Besides the marked difference in climate, (15-20 degree difference), the drive from Phoenix to Sedona also reveals a vast variation in landscape. The first signs we’re not in Phoenix anymore? Barren desert, followed by pine trees, then, seemingly out of nowhere giant bright red rock formations begin to appear. I cannot help but mutter aloud ‘wow’. The awe-inspiring sight is a result of the rocks’ composition of basalt, sandstone, limestone and ferrous oxide mixed with sandstone. From a distance, the monochromatic architecture of Sedona is striking, blending nature with modern development. The city of Sedona has a law that all buildings must be painted the hues of the desert. In fact, the only McDonalds in the world that is not red and yellow but a tan and soft turquoise can be found in the city.
One day I take a trolley tour of Sedona, first stopping at The Chapel of the Holy Cross, a landmark in the area since 1956 now belonging to the parish of St. John Vianney in Sedona and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. Designed by Margeurite Brunswig Staude (a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright), the chapel melds with the red rocks and seems to rise from them. I drive through Tlaquepaque, a craft village with restaurants and shops supposed to resemble Mexican town, with Spanish colonial architecture, water fountains and sycamore trees.
Throughout my stay, I see several dozen crystal healing centres, tarot and psychic reading shops. The city, known for its alternative culture, is believed to have a concentration of vortices – magnets of powerful energy, or intersecting Ley lines on the earth’s grid, that are sacred sites for shamans. Locals tell me about different experiences at or near a vortex, from headaches that appear and disappear to intense emotions or even visions of the future. With a Vortex map in hand, I decide to investigate for myself. One of the many advantages of staying at Enchantment Resort is that “Kochina woman” vortex, an easy 10-15 minute hike is on the property, but spitting rain foils my plans. Another day I drive to Cathedral Rock and again thunderclouds loom above and I squash my plans. It is as if the vortex is telling me
something. I have to admit, all this ‘woo woo’ stuff has some intangible merit to it. The majestic, omnipresent red rocks of Boynton Canyon at Enchantment Resort put me in a sort of trance, their beauty is so intense. Set on 70 acres, the resort boasts a greening program, several guided tours, and regular fitness sessions. My spacious hacienda is embedded amongst the trees – like a private cottage in the woods. Complete with a fireplace, outdoor patio and full kitchen my hacienda is spacious with bold southwestern décor. Small touches such as handmade olive oil soap, fresh squeezed juice delivered daily and absolute quiet and privacy make this a special retreat. One day, I spend a leisurely afternoon playing outdoor ping pong, biking around the property and trying my hand at bocce. After all that activity I decide to head for a quick bite at Tii Gavo, the resort’s casual restaurant and order the blue corn onion rings (with a decidedly crunchy exterior) and fish tacos with a fruit smoothie.
Mii Amo Spa
Consistently rated one of the best spas in the world, the soul of Mii amo spa is the crystal grotto. The kiva like circular design is inspired by traditional places of ritual, bringing the outside in. The dirt floor and flowing water at the centre of the grotto soothe the senses. I wake up early one morning to set my intention for the day, one of the many healing rituals at Mii Amo. Traditional native American wisdom is used in many of the luxurious treatments such as the vibrational massage, where my seven chakras are massaged with oil so that energy can easily flow throughout the body. Maueesha, my masseuse has a fantastic technique and at one point reads my palms giving me eerily accurate descriptions.
525 Boynton Canyon road,
Read more in the Summer 2011 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.