Tag Archives: sedona

dinner

Sedona Restaurant Week kicks off today

Sedona Restaurant Week kicks off today and invites local foodies and visitors the chance to experience a taste of the Verde Valley with a selection of specially priced meals from a wide variety of restaurants, while enjoying the cooler temperatures and the picturesque red rock backdrop of Sedona.

From Aug. 21 through Aug. 30, guests will enjoy three-course, prix-fixe dinner menus including an appetizer, entrée and dessert. There are three dining categories available – Casual ($22), Classic ($33) and Elegant ($44).

Event details include:

  • Sedona Restaurant Week
  • Aug. 21 through Aug. 30
  • Sedona Restaurant Week highlights the best dining of the Verde Valley with fresh and local ingredients.
  • Experience a selection of specially priced meals from a wide variety of Sedona’s restaurants.
  • Three-course, prix-fixe dinner menus including an appetizer, entrée and dessert.
  • Three dining categories are available – Casual ($22), Classic ($33) and Elegant ($44).
  • Please call individual participating restaurants to inquire about Sedona Restaurant Week dinner hours and to make reservations.
  • No advanced ticketing necessary.
  • Gratuity, tax and alcohol are not included in the price.

A few favorite participating restaurants include SaltRock Southwest Kitchen at Amara Resort and Spa, Sound Bites Grill, Dahl & DiLuca Ristorante Italiano, Cucina Rustica and Rene’ at Tlaquepaque.

Photo courtesy of Stelari

Stelari — desert-inspired yoga wear — launches first collection

Courtesy of Stelari

Courtesy of Stelari

Stelari, and eco-friendly yoga wear line, uses the Arizona desert and vintage tarot cards as inspiration for its first collection, “Tarot of the Bohemians.”

Owner Kimberly Roach’s line of free flow tanks use Arizona spiritual center of Sedona for the background of a shirt titled “The Sun.”

“For some people it may just be a beautiful design, but each of our shirts has an intention,” Roach said. “The 9 of Wands” tank is about strength and “The Moon” represents our own conscious.”

The tanks are made up of 94 percent recycled content and priced at $48. Roach said it’s great when you can fuse the fashion industry and taking care of our landscape in one project.

Stelari also sells yoga mat towels for the same price as the tanks and kimonos ranging from $58 to $88.

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Courtesy of Stelari

“A lot of my inspiration comes after a yoga practice. Even though I’m crazy busy, I make time for it because it keeps me balanced and is part of keeping the integrity in what I’m doing,” Roach said.

The choice of one’s clothing can be a complimentary element for inspiration and reflection in yoga, an already spiritual practice.

The Stelari girl doesn’t have to be a yogi, Roach said. This line can be worn by a dancer and its softness and style makes it incorporable in everyday wear.

Active wear today has leaned toward bright neon colors, but Stelari wants to keep the neutrals and pastels in this line in its future designs, Roach said. “It’s a little more fashion-forward.”

On stelari.com, a blog also offers customers healthy recipes and even guest personal stories. “This is a lifestyle brand,” Roach said.

“Too much effort, we burn out.  Too much ease, we never reach our potential. When we connect deeply to the core of our being, we begin to move with the flow of life,” Roach said on the Stelari site.

Courtesy of Stelari

Courtesy of Stelari

amara

Amara offers unique wedding options

At Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa, intimate weddings and elopement ceremonies are considered a specialty with picturesque settings, adventurous outdoor excursions and traditional Native American touches that can only be found in Sedona.  

Elopement ceremonies along Oak Creek with a red rock backdrop, horseback riding and Native American drummers are just a few of the enchanting experiences that are available to couples planning their special day at Amara. Specialty day-of experiences can be fully customized by the Amara wedding team and may include:

  • Let’s Elope: Sedona ranks among the top spots for elopement ceremonies, behind Las Vegas. Amara is the perfect choice to celebrate the intimate affair. The calm creek-side venue is a popular location for the eloping bride and groom because it is the most intimate space. Following the ceremony, the bride, groom and guests will dine under the stars on the patio at SaltRock where they can sip specialty cocktails and enjoy regional dishes from an exclusive menu created by the bride and groom with the help of Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca.
  • Adventure Awaits: Sedona offers visitors stunning outdoor excursions through the famous red rocks with sights unlike anywhere else in the world. Amara is ideally located in the heart of uptown Sedona to allow for easy access to many of the city’s top activities. For the couples that want to add a dash of adventure to their special day, Amara’s team coordinates for the couple, or the wedding party, to be whisked away to enjoy a hot air balloon ride, horseback riding through desert trails or romantic hikes with a custom picnic basket.
  • Native American Touches: Sedona offers a rich history in Native American culture and spirituality that is as unique as the red rock. Brides and grooms have an exclusive opportunity to incorporate this connection to Sedona with Native American drummers and dancers following the ceremony, spiritual readings from local psychics at the reception and harness the powers of the local crystals and vortexes for which Sedona has become known.

Overlooking the gorgeous red rock and nestled along Oak Creek, Amara provides the ideal dramatic backdrop for traditional and non-traditional ceremonies. Indoor and outdoor venues such as the resort courtyard and the secluded creek side will host up to 85 dinner guests or 125 guests at a cocktail reception.

Amara only books one wedding on property per day to ensure the dedicated wedding staff can focus entirely on creating a completely customized wedding experience for the bride and groom.

The resorts signature restaurant, SaltRock, offers Southwest-inspired cuisine marrying the fresh, light and seasonal approach to California cooking with culinary traditions and ingredients of the Southwest and Verde Valley. SaltRock is also available for the rehearsal dinner, bridal parties and morning-after brunches. 

For more information about weddings at Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa, visit www.amararesort.com or call 928-282-4828.

beads

Scarlett Lanson brings artistry and style to beadwork

scarlett“What is your proudest accomplishment?” Scarlett Lanson, otherwise known as “The Bead Maven,” was asked. She pursed her lips, pondered for a moment, and took a sip of her tea.

She has won two International Swarovski Crystal Design Competitions, was named the youngest Contributing Editor at Beadwork Magazine, and is featured in various magazines, and yet, she humbly looked up towards the ceiling, calculating her proudest accomplishment.

“My proudest accomplishments are my designs,” Lanson said after a moment. The passion is prevalent in Lanson’s eyes and voice as she presented her designs, describing each intricate detail and the techniques used to create them.

Lanson, now 24, stated that she has had a passion for beadwork since the young age of 3, when she received children’s beadwork kits and started off making general objects like insects and animals with beads. As Lanson became older, however, her passion for beadwork grew, and so did her artisan talents.

She won her first International Swarovski Crystal Design Competition at the age of 17, and her winning piece, “Brilliance is Born” is displayed in Austria at Swarovski’s. Her second piece that earned the winning title is called “Flora and Fire,” and has been on a world tour and displayed at the Wedding Channel Couture Show in NYC and the Sedona Arts Center’s Fine Art Gallery for their 50th Anniversary.

Also before she was a legal adult, she was named the youngest Contributing Editor at Beadwork Magazine, where she had her own department called “Scarlett’s Style” that featured tutorials and custom commissions that included bridal pieces and specialty designs.

At the age of 17, Lanson also was offered an internship by Teen Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley in New York City. However, Lanson turned the prestigious internship down.

“At the time I was living in Sedona,” Lanson said. “I was inspired by the red rocks of Sedona. It is a Mecca for artists, and I couldn’t imagine moving to the big city.”

Lanson stated that her biggest inspirations come from nature and the gemstones themselves. “When I’m holding a beautiful strand of gemstones, I can envision how I will incorporate them into a design,” Lanson said.

Lanson’s business, Scarlett Rocks Designs, features several collections that differ drastically from one another. Lanson states that this is one of the reasons why her jewelry is exceptionally unique; she says that people are often surprised at how different each piece is. “That’s one of the things that I think distinguishes my designs. Nothing is uniform unless it is in a collection, where they all have a similar theme. Other than that, each piece is unique and differs from the next.”

HotBike Magazine will soon be releasing a “grey” fashion spread with Lanson’s commissioned- by-the-stylist, moto-inspired jewelry. The collection, constructed of gunmetal studs, sold straightaway at Enchantment in Sedona.

Lanson’s pieces have been featured in trunk shows, resorts, and cruise ships across the nation, but heavily concentrated in the southwest. She stated that her goals for Scarlett Rocks Designs is for her brand to grow and become more prevalent in these areas. However, Lanson is content with her work now.

climate denialism

Arizona’s hospitality industry embraces global market

Arizona has the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Sedona, but to promote these natural wonders to international travelers is no walk in the park.

To showcase Arizona around the globe, it takes detailed research, strategic planning, effective branding and marketing, a global network of industry professionals — and the power to erase any lingering negativity associated with the state.

Despite several years of bad publicity surrounding controversial immigration policies and other proposed legislation that darkened the state’s reputation, Arizona is experiencing an increase in tourism.

“We definitely try and share with everyone we come into contact with that we are a more progressive community than the state is known as being,” says Joanne Hudson, public relations specialist for the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Certain markets, especially the Mexico visitor, have been negatively affected the last few years from the state laws and policies that have come out,” Hudson says. “We share that we are a very welcoming and open community and try to get them here to experience it. Once they get here, they really do sense and feel that. They realize it isn’t what they see and hear in the news.”

