Visiting Sedona and exploring the Grand Canyon has always been on my bucket-list. We've been talking about heading out there for a while now and finally got to it this past weekend. We departed Los Angeles early Saturday morning and left Tuesday morning for a nice, extended weekend in the desert.
After the one hour flight to Phoenix airport, we rented a car and headed up to Sedona. The drive to Sedona was approximately two hours but a pretty, cacti-filled one at that. We stopped at a tourist trap (they had good pie, though!) about an hour in and continued the trek. Right before arriving to Sedona, we stopped by the Montezuma Castle National Monument, oooh-ed and aaaah-ed at the amazing structure built without technology and finally checked in at the luxurious Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa.
Now, let me guide you through the hotel, restaurants, leisurely and adventurous activities you can do in an extended weekend in Sedona!
Rock Springs Cafe - This is the place I called "tourist trap with good pie" in the introduction and it's true. It's one of the only unique places around the halfway point between Phoenix and Sedona, which explains all the reviews. It's a saloon themed restaurant with a gift shop attached to it. The food is mediocre and overpriced; we had the Meatloaf Sandwich & the Ruben, both were just average. But the pies! The pies were pretty darn good. The Chocolate Cream Pie was divine and the Apple Pie was classic. Make sure you get your fruit pies warmed up!
Saltrock Southwest Kitchen - To be completely honest, we chose this restaurant because of the photos of stunning views of the Red Rocks. The Guacamole Kit is a must as an appetizer! It comes with a tray of toppings (jalapenos, tomatoes, mango and corn nuts) alongside a bowl of seasoned guacamole. We shared the Rabbit Confit Taco & Ancho Braised Short Rib Tacos which were delicious! Try the Tres Leches Cake for dessert and thank me later.
Oak Creek Brewery & Grill - The 30 minute wait for a table at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill was worth it! While I'm not a beer drinker, my fiancè tried a couple of their local brews and enjoyed them quite a bit. We both ended up with the Beer Simmered Bratwurst with Cajun Fries and oh my, it was delicious! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. They are located inside the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.
Montezuma Castle National Monument - If you're driving from Phoenix, the Montezuma Castle National Monument Park is conveniently on the way to Sedona. It's a smaller park and will only need an hour or less for the visit. The Montezuma Castle is a grandiose landmark that comes highly recommended. I won't go into too much history (history nerd over here!) but it's a 5 story, 800 year old castle constructed by Native Americans. So impressive!
Guided Tours by Pink Jeep - As soon as you arrive in Sedona, you can't help but notice the several Pink Jeeps that drive by. They're ranked the 4th best Tour companies by TripAdvisor and now I know why! Out of Sedona, they have several different tours whether you want to go on an off-roading, hiking, historic or a scenic tour, they have it. I personally opted for day-long Grand Canyon tour with Pink Jeep but if you want to experience a shorter tour, most of them are between 1.5-3 hours. More on the Grand Canyon tour coming on a post next week!
Crescent Moon Ranch State Park - Want to go on an easy, flat hike, play in the water, picnic...or all of the above? Crescent Moon Ranch State Park is the perfect spot. The second the Red Rocks came into view when approaching Sedona, I knew I had to get close to it. It's an easy hike perfect for families with young children or seniors. We saw a ton of dogs, too! The rocks are a sight to behold. One interesting thing - there were tons of rocks stacked on top of each other! If anyone knows the story behind it if there even is one, let me know!
Uptown Sedona - Consider Uptown as the 'downtown' of Sedona. There's several shops, galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, you get the gist. If it's a nice day or cool evening, it's worth a stroll.
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village - When we asked the Concierge where we could find local art and crafts, he recommended we visit Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. It's easy access at just a block south of the Uptown area. The Village boasts Southwestern architecture with verandas, arches and darling florals. We found that the Village mostly consists of art galleries and jewelry shops, along with a handful of eateries. Definitely worth a visit if only for a stroll and a Prickly Pear milkshake from How Sweet It Is!
Spa @ Sedona Rouge - We all love a relaxing spa day, right? Can you imagine how amazing a massage would be after hiking on a hot Arizona day? The Spa at the Sedona Rouge Hotel is a full service spa within the hotel property. With a spa treatment, enjoy the use of their hot tub, steam room, fitness center and pool. I was lucky enough to experience a Custom Facial with Diane and it was heavenly! They have an extensive spa menu so you're bound to find something that you'll love. Treat yo' self!
Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa - The Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa is conveniently located a few miles from the Uptown area and is a desert oasis. You're immediately welcomed by a beautiful outdoor lobby area and friendly staff. While I don't have a dog yet (coming in June!), the hotel is dog friendly with plenty of walking areas and biscuits to boot!
Room - Our room was in the Almeria section of their property. The room was newly redesigned, spacious and had a patio facing the Almeria Garden. The decor of the room was absolutely charming with shades of neutrals and pops of their signature reds. I was beyond thrilled about the large tub and used it multiple times. The bed was so comfortable and we slept so well; I never get that great of sleep at hotels!
Spa - As I mentioned in the "Leisure" portion above, their spa is the perfect place for tranquility and relaxation. Being able to walk to and from my room made things convenient.
Dining - REDS restaurant is on property and serves dining options all day, including a bar. We had breakfast there each morning (Cornflake Crusted French Toast, anyone?) and loved starting the day off with good food. Later in the evenings, we would stop by for a drink or two! They also have room service.
The Sedona Rouge Hotel is in such an ideal location and is hands down, one of the best hotels we've ever had the pleasure of staying. Aside from the beautiful property, friendly staff and delicious cuisine, they even got the small, yet important things right. The room temperature was perfect, the wifi was consistent, the towels were soft and every spot of the property was pristine. If you're planning a trip to Sedona, consider the Sedona Rouge Hotel, I highly recommend it!
I had the best time in Sedona; the perfect balance of activity and relaxation! We can't wait to go back for more hikes and Southwestern delicacies. Have you been to Sedona before? Where should I go next? Leave a comment below!
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The Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa graciously hosted us at their beautiful property and Pink Jeep Tours welcomed us on their Grand Canyon tour. However, all opinions are as always, my own.