Unique Hotels

What to Do in Sedona on a Babymoon

When I started planning our Babymoon, I knew I wanted to go somewhere beautiful but close to home. With Zika still an issue, I didn't want to hit up Mexico or the Caribbean, which only left us with a few choices. I ended up picking Sedona because it would be slightly warmer when we went in October. It was a great pick for the perfect Babymoon. Below is what we did:

Hiking and Walking: We started our first day by driving the Red Rock Scenic Byway. This is a drive that goes from North to South and includes many beautiful pull offs for hiking and walking. 

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Along the way we stopped at Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Parking fills up early at all of these locations, so I recommend trying to go first thing in the morning. We stopped at Bell Rock and did a little bit of hiking, but my pregnant body wasn't up for too much. I started off in a light pullover and my favorite maternity leggings, but it quickly got very warm. Pack your sunscreen and a LOT of water in your backpack. The views were just incredible!

Shopping: The hotel is walking distance to many of the shops in Sedona. In addition to your regular touristy shops, you will also find great craft shops and crystal shops! I also recommend hitting up and walking around the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.

Eating: We only ended up with two nights to eat dinner out and we loved both of the restaurants. We ate at SaltRock Kitchen, which had gorgeous views of the red rocks and really, really fantastic food. We also at Cress, which is the upscale dining restaurant at the L'auberge. I was a little nervous to eat at Cress because of their set menu. I was pregnant and gluten free and had a ton of eating restrictions. They were incredibly helpful and the waitress had no problem offering me tons of options and subtitutions. They also have great mocktails! 

Star Gazing: I have never been star gazing before, but I had read that the sky in Sedona was incredible this time of year so we gave it a try. We used Sedona Star Gazing and did their two hour tour. During the tour you get a chance to look through a gigantic microscope and to learn about the constellations you can see from Sedona. The night sky was absolutely gorgeous, but it gets very, very cold out there. They provide a parka and blanket for you, but layer up for this cool experience. 

Where to Stay and Spa: We decided to stay at the L'Auberge de Sedona. There are so many beautiful resorts in Sedona, but I liked the location and reviews of this one best. The L'Auberge has an amazing river running through it that makes it a beautiful and scenic resort. 

I book the hotel using American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts with my Platinum Card. When booking through Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts you get free breakfast daily, a room upgrade (if available) and a $125 food and beverage credit. The free breakfast is a great deal because they serve a gorgeous, gorgeous breakfast out on the river each morning. 

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There are heaters out there and it is the perfect romantic stop. We were also easily able to use our food and beverage credit by grabbing drinks and dinner the night we arrived at the hotel. You could also use it for a quick lunch or room service (of course :)). 

I loved the hotel for many reasons, but especially because the rooms are like little bungalows with fire places and patios. In my opinion, you could never leave your room and still feel like you are in paradise. 

I also got a prenatal massage at the hotel and it was fantastic! You will need to be in at least your second trimester, but they do an incredible job. This was my first prenatal massage and really helped me relax and unwind. 

Maternity Photos: I really wanted to take maternity photos while we were on our babymoon to preserve the memories from our final trip as a party of two. I found a fantastic photographer on Instagram and Jayde met us at Cathedral Rock to take our photos. Before the photos I had my hair and makeup done by Sedona Beauty Team. Jayde took a good mix of couple shots and solo shots. 

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We did the photos around 5pm so we still had time to hit up dinner afterward. I am so happy we have these precious photos to remind us of my pregnancy and our babymoon. 

The dress I wore for my photos is sold out, but here are a few similar ones:

We had the absolute best time in Sedona on our babymoon! I would highly recommend it, especially for a Fall babymoon. The weather was lovely and it is such a great town to explore. 

Hotel Review: Aranwa Sacred Valley

After we visited Cuzco for a few days, but before we headed to Machu Picchu, we spent a few days relaxing in the Sacred Valley. We stayed at the Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel and it was absolutely beautiful! 

The resort is truly in the middle of nowhere, but when you arrive in the gates you can see the beautiful views and pool. They even have llamas and alpacas walking around! The rooms are a little bit on the older side, but the resort is in great shape and very, very beautiful. 

