Monday, 1 April 2013

Weekend Life....L'Auberge de Sedona, Sedona, Arizona

L'Auberge de Sedona, Arizona, early February 2013.

Our trip to Arizona was rather like a progressive dinner party: the entrée in Scottsdale at the boutique Hermosa Inn, the main at the ruggedly beautiful White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, and finishing with desert at L’Auberge de Sedona. And what an indulgent desert it was! 

Nestled in the heart of the red rocks of Sedona along the banks of Oak Creek (not so much a bubbling brook as a gushing river during our early February visit!), L’Auberge de Sedona was an oasis of luxury and tranquility, and a fitting finale to our Arizona adventure. Set amongst 11 acres of landscaped gardens, the 87 guest rooms and cottages are dotted amongst towering fragrant pines, cottonwood and sycamore trees*. Our beautiful Vista Suite was set high on the property, tucked away at the end of a row of walnut-hued timber cottages. Opening the door to our suite, it felt like we were entering a living picture frame: a bank of windows and sliding glass doors framed the spectacular, uninterrupted views of Snoopy Rock (my favourite, of course!), Giants Thumb and Elephant Rock. With a backdrop of brilliant blue sky, the red sandstone rocks were truly magnificent, the colours changing with the light throughout the day. Each morning I awoke before sunrise, grabbed a blanket, made myself a coffee and sat huddled on our suite’s large wooden deck to watch the moon disappear and the sun rise over the rocks. And in the late afternoon, we sat sipping wine, eating antipasto and watching the sun set, changing the colours of the rocks from terracotta to vermillion, coral and rust.

In keeping with the serenity of the surroundings, interiors at L’Auberge were simple, modern and tasteful. Hardwood floors in the living room and bedroom, crisp white Fili D’oro bed linen adorned the huge bed along with a entire flotilla of pillows (love!), a gas fireplace kept the suite cosy and warm at night, and luxury robes and slippers were provided to lounge in after a swim in the heated pool, spa treatment or shower. Ahhh yes, the shower. Two words that make me do a happy dance: Outdoor shower! Distant memories of the freezing après-beach outdoor showers of my childhood (“Wash ALL the sand off before you come inside”) came flooding back. The beautiful cedar outdoor shower in our suite was, however, a far cry from those of my youth: silky cedar wood underfoot, bright blue skies (or the clear night sky filled with masses of stars) above, oodles of hot water and zingy grapefruit scented Antica Farmacista bath products. Bliss. And if we didn’t feel up to the outdoor shower (a crazy thought but possible I guess!), there was also a spacious indoor shower and jacuzzi in the enormous bathroom. Did we do the “3 Bath Run?” (outdoor shower → indoor shower → soak in the bath). Of course we did! 

The restaurant, bar and reception area for L’Auberge are situated in the centre of the property by Oak Creek and guests tend to gravitate creek side for drinks, and in the warmer months breakfast, lunch and dinner under the canopy of trees. Chairs and tables are dotted along the banks of the creek (including some cute wooden swinging chairs) so we took some time to watch the resident ducks** glide by and read our books while enjoying a glass of wine from the bar. 


L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek: We had dinner in the restaurant on the first night of our stay, and both the food and service were wonderful. Highlights included an amuse-bouche of poached and smoked persimmon with sunflower seeds, pork belly on a bed of creamy oats with preserved apple (so delicious and one to attempt to recreate at home!), Dungeness crab crepe parcel with a roasted tomato and fennel sauce, sticky braised short ribs with roasted fingerling potatoes, baby beetroot and cashew parsnip puree, and the perfect ending….. sticky toffee pudding (oh. so. good).

Elote café: Excellent Mexican restaurant just down the road from L’Auberge. We shared the beef tamales and elote (roasted corn in a creamy, spicy, slightly tangy sauce – so yummy scooped up with tortilla chips!), lamb adobo and carne asada. The restaurant doesn’t take bookings so you might have to wait for a table. My suggestion? Grab a table outside and enjoy the excellent margaritas (I had the tasting flight) and complimentary popcorn while you wait. 

Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market: A roadside deli/café with super friendly service and delicious, made-to-order sandwiches. Perfect if you want to grab a sandwich before setting off on a hike (the sandwiches are huge so you should be set for an entire day’s hiking!). There is a lovely little garden out the back to eat in or you can take your order to go. 

New Frontiers Natural Marketplace: The Sedona version of Whole Foods. Great for picking up provisions for a picnic (either in-room or outdoors!) or hiking trip. 

To Do

Pink Jeep Tours: This is an absolute must-do on a visit to Sedona. We took the Broken Arrow Tour (approx 2 hours) which was so much fun despite the fact I squealed like a little girl on one particularly steep descent – I think it was called Devil’s Staircase (in my defence, I don’t like heights and have zero experience 4WDriving). The views were incredible, the ride exhilarating and our guide extremely knowledgeable and funny. 

Chapel of the Holy Cross: A beautiful Catholic church built into the side of the rocks/mountain in Sedona. 

There are also loads of hikes and trails to follow (on foot or mountain bike).

*Being the middle of winter many of the trees had shed their leaves. I can only imagine how spectacular the grounds must look when they awake in the spring, and in autumn when the leaves change colour from green to orange, gold and crimson. 

 **Each morning at 8 a.m. there is duck feeding on the banks of the creek where guests can help feed the family of ducks that call L’Auberge de Sedona home.

We were guests of L'Auberge de Sedona.


  1. gorgeous scenery!

  2. Perfection...what a place to enjoy! Catching those morning sunrises sounds serene.

    1. @dustjacket - I am not normally one for being up before sunrise each morning, but each day of my Arizona trip I was up before dawn (and not just because of jet lag!). It really is the most beautiful place...and sitting on the deck of our suite in L'Auberge as the sun rose was pretty magical....I should get up to see the sun rise more often (although in London more often than not it is just murky grey turning to another shade of grey ;)

  3. I want to go there so badly! I've had the traveling bug pretty bad lately, and the desert is on the top of my list. You captured it beautifully.

    Fleur d'Elise

  4. that looks like the most perfect weekend, totally jealous!


  5. Sedona looks like such a different place from Tucson, at least in the beginning photos. The photo third from the bottom actually reminds me of my trip to Namibia a couple years ago. Really lovely photos, as always!

    We are just coming off the week when we usually go to Arizona, so I must say I'm glad you didn't post your Tucson trip photos this week, or I'd realllly be aching! But that won't prevent me from going to look at them again and pretending they have the power to magically transport me out there. :-)

  6. @Catie Beatty - Do it! Seriously, Arizona is the most incredible (and diverse) place I have visited. The three areas we ventured to: Scottsdale, Tucson and Sedona were SO different.....almost 3 different holidays.

    @Far and wild Jewelry - it was really beautiful :) I am jealous of the people there now!

    @Claire - Oh dear, I feel so bad for you Claire that you didn't get to go to Tucson....but fingers and toes crossed for next year for you. And yes, totally different place from Tucson, it almost felt like a different state. Less cactus (and no Saguaro cactus as it is too high in elevation) and beautiful red rocks (or mesas I think they are called). I wish I was back in Arizona right now! I really, really loved it. Amazing part of the world (and the wildflowers and cactus flowers will probably be blooming right now!)

  7. Sedona is one of my favorite places in the WORLD!! So spiritual and those cottages are GORGEOUS. No plans to get married any time soon, but seems like a lovely location. Beautiful images.

  8. These photos are beautiful... I was there three or four years ago at L'auberge, and to be honest, had sort of forgotten about the trip. Now I'm wishing to go again, but I can enjoy these photos in the meantime.


  9. @Professor Von Slotheim - It is a truly beautiful place isn't it....those red rocks are so majestic and the light is incredible. Definitely somewhere to consider for a wedding should a proposal come your way!

    @Gingerland - thank you! I am pretty sure it would be looking a lot different now as Spring has definitely hit Arizona. What time of year did you go????