Hotel Spotlight

SEDONA, Arizona: Enchantment Resort and Mii amo Spa

An Oasis of Peace

By Patricia Keegan

On my second visit to Sedona’s Enchantment Resort, the smallest details of these surroundings become more visible -- all appears even lovelier than before.

Arriving at the Resort, we were warmly greeted by Pat, the bellman, who, after relieving us of our luggage, gave my husband and I a quick tour of the main lodge reception area. This was our second visit in three years, and all seemed comfortably familiar. A log fire was ablaze in one cozy corner of the lodge which also houses the two restaurants and a gift shop.

In this uplifting setting, with its strong spiritual connections, one always seems to pause when looking up at the red rock mountains. Only Divine architects, borrowing each warm color of an autumn leaf -- pale cream, yellow, gold, red, and ruby -- and weaving them together in wavy lines of dreamy mountain rock, could have created the panorama of Sedona. Reflections of light radiate from every canyon and crevice. These magnificent, impressionist images of soaring castles and Greek temples make Sedona an extraordinary and magnetic place to visit. Nestled in total harmony with this unique landscape is the Enchantment Resort and Mii amo Spa. All is elegant, low key, unobtrusive and refreshingly peaceful.

Riding on a golf cart with Pat, as he navigated his way through the stillness of the Enchantment Resort's pine and juniper trees, we found our adobe style Casita, or 'little house.' Over the next three days we developed a genuine attachment to our little home with its fireplace, huge bathroom in native stone and scenic terrace. We spent early mornings on the terrace enjoying splendid views of the nearby red rock cliffs along with daily delivered, freshly squeezed orange juice and the morning paper.

Enchantment Resort & Mii amo Spa is located near Sedona about two hours north of Phoenix. Built into 70 acres of spectacular scenery are 71 Casitas and two-bedroom Haciendas featuring southwestern furnishings, fireplaces, contemporary art, log beamed ceilings, kitchenettes and outdoor barbecues.

There isn't a window in the striking Mii amo Spa where the towering cliffs of Boynton Canyon are not visible. 'Mii amo' is a Native American word meaning passage or moving forward.Completed in 1998, this destination spa within Enchantment Resort was designed to merge the magical power of its natural surroundings with the contemporary, yet organic, nature of the spa. The friendly, professional staff at Mii amo offer a variety of opportunities for those in search of a small transformation, a life enhancing experience or even a moment of clarity. Three of the most popular treatments offered are De-Stress for Life, Healthy Living and Spiritual Journey. Given a choice, I chose to be in tune with the meaning of Mii amo and take the next step on my spiritual journey. Although I don't consider myself in the 'New Age' league, I knew I was in the right environment to satisfy my curiosity.

I had no idea what to expect from a Body Polish. or a Mi Amo Spirit, but since it was my second time at Mi Amo in three years, I had faith that after a couple of spa treatments I would leave feeling much better than when I arrived. After a body scrub that removes all dead cells and an ointment that looks like mud, my expert therapist, Mary, turned on the jets attached to the wall high above me. I was sprayed from head to toe by waves of steaming water. This was followed by a wonderful Swedish back massage. I knew this was a success when I found my way back to the swimming pool and just wanted to lie prone on a cushioned couch in front of the fire --- ready for a nap.

My second treatment the following day was the Mi amo Spirit which includes Indian rituals. My therapist this time was Kaja. Using eagle feathers to brush away all dark spirits from the four corners of the earth, along with Indian music, I inhaled the refreshing scents of lavender and jasmine which helps in breathing and in relaxing and rebalancing of the nervous system. I learned that Aura Soma balancing is it combines the healing energies of plants, colors and crystals in order to revitalize the human aura. I am not sure how I will benefit from knowing my color is violet but I know it has always been my favorite. In our hyperactive lifestyles, with total relaxation an endangered experience, taking a journey back in time to connect with the wisdom of the American Indian may at least give us some inkling into how one hour of deep relaxation feels.

This was a simple introduction into the Indian culture which seems to hold a presence in the air on walks around Enchantment. Honoring the history and legacy of Sedona’s Indian tribes; the Hopi’s, the Navajo and the Yavapai-Apache some rituals are still carried on. Several times each year the Yavapai-Apache return at sunrise to Boynton Canyon and perform their ageless sacred ceremonies adding a fascinating dimension to the character of the area. Enchantment offers opportunities for guests to enjoy Medicine walk with a tribal leader and to learn about the health values in plants and herbs.

Another visit to the Spa I felt fortunate to have Divyo, a German women with insightful skills, helped me connect, through gentle talk and concentration on my Chakras (energy centers), with the joys of my childhood. She reawakened me to the strong, love-of-life person I was born to be, gently removing my anxieties and stress. (Living in Washington, DC, it can be difficult to get beyond all the negativity and war talk.) Feeling rejuvenated, even exuberant, after this session, I enjoyed the Jacuzzi, sauna and swimming pool, all in a perfectly relaxed, quiet and friendly atmosphere. Most of the time I had the facilities to myself. Men and women are separated except for the indoor and outdoor heated pools.

