If you plan to be in Sedona, Arizona for an extended amount of time like I was and want to take a break from hiking, I recommend checking out a nearby ghost town or heading down to Scottsdale for an indulgent spa day.
About a 40-minute drive from Sedona, you can easily spend a day inÂ Jerome, Arizona, America’s largest ghost town. 5000 feet above sea level, the views are amazing and worth the tight traffic to get up here.
When it was a booming mining town in its heyday, up to 15,000 people lived in Jerome, but it was also a hotbed of prostitution, saloons, gunfights and opium densâ€” “the wickedest town in the west.” After the mines closed around the Great Depression, it became a ghost town. Now it is a cute touristy National Historic Landmark with less than 500 permanent residents, a thriving hub for artists.
Jerome has plenty of good restaurants, bars, art galleries, and gift shops, but if you’re sensitive to your surroundings like me, you’ll also feel uneasy here. Jerome is one of the most haunted places in Arizona.
Jerome Grand Hotel was a former hospital. At least 9000 people died there. Binders of guests’ ghost sighting photos and experiences are available for anyone to leaf through in the hotel lobby.
The little abandoned mining town above Jerome, which is about a fifteen-minute walk or a quick drive, is the real ghost town. It totally creeped me out. We didn’t stick around long, and rushed back to bustling Jerome before the sun set…
Luxury Spas in Scottsdale
Sedona does have decent spas, but they don’t seem to be as extravagant as the ones in Scottsdale. Yes, Sedona has theÂ Mii Amo spa, but you do have to stay on the resort to access spa treatments.
Scottsdale is famous for its resorts and golf courses. It’s hotter in Scottsdale/Phoenix and a change of scenery from Sedona’s red rocks to an abundance of cacti populating dry desert mountains.
My friend and I drove the two hours down to Scottsdale on separate occasions to try two different spas.Â The first was The Spa at Camelback Inn. I got the Restorative Organic Massage and spent most of my time lounging by the pool, taking in the beautiful Sonoran Desert landscape.Â
On another day, we tried the Well & Being Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. To compare the two spas, the desert mountain views were superior at Camelback Inn, but the Fairmont has more going on in terms of spa services and facilities. They have interesting fitness classes such as hammock yoga (which I did not try, too lazy). They even have this grotto waterfall:
I indulged in the Havasupai Falls Rejuvenation treatment, which is 120 minutes of pure bliss. It includes everything you’d want to experience at a spa: a body scrub, body massage, herbal body wrap, scalp massage, clay face mask, and even a bubble bath.Â
You don’t have to stay overnight at the Fairmont to access the spa, but we did so we can spend more time in Phoenix. All we did was pigged out some more and loaded up on cute activewear at Athleta (a B-corp!).
There’s plenty of good eats in Scottsdale and Phoenix.Â A local fave is Snooze: an AM Eatery, a popular boozy brunch place.
If you’re a junk food fiend like I am, a tripâ€”or severalâ€”to In-N-Out Burger is a must. Sedona doesn’t have them, but they’re all over Phoenix.
On the other end of the spectrum, have a fancy evening out at the elegant Different Pointe of View, an AAA Four-Diamond restaurant with panoramic views.
Aside from great dining, I didn’t find too much else to do in Phoenix (please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong). I found Scottsdale to be more happeningâ€”see my post on more fun things to do in Scottsdale.
If you have more day trip recommendations for Sedona, please let me know in the comments.
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