It’s been 4 years since our last vacation so the weeks leading up to this one brought on a mix of emotions for me, all of which I’ll detail more in another post coming soon. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to Arizona, but I’ve always heard amazing things, especially Sedona. While Chris has visited Arizona countless times, it’s always been for work. I was ecstatic to finally have a chance to visit Sedona, Arizona as the first part of our 10 day vacation. During our stay in Sedona, we had the pleasure of logging at the Sedona Rouge. Here is everything we did while in Sedona.
ARRIVING IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA
We left LA on May 1st out of Burbank Airport. Whenever possible book your flights out of a smaller airport. I promise it’s easier, especially for those who don’t travel well, like me. The less than 2 hour flight to Phoenix, Arizona was as easy as it gets, unfortunately I was coming down with a cold.
RENTING A CAR
After picking up our baggage, we found the (free) shuttle to the rental car center easily. The ride took about 15 minutes. Once arriving at the rental car center, we quickly realized we made a mistake in booking with Advantage EZ-Rental. The wait was about 2 hours and there was no guarantee there would be a car left by the time we got to the desk. Sometimes great deals online, are just too good to be true.
While hubs waited in line, I scoured the internet and found Advantage did not have a twitter account or good reviews. In fact all the information I found were pretty negative. So I went next door to Hertz and they were able to offer me a midsize car for $17 more than our booking with Advantage EZ Rental. I say 2 hours of my life was worth the $17. The rental car process was super easy and convenient through Hertz. I’ll definitely be using them in the future.
FIRST NIGHT IN PHOENIX
Because we didn’t want to drive to Sedona in the dark, we decided to crash our first night in Phoenix. Food first, we found an amazing BBQ spot called Little Miss BBQ. We made it right before closing and they still had the chopped brisket. I recommend a side of beans, O.M.G. the best I’ve had. I’m not a big BBQ person, but this was some good BBQ.
Our first night we found a hotel for about $90 on Hotels Tonight. Definitely do not recommend, so I won't even bother listing. The air conditioning was horrible, sheets were scratchy, and I’m pretty sure I got sick because of it. I know I had a rash on one side of my face.
WATCH OUR TRAVEL VLOG ARIZONA VOL. 1
OFF TO SEDONA
After a coffee run, we were on the road to Sedona, finally! The drive from Phoenix to Sedona is about 2 hours and pretty easy. There’s plenty of rest stops with food (mostly fast food) and gas, but I recommend leaving Phoenix with a full tank and snacks if you have dietary restrictions.
ARRIVING AT SEDONA ROUGE
We had two nights at Sedona Rouge and Spa booked. Our first day in Sedona we encountered some unexpected rain. It was actually quite cold. As Chris would say “10 degrees above freezing!” Because of the weather, we decided to book a couples massage. Usually I’d want to get to our destination and go go go! So it was a blessing in disguise to have the rain. It forced us to stop, relax, and enjoy the spa.
SEDONA ROUGE & SPA
This was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. I rarely book a massage for myself, but I’ve also had my fair share so I can say with confidence that if you are looking to relax, you’ll be happy with a massage service from The Spa at Sedona Rouge.
Mallory and Laura were our therapists. I had Laura and Chris had Mallory. We both agree the service was incredible. Both Mallory and Laura knew what we needed and asked for. I was in the half asleep transe for most of my treatment and felt so cozy and relaxed. Chris felt better as well since Mallory worked on the issues he had with his knee and lower back.
Before our service we arrived about 45 minutes early to take advantage of the steam room. There are outdoor jacuzzis, but with the rain it wasn’t appealing to us. After a good steam and shower, we waited in the lounge with hot tea for our massages. The entire venue is peaceful and calming. Everyone we encountered was also incredibly welcoming and nice.
Tips For The Spa
- Book multiple services if you intend to stay for the day
- Bring your own skincare & makeup to get read after
- The spa has blow dryers, but if you need other hair tools, bring them.
Our hotel room was beautiful. We were on the first floor and right next to the pool and spa. There’s plenty of parking (literally a few steps from our door). Everything was easily accessible and also very quiet. Upon arrival there was a full size chocolate bar on the pillow and I ate the whole thing. I had every intention on sharing with Chris, but it was so yummy!
