It’s easy to understand Myra DeGersdorff’s enthusiasm about upgrades at Enchantment Resort and Spa. As general manager of the property, nestled among Sedona’s breathtaking red rocks, $25 million can go a long way in creating magnificence.
DeGersdorff has been in the business for three decades and calls this the best renovation she has ever seen. “It is something you would expect if you were in New York, L.A., or even South Beach, ” she said, describing improvements at the high end resort. “It’s vibrant; you walk in and you feel the energy with the really wide open spaces that flow from one area to the next.”
The rooms have been upgraded and, in some cases, expanded. “When you look at the rooms, there is lots of leather, and you see the coral and the turquoise coloring that you expect when you are looking at something in the southwest. Beautiful bamboo floors in the parlors and really gorgeous bathrooms with exquisite marble,” said DeGersdorff, of the contemporary redesign.
And the ebullience continues when she chronicles changes in the clubhouse, a name they decided to keep after the former tennis camp was turned into a resort. “Walls were blown out and pushed to the edge of the building so the space is more than doubled,” she explained. “There are nano doors that open the entire length of the room so you go from indoors to outdoors seamlessly.” There are also expanded terrace spaces to take in the surroundings.
The former Yavapai Restaurant is now the resort’s signature dining experience: Che Ah Chi. DeGersdorff says members of the Yavapai-Apache use to the name to describe Boynton Canyon, which symbolizes the birthplace of their nation. Because people need to pass through the Enchantment’s guard gate to enter a sacred part of the canyon, fewer people hike to the Native American ruins, she added. “They see us as protectors of the canyon. And of course we like to see ourselves as protectors of the amazing place.”
Che Ah Chi and its Wine Bar feature rammed earth walls and custom light fixtures of mouth blown amber glass. DeGersdorff is confident it is now Sedona’s finest restaurant, with Chef David Schmidt at the helm.
In addition, there is View 180, a restaurant serving southwestern tapas-style dishes, or smaller plates of sophisticated fare. Tii Gavo is a restaurant and bar with indoor and outdoor dining options. Along with fireplaces and fire pits, open spaces, and unparalleled views, people are learning that for the first time, Enchantment Resort now has a bona fide bar scene.
As finishing touches are being completed, some people may question the timing of a $25 million injection at a challenging time for some resorts. “Many projects were canceled or postponed when the recession began in 2008. It was not a time for investment; it was a time for holding on to everything you had,” said DeGersdorff. She described the Enchantment Group’s investors as particularly enlightened with a long-term vision. “The best time to do this kind of work was when it was going to be a little bit slower so as we come out of the recession, we’re done,” she added, describing the difficulty of executing property renovations when business is booming.
Early returns on the investment are reflected in customer satisfaction. Some traveler reviews give extremely high ratings to Enchantment Resort and Spa.
Flagstaff Business News spoke with several recent Enchantment guests, including the Los Angeles-based Five Sisters Productions. They enjoyed Enchantment’s renovations late last month. Maria Burton, one of the five Burton sisters, said she would definitely recommend Enchantment and Mii Amo Spa to others. “A special thing about Enchantment and the renovation is that they’ve tied their design to the stunning beauty of the surrounding landscape. Also, the entire resort is grounded in mindfulness, from the courtesy and calm consideration of the staff to the excellent offerings at the spa, which makes the whole experience lovely.”
Along with making award-winning films, Five Sisters Productions develops commercial campaigns for clients like Ford Motor Company. They were at Enchantment with representatives from Victoria’s Secret. “It is an ideal place to hold the type of creative workshop that Five Sisters Productions runs, because it puts people in a place of calm and creative openness,” said Burton.
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce is also pleased with the resort’s improvements. President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff says the enhancements will position Sedona as a premier luxury destination, attracting sophisticated visitors who positively impact the economy. “The recently completed $25 million renovation at the Enchantment Resort illustrates the strong dedication of Sedona area properties to provide first-class amenities to our visitors,” said Wesselhoff. “Enchantment Resort is one of the top resorts in the world and this significant investment in their property shows their commitment to serving Sedona visitors while preserving Sedona’s natural beauty.” FBN