L’Auberge de Sedona

Oak Creek
Oak Creek

Sedona, Arizona is a little town that has made a big splash.  The unique red rocks and perfect weather ensure that Sedona would not be a secret for very long, and sure enough by the 1980’s Sedona hit the big time for tourist destinations.

Do not let this prevent you from a visit, off-peak travel is highly recommended here (skip the high traffic summer season and certain times in the spring).

I started going to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon years before L’Auberge was built in 1983, but this was my first stay at the luxurious 4 star resort.  We stayed in one of the Garden Cottages just a few feet from the Creek side Cottages and, of course, the creek.

Dogs are allowed, for a small nightly fee, in the Garden Cottages and all around the property.  Upon arrival, we were greeted by a customized treat bag waiting for us in the room. Dog treatL’Auberge is one of the most dog friendly places that I have ever visited!

My recent trip to Manhattan helped to prepare me for the price tag of my stay at L’Auberge in Sedona, Arizona.  This is not a low-cost get-a-way, so be ready to spend a bit of cash.  Even the dump hotels in Sedona are overpriced, so if you are planning to stay in Sedona, spend a tad more and stay at L’Auberge or one of the other luxury resort/hotels.

Garden Cottage
Garden Cottage Room
Garden Cottage Bathroom
Garden Cottage Bathroom

Watching the ducks

The main attraction for me was peace and quiet.  My dog and I walked down by the creek every morning, and sat and watched the ducks play.  Each morning there are assorted pastries and coffee for breakfast in the lobby bar, with a view.

The Ducks

There are areas around the resort for short walks, and great hiking nearby.

It is a short, steep walk up to the 89A highway for shopping, dining, wine tasting, and organized tours.  The resort also offers included shuttle service, which is a life saver in the dark!

My favorite meals on-site at the resort were on the creek side patio.  Offering a great wine selection and delicious menu with a spectacular view.

L’Auberge has a good restaurant on-site, be sure to make reservations ahead of time.  For the value, I prefer the restaurants off-site from the resort.



There is a heated salt water pool and large hot tub in a secluded area next to the day spa.  All along the creek there are quiet spots to kick up your feet and relax.

Overall L’Auberge is a nice relaxing vacation, especially with the dog.  It is the best luxury resort in Sedona and Northern Arizona.

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Carlsbad

Aviara Family pool
Aviara Family pool

A welcome retreat this year for me is the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California.  Right on the edge of the drive versus fly decision from Phoenix, San Diego, California is a quick trip.  When it is just too darn hot, California is close by.  The November trip is our third visit to Carlsbad this year, each was a long-weekend out of town.

The Aviara is a luxury resort with an amazing spa, great restaurants, good family pool, and a 21 and over adult tranquility pool where we spend most of our time. Continue reading “Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Carlsbad”

Vegas 101 (The Basics)

First trip to Las Vegas?  Or, has it been awhile since your last visit?  Here are a few tips and basic suggestions to help ensure your visit is enjoyable and FUN!Las Vegas (101)

Determine what kind of vacation you are looking for before you book your trip.  If you are looking for a wild time to party and are willing to pay top dollar, then New Year’s Eve, any week in March for Spring Break, Fourth of July, Memorial day weekend, and Labor day weekend are the best.  The long-weekend exception is Thanksgiving, since most people want to eat turkey at home with the family, Vegas is less expensive, less crowded, fewer families, and super fun.  If you are like me, and you would rather a better value for your accommodations & prefer to avoid the crowds and lines, then I suggest weekday visits, off-season (when kids are in school, both college kids and younger kids since some families insist on bringing children to the city of SIN).  Double-check for large conventions in town during your visit.  It is probably better to avoid the Vegas Porn convention if you do want to bring your children, or parents for that matter!

Continue reading “Vegas 101 (The Basics)”

Luxurious Spa Avania in Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona

This time of year can be stressful, we are in a rush to finish projects before year-end, family travelling or just providing the extra “drama” to the day, crowds and traffic for holiday shopping, and many other unpleasant activities.  If you are looking for a great way to relax and recoup your energy, then book an appointment at Spa Avania at Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale!  Also a great present if you want to give the gift of relaxing.  The spa offers Arizona residents discounts on certain services, and it is a beautiful resort for our out-of-town visitors (or locals that need a staycation).

Spa Avania gift certificates were part of my Birthday present this year, and today I needed a facial!  Previously, I enjoyed the best deep tissue massage of my life here and the facial was pretty darn good, too.

Spa Avania entrance, Resort lobby to the left
Spa Avania entrance, Resort lobby to the left

Updated August 2015 – During an amazing day of group pool time, eating, and treatments here, several friends commented that it is difficult to find the spa.  Spa Avania and the mineral pool (pictured below) are located in a stand alone building, southeast from the lobby across from the front parking area. Continue reading “Luxurious Spa Avania in Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona”

Arizona Inn

The idea for this blog originates while my Sister and I were lounging by the pool at Tucson’s Arizona Inn. Discussions turned to the “what are some fun activities around here?” from several Canadian families visiting, as well as the pool staff who were new to Arizona. We mentioned some of our favorite sights and activities for the area, which grew into all of the cool things “off the beaten path” in the Wild West! My Sister and I started a short list of things close by, and as we relaxed our definition of “close by” the list grew to several pages long. Several months have passed and the list just keeps growing.

It is only appropriate that I start off with Arizona Inn, where the spark began! Arizona Inn is a gem hidden away in the heart of Tucson, Arizona just minutes away from University of Arizona. The 1930’s resort has a vintage Hollywood style from the immaculate grounds for croquet to the classic swimming pool. The casita-style rooms have a simple charm for the ultimate relaxing vacation. Many of the rooms have a private patio for total seclusion.

This little hide-away is perfect for a mid-week break, or to celebrate that special anniversary.  Room rates are reduced in summer for a great price and tons of seclusion!  Any time of year, Arizona Inn is wonderful.

Patio outside our room at Arizona Inn

 During Summer, the Inn provides an Ice Cream Sundae bar pool side. They offer a variety of flavors, hot fudge & syrups, nuts, sprinkles, and a wide assortment of toppings. There is nothing more decadent than eating a custom made Ice Cream concoction by the pool!

Arizona Inn