The room itself was comfortable, relaxing, and roomy. We had a gas fireplace, central heating and cooling, king size bed, and flat screen tv that connected to our Netflix and Hulu accounts. Everything we needed for a good night’s sleep.
The bathroom was impressive. Beautifully finished, with separate bathtub and shower. Everything was well kept and clean. I spent a good long time in the bathtub just soaking. We couldn’t be happier with our stay at Sedona Rouge and hope to stay there again for our next trip.
Tips For Booking
- If you’re a light sleeper, ask for a top floor room.
- Check in is 4pm, so plan on exploring while your room is being prepared.
Because our second day in Sedona was one of my worst sick days, we didn’t get to do too much exploring like I wanted.
Sedona is known for their beautiful hiking trails and vortexes. There were three hikes I planned, but we ended up only visiting one. We picked Cathedral Rock and hiked the easier trail for an hour, unfortunately my body wasn’t up for the full hike that day.
Cathedral Rock was about a 20 minute drive from Sedona Rouge with fun eclectic shops along the route. Make sure to wear SPF, bring water, and layers for your hikes.
MY IMPRESSION OF SEDONA
Absolutely stunning and a must visit. I’m already planning our next trip back to Sedona. Next time I’d like to drive from Los Angeles with our dogs and take our time. There’s so much to see along the way like The Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. I’m even thinking of renting an RV for the trip out and staying at hotels once we get into Sedona.
What I love most about Sedona was everything about the place forced me to stop and slow down. I’m naturally an impatient and high strung person. Working for myself and living in a city intensifies these things for me. Visiting Sedona, made me realize I don’t have to be in a hurry all the time. It’s okay to stop and just look at the view, and most important, people can be and are nice with no ulterior motives.
WATCH OUR TRAVEL VLOG ARIZONA VOL. 2
PLACES TO EAT
We didn’t try too many places, but here are the places Chris and I ate at and recommend.
The Coffee Pot Restaurant (we came here two mornings in a row for breakfast)
Wildflower Bread Company (great for lunch, snacks, and breakfast. Breakfast ends at 10:30am)
Creekside Sedona (we had brunch here, it was simple and yummy)
TIPS FOR VISITING SEDONA
- Rent a car or drive in
- Shops and restaurants close pretty early, so get dinner in by 7pm
- There is a small Wholefoods, so perfect for those with diet restrictions
- Major bank branches are available
- Weather is pretty unpredictable, bring layers
- Parking is usually easy to find
- Check parking lots (especially at hiking trails) for pay boxes.
- Avoid driving in or out of Sedona at night (roads are pretty dark)
Despite not feeling my best, I had a wonderful time in Sedona. There’s something very calming about the entire city and it was the perfect way to start off our 10 day vacation.
Have you been to Sedona? What are your recommendations? Let me know in the comments because we plan on making a trip again soon.
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As a native Arizonan, this post makes me super happy. I’m glad you were excited to visit and I’m especially glad you managed to have a great time despite being sick. Next time you pass through Arizona I recommend getting an horchata latte at The Coronado PHX. It’s a cute little vegetarian / vegan coffee shop. I stayed in an AirBnB with my boyfriend in that area and it was within walking distance of the Coronado, a taqueria, a vegan bakery, and a bakery restaurant with the most massive (and delicious!) cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen.
If you feel like exploring more of what Arizona has to offer, check out Tucson a little further south. There’s a ski resort on Mt. Lemmon, the Catalina Mountains have beautiful hikes like Seven Falls and Blackett’s Ridge, there’s the Sonora-Arizona Desert Museum, Biosphere2, and some of the best Mexican food this side of the border as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. It’s admittedly not very chic in terms of shopping or spas, but the weather’s usually a lot cooler than Phoenix.
Thank you for all the recommendations Ellen! I’d love to go back this fall to explore more. Such a beautiful state!
Great post! I’ve always wanted to visit Arizona, I’ll definitely have to plan a trip soon. I’m amazed at the bathtub picture, my first thought was that Chris must have really good balance, I totally would have fallen in, LOL!! It sounds like you had some much needed rest and relaxation. Glad it was a good time.