Rachel Pearson, vice president of community and government affairs at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, says, “We are traveling around the world connecting with customers and clients, trying to reinforce who we are as a destination, who we are as a state and ensuring that people understand that we are a very welcoming destination. We offer some unique, rich experiences that you can’t have anywhere else.”

Beyond the state’s scenic beauty, Arizona’s diversity, especially the Native American and Hispanic cultural influences, appeals to international travelers, explains Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

The rich multi-cultural experiences and gorgeous scenery, combined with outdoor activities, vibrant cities, fine dining and shopping, attracts millions of visitors and brings in billions of dollars.

Industry leaders are looking toward the future with optimism as they strategize how to attract even more world travelers.

“Arizona Office of Tourism has been active in the international market for years starting with Mexico and Canada, and overseas with partners in the United Kingdom, Germany and France,” Henry says, “and just three years ago we launched into emerging markets of China and Brazil.”

MEXICAN INFLUENCE

Currently, Mexico tops the charts for international travel into Arizona. At the height of the controversy surrounding Arizona’s immigration policies, the influx of Mexican travelers decreased. But statistics from 2013 show a rebound with a total number of Mexican visitors to Arizona at more than 3.6 million. Other countries that rank high on the list are Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and France with 1.1 million visitors collectively. Total international travelers in 2013 reached roughly 5.3 million.

The Arizona tourism industry has been proactive in reaching out south of the border and developing programs to promote and facilitate travel in Arizona.

Jessica Stephens, director of public relations at Visit Tucson, says travelers from Mexico bring in close to $1 billion a year in southern Arizona alone. Visit Tucson has two visitors centers in Mexico that help with hotel reservations and other concierge services. They also help expedite border crossings with a program developed with customs and border patrol that allows pre-approved travelers to obtain a fast pass. This makes traveling to Arizona a 12-minute trip instead of waiting in a car for hours.

Other Arizona cities and convention and visitors bureaus have pooled resources to fund trade offices in Mexico. Today, Henry says, the discussions no longer reflect the challenges of the past, but instead focus on the future. “It’s all about how we can be better partners and how can we develop that area that has such great potential.”

FOCUS ON CHINA

Arizona is now setting sights on China, the number one traveling country in the world. Henry explains that there is so much potential for growth in the emerging markets of China and Brazil, which is also topping the international travel charts. She pointed to a partnership with Brand USA, the marketing arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce designed to develop travel interest in the United States, as essential to increasing global awareness.

“We think Arizona has such appeal,” Henry says. “International journalists are amazed at what they see when they are here, and they bring the stories back to their countries.”

Barry Nakano, director of business development with PacRim Marketing Group and a board member of the Hospitality, Sales and Marketing Association International Arizona Chapter, knows the Asian markets. He recognizes the potential of the China market and points out that other Asian markets also impact our economy. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism statistics, Japan and the Republic of Korea brought in more visitors than China in 2013.

“There’s definitely a lot of interest today in the China market and understandably so. Their 1.3 billion population presents enormous potential and the recent decision by the U.S. government to extend Visa validity for visitors from China should accelerate the growth of that market. We shouldn’t overlook however, that Japan is still the second largest overseas feeder market to the U.S., and South Korea and Taiwan markets continue to grow. Japanese, in particular, have been traveling overseas a long time so tend to be more independent and willing to explore new destinations.”

INDUSTRY PREPARES

Nakano offers practical advice for those in the hospitality industry as they prepare for the influx of international travelers.

“The most efficient and cost effective way to reach Asian travelers is online and providing information in the language of the traveler is important,” he says, adding that websites should be an essential part of any marketing toolkit. “When creating an international language website, make sure the content is developed by professionals, not by translation software that has difficulty conveying intangibles we promote in travel like experience and atmosphere.

“For hotels, it’s also important the online booking engine is in the target language to make it easy for travelers to complete reservations, which is the ultimate goal.”

One thing to note when targeting travelers from China is their spoken language is Mandarin and their written language is called Simplified Chinese so any written information should be in that form.

He continued to offer tips for hotels. “To attract Asian travelers, it’s important to show cultural sensitivity and make them feel welcome. Including small touches in guest rooms like slippers and Chinese tea, along with coffee, will be appreciated and can go a long way. Offering other amenities like Asian-language TV channels, newspapers, area maps and dining menus will make guests feel comfortable after they arrive and can also be used as selling points to show you care.

Henry is already seeing changes at the Office of Tourism and in the state. “We’re finding that Arizona is becoming more globally aware. On our staff we have staff members who speak Spanish, Mandarin, and Portuguese for the folks coming in from Brazil. We are in a global environment now. The whole world has changed and everybody is beginning to think globally.”

Michelle Oden-Huebner, CMP, president of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Arizona Chapter, says the hospitality industry has always been one that supports diversity and inclusion.

As Arizona increases its global visibility, it needs to continue to show that the state is inclusive and promotes diversity in the workplace and marketplace, Oden-Huebner says.

“Tourism is one of the largest export industries in the State of Arizona, providing funding for education and vital services in local communities,” she says.  “This makes Arizona more attractive for new businesses to relocate to the area, thus creating more job opportunities.  The more business we bring into our state, the more money we have to support the greater community improving and increasing services for residents in Arizona.”

Nataliia Kelsheva

Sedona makes an idyllic getaway for couples

Romance is woven into the very fabric of Sedona. At the turn of the century, the first postmaster, T.C. Schnebly, struggled to come up with an appropriate name for the young community along the banks of Oak Creek. Finally, he did the most natural thing of all––he named it after his beautiful wife, Sedona. Now it’s impossible to think of it ever being called anything else. With its otherworldly beauty, Sedona is the ideal place for a romantic getaway, whether for a weekend holiday or planning for the perfect wedding day.

Many flock to the fairytale wonderland of Sedona, attracted by its crimson buttes, windswept spires, dramatic canyons and the shimmering waters of the Verde River. Nestled in the quaint city is a secret gem that many covet for his and her picture-perfect day, and as it turns out, it’s surprisingly easy when you have a picture-perfect location.

Bridal magazines consistently place Sedona in the top 10 destinations in the country and world for location and scenery. In addition to national acclaim, Sedona is home to dozens of lauded wedding planners and event managers ready to assist with arrangements to create memories that last a lifetime. With all the pieces in place and all the support you need, couples can experience a stress-free day, whether it’s coordinating a honeymoon, organizing the ceremony or even just planning a romantic anniversary.

Imagine exchanging vows atop a high mesa, tucked away in a hidden canyon; honeymooning on the banks of a silver stream or beside a favorite formation bathed in the lush glow of sunset; or perhaps proposing to that special someone aboard a hot air balloon or helicopter. In Sedona, the possibilities are as endless as the star-studded skies.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and love, the city wants to make sure that the perfect day goes off without a hitch, with help from some of the most romantic spots in town. Here are just a few of the charming and bespoke options available to visitors seeking romance in the red rocks.

Butterfly Garden Inn

The Butterfly Garden Inn was established in 1945 as Don Hoel’s Cabins. Today, its bed-and-breakfast establishment is a local treasure, spanning 27 acres in the lush Oak Creek Canyon. Visitors will find romance between the forest pine trees, where couples can cozy up to each other in charming cabins.

Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge

Garland’s Lodge had its beginnings in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when most of Oak Creek Canyon was established as homestead land. Today, the premises still offer bed-and-breakfast style accommodations, with quaint scenery amidst the flowing river.

Canyon Wren Cabins

With cabins designed for intimacy and dedicated to couple’s enjoyment, Canyon Wren Cabins offers four different cabins for those looking to adventure to the Oak Creek Canyon woods. The property prides itself on its concept of “cabins for two,” so intimacy and romance is guaranteed with each visit.

Briar Patch Inn

The cottages, furnished with Southwestern charm and Native American decor, are designed for comfort in a casual atmosphere. Fireplaces, patios, and privacy lure couples to relax and enjoy the moment or take advantage of amenities such as massages in the comfort of their own cottage or in the creek-side gazebo.

Karlin Real Estate Funds $96 Million in Senior Debt

In two separate financings, Karlin Real Estate has funded $96 million in first mortgage debt to refinance resort properties in Arizona and Colorado.

Karlin Real Estate has provided affiliates of IMH Financial Corporation (IMH) with $50 million in senior debt to refinance the L’Auberge de Sedona (L’Auberge) and the Orchards Inn, two adjacent hotel properties in Sedona, Arizona.

The financing will be used to pay off the existing debt and fund various capital improvements.

“We are excited to work with Karlin as our new senior lender on these assets,” said Lawrence D. Bain, Chairman and CEO of IMH.  “We found that the Karlin team brought a diverse skill set to the table with a comprehensive approach to its analysis that is unique to the investment community.”

L’ Auberge is an AAA Four Diamond luxury inn and spa.  Situated on an 11-acre unique site, the resort property includes an award-winning restaurant, spa, salt and mineral based pool and 18,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. L’ Auberge is considered to be one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, and has received countless awards and accolades from hospitality organizations and media. The Orchards Inn is a 70-room hotel located immediately adjacent to L’Auberge. IMH plans to utilize proceeds from the loan to perform certain capital improvements at L’Auberge and Taos Cantina, a 144-seat restaurant under common IMH ownership with the Orchards Inn.

