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.

DSC_0537

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.

 

photoicon

Colorado | Gateway Canyons UTV Tour

What do you do when you are staying at a remote resort in the desert where the closest populated town is an hour’s drive away?

If you are at the Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado, your only problem is going to be how to decide amongst all of the choices available to you. This may be a remote area but Gateway Canyons’ philosophy seems to be “more room for us to play!”

@2014 Susan Edel

One of the first things I did after I got settled into my room was to head over to the resort’s Adventure Center. The Adventure Center is the hub of all the fun activities offered at the property ~ hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, shooting, off-road touring, wine country tours and so much more.

I immediately picked up a complimentary bicycle to cruise around the property and secondly, I confirmed my UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) tour for the following day…hey, with so much to do, I didn’t want to waste any time.

@2014 Susan Edel

I was up bright and early the next morning and anxious to get the day going. I had a private UTV tour scheduled with Nick, one of the resort’s very knowledgable, adventurous and friendly staff…and then, there she was…my shiny red UTV sitting there waiting for me.

Let me preface the forthcoming statement by saying, I’m very much a girly-girl so in seeing the UTV my first thought was “this is probably going to be a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride but I’m going to be a good sport and roll with it.”

I could not have been more wrong. It’s amazing what a smooth ride (in relative terms of course) this little go-cart style vehicle offers…and believe me when I say, Nick did not spare me his adventurous side when he got behind the wheel to maneuver us around some very bumpy terrain.

From the moment we left the property driveway and started heading up the John Brown canyon road, I was in awe of what I was seeing. I was immediately immersed in the middle of the beautiful red rock canyons that surround the resort. (click on pictures to enlarge image)

Who needs to go to the national parks when you have scenery like this in your backyard.

This particular route took us up to the top of the highest point of the mesa with a stunning view of the landscape. Unfortunately, these pictures don’t begin to do the view justice.

Does anyone remember the TV segment Steve Hartman used to do on one of the major networks called “Everybody has a story”? That show used to fascinate me because Steve would throw a dart over his shoulder at a map of the U.S. and wherever it landed (usually some random small town no one had ever heard of) he would pack up and head out there and choose someone from that town to interview, and without a doubt he would uncover the most amazing stories.

Sorry, I digress, but my point is that before I arrived at Gateway, Colorado ~ a town I had never heard of ~ I truly thought that aside from this luxury resort that had popped up in the last several years, there really wasn’t any significance to this area…but I should have known, every location also has a story.

In point of fact, as we continued on with the tour, we came upon a large tower and some very rusty equipment. Nick proceeds to explain that this is equipment left over from the uranium mining that used to be (and still is) done in this area. It turns out that in the early 20th Century, Gateway was one of the areas most productive of uranium in the United States. It was interesting to see these remaining remnants as evidence of a productive existence from an earlier time. Hearing historical facts certainly gives a richness and a new appreciation for where you are.

So when I was told that there was another route that went by some outlaw cabins, I was immediately sold on another UTV tour for the next day!

Once again, an early morning rise to hop into ~ my now new favorite toy ~ my shiny, red UTV and on our way we were, on a completely new route passing by the Colorado River on our way to the outlaw cabins.

Apparently the story goes, that the Outlaw Cabins are from 1903, located in what is known as the Outlaw District of Utah, just west of Gateway. This particular area was a great place for outlaws to hide as the entire area was sealed off from Utah authorities by cliffs and jurisdiction restrictions with only one way in which was from the 4A (John Brown) road in Gateway, Colorado. It is said that some fairly notorious outlaws found shelter here and that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid may even have come through this area – how cool is that?

Step inside the cabin, and it’s incredible to see that there is still some old newspaper on the inside walls that was used as insulation. It’s really sad to think that due to weather and wear and tear, these cabins will eventually not be around any longer.

I don’t know about you, but I’d say these were some pretty smart outlaws who managed to elude the law and live the rest of their days in this beautiful setting.

As we headed back from our excursion, I couldn’t help but to get lost in thought of what it must have been like living in this paradise setting and yet, always looking over your shoulder for someone coming after you. A paradoxical existence for sure. I certainly took it upon myself to soak in the beauty of the area and again, experience a new appreciation for the history of this land.

…and within no time, we were back to reality!

DSC_2080

In summary, not only did I learn that this girly-girl has a passion for UTV off-roading, but I was also reminded that everybody and everyplace has a story ~ so be curious, ask questions, and listen ~ you will be the richer for it.

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.

Amangiri | Canyon Point, UT

Amangiri is one of the most unique and incredible resorts I have ever experienced. Amangiri, meaning peaceful mountain, fully lives up to its name. If you don’t leave this resort completely rested and decompressed after staying here then check yourself into the closest mad-house because there’s no hope for you.

Utah 226

The Property

This resort is located in a remote area called Canyon Point, Utah approximately a 25 minute drive to the closest town of Page, Arizona which hosts the closest airport. I purposefully flew into St. George to see that area, and then made the several hour drive to Amangiri taking me past Zion National Park {an incredible sight to see} and I found the experience to be a pleasant drive.

