterranean cuisine. On warm days you can dine right by the meandering Oak Creek. Breakfast has many delicious choices, as does dinner.  Your outdoor dining area is a babbling brook surrounded by awe inspiring red sandstone.  The bar inside opens to the outdoors and is an inviting space to enjoy a cocktail.
Walk to breakfast at a place called Wildflower Bread Company, located a short walking distance from your room. It had fresh breads and food, bottomless cups of coffee, very decent prices and quick service.
We liked having fresh and delicious lunches in the Secret Garden Café, located in Tlaquepaque- a unique and charming artists’ colony in the heart of Sedona. Make sure you pay a visit to this unique Mexican inspired shopping and eating destination. There are a number of stores that carry Native peoples’ jewelry, artifacts and gifts. There is a profusion of art galleries here.  El Rincon in this complex was a great Mexican choice with authentic foods and great ambience.
Walk to the Cowboy Club, located a few steps from the resort It seems to be a favorite of locals and us as well- a test of a good restaurant.  This, so far, has been our favorite restaurant. The wait staff is dressed in true western garb and the menu contains delectables like fried rattlesnake or cactus (delicious) and buffalo and elk steaks. Great ribs too.  Prices were very reasonable.
Other Shopping:  The town, in easy walking distance from the resort, is replete with a variety of shops to keep any shopaholic busy for hours. There is, of course, your garden variety of souvenir shops, but intermingled among them are craft and art galleries and clothing shops including a good dose of outdoor outfitters. Duh.  The outskirts of town, a short driving distance from the resort, is also worth a look for shopping and other food choices.
However, the real reason to visit Sedona for is the GEOLOGY- a "giant layer cake" of stratified sandstone rock that dates back some 350 million years. So strap on those walking shoes and go outside!
ACTIVITIES: PINK JEEP TOUR- We began our Sedona tour with a bang, a bump and a lot of screams and shrieks. We went on a “not to be missed” Pink Jeep Tour on our first morning. It was awesome and terrifying at the same time. Drove (if you can call it that) over terrain where I thought we would just spill over into the canyon.  The most terrifying part was the spin (depending totally on the theory of centrifugal force) over Mushroom Rock and then down “Oh My God” road.   I had a jeep once but I never knew the meaning of “off road” until today.  I had to close my eyes half the time but like so many things that are dangerous, I'm so glad I did it. Now I have a story to tell.
If you are into hiking or biking you came to the right place. The trails in the hiking book I bought look like veins on the map-there are so many of them! And- there are levels to suit all types of people. We hiked Fay Canyon today at the recommendation of a waitress we met at breakfast.  It was a lovely hike through a beautiful canyon, and yes, there were many red sandstone walls. It made me wonder who Fay was. She must've been a really special woman to have a beautiful canyon like that named after her. 
Sedona has 158 trails to explore.  This afternoon, we went on a hike near the Bell Tower at the recommendation of our waiter.  I can totally understand the name of this red rock formation, as it looks like a bell tower.  Duh. Located in Oak Creek, a few miles south of the main town, the flat trails gave us a nice view of some of the rock formations in the Sedona area and also a chance to get used to the elevation without losing our breath. The four-mile trail was well marked and meandered in serpentine fashion through the desert environment. If you like solitude, this is a good bet, as it had very few people.
After that, we stopped at another popular hiking spot, Cathedral Rock, which, though short in length, was a little more steep and challenging.  This spot had a lot more people and we didn’t like it as much.  Too commercial.
Took a ride in West Sedona on Dry Creek Road where the vistas disappeared into the surrounding hills. There are so many trails in this area alone.
We took a trail called Long Canyon Trail that offered nice sandy walking paths through the forest. Then we detoured onto Dead Man's Pass, which wound through open desert terrain and had awesome vistas of countless rock formations.
If you want to see the beauty of this area, you don’t have to go on a hiking trail.  You can just follow the sidewalk from the hotel out of town for a few miles.  Everywhere you look, there is a panorama of red rock spires.  For instance, today we went for a 6-mile round-trip walk along the main highway. There is so much natural beauty to look at every turn. 
