STORY BY SANDRA S. SORIA ✷ PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATT WIER
There really is no way to prepare for a virgin trip to Sedona, Arizona. From the highway, the very first glimpse of the fire-red, stacked sandstone buttes and spires renders our minds blown. Our destination rests at the center of this striated magnificence, in Boynton Canyon, a box canyon that was home to Sinagua cliff dwellers centuries ago and considered sacred to the Apache people.
Both the iconic landscape and the Native American history inspired the design and the goings-on at the Enchantment Resort. Low-slung casitas made from crimson adobe appear baked into the landscape of the 70-acre property. You can choose from 218 guest accommodations—some ready to pack in the whole clan, others designed for you and your honey to hide away snuggled under woven blankets in front of a classic beehive fireplace.
If you want to feel super pampered, you can opt for the all-inclusive “Spa Journey” and check into one of 16 casitas at the resort’s award-winning spa, Mii amo (Mii amo is a Native American term signifying passage or journey). Here, the resort’s Western design influences give way to om-inspiring Zen minimalism.
Whether you sign up for services à la carte or go for the all-in-one option, you can get yourself right in any number of ways at Mii amo, from the standard wraps and rubdowns—although these tap into local ingredients such as detoxifying prickly pear and Sedona clay—to an aura analysis. Packing a head cold? There’s relief for that in a warm stone treatment. Maybe you need to reboot a flagging spirit? Find your way to the Reiki master or a session in past-life regression with the house hypnotist. This is the spot where you can get a spirituality check while getting the body kinks worked out—it is Sedona after all.
Along with its stunning natural beauty, Sedona has a well-earned rep as the spot where New Age and ancient wisdom collide. Neo-hippies, Wiccan healers, chakra straighteners, and self-proclaimed shamans are pulled here by the area’s famed energy source—the vortex. There are several energy vortices around the world, spots where mysterious, swirling electromagnetic fields are believed to have spiritual properties. Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza are thought to harness vortex power (ok, this makes sense) and vortex hunters have even detected super swirls under Manhattan (this might explain a few things, too).
Although Sedona claims to be in the center of four vortices, the force is said to get really crackling right here in Boyton Canyon, especially surfacing next to one of the most famed of the red rock formations—the sacred Kachina Woman that rises above the spa. You can join in one of the resort’s guided Vortex Hikes—some that include yoga or meditation sessions on the side—or strike out on your own on one of the many trails through the canyon.
Once we got buzzed on the Vortex Hike (ok, really it’s tough to tell whether our goosebumps are due to the super energy rising up from the Earth’s core or from being immersed in nature so astoundingly beautiful), it was time for a refreshing dip in one of the several pools on the property. Although it’s tempting to back-float all day surrounded by an amphitheater of dramatic scenery…it’s time for lunch.
Meals at the resort are prepared under the guidance of Enchantment’s celebrated Chef de Cuisine, Alex Pasco. They can arrive poolside or be served in one of the four eating spots. Pasco’s locavore philosophy echoes the history and culture of the region, and his menu stars ingredients from the area’s farmers and the resort’s kitchen garden. “If a dish does not reflect the story that we are trying to tell about Native American ingredients and cuisine, it does not make it onto the menu,” he states. Throughout our stay, we sampled some of the most deliciously innovative dishes we’ve had—from hearty breakfast pie to corn fritters made from heirloom cornmeal. We were so taken in by the chef’s innovative menu, we asked if we could share a few recipes. He obliged.
If you’re a doer, there’s an activities list that reads like an adult summer camp. Want to take more artful images of the area’s abundant wildlife? Take a hike around with a pro photographer. Can’t get enough of the canyon? Hop on a top-of-the-line mountain bike and pedal away. The kids are welcome, too. They can check in to Camp Coyote while you do your own thing, or nothing at all.
No matter what you do (or don’t do), you must experience the resort’s Crystal Grotto. Inspired a Native American kiva, its centerpiece is a petrified tree-trunk that cradles quartz crystals. (On the day of the summer solstice, rays of sun beam through the Grotto’s skylight to fire up the crystals.) Take a solo journey into the soul-soothing structure, or join other guests there at the start of the day for a morning ritual led by Mii amo therapists. After a meditative round of deep breathing, a smudge stick is fired up to ward off negativity. We left feeling positive, centered, and, yep, energized.
From cuisine to crystals to forces unknown, there are countless ways to recharge at the Enchantment Resort. And as we pack up to head east to face a winter that promises vortices of the polar kind, we feel more prepared taking Sedona’s warm glow with us.
½ watermelon or 1 honeydew or cantaloupe, rind removed, seeded and large-diced
2-3 large heirloom tomatoes of the same color as the melon, stemmed, cored and large-diced
1 large cucumber peeled, seeded, and large-diced
4 bell peppers of the same color as the melon, roasted, peeled, and seeded
½ cup agave nectar or honey
½ cup lime juice
Red, green, or yellow chili powder and salt to taste
1. In a blender, puree the melon, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, lime juice, and agave nectar.
2. Once smooth add chili powder and salt to taste.
3. Let chill for at least 2 hours and whisk vigorously before serving.
Gather and Blend
1 cup kale, stemmed, torn and packed
1 cup spinach, packed
1 cup cucumber, large diced
2 stalks celery
1 red apple (about 3 ounces of juice)
½ lemon, juiced (about 1 ½ tablespoon of juice)
1 1-inch ginger root
Gather and Blend
3 ounces orange juice
3 ounces grapefruit juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
Pinch of Cayenne
1 1-inch turmeric root
Gather and Blend
1 apple (about 3 ounces of juice)
1 cup red beet in 1-inch pieces (about 3 ounces of juice)
1 large carrot in 1-inch pieces (about 2 ounces of juice)
1 1-inch ginger root
FOR AVOCADO DRESSING
3 avocados, skin removed and pitted
½ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 bunch cilantro
1 jalapeno, roasted, stemmed, and seeded
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Water as needed
Salt to taste
1. Place the lime juice, olive oil, agave nectar, cilantro, and jalapeno in a blender and puree until smooth.
2. Add the avocados and puree, adding water as needed until fully incorporated.
3. Thin with water as needed to achieve a thinned mayonnaise-like texture.
4. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
FOR SALAD (SERVES TWO)
2 cups mixed lettuces
½ cup watermelon, diced in ¼-inch pieces
½ cup grilled corn, removed from the cob
½ cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup toasted pepitas
½ cup queso fresco, shredded
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup quinoa
½ cup avocado dressing
1. Place mixed lettuces in a large salad bowl.
2. Making diagonal strips about ½-inch wide, garnish with diced watermelon, corn, chopped roasted red peppers, toasted pepitas, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, and shredded queso fresco.
3. Drizzle the avocado dressing over the top.