The resort entrance sign is fairly discrete and I actually passed it on my first try. When I made the correct turn off the main road, I drove a short distance and then came to a very nondescript cattle gate where I had to buzz the front desk. For a split moment, I wondered if I was at the right location, and if I was, had I made the right decision to stay here. And then, the gate opened {this was eventually referred to as the gate to heaven}….I followed the winding road through an amazing sandstone canyon that was a jaw-dropping sight. At this point I hadn’t even seen the resort, but it didn’t matter, I was right where I was supposed to be.

This very small, secluded resort is designed to blend into the natural landscape by utilizing an earth tone color palate, clean lines and incorporating the extraordinary landscape as the main attraction. Simplicity and clean lines define this resort. The indoor/outdoor living concept expressed throughout the resort fully engages your senses and connects you with the spirit of the environment.

Desert View Guest Room
Desert View Guest Room

Check-In

When I finally crested the canyon, still speechless from the beauty I had just witnessed, I arrived to a staff line-up waiting to greet me {just like in those period movies where the rich owner drives up and his staff is waiting to greet him}. Talk about feeling special! I was greeted by name, they immediately acknowledged a birthday celebration and then I was whisked up to the reception desk and checked into my room effortlessly.

Guest Rooms

This intimate property of only 34 units offers each guest a contemporary room designed with simplistic elegance utilizing natural wood and stone finishes. Each room has its own private entrance and patio. Once you enter into the private courtyard, you are looking directly through two end-to-end glass walls facing directly out towards the stunning landscape. The wall facing the outdoor patio opens up to the width of the room to create an amazing indoor/outdoor living experience.

One of my favorite experiences was hanging out on the patio each night by the fire pit, laying on the cushioned sitting bed staring at the zillions of stars in the sky.

As an added perk, the mini-bar is complimentary and although this resort is seemingly so remote, each room offers all the modern conveniences you could need.

Utah 200





Spa

If you’re looking to get your Zen on, then you’ve come to the right place. This full-service spa is almost a spiritual experience. As you enter through a large cast-iron door, you step into a dimly, candle-lit room and you almost immediately start to feel your stress melt away. 

Nothing is ordinary about this spa. From the treatments which reflect the elements of the Navajo culture to the stone-lined soaking pool and outdoor treatment rooms with desert views, each experience engages your senses and transcends you to a complete place of relaxation. All guests are invited to use the Water Pavilion’s steam room, dry sauna and cold plunge pool. 

Dining

Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in the dining room with its floor to ceiling glass walls overlooking both the expansive desert views on one side and the resort focal point of the pool built around a beautiful, indigenous rock. The resort likes to evoke an intimate feeling with the dining experience that is reminiscent of private residence dining.

On my first night at the resort I was not aware of this concept and at first waited to be seated, then I was informed to sit wherever I chose. After the meal, I kept waiting for my waiter to bring me the bill and yet it never came. When I finally inquired about it, I was told there is no bill ~ now wait, that doesn’t mean you’re not being billed for it, it just means you don’t get a physical bill at the table. Some people may like this concept and others may not as you are not immediately seeing what you are being charged for. I actually enjoyed the fact that I could just leave the table when I was done.

Due to the fact that this resort is so remote, it’s not as if you can just hop in the car and head out to another restaurant for the evening. So the majority or all of your meals will be eaten here. The restaurant tries to vary the menu as much as they can, but I did find it a bit repetitive and limiting after four days at the resort. Having said that, they are very accommodating in offering to make any dish you request assuming they have the ingredients to make it.

@2011 Susan Edel

The Pool

The crowned jewel at this resort is the pool. After seeing a photograph of it in a travel magazine, it was the catalyst that got me to seek out this resort and make my way to it. I had to see this extraordinary and unique pool first hand.

It’s surreal and beautiful at first sight. The water flows around the rock in a horseshoe formation. The deck is surrounded by a beautiful rock wall infiltrated with all the beautiful colors of the earth showing through. The lounge chairs with their oversized cushions fold flat to make lounge beds. Quite decadent.

Although you would come to a place like this for complete relaxation and rejuvenation, there is actually plenty to do here to keep you busy during the days. There are endless hiking trails throughout the property which you can explore on your own or take one of the guided hikes that the resort offers. Lake Powell and the city of Page are worth a day trip to check out the local sights such as Horsehoe Bend and more. The resort concierge can also arrange for more extravagant excursions such as hot-air ballooning, horseback riding and even a helicopter ride.

A little trivia fact is that Hollywood has even come calling to this remote resort as some scenes from Broken Arrow with John Travolta and the movie John Carter have been filmed here. Some prop shacks from Broken Arrow still stand on the property.

This resort is all about relaxing and restoring your soul. Needless to say, I’m very awe-struck with this property. Even writing this review makes me want to go back. In my opinion, it is truly an incredible experience of a lifetime. Until next time Aman Resorts…