A long weekend getaway is a valuable break from the occasional monotony of everyday life. If you want one that will be the epitome of rest, relaxation and reflection (or even romance), think no further than L’Auberge de Sedona.
My husband and I found seven undeniable reasons why L’Auberge de Sedona, Arizona was the perfect gift for ourselves.
1. Excellent location
Sedona is a popular tourist destination. Massive red rocks in all sorts of whimsical formations frame many city views. I always thought the whole area deserved to be declared a national park.
My husband and I consider this an attraction second only to the Grand Canyon in the state. Only 2 hours from our house, we take our guests there when they have a day to spare. Picnicking, hiking (short or long, easy or difficult), shopping and other activities become even more special in such a pleasant setting.
Dining there is a pure delight. From our many trips to Sedona, we’ve rounded up 10 awe-inspiring dining experiences with unforgettable views: the most upscale Mariposa, Hideaway House, Creekside Bistro, SaltRock Kitchen, and The Hudson; or the more affordable Canyon Breeze, Mesa Grill, Sound Bites Grill, and even the Wildflower Bread Company fast food chain.
Additionally, Sedona is an epicenter of sacred vortices, a central location from which to spend time hiking in nature, exploring nooks and crannies, and enjoying self-reflection. Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon are the best known magical places. In fact, when you’re simply practicing mindfulness, anywhere will do – even the sublime cove of L’Auberge.
2. Charming and sumptuous accommodation
We gave ourselves the chance to stay in this unique place nestled in the Oak Creek Canyon (a river gorge often described as a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon) and under many majestic, biblical sycamores. We own timeshares in Sedona and have stayed at various hotels and resorts, but our membership did not include L’Auberge de Sedona, the most luxurious lodging option available.
To reach this heavenly place, you descend along L’Auberge Lane. Downstairs, your vehicle will be picked up by valets. A shuttle takes you up to Highway 89 where the shops and restaurants are.
We usually go up in the summer, but this time we went in the fall and the sycamore leaves had turned yellow and golden. Although it was a little chilly, the beauty of the scenery more than made up for it. Amid the rustling of leaves, rushing waters and chirping of birds, the experience became unforgettable.
The 5 bedroom Creekhouse provides the most luxurious getaway for a family of 10-12. But we stayed in one of the lovely Creekside Cottages (there are 15, plus two Creekside Suites). It was located on the banks of Oak Creek and we had a large private deck with a view of the creek and sycamores. The unit is unlike any room we have stayed in before. It gives the impression of being one with nature. There was even a romantic, private outdoor shower which I imagine would be great in the warmer months.
It’s very well appointed and comes with luxuries like a (very) smart 65-inch TV, wood-burning fireplace, and top name brand appliances. I loved the bedside table/tray, which I used to write on. The king-size bed was luxuriously comfortable, with all the sizes and shapes of pillows I needed for an elevated upper body; I never had to ask for more like I usually do. The armchairs and the coffee table were quite comfortable. A dining table served as both a place to share food and a large study desk to lay out papers.
There are 62 cottages in all: Vista Cottages offer legendary views of Snoopy Rock, Giant’s Thumb and Elephant Rock (some have telescopes); the quaint Garden Cottages; and Spa Cottages with jetted tubs, two of which have Peloton bikes. There is also a main lodge with 19 deluxe rooms and two suites. But we will always stay in a Creekside Cottage.
3. Kitchen on site
Cress on Oak Creek’s fine dining is nationally recognized. We actually discovered d L’Auberge when a friend who was visiting Arizona on a residential art program invited us to dine there. As she expected, we fell in love with the meals created by the chef and served under the sycamores along the enchanting bank of the creek. A year later we went back for a birthday dinner.
This time, however, it was a bit chilly, so we opted to dine in the enclosed dining room. Still, we were able to feast on the fantastic view of the creek and sycamore trees. A musician was in the waiting room playing his ukulele violin. When he did “La Vie en Rose”, I was moved to sing. It’s my favorite French love song of all time.
Every time it’s on the menu I order French Onion Soup, and I was thrilled when it arrived – it was so good I devoured every morsel and ended up so full that I struggled to finish the striped bass entree. But I couldn’t resist it; it was perfectly browned in crust on top, buttery soft on the inside, and had a thin layer of flavorful fish fat to boot. I also decided to book lunch for the next day which made for another delicious meal. The mushroom bisque soup tasted so smooth and exquisite.
Completely satisfied, I asked to speak to Chief Shawn. I expressed my appreciation for his creations. He thanked me sincerely. The next night we tried room service. I love the cuisine at L’Auberge.
We were also very pleased with the Mexican food at its sister kitchen, 89 Agave Cantina, just above L’Auberge on Hwy 89.
4. Special experiences
There are other L’Auberge programs that deepen an appreciation of the mystique of Sedona. Beginner courses, such as Crystal Introduction and Meditation, Sound Healing, Chakra and Energy Healing, are available for free.
We took part in two courses: The Qigong and Meditation Initiation Course and the Vortex and Hikes Conference by Paula, the head of the metaphysical program at L’Auberge. Specially curated private experiences including Shinrin-Yoku, 7 Flutes for 7 Chakras, Soul Energy Medicine, and others are also available for a more personal and deeper journey of discovery.
The session with Paula prompted us to hike to the top of Airport Mesa to experience the rising and falling vortices there. As she suggested, we also looked for the prickly pear cactus heart pads on the trail. In fact, other hikers started following us when they found what we were looking for. These special cacti have stopped growing versions of heart-shaped pads in the recent past, but pads have reappeared this year!
And you shouldn’t miss the stargazing opportunity offered by the large veranda above the cottages near the main lodge. Every 30 minutes, a guide points out the many stars and constellations to see. Stargazing with my husband became a romantic experience in the middle of the night.
5. The Apothecary Spa
I tried the signature facial and my husband had the Arizona Apricot Scrub at the famous L’Apothecary Spa. At a spa in Phoenix, I used to have a monthly facial, but it had a negative impact on my chin, so I quit. Here I was told that only once per season change is recommended. I hope the time will come when people compliment the glow of my skin. I brought home the maintenance serum.
The gentle massage was also a very warm experience for my husband; but I guess being pampered at the spa isn’t really a guy thing. I loved the luxurious waiting room, the special cookies and tea portions, and the walk-in closet with everything you need. I can only imagine how it would be in the summer when they do all those facials and massages under the sycamores by the stream.
6. Art Gallery Program
The Auberge even offers the La Galerie Art program in partnership with the Goldstein Gallery in Sedona. At strategic locations on the trail connecting the cottages on the property, there are five large sculptures that add to the natural beauty and delight your aesthetic senses.
It was the pastoral dreamer at the Garden of Peace which impressed me the most. It seems to emerge from the ground in an extremely restful contemplative pose, which makes me want to do the same – so relevant for a weekend getaway! At the main lodge, the Creekhouse and the restaurant, numerous paintings adorn the walls. Some are available for purchase.
7. Creekside Connections
I was just told that they have started a new program which was not available when we were there. This offer includes unique activities like tarot card readings, vortex cocktails, a private workshop called “Unleash Your Visions” and others that can be held with friends for a relationship-deepening experience. This is something my husband and I look forward to.
Although I’m usually a very thrifty person, we went to L’Auberge for our anniversary, my birthday, and Thanksgiving. Sometimes a luxurious getaway, like what L’Auberge can provide, is the best gift we can give ourselves on a precious long weekend.