IPA Magazine-Luxury Travel Reviews

Postcard Views With Quiet Privacy

canyon villas poolCanyon Villa Bed & Breakfast Inn of Sedona

There are two major highway entrances into the Southwest’s captivating Land of Enchantment, known as Sedona, Arizona’s world-famous Red Rock Destination.  Of the two, the southern State Route 179 leads one dramatically into Sedona’s two famous, imposing Scenic Monuments, iconic images capturing the essence of all that encompasses Sedona.  Widely hailed by professional and amateur photographers and landscape painters, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are arguably the most celebrated landmarks within a pictorial wonderland known for its generous supply of red sandstone monoliths, touting familiar names such as Coffee Pot, Thunder Mountain, and The Cathedral.  By comparison, one thinks of Scylla and Charibdis, well-known formations in the straits of Messina, between Italy and Sicily, chronicled in Greek mythology, among yet other famous rock images.  Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte have an equal share in the pantheon of renowned Sedona red rock monuments, not the stuff of fables, but mythic nonetheless.

And so, if you were to carefully survey this rich landscape in the heart of Red Rock Country, you might find yourself returning again and again to this portion of the terrain, for its magnetic appeal is palpable.  Something draws you here as if there were a cosmic force (remember, this is the land of the Vortex!)  Now, wouldn’t this particular area make for a lovely spot to locate a cozy Bed and Breakfast?  Well, that’s exactly what someone thought just two decades ago, when the Canyon Villa Bed & Breakfast came into being in 1992.  And the location could not be any more perfect.

Built by Chuck and Marion Yadon, the villa soon began attracting the attention of sophisticated travelers, rapidly collecting accolades from reviewers following the hospitality industry.  In 1994, innkeeper/chef Marion Yadon published Red Rocks & Cinnamon Rolls, a cookbook featuring dozens of her recipes, including the inn’s signature sweet rolls. By 1997, Canyon Villa earned inclusion in Weekends for Two in the Southwest: 50 Romantic Getaways.  The book, written by Bill Gleeson, featured the top destinations in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, after the author had “honed through visits of hundreds of destinations.” In 2000, the inn was acquired by Les and Peg Belch who have lovingly maintained the premises and made improvements along the way. One such notable change has been in the recipe for the cinnamon rolls which are now made fresh daily.  And, judging from the opinions of those familiar with both recipes, the current cinnamon rolls surpass the former recipe by a wide margin.

Sitting here in the Ocotillo room on the second floor, looking out the double glass doors at the portraits of Bell Rock, on the left, and Courthouse Butte, on the right, I cannot imagine a lovelier view within a hundred miles—you’d have to go to the Grand Canyon for a worthwhile comparison, just over a hundred miles to the north.  If you could be anywhere in Sedona, you would want to be right here.  And reserving one of the eleven rooms at Canyon Villa makes it possible to enjoy the very best of the best.

Our hosts, Les and Peg Belch, can tell you about all the Hollywood celebrities who’ve stayed here, but they’d rather direct you to the myriad of things you should know about what this place has to offer and the abundance of activities you may wish to enjoy.  One key factor in choosing a B&B is finding a host who is helpful, knowledgeable, friendly, and hospitable.  Les and Peg fit that description eminently well.

Les provided a thorough tour of the Inn, pointing out the library, computer-printer access downstairs with free wi-fi in all the rooms, breakfast area, and other amenities, including a see-through fireplace.  Looking outdoors through the expanse of huge windows is a lovely pool and an outdoor fireplace with several tables, chairs and umbrellas.  Upstairs, five romantic rooms are to be found on the top floor, which include whirlpool baths and fireplaces.  Our room featured a king-sized bed with Southwestern design, including sand painting wall art.  In addition to the flat-screen television, a DVD player allows one to view movies available from the downstairs library.  Beyond our glass-paned French Doors was a lovely balcony with a bistro table and two chairs, opening up to views of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte.

Coffee and tea are brought out at 6:30 a.m. each morning.  A full gourmet breakfast is served at 8:00 a.m.  Guests may take seats at several communal tables where cinnamon rolls are served with choice of juice and hot beverages.  On the first morning we enjoyed a fruit parfait followed by a lovely warm quiche and buttermilk biscuit, accompanied by a slice of orange.  A choice of two homemade preserves was set on the table as well. On the second morning we enjoyed pineapple slices, cinnamon roll, peach upside down French Toast and glazed sausage. Here guests from nearby states and countries abroad shared stories of their travels and recent discoveries made in Sedona.  Guests are free to make use of the ample downstairs areas where sofas and easy chairs afford opportunities to gaze out the windows, chat by the fireplace, engage in conversation with a new friend, or simply curl up with the newspaper or good book. Near a large window sits a mounted telescope, inviting guests to peer more closely at one of the nearby monuments.

Some of the best hiking and mountain biking in all of Sedona is literally just steps away when you stay at Canyon Villa.  Circumnavigating Bell Rock or Courthouse Butte is easy to do, but on our first morning we were looking for something we hadn’t done before. We chose to explore a trail on the west side of SR 179 called “Slim and Shady,” a fairly easy walk that eventually hooked up to another trail system heading further to the north.  One Sedona trail map in my collection highlights nearly 100 trails in this region, so one is never at a loss for trying out a new trail.  In this neck of the woods, photographic opportunities seem to pop out around every corner, so remember to bring along a camera.  While we’ve collected dozens of photos of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte from former visits to the area, it seems the urge to snap just one more photo never goes away.  “If I could just hold on to this incredible vista for one moment longer…” seems to be a perennial thought when hiking here.

At 5:00 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a selection of light snacks and appetizers.  On the first night we found slices of fresh sourdough bread, water crackers, hummus, slices of bell peppers, and a flour tortilla roll-up made with cream cheese and cranberries. On the second evening, we found grilled asparagus, a savory warm onion dip, fresh bread, crackers and spicy almonds. Canyon Villa doesn’t have a liquor license, but guests may bring their own beverages and use the house refrigerator to store beverages of their choice.  Stemware, both glass and plastic, are freely available and guests are encouraged to enjoy their food and beverages in the comfort of their rooms or in the downstairs public rooms.  Water pitchers are brought to each room daily.  The innkeeper informed me the taste of the inn’s coffee is noticeably enhanced because of the high quality of well water used here.

There are over thirty B&Bs in the Greater Sedona area, but it would be difficult to find one offering a better view and location than Canyon Villa.  When one considers the excellent accommodations, gourmet food service, friendly and informative innkeepers, opportunities for recreation just steps away, and proximity to shopping and restaurants, it would be difficult indeed to match, let alone exceed what Canyon Villa offers.  We noticed that in a book describing romantic getaways in the Southwest, only two B&Bs in Sedona were worthy of garnering attention.  Discriminating travelers who shy away from larger chain hotels in order to take advantage of the privacy, personal service, and unique furnishings found in certain select B&Bs, realize there are just a handful of places that can be considered at the top of the pyramid.  Canyon Villa has been listed three of the past seven years in Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards for “Best B&Bs and Inns in the U.S” including a top 25 World Ranking in 2012. (They were actually ranked number14!)

You can’t do much better than that!  And, in Sedona, you won’t find a finer location.

Canyon Villa Bed & Breakfast

Directions: From Interstate 17 (two hours from Phoenix), exit at Highway 179 and drive north for 8.4 miles.  Turn left on Bell Rock Boulevard and right on Canyon Circle Drive.  Follow to inn on right.  The inn is about six miles south of Sedona.

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