After all this relaxation my husband and I took a walk through Boynton Canyon, its 400-foot red rock walls almost surrounding Enchantment Resort. The spectacular box canyon was long revered by the Yavapai, Apache, Navajo, Hopi and other Native Americans as a sacred place. We climbed high on mountain trails, than walked a long, rocky path getting closer and closer to the cliffs. I was thrilled when I could actually reach out and touch those red rocks, sensing that in some mysterious way I was feeling the stability and strength of the ages. Walking alongside those protective and inspiring red rocks, this is a walk you want to explore to its end.

Along the dry creek bed we stopped and leaned against ancient trees with bark appearing as a mosaic of tiny tiles, their edges curling. The trees, in the serenity of their surroundings, were weathered, wise and tranquil. Above the red rock the sky was a tingling blue with dramatic slices of that blue appearing where the rock dipped into a jagged triangle. When Native Americans spoke to their gods here, they must have been inspired by one of the most serene and joyful spots the world can offer.

There is much to learn about the vortexes, the energy centers within the earth, of which Sedona has more than a dozen according to Pete Saunders, author and lecturer. From Pete we learned of the outflows and inflows of these vortexes. The upflows give you a sense of exhilaration while the inflow areas offer introspection. Two of my sisters had visited Sedona previously and went into unexpected stitches of laughter when they reached the top of an upflow vortex. They remember having a joyful time, but they didn't associate it with the vortex. Sedona is well known for its spiritual energy, as well as its beauty, and I intend to continue my own exploration in future visits.

The Yavapai Restaurant with its Southwestern and American cuisine is one of the top rated restaurants in Arizona. The day before Valentine’s Day the restaurant extended a warm and festive welcome: alight with candles and a single red rose on every table. The large dining area is the perfect setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner with two walls of windows overlooking Boynton Canyon’s majestic sweep. Sunday Brunch was cause for another celebration. Abundant in high quality breakfast/lunch selections, flowing champagne, and mounds of tempting petite chocolate desserts, this magnificent Brunch can turn into an entire afternoon of unadulterated hedonism.

Dinner offers a four course menu which is both extensive and devoid of lavish descriptions allowing for an element of pleasant surprise for newcomers. Finding a scrumptious roasted oyster in the center of my lobster soup, was a good example of the mischievous creativity of Chef Steve Bernstein. My husband enjoyed A “Taste of the Pacific” , a colorful presentation of Sushi, including delectable seaweed. Entrees included salmon, sea bass, buffalo and lamb. The fish is flown in fresh from New Zealand. I enjoyed the flaky Sea Bass atop a mound of wonderfully flavored mashed potatoes. My husband was also pleased with his choice, saying the tender, succulent lamb was the best he has had since Ireland, which is renowned for its spring lamb.

Desserts were a great success. After much pondering, I decided on the cake with the interesting name, “Warm Lemon Financial Cake with Sorbet.” It was both refreshing and delicious with just the right blend of bitter sweet. My husband, with his run amok sweet tooth, ordered the Chocolate Stash Trio, a carnival of three separate desserts equally enticing and seductive. Dim lights, together with the soft, sensual sounds of a Spanish guitarist, create an atmosphere of fun and relaxation. Service is professional.

The menu at Mii amo Spa features well balanced, flavorful dishes and varies each day. Balancing lighter fare -- yogurt cereal, etc. -- is a hearty frittata soufflé, with free range turkey sausage and tomatillo salsa. Lunch, which we enjoyed outdoors in the warmth of the noonday sun, had selections ranging from grilled sea bass to sandwiches and salad. We soon became satisfied fans of the flavor-filled quality of each selection.

On the last evening, I spent as much time as I could in the spa going from Jacuzzi to sauna to steam room and around again. For my last hour, I swam in the indoor pool with a roaring log fire at the lounge end, the mountains now obscured in darkness behind the glass wall leading to the outdoor pool. It was hard to part from Enchantment and Mii amo and this too brief encounter with total serenity. In the dim light I floated on my back, listening to the gentle notes of pan flute music and thinking of the power of those great red rocks and the connection with deeper spiritual realms that Native Americans experienced here. I floated back in time, allowing the water to take me to what I imagined as a gentle, peaceful, harmonious moment in the evolution of time. I almost fell asleep. Although my ear filled with water and was still blocked as the plane descended into Dulles, that moment of peace and the entire three days at Enchantment were worth gold. Sedona and the Enchantment Resort have become one of the top five places in the world I would like to return to on an annual basis.

Enchantment Resort and Mii amo Spa offers a variety of packages -- all geared toward healthy lifestyles ranging from romantice weekends to insightful spa treatments to tennis lessons. The resort is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and Small Luxury Hotels of the World groups. If relaxation, spiritual awakening and refinement interest you, check their website

For reservations call 1-800-826-4180.