Sedona – Put on the Brakes

SEDONA, Ariz., March 24 /PRNewswire/ — You round a turn on the road from Phoenix and suddenly see something that makes you want the hit the brakes. In an instant, the terrain cuts from miles of gentle green hills to red, really red mountains, plateaus and cliffs so stunning your heart pounds. You’re thinking, “This is the kind of image the word breathtaking was made for.”

Welcome to Red Rock Country, home to Sedona, voted the most-beautiful place in America by USA Weekend and home to El Portal, named 2004 Hotel of the Year by Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report; www.ElPortalSedona.com.

Settled by American Indians long before tourists discovered its magic, Sedona has become the hub of an eclectic mix of admirers — outdoor enthusiasts, New Age devotees who commune spiritually with the area’s natural wonders, creative souls drawn to its famous art colony, and tourists who also visit the nearby Grand Canyon.

As Sedona’s popularity has grown so has its variety of hospitality offerings including boutique hotels often associated only with larger cities.

“We wanted to build an inn that was unique in its architecture and design, really personal in its service, luxurious in character and yet friendly and casual,” said El Portal owner Steve Segner.

Segner and his wife Connie conceived of a hotel authentically designed and built as a 1900 hacienda completely constructed of hand-made adobe mud bricks and traditional 18-inch thick walls. Now that’s privacy.

All materials, wherever possible, were taken from nature, including organic juniper and burl logs. The Segners found 200-year-old reclaimed wood, 100-year-old doorknobs, vintage heating and air conditioning grates, and had re-wired genuine Tiffany lamps.

The interior design is accurate to the period 1900-1930. Twelve spacious suites are furnished with original Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs from Frank Lloyd Wright, Stickley, Limbert, Roycroft and Mackintosh.

Right next door are Los Abrigados Resort, where El Portal’s guests have complimentary spa privileges, and Tlaquepaque with its fine restaurants, shops and galleries.

The Segners are expert when it comes to concierge arrangements for guests — champagne picnic, hot air balloon ride, vortex excursion, float trip, golf, vintage train trip through the Grand Canyon, horseback ride, or in-room massage.

And if you just want to hang around El Portal there’s complimentary afternoon hors d’oeuvres and drinks and evening viewings of classic movies on a state-of-the-art projection system in the lush courtyard.

“I wanted to build an exceptional inn, a hacienda where strangers are welcomed like family, a retreat where they can enjoy the serene, ageless spirit of Sedona in historic yet luxurious surroundings,” says Segner.

For more information, call (800) 313-0017, or go to www.ElPortalSedona.com.

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