Travel

Staycation at Amara Resort, Sedona

staycation-at-amara-resort-sedona

Last weekend, the whole family ventured to Sedona for a night away at the Kimpton Amara Resort and Spa. You already know how I feel about Arizona staycations; and the quick 2 hour drive was a breeze for us and completely worth it to get out of the heat for a night. This was our first time taking the puppies with us to Sedona, and we loved that Amara Resort was so pet friendly.

We arrived for check in at 3pm, flustered and beyond ready to unwind from our ride with the pups. These two get very excited for vacation with mom and dad, and don’t take a minute to rest their little bodies or voices during drives… so you can imagine how ready we were to get out of the car.

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The staff was very accommodating with valet, check-in, and making sure our bags promptly arrived to our room.  We took a couple minutes to unwind and unpack, then leashed up the dogs and walked around the resort and downtown Sedona for the afternoon. There’s something in the air when you visit Sedona. Not only are the locals so friendly and down to earth, but you get a sense of calm in the environment and not to mention, the scene is absolutely breathe taking. Sedona is a place where you can relax, hike, explore, or get in tune with your spirituality. It’s a great place to get away and recharge your body and soul.

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Every night, The Amara Resort hosts a wine happy hour from 5-6pm in their outside courtyard. Red wine for JJ, fruit punch for me. I wasn’t complaining. We enjoyed the hour playing a pretty competitive game of baggo and for once, I dominated a solid round. It was a proud moment. We headed back to the room and got ready for dinner at SaltRock Southwest Kitchen.

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Now, let me be clear.  I didn’t know too much about the menu at SaltRock nor did I have any specific cravings going into dinner that night. We were told that the chef would like to send out a personalized tasting menu so we can try a couple different options from the menu. Say no more, we were thrilled. We watched the sunset with the beautiful mountain views while listening to the romantic guitar and tasting the menu one delicious meal at a time. This evening was truly one for the books. The best part? Chef Robert Hoffman, along with his entire staff, exceeded our expectations. Robert was not shy to make conversation and we quickly learned all about his specialties and previous background as a chef living in Chicago. Robert worked at some of the top restaurants and due to his love for the outdoors and hiking, decided to move to Sedona for a change of scenery.  We loved chatting with Robert.

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Now, let’s talk food. We started off with the grilled corn and grilled baby octopus appetizers, followed by the aerated beer cheese. All amazing and recommended dishes, but the grilled octopus was our favorite. Following the appetizers, we had a sample plate of tacos: carnitas and fish tacos. JJ has officially found the best taco he has ever eaten (did I mentioned that he is half Mexican?) JJ was blown away by the fish tacos. There was a perfect amount of salsa that really complimented the fish. Another favorite to credit. Next, the waiter brought out the New York Striploin which was juicy, tender, and perfectly cooked. Probably one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time.  At this point, chef Robert came back to the table and asked about our hunger level. Being a savage pregnant girl and loving the idea of continuing this tasting menu , I was still up for more. yet JJ was feeling full. The chef said he would bring something light and something savory. Perfect. Savory it was! I was given the Braised Osso Bucco and JJ had the Seasonal Seafood Aguachile. Umm… wow. My mistake was not waiting a couple more minutes before making my decision as my stomach was finally catching up to me. Both were absolutely delicious but our favorite was definitely the Seafood Aguachile. I cant even explain how fresh and delicious this was. It reminded us of a type of ceviche, but better. Oh, and I’m not done. We finished the night off with dessert because… I have no will power. Bottom line, run to this restaurant right away if you haven’t dined there yet. You will thank me later.

Thank you, Chef Robert for an amazing night of great food and conversation.

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The next morning, JJ and I woke up with the pups and went for breakfast in downtown Sedona. We were heading back to Phoenix in a couple of hours but before we left, I had a 90 minute spa treatment called the Monsoon Meditation Massage. The facilities were amazing. Clean, quaint, and everything you need before or after a  spa treatment. I didn’t really know what to expect about this other than an hour and a half of relaxation and a much needed rub down, but I went in open minded. Before the treatment began, my therapist Julie asked me to pick a faced down card that each had an affirmation written. This would be incorporated in the meditation. I chose, ‘I love myself, therefore I forgive and totally release the past and all past experience and I am free.’ So what exactly was a monsoon meditation massage? I spent the first 30 minutes focusing on my breath which was guided by the therapist, Julie. She also used the sounds and vibrations of heart chakra tuning forks combined with Sedona sun-charged rose quartz crystals to facilitate a concentrated state of relaxation. Although I am not much of a meditator myself, I was open minded about the idea. I found it to be very calming, spiritual, and unique. The full-body massage was definitely one of the best massages I’ve ever had. Probably THE best. It wasn’t just a massage, Julie killed it. I felt amazing after. This was my first prenatal massage since being pregnant and I used one of those long pillows during the treatment to rest on. I’m officially in love. I need one… immediately. Basically, the moment I saw my husband after the massage, I told him I was coming back for another one sooner than later. If you are visiting Amara Resort and Spa, book an appointment with Julie… NOW.

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Overall, The Amara Resort and Spa was an absolute amazing place to stay in Sedona. The rooms were comfortable, the food was unbelievable, and the spa is definitely a place to visit during your stay. A great experience. Thank you for having us. We will be back!

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Be Kind,
Lola

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