We enjoyed some relaxing time in the pool with a pisco sour and had a great dinner in their restaurant. The next day we went rafting on the Urubamba river, before returning for a fantastic spa treatment in the Unno Spa. 

I definitely think this is a nice destination between Cuzco and Machu Picchu. On our last morning there, we were picked up by bus and taken to Ollantaytambo, which is where we grabbed the train to head to the ruins. 

If you are making a stop in the Sacred Valley, I definitely recommend one night at the Aranwa! 

 

Review: Hotel Plaza Grande Quito Ecuador

We just returned from an incredible trip to Peru and Ecuador! I have a lot of posting to catch up on, but I wanted to start with a small, sweet spot from the trip. The Hotel Plaza Grande in Quito! 

Quito was SUCH a surprise to me, mostly because I had read a lot of scary information on Quito, which made me feel like it might not be the safest city to stay. We didn't experience any of this and our tour guide Gina made us feel very, very safe. We also went out to dinner and rode in taxis with no problem. A good reminder to me that you shouldn't judge a city by what the internet says :) 

We arrived at the Hotel Plaza Grande and it is spectacular! The hotel is old-fashioned in a very, very beautiful way. 

Location- The location in old town is absolutely fantastic for walking around! If you want to explore the history of Quito, you are in the best location. It was also very easy for us to take a cab to the newer area of Quito for dinner (dinner review coming soon!). 

Food- Breakfast was included with our stay and it was INCREDIBLE. There are a few options for American style breakfasts, but I suggest you try the Ecuadorian style breakfast. The style of food in Ecuador is delicious and not to be missed. We also enjoyed a great dinner at the restaurant! 

Staff- The staff at this hotel are insanely kind and helpful. Just a few things they did perfectly: organizing a boxed breakfast for us on our last day, getting our bags up to our room before we were even up there, making a delicious welcome cocktail, calling taxis, etc. They were just very, very nice and helpful. 

Room- The rooms have a feeling of unique luxury. They definitely have a beautiful old style, but the bathroom was redone and the beds are obviously new and lovely. I love a hotel that can be old in style, but not feel old on the inside. 

This hotel was obviously a great welcome to an awesome stay in Quito! 

As always, these reviews are my own opinions. I'm never compensated for reviews because I'm not important enough :) 

Hotel Review: Royal Chundu in Zambia

Our last stop on our trip to Africa was in Livingston Zambia to see Victoria Falls. After I survived Devil's Pool, we found ourselves at the most amazing resort, the Royal Chundu. Now don't get my wrong, this resort is definitely pricey, but it offers a lot of fantastic activities and has a more modern feel than over local hotels. I highly recommend checking out the Royal Chundu! Highlights:

Sunset Cruise- Each night they offer a sunset cruise down the Zambezi River. The river and wildlife are incredible and really give you a feel for the local environment.

Canoeing Trip- They also offer an incredible canoeing trip where you float down a few rapids and end up on a private little island for lunch. It was so unique and special that my camera barely captured the fun.

Responsible Tourism- My favorite part of the Royal Chundu is how they use local ingredients and crafts from the area village in their every day lives. We visited the local village where Edith took us around and showed us her incredible garden. The Royal Chundu buys her produce and also gives her seeds to grow new items that they may want. They also buy crafts from the village to use as food coverings and decoration throughout the lodge.

Beauty- But the best part is just how beautiful the lodge looks. I didn't even take pictures of the rooms and common spaces, but they were perfectly decorated, so relaxing and zen. From every room and common space you can see the Zambezi river and it is spectacular. Because of the moving water there are hardly any bugs, which makes for a very enjoyable outdoor experience.

A few things to keep in mind:

- The hotel is about a 1.5 hour trip from the airport and from activities in Victoria Falls. Try and schedule all of your activities in the same day so you don't have to travel back and forth. Also the last 20 minutes of the drive are down a bumpy road. This didn't bother us, but if you get motion sickness it might.

- The food is incredible, but you will eat a million meals while you are there. Diet before you arrive.

Overall, I loved the Royal Chundu and would certainly return if I ever find myself in Zambia or Victoria Falls again!