Plan an Amazing Desert Honeymoon

From Chile's Atacama to Arizona's Sedona, we've rounded up the best desert adventures!
By: 
Donna Heiderstadt

Sedona, Arizona
Located just north of Phoenix, Sedona, with its high-desert locale, is renowned for its striking red-rock landscape framed by verdant green juniper and cottonwood trees, as well as its spiritual metaphysical vibe. The destination excels in both nature and nurture, with top-notch spas, creative cuisine, and varied activities that appeal to hedonists and adventurers.

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The Sedona Rouge (photo courtesy of Wilderness Safaris/Dana Allen)

By day: Mornings in Sedona are glorious — cool, clear and perfect for a hike or mountain bike excursion (trails are plentiful and many are easily accessible from hotels) or a round of golf (there are a half dozen courses) or a tennis match. Have your cameras ready as you take in the region’s iconic redrock stone formations with names like Bell, Cathedral and Coffeepot during a classic Pink Jeep Tour sightseeing expedition. Collect handcrafted gemstone jewelry, Southwest-inspired photography and striking artwork at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village and the Sedona Arts Center gift store. Or just laze by the pool and relish lunchtime room service.

At night: Transition from day to evening with a couple’s spa treatment — the pampering 90-minute jojoba butter wrap with massage at Mii Amo is a favorite — followed by an astrology reading. Even if you’re zodiac skeptics, the insights and coincidences may astound you. Or take part in stargazing of a more scientific sort with a nighttime astronomy lesson as you sip wine and ponder the mysteries of the universe.

Where to stay: Enchantment Resort, set on 70 spectacular acres in Boynton Canyon and home to Sedona’s most splurge-worthy spa, Mii Amo, lives up to its name, offering 218 spacious casita-style rooms and suites (most with fireplaces). There’s also a trio of restaurants, a Native American cultural program and fitness activities ranging from yoga to obstacle courses (room rates start at $295 a night; enchantmentresort.com). A more centrally located yet just as romantic option is Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, offering 77 comfortable Andalusian-inspired rooms and suites (the most seductive are the spa rooms with large, free-standing soaking tubs); a serene spa with a couples bathing and massage ritual; and flavorful, modern American comfort cuisine at Reds (room rates start at $219 a night; sedonarouge.com).

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The aptly named Enchantment Resort (photo courtesy of Enchantment Group)

Where to eat: While Sedona’s resorts have their own exceptional restaurants, be sure to reserve a table at Elote Café for Chef Jeff Smedstad’s lamb adobo. Another great casual option with a red-rocks view is Heartline Café, known for its creative American bistro cuisine.

More Amazing Deserts:
Ayers Rock/Uluru, Australia 
Marrakesh, Morocco ►
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile ►
Sossusvlei, Namibia ►