It was time for the gal to explore the Sedona spa scene even more fully. The area’s most famous hotel is the massive – well, 60 acres – The Enchantment Resort – Mii amo, a Destination Spa (note the small ‘a’). It turns out that its 16-treatment spa also houses a hotel within a hotel, a destination spa that has hosted the likes of Mariah Carey. Go and stay in one of Mii amo’s dedicated spa casitas, says the gal, and your three-, four- or seven-day programme comes with all meals, masses of treatments (and you can buy more, and buy drinks too). This is perfect for single travellers, and for mums and daughters, or groups of girlfriends. You, the spa overnighter, get a sleek-interior casita with all mod cons, and a blue Robe Works-type robe.
This does set you apart from the ‘ordinary’ hotel guests, who get cream robes. Pecking order, right? The spa is brilliant. Two floors, indoor and outdoor pools, excellent gym with a LiveStrong bike on which I did a 40-minute extreme workout, with instructions, and videos showing I had cycled along the Seattle Waterfront and up a couple of mountains in Utah. Whew. After that it was shower, and dress-up for dinner with the resort’s just-arrived MD, Bruce Grosbety, a Canadian-French guy, as opposed to a French Canadian. I was also really lucky in that Mark Grenoble, boss of the big overseeing management company, had driven up from Scottsdale for dinner. It was he who had designed the Mii amo block, all of 12 years ago yet it looks so modern.
Mark Grenoble also designed the casitas, dotted haphazardly 20 minutes from Sedona on the securely-gated estate. They are all the colour of the ground around, and, unlike the Mii Amo casitas, they have rounded corners, inside and out, and colours are softened earth. Each casita block has four front doors and you can take one, two, three or four units, all connecting. All rooms have working log-look fires, all have balconies. I particularly like hacienda or casita-category rooms as they have barbeques on their balconies – order Tastefully in the Raw from room service and a chef comes too.
Some casitas look straight into gorgeous undergrowth, which does have wildlife. About 20 deer grazed to one side of the lane as I drove in, but I did not see any later. All casitas, too, have outstanding views of the red-red mountains around – you get the same view in the spa treatment rooms (why DO I keep on going back to the spa in this essay?). Mark Grenoble is certainly an ideas man. He has maximized stunning views from the various restaurants, signature-American Che-ah-chi – where meals are served on slates and the wine list is either on a tablet or hard copy – and in the neighbouring
Tex-Mex and the other dining places. Sadly, it was dark so I never saw those particular views. A few months ago The Enchantment, which is now Preferred, added management of Sedona’s pre-eminent golf course, designed by Tom Weiskopf and at one time, before the 2008 crisis, scheduled to be Four Seasons. This course, said Bruce Grosbety as we looked down at it, from high above, is as vital to great American golf courses as Pebble Beach is to those who want water-side play. Only golf club members, and those staying in the 218-room main hotel, can play. I assume the Mii amo spa residents will be too busy for golf… there is, mind you, competition for the attention and participation of ‘ordinary’ hotel guests. For everyone, there are over 100 activities a week, ranging from escorted mountain hikes to wine-tasting, and more yogas than I thought possible. I would also love the Grand Canyon special. Fly up there, switch to a helicopter to go down to the canyon base, spend time on the river, ‘chopper back up for lunch and then fly back here, to your Enchantment home, for dinner, perhaps preceded by an energy-boosting Mii amo Passion, of strawberry, mango, banana and apple juices, with or without spritzer.
Actually next time I visit this luxury resort I would like to try dining at the Mii amo café. Unlike many ‘spa restaurants’ this one works, and not only because it has the spa residents. The menu is really attractive, and you can sit at the juice bar or at a communal table, or at small tables. I breakfasted there, and the coffee and the multi-grain toast were some of the best ever. After that I had to go to the spa’s meditation room, an interior rondavel with red-sand floor and hemispherical wall-roofing. A small basket, stack of paper and pencils invited me to write down, and leave behind, elements of stress. I then walked around the interior of the room, gazing at the papaya-sized crystal in the middle. Did I feel energised in this Mark Rothko-like ambience? You bet. Now what is next for the gal?