“Both properties are demonstrating increasingly strong fundamentals in occupancy as well as ADR and are well positioned to take advantage of the recovering lodging market,” said Larry Grantham, Karlin Managing Director. “Our financing and IMH’s continued focus on hotel operations will further L’Auberge’s standing as one of the premier resort destinations in Sedona and the Southwest.”

Karlin Real Estate also has provided Grand Heritage Hotel Group (GHHG) with a $46 million senior loan secured by The Historic Stanley Hotel, a 140-key resort property in Estes Park, CO.

Built in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley, co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer, The Stanley is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of Historic Hotels of America.  In 2010, Grand Heritage completed a multimillion-dollar renovation and restoration program that included restoration of the Concert Hall and manor house referred to as The Lodge.

In addition to refinancing the existing debt on the hotel, Karlin’s five-year interest only financing features a delayed draw component which will be used by GHHG to fund the completion of a new 50,000 sq. ft. luxury lodging building adjacent to The Stanley Hotel under a new brand roll-out called Aspire Hotels and Resorts.  The 50-key building will provide a luxury hospitality component to a proposed 15,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art wellness center being developed by Estes Park Medical Center and the University of Colorado in a unique public-private partnership.  Under the partnership GHHG will provide an array of hospitality services including developing a healthy cuisine restaurant and resort amenities to compliment the cutting-edge wellness and sports medicine services being offered through the wellness center.

“Karlin was able to step in quickly and structure a financing package that allows us to roll-out our new Aspire brand and pursue other unique health, wellness and sport related projects around the world,” said John W. Cullen, President of GHHG.

Grand Heritage will also use a portion of the loan proceeds to acquire Peñasco Del Sol Resort and Conference Center, a 208-key beachfront hotel located in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.  Grand Heritage had managed the property since 2010.

“Our financing allowed Grand Heritage to take a big first step on what we believe to be an exciting growth strategy,” said Michael Hurst, Karlin Managing Director.  “We look forward to continuing to build upon the strategic relationship with Grand Heritage over the long-term.”

sedona-sunrise

Sedona offers world’s most scenic hiking trails

There are plenty of reasons to make hiking part of a daily activity routine in 2015. With Sedona as the backdrop, visitors will rush to the illustrious trails spanning the red rock terrain, with jaw-dropping views of Sedona’s landscape and topography. Taking advantage of the backdrop, mountain-goers can bask in the sunshine while keeping their resolutions to be fit in the new year.

The perfect way to jump start a healthy routine is with an unforgettable experience, and Sedona promises just that. There are a few off-the-beaten-path trails that are not only breathtaking, but also range in difficulty for someone just starting out, or experienced pros looking for the next great challenge. These trails offer options ranging from biking and trail running to horseback riding and climbing and much more.

With hidden gems and tried-true favorites, there’s something for everyone looking to explore. A local favorite, “The Crack,” can be found at the end of Bell Trail. By branching off the main trail, hikers are led to a swim hole with several places to jump off small cliffs into glistening pools of water. This destination is a favorite for locals, with great spots for pictures. These treasures and more are just a few of the wonders that await you, in addition to the ones below.

V-Bar-V (West Clear Creek)

Difficulty: Novice

Location: The trailhead is located near the V-Bar-V Heritage Site, which is southeast along Beaver Creek Road to the west of the I17.

Description: As one of the shortest trails, just spanning a one-mile round trip, the V-Bar-V Trail should not be underestimated. In addition to its ease, it also provides amazing views and petroglyph sights from the Sinaqua culture and the V-Bar-V Heritage Site.

Deadman’s Pass Trail

Difficulty: Novice

Location: The trailhead begins at the intersection of Boynton Canyon Road and Boynton Pass Road, just a couple miles north of the 89A.

Description: This trail features easy walking on open trails next to the wilderness’ canyon, between the Long Canyon Trail and the Boynton Canyon Trail. The trail also features single-track riding over some of the rocks along the path.

Jim Thompson Trail

Difficulty: Medium

Location: This trail can be hiked from the Wilson Canyon trailhead, the Jordan Park trailhead or along the road past the Midgely Bridge parking area.

Description: As a 6-mile round-trip trail, the path passes through a cattle gate, becoming more narrow and shaded as it descends into Mormon Canyon. At the bottom, the trail turns into Brin’s Mesa Trail, just north of the Jordan Road trailhead, with certain sections of the trail requiring moderate climbing.

Cibola Pass

Difficulty: Medium

Location: The trailhead is located just north of the Jordan Park subdivision, a couple miles north of the 89A and Airport Road.

Description: Cibola Pass is a connector trail between the southern end of Brin’s Mesa Trail and the Jordan Trail, which passes through backwoods for views of the Mitten Rock Formation and leads visitors to the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of descending creek bed pools.

Loy Canyon

Difficulty: Hard

Location: Exiting on Dry Creek Road off the 89A, visitors will follow Dry Creek Road west 13 miles until arriving at the trailhead.

Description: With an elevation change of 1,700 feet, and spanning 10 miles round trip, this trail is reserved for adrenaline junkies and challenge seekers. The trail completes a 1,680-foot climb to a high saddle that overlooks the Secret Mountain mesa, with stunning views of the landscape to be appreciated at the top.

sedona-sunrise

Enjoy ‘Love On The Rocks’ At Hilton Sedona

Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa is delivering the ultimate in romance amidst the stunning red rocks of Sedona just in time for Valentine’s Day with the “Love On The Rocks” package.
Loaded with all you need for romance, the “Love On The Rocks” package is priced from $329 per night and includes two-nights in a newly renovated king suite, $150 credit for use at the resort’s eforea: Spa at Hilton,  breakfast for two each morning, a bottle of wine or sparkling cider delivered at check-in, and bouquet of fresh flowers. Just for Valentine’s Day weekend travelers, guests booking the package over the dates of February 13-15, 2015 will enjoy a special Valentine’s Day amenity.
For a truly local spa experience, travelers can opt to apply their credit towards the spa’s signature Full Circle Message, a 90-minute service inspired by the metaphysical properties of Sedona. The experience includes aromatherapy, meditation to discover intuition, massage, energy balancing and visualization, and is delivered by one of the spa’s therapists that are certified to practice “energy medicine.”
Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation delivering redesigned guest rooms and an entirely new lobby experience focused on relaxation, rejuvenation and new spaces to socialize and stay connected. Bringing the essence of Sedona through the doors of the resort, guest rooms have been refinished and redesigned with locally-inspired elements and materials selected to create a sense of haven and reflection. The experience continues into the lobby, offering a respite from the moment you enter the resort with a soothing color palette of earth tones and artwork, furnishings and finishes that reflect the natural elements of Sedona.
Named “the most beautiful place on earth” by USA Today Weekend, Sedona is nestled among a geological wonderland just 90 minutes north of Phoenix where vivid red rock formations jut upwards from the high desert floor creating a mesmerizing setting. Surrounded by 1.8 million acres that provide instant access to a plethora of outdoor adventures, recreational activities ranging from hiking and biking to jeep tours and more. Sedona continues to be recognized as a place of healing and spiritual renewal with vortex energy centers, has a vibrant art scene and is an emerging wine destination with nearby vineyards and tasting rooms.
Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa is located along Sedona’s Red Rock Scenic byway, delivering breathtaking views of red rock landscapes. With 219 guest rooms, resort amenities include three heated pools, an expansive 25,000 square-foot spa, fitness and wellness facility and an adjacent 18-hole golf course.
The “Love On The Rocks Package” is available with rates from $329 per night with a two-night stay required. For more information about Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa and to book the “Love On The Rocks” package, visit http://www.hiltonsedonaresort.com/hsr/specials or call +1 928 284 6900.
Part of the transformation of at Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona includes SaltRock, a new restaurant that offers Southwest-inspired cuisine.

Amara debuts redesigned spa, Sedona-centric services

Amara Spa at Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa is debuting a variety of new Sedona-centric services exclusive to the resort that tie into its new look after undergoing a refresh that was part of a $1 million property redesign.

Native American rattles, sage smudging, healing crystals, chakra balancing, custom oil blends of lavender, rosemary and sage that rain down the spine and the detoxifying properties of local Sedona mud, help guests reconnect spiritually to the local environment and harness the metaphysical energy of the area for which Sedona has become famous. Set against red rock panoramas and nestled along Oak Creek, Amara Spa adds another dimension of peace and tranquility. The spa’s new enchanting experiences are rich in native ingredients and reflect a sincere love for the area. Some favorites include:

Rain Dance Massage ($140): Integrating body, mind and spirit, this ceremonial 60-minute massage uses Amara’s signature oils of lavender, rosemary, and sage which are luxuriously dropped down your spine. Ease into this harmonious dance as sprinkles of lavender oil both help to relax muscles and address fatigue. Rosemary oil trickles down next in this powerful service for deeper clearing and healing effects. Purifying and grounding qualities of sage are then delivered along with a rhythmic movement dancing you into tranquility. Conclude with a warm oil scalp massage.

Winds of Change Massage ($190): Native rattles, smudging with sage, crystals and specially crafted oils, combined with compassionate healing hands, reconnects your being to your spirit during a 90-minute massage. Amara’s gifted healers use energy work, balance your chakras and connect you to ancient healing rituals. The wind of a feather sweeps away tension. This complete service includes a relaxing massage.

