The drive into Sedona is one of those that leaves your camera full of photos because as you get closer, the golden peaks in front of you get better and better. And you aren’t even there yet.
Desert life begins to dissipate as a small town springs up, and before you know it, you’re at the base of the red rocks on Sedona’s “main street,” which is a stretch of 89A. Try to tear your eyes away from the towering peaks only enhanced by the small independent art galleries beneath to spot a small street sign that says “L’Auberge Lane,” which takes you down an offshoot to L’Auberge de Sedona, a resort nestled below the city and the red rocks, beside Oak Creek.
L’Auberge, which means “the inn” in French, was built in 1984 with only four cottages. After their recent $14 million renovation, it’s safe to say much has changed since then.
The driveway ends at a roundabout with a row of rooms towering a few stories above you on your left side, and the log cabin that houses reception and the hotel’s restaurants on your right. A concierge is stationed out front to handle your bags and cars, and replenish you water bottles before you walk down the few stone steps. Don’t be surprised if there’s some unique art outside the lobby; when we were there, chairs and a table made of stone slabs were parked outside next to the door. The random pops of art are consistent throughout the property. If anything piques your interest, feel free to make an offer as you’ll find most of it is for sale through the Golden Stein Gallery.
When you walk through the glass doors, a white room with a low ceiling welcomes you. The white reception desk on your right has a wood top that matches the wall behind it, on which hangs a large painting of Oak Creek. Across from reception is a seating area in front of another wooden wall that presents more locally made paintings. After you check in, keep walking toward the creek. You’ll pass a bookshelf-lined hallway with tchotchkes for sale and enter one of their two creek-side restaurants. On your left you’ll see an impressive wood—fun fact: it was made of 1200-year-old alligator juniper wood and has turquoise and local stone etched into it. On the right are more wood walls, leather chairs and interesting accessories, like what could be a leather birdcage but probably isn’t.
The resort itself has a very buttoned-up air, so it’s easy to overlook these quirky accouterments, but just like any person who claims to be straightedge, it has its eccentricities about it.
Keep walking out to the deck, where their outdoor restaurant is set in front of the flowing Oak Creek. On both sides of the deck, you’ll find large patches of grass covered in fire pits, art and lounge chairs.
Once you get situated, it begins to feel like you’re hidden from everything, looking up at the town on one side and Red Rock Country on the other, deciding if you want to go out into the world or stay burrowed in your secret paradise.
The resort has 62 cottages and a large lodge that has 21 rooms. The less expensive rooms are in the lodge, which is basically a hotel within a hotel. The two-story building features a wood and stone exterior. The lobby is filled with a large stone fireplace, a vaulted ceiling with open wood trusses and custom chandeliers, and wood and iron railings. These rooms are as luxurious as the cottages, just without your own private entrance and outdoor shower. The spaces are bright and airy, each featuring large windows and a private balcony. The only dark accents are the leather furniture and four-poster bed, which is contrasted by the invitingly white linens. And while they aren’t cottages, they are decorated as such with distressed wood bedside tables and wicker desk chairs.
The resort stayed true to its roots while expanding by adding more cottages. Most of them are accessed through winding gardens and vined trellises, in the middle of which sits a large pond with fittingly large fish. The area sort of forms a little community. The cottages and lodge rooms have similar décor, except for a few perks. Cottages have vaulted wood ceilings and wood-burning fireplaces. The best part: 75 percent of them have outdoor showers.
But the reason you’ve come to Sedona is for the views. If you want to get the most of them, book a Vista Cottage. Up a staircase next to the lodge, these cottages are perched above the rest of the property with views of peaks like Snoopy Rock.
L’Auberge de Sedona sits on 12 acres of land, and from any corner of the property, you get a different perspective. And that’s not because there’s just so much to do; every element about the resort is subtle and stays true to their down to earth ethos. A walk through the gardens at night under vined arches and strung lights adds a touch of magic to this otherwise nature-infused stay. Walk up to the SpiritSong terrace and watch the sun set over the red rocks from their Adirondack chairs, or walk along the creek in the morning to participate in a duck feeding. Then there are the wacky art installations that dot the property, transporting you to a sculpture garden and connecting you to the town’s hippy spirit. You could always just stand next to the pond and watch those huge fish swim around. Or you could skip it all for a soak in their salt-water pool.
This hotel proves that it doesn’t take fancy attractions or high-tech amenities to make a mark. Although, they have a few of those, as well.
From the resort, you can walk up to Main Street and be back in the lively town in 5-10 minutes. L’Auberge also offers a 24-hour shuttle that takes guests anywhere within 1.5 miles, which includes a few red rock trails (although the best ones are a bit further away).
Address: 301 L’Auberge Lane
Room Rates: From $372
Website: L’Auberge de Sedona