The Inn at Entrada | St. George

The Inn at Entrada {The Inn} is a small luxury resort residing within an upscale gated golf community in St. George, Utah. Set among the striking red rocks and near the entrance to Snow Canyon State Park, The Inn boasts a prime location for both its beauty and proximity to local attractions and activities.

Property

Serenely situated on the Ninth Fairway of the Entrada Golf Course, many of the casitas at The Inn have views of the meticulously manicured golf course and stunning red rocks beyond. I was most impressed by the pristine condition in which the entire community is maintained.

@2015 Susan EdelIn this high-desert environment, it’s a pleasant surprise to see such healthy green grass, natural plantings, and river beds flowing throughout the community. The lush vegetation is an extraordinary balance to the striking red vermilion cliffs that surround the property in every direction.

Check-In

The property has an exclusive feeling being located within a privately gated golf community. Pleasantly, it’s not your typical hotel check-in experience, and yet it does offer the convenience of a 24-hour reception desk. The reception area is a comfortable, large space that feels more like a residential great room and is used as a common area for the guests to gather.

Guest Rooms

To call the accommodations at The Inn Guest Rooms is a severe understatement. The units here are casitas that reside within an affluent community. There are a select number of individually owned units that are seamlessly managed by The Inn and operate as a boutique hotel. The units are a combination of 26 Luxury Casitas and Executive Suites, ranging from studios to 3 bedroom units along with one four bedroom and one five bedroom unit.

DSC_0203The interior of the units are all designed in the same luxurious style with cozy furniture, stylish accessories, fireplaces and all the amenities of home. All the units offer a living and dining area, fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer and separate bedroom(s) aside from the Studio unit which offers a spacious open area with a bed, a small dining table and kitchenette.

For the convenience of larger families or groups, casitas can be connected to create extended accommodations. The four bedroom/four bath suite {#3201} is a nice option for a girl’s getaway with its stylish features and light finishes ~ the owner of this unit is an interior designer/property manager from London.

The five bedroom/five bath, Johnny Miller Suite {#900}, is a great option for a guy’s golfing trip with gorgeous views of the cliffs and a man-cave style den with rich leather furnishings, a bar and pool table.

All units have an outdoor patio to enjoy the peaceful landscape. And in keeping with hotel-style services, housekeeping comes once daily and does an amazing job. The units are spotless.

I stayed in a well-appointed two-bedroom unit {#1502} that had a great view of a pond complete with resident ducks, the golf course and the gorgeous red rocks. To see the sunrise and sunset on the stunning cliffs is quite a treat. It was a pleasant and comfortable experience to stay someplace that was so spacious and offers all the conveniences of home.

Dining

As a guest of The Inn, you are able to dine at the Kokopelli Restaurant located at the member-only Entrada Clubhouse. The restaurant serves delicious dishes for lunch and dinner and do note that there is a Country Club attire dress code for the dinner hour ~ collared shirts for the men and no jeans allowed for either men or women. A casual grill adjacent to the restaurant is also an option with expanded dinner hours. The outdoor patio with its stunning view of the red rocks is a perfect place for a happy hour beverage or to enjoy outdoor seating for lunch or dinner. The restaurants operate on a seasonal schedule so hours do change throughout the year.

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Freshly baked cinnamon rolls are served in the lobby every morning provided by a local bakery, Grandma Tobler’s. The snack bar at the golf course also serves breakfast and lunch. Snacks are available by the pool.

The resort does not offer room service, however, they do provide coffee in the rooms and with a full kitchen in each unit you can stock up on all your favorite items at a local grocery store.

Resort Amenities

As a guest of the resort, you have access to all of the amenities offered at the private community clubhouse.

Spa and Fitness Center
Spa and Fitness Center

There is a quaint spa on-site that surprisingly offers a full-service menu which includes facial treatments, massages, and manicures/pedicures. A spacious fitness center provides an array of exercise equipment including Pilates and the option of hiring personal trainers for numerous different activities.

The clubhouse also offers an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as tennis courts. And one of the main draws here, is the Golf at Entrada. As a guest of The Inn, you have access to play this member’s only, Johnny Miller Signature Design 18-hole championship private golf course.

Local Activities

DSC_0383St. George is a stunning region of the Southwest with its surrounding vermillion cliffs and has so many activities to offer. There are many hiking trails and bike paths within the town itself.