Moon Chasing Sun Facial ($190): This 90 minute ritual will take you deeper into a state of bliss. Begin with an aroma inhalation of your choosing, body compressions, and warm towels. This customized skin treatment includes a choreographed facial massage using cool and warm stones simultaneously to promote the purging of toxins and reduce swelling, while the anti-oxidant mask is fighting free-radicals, experience a highly concentrated scalp massage. Tension melts and your skin is left glowing.

Soleful Traveler ($90): This 90 minute treatment is designed to revitalize your body and soles. Begin with a heated herbal neck wrap. A Sedona mud mask detoxifies your lower legs and vanilla scented sugar-scrub refreshes your feet. Enjoy a hot stone massage using a luxurious renewing body cream and finish with our vegan gel alternative quick dry polish. Pamper.
For the ultimate spa experience paired with a resort stay, Amara is offering a Crystal Chakras Reconnect Retreat package that includes a deluxe guest room along with three hours of spa treatments, at a 15 percent discount, including the Winds of Change massage and the Soleful Traveler Pedicure. The package is available Nov. 1 through Feb. 7 (blackout dates: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve). Rate code: CRYSTL.

With six treatment rooms, the full-service spa offers massages, facials, body treatments, foot and hand rituals, nail services, makeup application and a variety of perfectly paired spa packages. Amara Spa also boasts a private yoga studio with complimentary daily classes for resort guests, eucalyptus steam rooms, men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers and a retail boutique selling all-natural products.

Amara’s new “modern native” esthetic, infuses elements of Native American and Southwestern pattern and designs, but reinvented in a contemporary way. Pulling from the color palette of the surrounding lush foliage and the brilliant desert flowers that dot the property, green, aubergine, bright marigold and injections of hot fuchsia define the new interiors, which perfectly complement the red rock views that envelop the resort.

To learn more about Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa and book your next spa treatment, visit www.amararesort.com or call 928-282-4828.

We-Ko-Pa Managing Fort McDowell Adventures

In gearing up for the official rebranding of the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort as the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center next Wednesday, October 1, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has moved their Fort McDowell Adventures operations management under the Resort. This decision was made to provide hotel guests, area visitors and local residents with an even easier way to enjoy an incomparable, rip roarin’ Wild West experience, surrounded by majestic mountains and the scenic Verde River.

“By streamlining operations in this manner, we’re able to provide each of our guests with more personal attention when booking our sensational destinations,” said Ruben Balderas, President of the Fort McDowell Tribal Council. “This was a logical management change. Moreover, through substantive cost and time efficiencies, we can keep pricing lowered while providing an excellent value to our customers – a ‘win-win’ for everyone.”

A popular destination for decades, Fort McDowell Adventures (www.fortmcdowelladventures.com) offers one-of-a-kind experiences in a tranquil and spectacular desert setting that include Horseback Trail Rides, Desert Jeep Tours, Verde River Kayaking, Segway Tours, Desert Belle Riverboat Cruises, First Friday Night Franks and the Yavapai Experience Cultural Tour. Groups of 10 or more can also enjoy two-hour City Slicker Cattle Drives.

Guests can now seamlessly combine business and pleasure by having access to the 25,000 square feet of meeting space at the Wassaja Conference Center at the resort and the vast selection of activities at nearby Fort McDowell Adventures.

“Having the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center manage day-to-day operations of Fort McDowell Adventures was a strategic business decision that benefits all parties involved,” explained Phil Dorchester, General Manager of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. “By keeping everything under the same umbrella, individuals and groups now have one central point of contact to make all their necessary arrangements. It’s a much more efficient way of providing an exceptional guest service experience.”

“Meeting planners are always looking for fun, Southwest-inspired activities that their attendees can enjoy after a long day of meetings or attending a conference,” added Craig Benell, Acting General Manager of the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center, a AAA Four Diamond Award recipient for the past eight years. “Planning after-hours functions and team-building events is now easier than ever, since they can be booked at the same time as a company’s meeting space, catering menus and audiovisual needs.”

As a result of this central management, local residents or hotel guests planning weddings, birthdays, family reunions, bachelor/bachelorette parties or other special events may receive preferred pricing – enabling them to combine a night or two at the resort with a once-in-a-lifetime Wild West experience. Those interested in making reservations or receiving additional information are encouraged to contact Julie Solliday at (480)789-5534.

In addition to the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center and Fort McDowell Adventures, destination enterprises owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation include We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Fort McDowell Casino, Eagle View RV Resort, and Poco Diablo Resort in Sedona.

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SaltRock Now Open at Sedona’s Amara

A new restaurant, SaltRock, has opened as the signature dining destination at Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona, lead by Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca.

SaltRock offers Southwest-inspired cuisine marrying the fresh, light and seasonal approach to California cooking with culinary traditions and ingredients of the Southwest and Verde Valley. SaltRock serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and its outdoor patio offers guests a breathtaking setting under the stars with a majestic red rock backdrop, live music Thursday through Saturday and views of the heated, sea salt infinity-edge pool and nearby fire pits.

Chef Massimo is also the executive chef at Taggia, located at Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, where he showcases coastal Italian cuisine, sourcing local Arizona organic produce, herbs from the on-site garden and top-quality meats and seafood flown in fresh daily. Classic in his training, yet innovative in his approach, Chef Massimo is known for connecting tradition with contemporary musings.

For Chef Massimo, standouts have already emerged from the menu including Deviled Eggs, chipotle-egg yolk mousse with pasilla maple syrup; King Oyster Mushrooms, confit, charred and marinated in local pine needles and served with warm Mexican chocolate and pinenut gremolata; Mini Bell Peppers, smoked with pecan wood and garnished with spicy aioli; Trout Pâté, local Sedona trout slow roasted over apple wood, made into a pâté and layered in a smoking jar served with toasted baguette; Lamb Tostadas, braised lamb belly, smoked goat cheese and apple-mint chutney and fresh epazote served over freshly made crispy tostadas; Wild So-Cal Swordfish, citrus grilled, layered with tomatillos, pineapple-puree and topped with mango and black bean salsa and Achiote Chicken, marinated organic chicken breast served over jalapeño and cilantro risotto, asparagus, garnished with piñon sauce and pomegranate seeds.

The cocktail program at SaltRock highlights craft margaritas and was created by Kimpton Lead Bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout, who oversees the cocktails and spirits program for Kimpton’s nearly 70 restaurants, bars and lounges across the country. The bar offers a thoughtful selection of tequila and mezcal, along with a curated selection of other spirits, local wines and craft, domestic and international beer favorites.

SaltRock’s design complements the resort’s new “modern native” design esthetic, which infuses elements of Native American patterns, but reinvented in a contemporary way. With charcoal-colored oak flooring, mix-and-match dining chairs, a live-edge wood communal dining table and banquets upholstered in vintage rugs, the restaurant embodies a timeless and comfortable American vibe and spirit. An art-installation of more than 300 antique spoons, found at flea markets across the country and artfully dipped in a variety of colors, adorn the wall. Lush, green air-plants in ceramic pots hang from ropes and leather straps to create a living wall that separates the restaurant from the resort’s living room to connect the spaces, while still allowing for privacy.

Born in Toronto, Chef Massimo’s international culinary passions have led him to positions in such places as Toronto, Canada; Torino and Cesenatico, Italy; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Washington DC; Manhattan, New York and Dallas, Texas. In addition to his diverse experiences, he has worked under world renowned chefs such as Gianpiero Tondina, Vincenzo Cammeruci, Oscar Tuchi and JP Challet.

Chef Massimo joined Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2008 where he has served as executive chef at a variety of restaurants across the country over the years. He moved to Scottsdale to lead the culinary vision at Taggia in 2012, where he has earned numerous accolades including “Top 10 Best Italian Restaurants” by Phoenix Magazine. Kimpton is known for its award-winning collection of seasonally-inspired restaurants and bars lead by creative, local chefs that turn farm-fresh flavors into memorable dishes.

Last month, Amara Resort & Spa unveiled a $1 million redesign of the boutique resort’s 100 spacious guest rooms and suites, common spaces including the living room where guests enjoy complimentary wine hour nightly, the outdoor lounge and the 26,000-gallon infinity edge saltwater pool that overlooks the serene Oak Creek and red rocks. As Kimpton’s newest addition to its Arizona properties, Amara is located in the heart of uptown Sedona. Nestled along Oak Creek, the resort overlooks the Cleopatra Red Rock Formation where Camel Rock and the much-loved Snoopy Rock are in perfect view.

While Amara is just steps from the hustle and bustle of Sedona’s uptown shopping, dining and cultural hub, the resort is situated below the main area, nestled on the banks of the creek, which makes it feel worlds away.

To learn more about Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa, visit www.amararesort.com or call 928-282-4828.

SaltRock Dining Room

SaltRock opens today in Sedona

A new restaurant, SaltRock, opens today as the signature dining destination at Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona, Ariz. lead by Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca.

Deviled Eggs: chipotle-egg yolk mousse with pasilla maple syrup

Deviled Eggs: Chipotle-egg yolk mousse with pasilla maple syrup

SaltRock offers Southwest-inspired cuisine marrying the fresh, light and seasonal approach to California cooking with culinary traditions and ingredients of the Southwest and Verde Valley. SaltRock serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and its outdoor patio offers guests a breathtaking setting under the stars with a majestic red rock backdrop, live music Thursday through Saturday and views of the heated, sea salt infinity-edge pool and nearby fire pits.

