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March 21, 2013updated Mar 25, 2013

Spring Refresh in Sedona

By Chris Boyle

Che-Ah-Chi, Enchantment Resort

Che-Ah-Chi, Enchantment Resort

Casitas, Enchantment Resort

Casitas, Enchantment Resort

Creekside Dining, L'Auberge de Sedona

Creekside Dining, L’Auberge de Sedona

Red Rock Views, L'Auberge de Sedona

Red Rock Views, L’Auberge de Sedona

By Tova Syrowicz

Sedona’s luxury Auberge and Enchantment resorts greet the spring with property enhancements, new menus and cool programs that make this breathtaking red rock country even more appealing.

Just eight miles apart, L’Auberge de Sedona and Enchantment Resort are quite distinct, yet both are upping the luxury ante of late, especially on the food and beverage front. Marking a quarter-century of operation, Enchantment has put the finishing touches on a two-year, $25 million resort-wide renovation with a completely reimagined clubhouse, home to a new fine dining venue, stylish wine bar, open-air lounge and casual eatery.

The new signature restaurant, Che-Ah-Chi, as the Apaches call Boynton Canyon, is already proving popular among locals and visitors (resort guests as well as those just passing through) with chic, contemporary interiors that nod subtly to the region while showcasing the stunning scenery outdoors through massive floor-to-ceiling windows. Executive Chef David Schmidt sources as much produce as he can within Arizona, developing relationships with local growers to turn out favorites like heirloom beet salad; filet mignon with grilled ramps and sweetbread ragout; and elk loin with fava bean hash. The menu changes not only seasonally, but all the time; Schmidt often makes adjustment weekly to keep plates fresh and in line with the produce that’s available.

As part of the renovation, the pool area was elevated ten feet to maximize the spectacular, 360-degree views of the red rocks; guest rooms were outfitted with new linens, fresh décor, traditional regional artwork, larger bathrooms, new patio furniture, and 42-inch HD TVs; and meeting facilities were expanded from 13,000 to 20,000 square feet.

Whether you choose to stay in one of the resort’s casitas, or at its Mii Amo destination spa, consider taking a heli day trip to the Grand Canyon, or participating in the Water to Wine tour, a kayaking trip that explores the wineries of the Verde Valley.

While Enchantment Resort is located about 20 minutes outside of town, set on 70 acres amidst the grandeur of the region’s raw natural majesty, L’Auberge de Sedona is a more intimate property, perched on 11 forested acres beside picturesque Oak Creek, just below Uptown Sedona. Though it’s a stone’s throw from Uptown’s boutiques, galleries and restaurants, the resort is well tucked away—most people drive right by—so you’ll still enjoy quiet seclusion alongside wide views of the region’s iconic red buttes.

L’Auberge too has a new chef at the helm: Rochelle Daniel hails from Scottsdale’s Zinc and Mission eateries, and is exacting in her commitment to farm to table. She heads out to local farms herself, and inspects all the produce as it comes in off the trucks before employing it in fine French dishes with American influence. As you’d expect, there’s a new menu for spring, which changes regularly, but what’s really cool is the new spa cuisine menu, whose dishes have been specially conceived to incorporate the same ingredients as your spa treatment. (The petite spa also debuted a new treatment menu to usher in spring.) So after your invigorating ginger-lime scrub, for example, you might enjoy a ginger-lime sorbet, or a Ginger Slinger cocktail. This way, your body gets truly holistic exposure to the healing properties of these ingredients.

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While L’Auberge is primarily a getaway for couples (it hosts 80 to 100 weddings year), many bring their dogs, and the hotel’s new Red Rocks and Ruff package treats puppies to all sorts of extra goodies, including a gift basket of “pet pawducts” from the local Whiskers Barkery. Nearly all the rooms have been outfitted with outdoor showers, so lovebirds can have a romantic splash beneath the stars, and a dedicated hiking concierge can direct couples on remote walks where they’ll be surrounded by nothing but the enchanting, swoon-worthy beauty of Sedona’s great outdoors.

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