Zion National Park is within a 45 minute drive from Entrada and many other national parks and monuments are within driving distance.

I decided to view the beautiful red rocks from my first helicopter ride with Zion Helicopters. It was an amazing experience and there is no better way to take in the beauty of this area.

If you’re short on time and can’t make it to Zion, The Inn is located at the doorstep to Snow Canyon State Park, which may as well be called mini-Zion. Explore the many trails and dunes of this breathtaking canyon on foot, bike or horseback.

For a unique and unforgettable experience, take in a show at the Tuacahn Outdoor Theatre offering broadway style shows just a short distance from The Inn.

In Summary

Staying at The Inn at Entrada is unlike any regular hotel experience. It offers the unique position of residing within an affluent gated community and the spacious casitas offer all the conveniences of home-away-from-home. When you top that off with the striking views of the surrounding red rock landscape, I can’t imagine a better place to stay in the St. George area.

 

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Four Seasons Scottsdale | Scottsdale, AZ

When visiting Scottsdale, Arizona, I generally stay near Camelback Mountain so I was excited to visit the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North {FSS}, located approximately 30 miles from the Phoenix airport on the outskirts of town.

I knew the FSS was located farther out from town and I wasn’t sure what to expect or if I would like the location as much. However as I approached the property, I knew I had made the right decision. The FSS is located in an exclusive area nestled into the foothills of Pinnacle Peak surrounded by indigenous Saguaro Cacti and the beautiful Sonoran Desert landscape. The inherent setting is a peaceful and tranquil environment.

@2015 Susan Edel

Property

The FSS sits on a 40-acre property with an elevation that provides gorgeous views. This was a pleasant surprise as none of the other properties that I have visited in Scottsdale has ever offered a panoramic view of this type. Due to the resort’s location, it offers the advantage of looking towards the city of Scottsdale showcasing its beautiful city view in the evening.

The property offers a unique setting with its location adjacent to Pinnacle Peak and it sits at the base of the Crescent Butte mountain range with its striking golden boulders. The natural landscape of beautiful boulders, cacti, and brush surrounding the resort make the property feel very private. This is exactly what I look for when choosing a property. I want to feel as though I am experiencing the local culture and environment and staying someplace special that reflects the surrounding region. This property offers that feeling.

@2015 Susan EdelAs I strolled the grounds, I enjoyed the unexpected touches throughout the property such as decorative pottery arranged within the plantings, antique wooden doors tucked against walls, and pops of color in the natural landscape. It’s quite beautiful and makes it a joy to walk around the property. The evenings take on an enchanting ambiance with strategically placed wood-burning chimineas and glowing candle lanterns scattered throughout the property.

Check-in

For the first time, I used the FSS resort app to check into the property prior to my arrival, and I have to say I liked it!

At the time I was filling it out, I wasn’t sure if it would have any real benefit but as soon as I drove up and presented my name, I was told that the Bellman had the keys to my casita and we were ready to go. I was actually caught off-guard and if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted to speak with the front desk personnel, I would have been whisked away immediately. I was very impressed and I highly recommend using the resort app to check-in prior to your arrival.

Guest Rooms

@2015 Susan EdelThe resort offers 210 casitas/suites which are tastefully designed with a southwestern flair {some single level rooms but most located in two-story buildings}. The casitas range from the basic rooms called the Desert Garden and Sonoran Casitas to the Premier Casita Rooms. These rooms are all similar in style and size with the difference being the view and the Premier Casitas are slightly larger.

The suites range from one-bedroom {900 sq. ft.} to three-bedroom {3,000 sq. ft.} units and offer a separate living and powder room along with the additional bedrooms. See {here} for a comparison of all room categories. Some casitas also offer the option of private patios with outdoor spas.

As with all things in life, you sometimes have to make choices. While booking my stay, I was torn between reserving a casita with a panoramic view or booking one with an outdoor spa. The spa casitas are located on the ground floor and have a privacy wall surrounding them so the majority of these rooms do not offer expansive views.

In the end, I chose to book a room with the view instead of the spa because my fear was that I would feel closed-in with the privacy wall. However, when I toured the property and saw a spa casita in person, it did not feel closed-in at all. The particular casita I saw {#2004}, I thought was very nice although this unit happened to sit below the pool so it might not be the most private option. There were some spa rooms located at the base of the Crescent Butte that I felt would offer some privacy and nice boulder views {Bldg 3}. After all is said and done, I was very pleased with my gorgeous view but I would also consider booking a spa casita next time.