Chef Massimo is also the executive chef at Taggia, located at Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, where he showcases coastal Italian cuisine, sourcing local Arizona organic produce, herbs from the on-site garden and top-quality meats and seafood flown in fresh daily. Classic in his training, yet innovative in his approach, Chef Massimo is known for connecting tradition with contemporary musings.

For Chef Massimo, standouts have already emerged from the menu including Deviled Eggs, chipotle-egg yolk mousse with pasilla maple syrup; King Oyster Mushrooms, confit, charred and marinated in local pine needles and served with warm Mexican chocolate and pinenut gremolata; Mini Bell Peppers, smoked with pecan wood and garnished with spicy aioli; Trout Pâté, local Sedona trout slow roasted over apple wood, made into a pâté and layered in a smoking jar served with toasted baguette; Lamb Tostadas, braised lamb belly, smoked goat cheese and apple-mint chutney and fresh epazote served over freshly made crispy tostadas; Wild So-Cal Swordfish, citrus grilled, layered with tomatillos, pineapple-puree and topped with mango and black bean salsa and Achiote Chicken, marinated organic chicken breast served over jalapeño and cilantro risotto, asparagus, garnished with piñon sauce and pomegranate seeds.

The cocktail program at SaltRock highlights craft margaritas and was created by Kimpton Lead Bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout, who oversees the cocktails and spirits program for Kimpton’s nearly 70 restaurants, bars and lounges across the country. The bar offers a thoughtful selection of tequila and mezcal, along with a curated selection of other spirits, local wines and craft, domestic and international beer favorites.

King Oyster Mushrooms: confit, charred and marinated in local pine needles and served with warm Mexican chocolate and pinenut gremolata

King Oyster Mushrooms: Confit, charred and marinated in local pine needles and served with warm Mexican chocolate and pinenut gremolata

SaltRock’s design complements the resort’s new “modern native” design esthetic, which infuses elements of Native American patterns, but reinvented in a contemporary way. With charcoal-colored oak flooring, mix-and-match dining chairs, a live-edge wood communal dining table and banquets upholstered in vintage rugs, the restaurant embodies a timeless and comfortable American vibe and spirit. An art-installation of more than 300 antique spoons, found at flea markets across the country and artfully dipped in a variety of colors, adorn the wall. Lush, green air-plants in ceramic pots hang from ropes and leather straps to create a living wall that separates the restaurant from the resort’s living room to connect the spaces, while still allowing for privacy.

Born in Toronto, Chef Massimo’s international culinary passions have led him to positions in such places as Toronto, Canada; Torino and Cesenatico, Italy; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Washington DC; Manhattan, New York and Dallas, Texas. In addition to his diverse experiences, he has worked under world renowned chefs such as Gianpiero Tondina, Vincenzo Cammeruci, Oscar Tuchi and JP Challet.

Chef Massimo joined Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2008 where he has served as executive chef at a variety of restaurants across the country over the years. He moved to Scottsdale to lead the culinary vision at Taggia in 2012, where he has earned numerous accolades including “Top 10 Best Italian Restaurants” by Phoenix Magazine. Kimpton is known for its award-winning collection of seasonally-inspired restaurants and bars lead by creative, local chefs that turn farm-fresh flavors into memorable dishes.

Last month, Amara Resort & Spa unveiled a $1 million redesign of the boutique resort’s 100 spacious guest rooms and suites, common spaces including the living room where guests enjoy complimentary wine hour nightly, the outdoor lounge and the 26,000-gallon infinity edge saltwater pool that overlooks the serene Oak Creek and red rocks. As Kimpton’s newest addition to its Arizona properties, Amara is located in the heart of uptown Sedona. Nestled along Oak Creek, the resort overlooks the Cleopatra Red Rock Formation where Camel Rock and the much-loved Snoopy Rock are in perfect view.

While Amara is just steps from the hustle and bustle of Sedona’s uptown shopping, dining and cultural hub, the resort is situated below the main area, nestled on the banks of the creek, which makes it feel worlds away

To learn more about Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa, visit www.amararesort.com or call 928-282-4828.

house

Highest residential sale recorded in N. Arizona

Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty closed what is now the highest residential sale ever recorded in Northern Arizona, including the Sedona MLS and the Flagstaff MLS. The sale of 51 Moonlight Drive, Sedona, closed for $4.5 million.

It was selected by Sotheby’s International Realty as one of the 12 most beautiful homes in the world and earned a spot in the SIR global calendar in 2012. 9,000 feet on 8 acres with the most incredible view in all of Sedona.

Agent Ed Pennington, who was the top producing agent in all of Sedona for 2013, represented both the buyer and seller in this transaction.

“In this particular transaction, this is without a doubt the happiest buyer and seller combination, I’ve ever represented,” said Pennington. “I was representing the seller and then it struck me that I had a client in Tucson who this home might be a good fit for. Within an hour of looking at the home, we had a signed contract.”

Pennington put up some serious numbers in 2013 and it’s no accident that the affable agent was able to secure the No. 1 spot in terms of sales volume, as anyone who knows him can attest.

Pennington tallied a whopping $22, 233,250 in sales volume, outdistancing the entire Sedona Verde Valley Realtor field for 2013.

“The Real Estate market in Sedona was very strong last year. We saw gains in all segments of the market both in number of units sold as well as price increases. We sold almost twice the number of luxury homes in 2013 over 2012 and we expect gains again this year across the market segments. I owe much of my success in 2013 to the outstanding efforts of Gioia Cohen and Joanne Holiday, who without their support I could not have had such a great year.”

The Military High School and University of Arizona graduate has a collection of lifetime experiences that helps inform his approach to his work and has shaped him into the effective and hard-working agent that he is today. Those experiences include time as a touring musician, manager of a retail clothing store, entrepreneur, real estate developer, car dealership owner, and head of a home for abused and neglected children. He joined Russ Lyon Sotheby’s in 2010 and has gone on to represent sellers and buyers of Sedona’s most spectacular residential properties.

“It’s agents like Edward Pennington that are the engine of our company,” said Jim Lyon, Chairman, Owner and third generation Lyon involved in Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. “Russ Lyon is built on Realtors who love what they do and take pride in their work. We attract and retain the best and brightest agents in the business and that has kept Russ Lyon Sotheby’s international viable and relevant for several generations.”

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Kimpton Unveils $1M Redesign at Amara

Today Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants unveiled a $1 million redesign at Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona, Ariz., that includes a refresh of the boutique resort’s 100 guest rooms, common areas and a coming-soon restaurant, SaltRock, that will open in early September.

In celebration of the redesign, the resort is offering a “Refresh Your Perspective” discounted rate starting from $195 per night, a 15 percent savings, beginning Sept. 1 through Dec. 30, 2014 (Rate code: Refresh Your Perspective. Valid for Sunday through Thursday stays.)

Amara’s new “modern native” esthetic infuses elements of Native American and Southwestern pattern and designs, but reinvented in a contemporary way. Craftsmanship and traditions of the Hopi and Navajo tribes that are indigenous to Northern Arizona, such as basket-making, rope-weaving, rain sticks and turquoise, can be found throughout. Pulling from the color palette of the surrounding lush foliage and the brilliant desert flowers that dot the property, green, aubergine, bright marigold and injections of hot fuchsia define the new interiors, which perfectly complement the red rock views that envelop the resort.

“The new look of Amara is contemporary, yet comfortable. It’s chic and sophisticated while also being a warm and welcoming place that encourages our guests to socialize and enjoy the beauty and local culture of Sedona,” said Patrick Gaskin, general manager of Amara Resort & Spa. “From the rich leather accents, Native American-inspired patterned rugs, natural live-edge wood tables, bright magenta statement chairs and a stunning, 10-foot-wide brass cowbell chandelier, the mix of simple and clean with pops of color and surprise really make our living room come alive.”

Common areas that underwent redesign include the living room where guests enjoy complimentary wine hour nightly, the full-service spa, the outdoor lounge and lawn areas and the 26,000-gallon infinity edge saltwater pool that overlooks the serene Oak Creek and red rocks.

“We designed our outdoor spaces as social environments that invite guests to relax in cheery Adirondack chairs on the lawn, cozy up on starry nights with plush blankets in front of the fire pits or lounge poolside in the new furniture while enjoying the view,” said Gaskin. “Resort and restaurant guests can also now enjoy a variety of games from 3pm-6pm nightly on the lawn including bocce ball and corn hole.”

Amara’s guest rooms feature live-edge wooden headboards that were individually crafted from fallen trees and vary from room-to-room, crystal drawer accents and geode artwork that pull inspiration from Sedona’s spiritual center, turquoise table lamps, oversized sitting chairs with woven rope accents, colorful rain sticks positioned above the bed to promote sweet dreams and artwork showcasing a jackalope, the mythological creature, adding a bit of whimsy.

Along with a new look, Amara’s full-service, award-winning spa has introduced a variety of treatments that embrace the natural and spiritual Sedona influences such as the Rain Dance Massage, using lavender, rosemary and sage oils that are dripped down the spine; Winds of Change Massage, where the chakras are realigned using the beat of Native rattles, smudging of sage and the healing powers of crystals in addition to massage techniques; and the Soleful Traveler Pedicure using hot stones and local Sedona mud to detox and relax weary feet.