SPIRITUAL CENTER: Sedona is known by most as a spiritual center where visitors come for relaxation and meditative experiences. It is medicine for the mind. Essentially, proponents of these ideas talk about a vortex, which is defined by folks in Sedona as, “a hot spot of natural energy” that is capable of creating all types of energy from the earth and can “evoke balance, a heightening sense of awareness and an awakening of the spirit.” Because Sedona is said to contain hundreds of these vortexes, visitors are drawn to the region because these unusual formations are said to have healing qualities.  There are all sorts of places one can go to experience the magic of the vortexes.  There are dozens of inspirational lectures, seminars and metaphysical activities to get in touch with your spiritual side.
NIGHTLIFE:  We didn’t experience much nightlife because we were so exhausted from hiking the cliffs and mesas, we didn’t have much energy for partying. I would vote for a quiet nightcap at L’Auberge’s cozy bar instead.
LISTEN TO THE LOCALS- They have lived in the area and know it the best. Their recommendations are probably less touristy and more authentic.
WEATHER: During our stay, the weather was beautiful, except for the 20 minutes it snowed!  April temps range from 70 degrees during the day to 50 degrees at night.  Great sleeping weather. Much hotter in summer.
GREEN: I was very impressed with how "green" this town is. Recycle receptacles were everywhere even in our room. People are encouraged to “Save the Earth” during their stay.
SUNSET: You should not miss the sunset, and according to the locals, the best place to see it is at the airport-that's right- the airport.
Drives: don't miss the drive through Oak Creek Canyon- Noisy creek cuts through imposing canyon on the way to Flagstaff - or how about a drive to the Grand Canyon - L'Auberge de Sedona offers a tour.
HOLLYWOOD IN SEDONA: I didn't know this before I visited, but Sedona has been home to more than 80 Hollywood films starring such notables as John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Robert DeNiro, and Shirley Temple to name a few. Beginning in the silent era, with Zane Grey tales, Hollywood has often used Sedona as a backdrop for its films, capitalizing on the area's unspoiled rugged terrain and western motif. In other words, lots of cowboys and cowgirls have traipsed through here and you can see it all for yourself if you visit the Sedona Heritage Center, where there is a whole section dedicated to film history.  The museum staff can also point you to specific areas you can visit where films were made. Speaking of films, there is a yearly independent film festival every February, so if this is the medium that interests you, Sedona is the place.
Flora and Fauna: I know what Prickly Pear cactus looks like now and I had iced tea flavored with it. Ocotillo cacti have red flowers. Barrel cacti look like short stumpy like barrels.  Duh.  A Saguaro cactus is huge! It has a long, tall stalk that can rise to 10-12 feet and sometimes grows arms.  That's how you know that it is really old.  When it has arms, it could be over 80 years old I hope I live that long! If you drive from Sedona to Phoenix, you will see thousands of Saguaro cacti. Cacti is the plural of cactus. 
Sun, sun, sun: Sedona averages 300 days of sun.
Location, location, location: Sedona is centrally located near Arizona’s national parks and monuments and Arizona has more of these than any other state.
Terrain: There is more mountainous terrain in Arizona than in Switzerland.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport or Phoenix International Airport and rent a car.  Although Flagstaff is closer (about 50 miles depending on route compared to 118 mile trip from Phoenix) there aren't that many direct flights into Flagstaff, so you would have to connect, should you prefer to fly there. I chose Phoenix Airport since there were many more flights to choose from than Flagstaff had- and I was coming from NYC! There is a free shuttle service provided to the resort from Phoenix Airport.
What I think:  L'Auberge de Sedona is understated elegance and a great place to hang your hat (good thing to bring due to so many days of sun) during your stay. Sedona is heaven or very close to it.  Profiles of people are inscribed in the red rocks almost everywhere you look. The jagged spires look like divine inscriptions on the sky.  In my opinion, everyone should put Sedona on his or her bucket list.