As always, I try to give some insight into what I believe are some of the more desirable rooms. I stayed in Building 4, room 415 {2nd floor} and I truly believe I had one of the best views at the resort overlooking the pool and city view beyond. Building 2 located next to Building 4 also offers very nice views. Building 8 backs up to the Crescent Butte and offers a nice setting. I was told that Building 10 is highly requested as well. Having said that, all of the property is beautiful and surrounded by gorgeous landscape.

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The rooms offer comfortable bedding, lush, thick towels with L’Occitane bath amenities. Each room has a stocked mini-bar with snacks that are available at cost…and as always, my favorite amenity ~ a Keurig coffee maker with real cream so I can wake up and have my early morning coffee on the deck with the birds. That quiet time in the morning is always such a peaceful way to welcome the day.

Dining

The resort offers several great dining options. During my stay, it appeared that many locals seem to frequent the restaurants providing for a lively atmosphere.

Talavera: Talavera is the finer dining option on property serving a seafood and steak style menu. The restaurant has a nice ambiance and offers both inside and outside seating. I did not eat here so I can’t speak about the food but from what I saw it looked wonderful and it was a full house. Resort attire. Dinner only.

DSC_9437Proof: {I could move to Scottsdale just to eat here…often!} Proof is the resort’s main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with both indoor and outdoor seating. They call it an American Canteen serving comfort food with a twist and it’s full of character. The decor is a unique design, filled with rustic charm. Some of the table bases are made from actual train components and there are railroad tracks embedded in the hardwood flooring which allows the tables to move around. Fun Edison style bulbs hang from the ceiling, and the bar is designed as an old-fashioned soda fountain. The food is terrific and the menu offers fun options such as Fried Green Tomatoes, Duck Fries and other creative dishes. Try their micro-brew beers as well and I highly suggest trying their breakfast buffet. Casual attire.

Saguaro Blossom: Saguaro Blossom is the poolside dining option. A perfect lunch/late afternoon option for a casual bite offering salads, sandwiches and great fish and chips. Limited hours. Very casual attire.

Onyx Bar & Lounge: The Onyx Bar & Lounge is a perfect place to have a cocktail before or after dinner or you can order a lite meal. This is a perfect spot to watch the sun set or enjoy the gleaming city lights in the evening. The lounge also offers live music. The evening I was there, I chose to eat a lite meal overlooking the city lights and listened to a lovely singer with a very creative spin on some cover songs.

24 hour In-Casita dining is always an option.

Spa

Indulge at the full-service spa. The spa offers several signature treatments such as the Pinnacle Facial and Jojoba and Pickly Pear Polish. Guests are welcome to relax and use the spa facility even when a treatment has not been booked. Enjoy a steam shower, sauna or de-stress in the relaxation room. The spa also offers salon services and treatments for Kids and Teens and a 24-hour fitness facility. The spa is open to the public so reservations are recommended.

Pool

Ah yes, the pool! One of my favorite spots on property.

The FSS has three pools to enjoy ~ the main pool, an adult pool and the kids pool with the Crescent Butte boulders commanding your attention in the background. The pools are nicely configured and I must admit, at a family friendly resort, I always do appreciate the option of an adult-only pool.

DSC_9516Music is piped in throughout the day and poolside service is provided which includes food and beverage orders along with complimentary water, snacks, and suntan lotion. There are numerous cabanas located around the pools that are first come, first serve, with the exception of two luxury cabanas that have a TV and come with a fruit platter which merit a fee. If you want to guarantee that you will get a regular cabana {they do go quickly}, you can reserve one of them for a nominal fee which can be a reassuring option during those peak periods. The cabanas have misters that help alleviate some of that Arizona heat during the summer months. In the evenings, the pool is illuminated with colorful lighting and is available for use 24/7.

Unique to Property

What is most unique to this resort is the Sonoran Desert landscape which gives the property such a distinctive feel. No matter where you are on property, there is a gorgeous view. There are walking trails throughout the resort and up to Pinnacle Peak that everyone can enjoy.