Slated to open in early September, the resort’s dining destination, SaltRock, will offer Southwest-inspired cuisine marrying the fresh, light and seasonal approach to California cooking with culinary traditions and ingredients of the Southwest and Verde Valley. Drawing on inspiration from the Sonoran Desert and the vibrant city of Scottsdale, Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca is perfectly at home in this distinct environment. The cocktail program at SaltRock will highlight craft margaritas and was created by Kimpton Lead Bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout, who oversees the cocktails and spirits program for Kimpton’s nearly 70 restaurants, bars and lounges across the country. The bar will offer a thoughtful selection of tequila and mezcal, along with a curated selection of other spirits, local wines and craft, domestic and international beer favorites.

Guests of Amara enjoy complimentary morning coffee and tea service in the living room; hosted evening wine hour from 5pm – 6pm daily; a 24-hour fitness center; complimentary daily yoga; a heated, sea salt infinity pool and hot tub overlooking the red rocks and Oak Creek; free Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma Rewards members; custom PUBLIC Bikes for complimentary use; pet-friendly amenities and accommodations and 5,000 square feet of multi-use space accommodating up to 160 people, which can be customized for social and business events.

To learn more about Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa, visit www.amararesort.com or call 928-282-4828.

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Kimpton plans New Sedona Restaurant

Chef Massimo_emailA new restaurant, SaltRock, is opening this September when Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants unveils its signature dining destination at Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona, Ariz., now undergoing a property-wide redesign, where Chef Massimo De Francesca has just been appointed executive chef.

Chef Massimo is currently the executive chef at Taggia, located at Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, where he showcases coastal Italian cuisine, sourcing local Arizona organic produce, herbs from the on-site garden and top-quality meats and seafood flown in fresh daily. Classic in his training, yet innovative in his approach, Chef Massimo is known for connecting tradition with contemporary musings.

SaltRock will offer Southwest-inspired cuisine marrying the fresh, light and seasonal approach to California cooking with culinary traditions and ingredients of the Southwest and Verde Valley. Drawing on inspiration from the Sonoran Desert and the vibrant city of Scottsdale, Chef Massimo is perfectly at home in this distinct environment.

For Chef Massimo, standouts have already emerged from the menu including Deviled Eggs, chipotle-egg yolk mousse with pasilla maple syrup; King Oyster Mushrooms, confit, charred and marinated in local pine needles and served with warm Mexican chocolate and pinenut gremolata; Mini Bell Peppers, smoked with pecan wood and garnished with spicy aioli; Trout Pâté, local Sedona trout slow roasted over apple wood, made into a pâté and layered in a smoking jar served with toasted baguette; Lamb Tostadas, braised lamb belly, smoked goat cheese and apple-mint chutney and fresh epazote served over freshly made crispy tostadas; Wild So-Cal Swordfish, citrus grilled, layered with tomatillos, pineapple-puree and topped with mango and black bean salsa and Achiote Chicken, marinated organic chicken breast served over jalapeño and cilantro risotto, asparagus, garnished with piñon sauce and pomegranate seeds.

“It has been exciting to dive into the creation of the menu for SaltRock and blend Southwest-inspired flavor with the seasonal approach to California cooking, all while discovering ways to incorporate local, organic ingredients from Sedona and the Verde Valley into each dish,” said Chef Massimo. “I’m looking forward to becoming a part of the Sedona culinary scene and trust that our new restaurant will further enhance the city’s dining experiences.”

The cocktail program at SaltRock will highlight craft margaritas and was created by Kimpton Lead Bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout, who oversees the cocktails and spirits program for Kimpton’s nearly 70 restaurants, bars and lounges across the country. The bar will offer a thoughtful selection of tequila and mezcal, along with a curated selection of other spirits, local wines and craft, domestic and international beer favorites.

SaltRock’s design complements the resort’s new “modern native” design esthetic, which infuses elements of Native American patterns, but reinvented in a contemporary way. With charcoal-colored oak flooring, mix-and-match dining chairs, a live-edge wood communal dining table and banquets upholstered in vintage rugs, the restaurant embodies a timeless and comfortable American vibe and spirit. An art-installation of more than 300 antique spoons, found at flea markets across the country and artfully dipped in a variety of colors, adorn the wall. Lush, green air-plants in ceramic pots hang from ropes and leather straps to create a living wall that separates the restaurant from the resort’s living room to connect the spaces, while still allowing for privacy.

Born in Toronto, Chef Massimo’s international culinary passions have led him to positions in such places as Toronto, Canada; Torino and Cesenatico, Italy; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Washington DC; Manhattan, New York and Dallas, Texas. In addition to his diverse experiences, he has worked under world renowned chefs such as Gianpiero Tondina, Vincenzo Cammeruci, Oscar Tuchi and JP Challet.

Chef Massimo joined Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2008 where he has served as executive chef at a variety of restaurants across the country over the years. He moved to Scottsdale to lead the culinary vision at Taggia in 2012, where he has earned numerous accolades including “Top 10 Best Italian Restaurants” by Phoenix Magazine. Kimpton is known for its award-winning collection of seasonally-inspired restaurants and bars lead by creative, local chefs that turn farm-fresh flavors into memorable dishes.

In August, Amara Resort & Spa is preparing to unveil a $1 million redesign of the boutique resort’s 100 spacious guest rooms and suites, common spaces including the living room where guests enjoy complimentary wine hour nightly, the outdoor lounge and the 26,000-gallon infinity edge saltwater pool that overlooks the serene Oak Creek and red rocks. As Kimpton’s newest addition to its Arizona properties, Amara is located in the heart of uptown Sedona. Nestled along Oak Creek, the resort overlooks the Cleopatra Red Rock Formation where Camel Rock and the much-loved Snoopy Rock are in perfect view.

While Amara is just steps from the hustle and bustle of Sedona’s uptown shopping, dining and cultural hub, the resort is situated below the main area, nestled on the banks of the creek, which makes it feel worlds away.

To learn more about Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa, visit www.amararesort.com or call 928-282-4828.

sedona

Sedona makes 10 Most Sacred Spots List

Budget Travel recently named Sedona, Arizona as one of the most cherished and revered destinations in the world on their “10 Most Sacred Spots on Earth” list.

“Sedona, Arizona has long drawn people interested in healing, spirituality, mysticism, and metaphysics, who come for more than just the dramatic, red-rock beauty. The area is famous for its vortexes, powerful centers of kinetic energy that can have a deep effect on those who visit them,” acoording to Budget Travel.

Sedona’s world-wide reputation as a spiritual mecca and global power spot has drawn some of our planet’s most amazing healers, intuitives, artists and spiritual guides. Mother Nature’s red-rock temples treat locals and visitors alike to life-transforming and soul-nourishing experiences. Sedona is a perfect place for spiritual and personal enrichment of the body and the soul.

“It’s truly amazing that the most beautiful place on earth is also known for what you can’t see,” says Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.

“The energy of Sedona fills most visitors with a feeling of great serenity, peace and love. There is something special in Sedona, and you feel it the moment you arrive.”

“These places have been inspiring more than just vacation ideas for centuries. Long revered for their gorgeous scenery and spiritual power, below are the 10 Most Sacred Spots on Earth:

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
Cenote Sagrado, Mexico
Mahabodhi Tree, Bodh Gaya, India
Mount Kailas, Tibet
Mount Sinai, Egypt
Glastonbury Tor, England
Crater Lake, Oregon
Mount Parnassus, Greece
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Vortexes; Sedona, Arizona

slide_rock

Slide Rock named one of America’s 10 best state parks

Fodor’s Travel recently named Slide Rock State Park in Sedona, Arizona as one of the most loved and cherished state parks in America on the “America’s 10 Best State Parks” list.

According to Fordor’s Travel, “There’s pretty much one reason and one reason only to visit Slide Rock State Park, seven miles north of Sedona: to slip down the smooth, red-sandstone water slide and be carried over the surface by a cooling creek into the swimming hole below.”

Although Slide Rock State Park is best known today as a water-recreation destination, the site had its beginning as a 43-acre apple farm. In 1907, Frank Pendley discovered the site, and three years later homesteaded the property. He created an irrigation system and planted an orchard that continues to bear fruit.

Slide Rock State Park is seven miles north of Sedona on State Route 89A. On a warm day you can plunge down a natural rock slide into a swimming hole (bring an extra pair of jeans or a sturdy bathing suit and river shoes to wear on the slide). The natural beauty attracted a number of Hollywood stars including John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. A few easy hikes run along the rim of the gorge of Oak Creek’s brightly colored scenic canyon walls.

“Out of 8,000 State Parks around the country, we are very pleased that our historical local gem has been placed on this prestigious list of top 10 Best State Parks in America. Slide Rock State Park is truly an Arizona treasure,” said Jennifer Wesselhoff, President and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

“The park is a perfect place to cool off and enjoy picnics, swimming, natural water slides, and some of the best scenery and hiking in the southwest. Sedona’s proximity to seven area state parks, five national monuments and many heritage sites, make it a paradise for nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts,” Wesselhoff said.

The top best State Parks include:

  1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
  2. T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Florida
  3. Adirondack Park, New York
  4. Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
  5. Itasca State Park, Minnesota
  6. Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
  7. Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
  8. Slide Rock State Park, Arizona
  9. Lime Kiln Point State Park, Washington
  10. Custer State Park, South Dakota

Sedona hosts mind-body-spirit film festival

The expanding world of conscious cinema where innovative films linked with interactive programs, workshops and experiences activate the senses and create action are the underpinnings of the first U.S. mind-body-spirit film festival, May 29 to June 1, in one of the world’s most-talked about spiritual centerpoints.