The resort also offers numerous on-site activities and the concierge desk can help with any plans ~ how about being a cowboy for a day, enjoying some family adventures or romantic retreats, maybe you prefer a few rounds of golf or a game of tennis. It’s all available for you.

And take time to do a little star-gazing. In the evenings, this is a perfect location to star-gaze. Being in a remote location away from the city lights means the sky is dark and the stars are bright. Nothing like having a drink on your patio searching for shooting stars.

A nice little perk is the use of a guest washer and dryer on property. I really felt that this was a useful guest feature, especially if you are staying the better part of a week or have children with you.

The hotel also offers some nice boutique shops, wedding consulting services, meeting venues and more.

But none of the above mean a thing without a staff that provides you with excellent service, and this is what the Four Seasons brand excels at! In my opinion, what makes a resort stand out above the others is how special they make you feel, how they go out of their way to accommodate {or even anticipate} your needs to ensure your comfort and satisfaction. I found the staff here extremely friendly and accommodating and I feel that my experience here was enhanced by the gracious staff. I find this to be true and consistent at all Four Seasons resorts.

In Summary

In summary, don’t hesitate to visit this property! I would come back here in a heartbeat. I found everything about it to be beautiful and enjoyable. It may be a little farther away from downtown Scottsdale but in my book, that’s a plus. I truly enjoyed the indigenous landscape surrounding the property and the relaxing atmosphere it offered. This resort is a Sonoran Desert gem!

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Utah | Arches National Park

I have truly grown to love the southwestern region of the United States ~ Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The landscape is so completely different and unique to any other geography in the U.S. with its beautiful desert setting, yucca, saguaro and prickly pear cacti, looming large red rocks, rivers and so much more. This region of the country is also home to some of the most stunning national parks ~ Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and too many more to mention.

On a trip to Gateway, Colorado (Gateway Canyons Resort), I took the opportunity to take a day trip out to Arches National Park. The weather was perfect, so I opted to take the shorter 1+ hour route over the John Brown Canyon road which begins at the resort, instead of the 2-1/2 hour route via the highway. This is an easy drive, however, not a route you want to take if it is raining or wet, as a good portion of the drive is an unpaved dirt road and turns quite muddy when wet. I would also suggest only traveling this road during daylight hours.

It was amazing how much the terrain changed, starting off with the large red rock mesa’s, then coming to a very lush green area with some snow-capped ranges and then descending back into the red rocks but with completely different shapes and sizes.

@2014 Susan Edel
Descend into Moab.

I have been to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park and Arches National Park does not have as massively large red rocks as the other two, but instead it offers a very unique landscape. The mesa’s have worn away over time leaving peaks and pinnacles that in my mind resemble the remains of historic ruins. I could actually make out statues, animals, faces, but of course this was all in my mind’s eye….or was it? (click on image to enlarge)

The twisted dead wood bark fascinated me.

And of course, there is a reason it’s called “Arches” National Park.

@2104 Susan Edel

Perspective…

Stunning landscape everywhere you look.

@2104 Susan Edel

@2104 Susan Edel

Even the drive back to Gateway was beautiful.

Approaching Gateway Canyons Resort

And back to paradise….

@2104 Susan EdelA fun day’s journey!

Sorrel River Ranch Resort | Utah

On a day trip to Arches National Park from Gateway, Colorado, I made it a point to stop and visit the Sorrel River Ranch Resort.

@2014 Susan Edel

The resort has a great location near Moab and sits on a nice property with surrounding red rock, horses, grassy areas with adirondack chairs around fire pits for relaxing or just pull up a chair to the river’s edge and watch kayakers float by.

Sorrel River Ranch is a relaxed resort offering an upscale outdoor experience in a good location close to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The resort offers accommodations for everybody but it feels like a perfect location for some good old-fashioned family bonding. There are many activities offered such as horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, swimming and more, along with the adult treat of an in-house spa.

The spacious cabins overlook the Colorado River and are clean with a rustic decor. The landscape is beautiful with looming red rocks and the Colorado River right outside your cabin door.

There a few dining options on property and the chef incorporates a farm to table philosophy with items grown from the resort garden.

If you’ll excuse me, I can hear the dinner bell ringing now.

If you’re looking for a nice place to stay near the national parks and Moab, this is an excellent option.

This post is an honorable mention only and not a full review since I did not stay at this resort but I thought it worthy of a mention.