The Illuminate Film Festival is emerging as the first industry‚ festival for conscious cinema, where buyers, filmmakers, platforms, press, and mind-body-spirit thought-leaders will congregate to usher this scope of cinema forward.

Now is the time, the tipping point, for the emergence of conscious media. Obstacles which previously held this genre back – poor quality, questioned legitimacy of the subject matter, and a limited audience demographic – have given way to an exploding worldwide conscious living movement, a remarkable improvement in production value, and attention from distributors such as Kino Lorber, Participant Media, Beyond Words, Monterey Media, Gaiam and First Run Features, said Illuminate Founder and Executive Director Danette Wolpert.

The Illuminate Film Festival will showcase paradigm-busting, consciousness-expanding narratives, documentaries and shorts, including inspirational human journey stories and themes related to wellness, self-discovery, consciousness, body-mind science, yoga, meditation, spirituality, organic and plant-based food movements and sustainable living.

Filmmaker David Christopher Loya-Bojorquez defines conscious films as “life-affirming works that hold human beings as sacred rather than expendable and encourage the audience to ponder existence more deeply than their day-to-day routines,” Wolpert said. “This is the crux of our mission, and the impetus for our innovative View and Do principle.”

Illuminate’s View and Do concept, the “Reel Healing Series,” will give filmgoers options for specially selected “soul-inspiring movies coupled with an immersive workshop by a skilled practitioner for a deeper integration of the movie’s message,” Wolpert said.

“The combination of consciousness-expanding films with powerful messages and experiential opportunities to enrich the movie-going experience allow audiences to process and act on what they see on screen.”

In addition to offering four world premieres, and seven U.S. and Southwest premieres among the 22-film field, the Festival also includes the world’s first Conscious Filmmaker Convergence, a half-day series of panels and workshops for mind-body-spirit filmmakers to learn, share and build new models for production, marketing and distributing conscious cinema.

Workshop panelists include:

  • Betsey Chasse, co-director of What the Bleep Do We Know?
  • Nicole Guillemet, former co-director of the Sundance Film Festival
  • Anna Darrah, Director of Acquisitions, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Gaiam, Inc.
  • Kate Neligan, Founder/CEO of Synergy TV and former VP at Lionsgate
  • Lisa Leeman, Former President of the International Documentary Association and co-director, Awake: The Life of Yogananda
  • Paola di Florio, Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Speaking in Strings and co-director, Awake: The Life of Yogananda
  • Ward Serrill, director, Song of the New Earth and The Heart of the Game
  • Ronna Prince, producer of Sacred Journey of the Heart

Workshop topics include: How to Make a Breakthrough Conscious Film: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Production; Marketing/Promoting Your Conscious Film; and Get Your Conscious Film Seen: Three Options for Distribution.

The Conscious Filmmaker Convergence also includes case studies on films such as What the Bleep Do We Know?, The Secret, Food Matters, Thrive, Forks Over Knives, The Way, and Heaven is Real.

Among films being premiered:

  • World: Death Makes Life Possible, presented by executive producer Dr. Deepak Chopra; Dance of Liberation, 24 Peaces (Work-In-Progress), and On Meditation, featuring director David Lynch, actor Giancarlo Esposito and National Book Award winning author Peter Matthiessen.
  • US or Southwest: E-Motion, Song of the New Earth and Awake: The Life of Yogananda.

The Festival’s Healing Village will offer samples and services from the region’s best health and wellness practitioners including massage therapists, Reiki specialists, meditation guides, energy workers, astrologers and more.

The film lineup is published online, and all-access passes are now available. The full schedule of films, guests, events and workshop speakers will be announced April 28, and individual tickets will be available May 8. Illuminate Film Festival films will be screened at Sedona’s state-of-the-art Mary D. Fisher Theater, Creative Life Center and the Sedona Performing Arts Center. Illuminate’s Official Industry Lodging Partner is Grace Grove Retreat Center.

For more information and to sign up for newsletters and updates, visit www.illuminatefilmfestival.com.

Get ready for the Sedona Bluegrass Festival

Now in its eight season, the June 4-8 Sedona Bluegrass Festival is making serious inroads in the Arizona Bluegrass world. Led by Festival Artistic Director Darol Anger, the Festival will include many friends invited personally by Anger including the legendary Peter Rowan, one of the bluegrass worlds multiple award winners and leading ladies Laurie Lewis with husband Tom Rozum, and one of America’s most exciting artists of this generation, cellist Ben Sollee.

Ben Sollee

Ben Sollee

“Darol’s connections and insights add a tremendous amount to our efforts,” said Festival director Bert Harclerode. “One is often judged by the company we keep, and Darol’s shared vision promises to make this festival our best yet! Ben Sollee is one of the college scene’s hottest tickets and we’re delighted to bring him to Sedona.”

Sollee, according to his web page, first gained major notice with his 2008 debut album, Learning to Bend, which led NPR’s Morning Edition to call him one of the “Top Ten Great Unknown Artists” of the year. Later, All Things Considered called his debut “an inspired collection of acoustic, folk and jazz-flavored songs, filled with hope and the earnest belief that the world is good.” Around the same time, Sollee was touring the world with Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet alongside Grammy nominee Casey Driessen and multi-Grammy winner Bela Fleck. Sollee’s music drew the attention of My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames, who produced his second full-length album, a collaboration with Daniel Martin Moore. In 2010 they released Dear Companion, a stunning collection of songs meant to inspire environmental stewardship. The next year Sollee contributed his cello stylings to My Morning Jacket’s hit album Circuital and released Inclusions, a sonically awe-inspiring album about relationships that was called “structurally brilliant” by Slant and “stunning” by No Depression.
Through it all, Sollee has garnered a rabid following of listeners devoted to his music. They will be greatly pleased with this, his most personal and adventurous album yet. His voice is grittier here, and the instruments—fiddles, lovely in their sawing, and electric guitars grinding out love and disappointment and every emotion in between—mimic the urgency and passion so evident in his vocals. “The vocals are more off the cuff and freer,” he says, stressing that the production strives more for rawness than perfection. “We steered our ears toward getting the right energy for each song. The takes took on their own life and led us along. The machines and mics had a weighty sound that we could use to drive the story through the lyrics and arrangements.”
The songs give us the many facets of a human being who is acutely aware of the world around him and his own faults. The album is novelistic in its scope and theme as we travel with the narrator who reveals everything about himself as a father, a spouse, a musician, and more. We are along for the ride as the narrator sings of selfishness, joy, impatience, romance…being human. With Half-Made Man, a record of raw power, grace, and wisdom, Sollee is sure to be measured alongside the best artists of his generation.

Sollee’s fourth album, Half-Made Man, a revealing, deeply moving album that explores a man trying to figure himself out, just as we all are. Known for his thrilling cello-playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Sollee possesses rough-smooth-smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements that has brought about comparisons to Sufjan Stevens. Sollee shares himself completely with his audience, whether it be by personal lyrics, or his commitment to the environment. Sollee can often be found riding a bicycle to his concerts (cello strapped to the back), which have become legendary for their intimacy.

The album, produced by Sollee himself, boasts a sublime cast of musicians, including Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) on electric/acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordon Ellis on percussion, Jeremy Kittel (formerly of the Turtle Island String Quartet) on violin, and guest vocals by Abigail Washburn. Sollee contributes octave mandolin, guitar, and of course, his signature cello.

“I wanted it to have a raw, real-time performance quality,” Sollee says. “This is kinetic expression. I dug deep into myself and asked the musicians to go there with me. To my ear, it sounds like musical search party; we often find what we’re looking for in between defined styles and genres. It won’t be easy to place this in one category, but I, and my generation, are measured by a little bit of everything these days.”

Sollee will perform Saturday and Sunday at the Festival taking place at Los Abrigados Resort in the heart of Sedona. Complete Festival information can be found at www.SedonaBluegrassFestival.org or by calling 928.204.2415.

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Sedona No. 13 among Top 25 U.S. Destinations

Sedona has been ranked as one of the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 “Top 25 Destinations in the United States.” Coming in at No. 13, Sedona is pleased with the abundance of positive feedback and awe-inspiring reaction of both long time visitors and newcomers to the area.

“Sedona is a true oasis, a vacationer’s paradise in the middle of the Arizona desert. Here, you’ll find resorts and spas, canyons and red rock formations. Bell Rock and Oak Creek Canyon are great hiking spots, and the dramatic architecture of the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a religious experience itself. When the sun dips down below the horizon it introduces the best show in Sedona: the night sky.” –TripAdvisor

“On behalf of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, it is great honor to be placed on the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 Top 25 Destinations in the United States. As the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor assists visitors in gathering travel information, posting travel reviews and engaging in interactive travel forums. This powerful web-based company boasts 200 million unique monthly visitors and over 100 million reviews and opinions. We are honored that world travelers voted Sedona as one of the best destinations to visit in the US,” says Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

The top 25 destinations include: New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington DC; Boston, Los Angles, Honolulu, New Orleans, Seattle, Miami, Sedona, Savannah, Charleston, Napa, San Antonio, Lahaina, Portland, Philadelphia, Myrtle Beach, Kailua Kona, Palm Springs, Naples, and Houston.

In addition to Sedona’s superb positioning, beautiful Adobe Grand Villas has been ranked No. 3 out of 25 on the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 “Top 25 Small Hotels” list; as well as #5 on the “25 Most Romantic Hotels in the United States”. “We have such great guests, who become friends rather than just customers. We have a very high return rate due to our staff treating each guest as they are the only ones, even if it’s a full house. The villas are designed to create an intimate experience. Fires places are located in each room as well as by the Jacuzzi tub. Couples can also memorialize their special stay or occasion on our unique Love Lock fence. Call to create a special romantic stay, from flowers, couples massages, to a private dinner prepared special by Michael Merilli.”

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Magical Relaxation, 4-Diamond Fare at L’Auberge Sedona

From my 10th floor office window in Downtown Phoenix, I can literally see the summer heat. It’s there in the yellowing grass wrapping the building below; it’s eye level as it snakes over and swallows the Estrella Mountains in the western distance. I may be wrapped up below a vent of ridiculously icy air-conditioning, but out that window, I imagine the beach breeze scarved around my neck, streaming through my hair. I smell Flagstaff’s Ponderosa Pines and crisp mountain atmosphere. I think about rain. Obviously: I want to get out.

And it was in one of those moments when what you desire the most just happens that L’Auberge de Sedona came to mind. I love when whirlwind decisions emerge more beautiful than anything planned could have – like an impulse lipstick that leads to a lifetime of love – and here I was, on a random summer day, heading up to a place at least ten degrees cooler (it does make a difference!) and a million degrees more vacation-y than, well, my office.

I am welcomed by a smiling staff that ushers me into a homey lobby with fresh lemon/mint/blackberry ice water and a cool, intimate bar. Unlike many resort destinations, L’Auberge is about luxury AND intimacy – but though it’s mostly about luxury, the intimacy of every facet, from the pathways between each cabin that are lined with ivy arbors and white jasmine to the steamy outdoor vista suite showers, is never sacrificed. On my tour, where I spot apple trees reminiscent of the days the location was an apple orchard, I see cozy creek side cottages with wood-burning fireplaces, spa cottages with dual-jet showers and stately four-poster beds; deluxe vista suites and quaint residences with gas fireplaces, modern sitting rooms with LCD TVs and private cedar showers under the sky. I couldn’t see them, but pet-friendly garden cottages hide amongst the trees. The hotel’s original lodge (the lobby of which holds courtly wooden chandeliers over grand fireplaces) offers more family-friendly rooms and a front lawn with a southern view of those heavenly red rocks that plays scene to what I’m sure are the most devastatingly romantic weddings. After my jaunt, I’m almost late for a very important date: I am led to a small cabin with a single door that is labeled “Spa at L’Auberge de Sedona.”

L’Auberge Stretch massage time. Having been out of yoga for a couple of months, I chose this service specifically, but the spa offers an array of award-winning services, including but not limited to the following:

• Advanced Skin Renewal Facial
• Gentlemen’s Facial
• Desert Sage Sugar Scrub
• L’Auberge Stretch
• Deep Tissue Massage
• Reiki

There isn’t much to say about a massage at L’Auberge that I’m sure you haven’t already imagined (some words circle like relaxing, mind-blowing, etc.) After the delightful experience, I discovered my room, a generous Vista Suite at the top of the hill above the lobby.

A shower outdoors and a robe-enveloped porch nap later, it’s meal time by the bustling creek. Chef Rochelle Daniel greeted us warmly – she’s little, kind and packs a celebrated culinary prowess that precedes our introduction. Known among the hotel for unexpectedly changing the menu, the woman works ingeniously, serving us one course after another (7!) with fresh delicacies like watermelon with tuna and jalapenos, halibut with local vegetables and an Earl Grey chocolate torte. The resort’s resident blue heron lands on a rock in the creek for a photo opportunity, fluttering his slate-blue back feathers. He hops from one perch to another down the waterway until he’s satisfactorily impressed every creek side diner.

After the stars emerge, we trudge up the hill to see the night sky through a telescope; the resort organizes star-gazing a few times a week with a local astronomer. Saturn is visible tonight, and the Milky Way casts her cloudy light upon us. It is late, and I’m impatient for that fluffy bed. Up the stairs to my private suite, I’m almost tempted to sleep on the porch under Saturn, but that bed is too tempting. After a magical day and an equally otherworldly meal to keep in the books, I’m pleasantly tired. Slipping into a bed softer than I could have expected, I’m asleep immediately, spoiled rotten and excited for the homemade scones that await us in the morning. A place to keep in mind? That goes without saying.

I cannot wait to alight at L’Auberge again.

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Brookfield Communities Adds Sales Talent, New Brokerage

Phoenix-based Brookfield Communities has hired real estate veteran Craig Libby as its new sales team leader at its Verde Santa Fe master-planned community. In addition, Brookfield Communities has added Jack Hanson as a sales counselor at the community located near Sedona.
Libby will lead the sales team at Verde Santa Fe, while Brookfield Communities is pleased to welcome Hanson back to the team. Previously, Hanson sold homes at Verde Santa Fe from 2003 to 2009. Joining Libby and Hanson is experienced real estate agent, Tom Yardley.

Libby brings more than 40 years of residential sales expertise to Verde Santa Fe. He spent 15 years working for a major national homebuilder in Dallas eventually attaining the title of vice president of sales and managing a team of 40 sales people. Libby has also owned his own sales training consulting firm where he trained new home agents.

“Brookfield Communities has a successful track-record and have proven their homebuilding expertise over the years building quality homes at reasonable prices,” said Libby, a Sedona resident. “I am very excited to join the team and be a part of the efforts at Verde Santa Fe.”

Brookfield Communities has also signed an agreement with Prudential Real Estate, one of North America’s largest real estate brokerage franchise networks, to serve as its brokerage partner at Verde Santa Fe. Prudential adds significant depth to the sales team and will bring as many as 10 agents to the sales efforts at the growing master-planned community.

Earlier this year, Brookfield Communities and Republic Companies announced that they are in the advanced stages of planning on adding an additional 700 acres for mixed uses adjacent to its Verde Santa Fe master-plan. The site will eventually include about 1,400 new homes. The area will include cafes and will be surrounded by vineyards. The project will also include a commercial center, a large resort, medical office buildings, office condos and restaurants.

Brookfield Communities Founder and President Phil Petersen said plans for the expansion at Verde Santa Fe were conceived in 2005 and 2006, but were shelved during the real estate recession. Today, plans continue to move to expand Verde Santa Fe, he said, adding so far in 2013, the community has seen record amounts of sales visitation.

For additional information, visit www.brookfieldcommunities.com or call (888) 730-7676.

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Kimpton expands into Northern Arizona

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants today announced that it has purchased Amara Resort and Spa, one of the leading resorts in Sedona, Ariz. The property was acquired through the company’s proprietary KHP-III fund, which closed in first quarter this year. The 100-room boutique resort overlooking Sedona’s beautiful Oak Creek, will be the third Kimpton hotel in Arizona and will join Kimpton’s portfolio of 59 hotels and 68 restaurants, bars and lounges in 25 cities nationwide.

ARS_LBY1_0992Amara Resort and Spa is located in the heart of Uptown Sedona and is just a two-minute walk from Sedona’s popular shops, galleries, wine tasting and restaurants. As a luxurious boutique hotel immersed in Sedona’s iconic red rocks, Amara Resort and Spa combines the tranquility of Sedona with Kimpton’s hallmark customer care and stylish ambience, providing a top-rated Northern Arizona destination for both business and leisure travelers.

Kimpton has experienced strong growth in urban metropolitan areas across the nation for the last decade, and lately has come to focus on more opportunities in high leisure resort destinations.

“We’re proud to add the Amara Resort and Spa to our collection,” said Mike Depatie, chief executive officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. “We saw an opportunity to expand to Sedona, an area that’s a very desirable resort destination for travelers for its ideal weather, stunning views and serene environment. It’s a perfect addition to our growing roster of hotels because it further expands our presence in popular leisure markets  adding to hotels we already have open or in development in Scottsdale, Vero Beach, South Beach, Miami, Aspen and Palm Springs.”

As one of the leading resorts in Sedona, Amara Resort and Spa completed a $2 million renovation in September 2012. The renovations included the addition of a 26,000-gallon infinity edge saltwater pool that directly overlooks the serene Oak Creek and Sedona’s red rocks, along with upgrades to the resort’s restaurant, outdoor event space, fitness center and lobby. Many of the resort’s 100 guest rooms also overlook Oak Creek and offer stunning red rock views.

Kimpton plans further renovations to align the property with its high standards in the area of design and comfort. The details and the timing of the renovations have not yet been announced. Amara Resort and Spa has already begun to incorporate and offer Kimpton’s popular complimentary perks and amenities, such as the Kimpton InTouch loyalty program, hosted evening wine hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., coffee and tea service in the living room lobby daily, in-room yoga mats, loaner bikes, the company’s pet friendly policies and more.

Amara Resort and Spa guests can also experience the beauty of Sedona at its popular restaurant Hundred Rox, with indoor/outdoor seating. Hundred Rox’s al fresco dining was recently updated with soothing water features and romantic fire pits – all overlooking the infinity pool and natural landscape. The outdoor area capitalizes on the stunning view and can also function as an outdoor event space for intimate weddings or corporate events.