Five Questions for Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau's Leslie Brearley

The organization's sales manager shares insider tips for groups

Leslie Brearley Sedona

Sedona's scenery is like no other. Nestled among a geological wonderland, Sedona's multi-hued stone formations jut upwards from the high desert floor creating a vivid, mesmerizing setting that changes hourly with the light. 

Surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land, visitors have instant access to recreational activities. Trails for hiking and biking, along with bouncy jeep tracks, weave among the bristling forest of pinnacles, spires, buttes, and domes. Yet, you're never far from the indulgences of town.

Sedona is part rugged, part resort. Regarded by Native Americans as sacred, Sedona continues to be recognized as a place of healing and spiritual renewal. Many come to experience the vortex energy centers of Sedona. Others want to prowl the 80-plus art galleries lining the streets, or to receive soothing treatments from the dozens of spa facilities. Most recently, with its nearby vineyards and tasting rooms, Sedona has emerged as a destination for wine enthusiasts as well.

Although Sedona is best known for its beautiful rock, scenic hiking trails, and powerful vortices, it's also a popular meeting and incentive destination. Successful Meetings spoke with Leslie Brearley, sales manager of Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, about this special destination.

What's new in Sedona for groups?

Sedona recently welcomed the Marriott International hotel brand, with their first property here -- the brand-new Courtyard by Marriott Sedona. Several Sedona hotels have recently undergone or are in the process of completing partial and total renovations. These include L'Auberge de Sedona that has completely renovated its dining destinations and guests room accommodations.

The guard gate at Enchantment Resort was recently renovated, resulting in an upgraded arrival experience for meeting guests. Additionally, investments were made in IT and all meeting room screens will be updated this year. Their meeting and event menus will be receiving a fresh twist as a result of bringing on a new executive chef, Franck Desplechin, previously of St. Regis San Francisco

Arabella Hotel Sedona is undergoing renovations to enhance the eight-acre grounds as well as the interior of the hotel. Renovations include enhanced landscaping, new décor in the hotel's trailhead rooms, and guestroom bathroom renovation.

Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is undergoing a $2 million reinvention of the resort's casual dining restaurant and lounge. The redesign promises modern, comfortable gathering spaces offering freshly sourced fare and specialty local craft beers. The project is scheduled for completion in September.

Guidance Air offers the premier helicopter tours experience of the beautiful Sedona landscape. The largest single group tour accommodates 20, while groups of up to 60 can fly in waves. You can arrange catering for your participants, while they wait to embark on their tour.

What's a "hidden gem" for visiting groups?

The brand new Posse Grounds Pavilion which offers participants a venue that's off the beaten path, surrounded by numerous trail systems, a sports complex, and nearby community pool.  Posse Grounds Pavilion, also known as the Barbara Antonsen Memorial Park, is a breathtaking facility. Offering spacious festival style seating for up to 300, the Posse Grounds Pavilion will wow participants with views of the famous Sedona Red Rocks.  

What's a good outing for a group looking to get a sense of the city's culture or history? 

Discover a piece of each native culture to inhabit Sedona over the last 4,000 years at the Honanki Heritage Site. Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved, Pre-Columbian dwellings originally built by the Sinagua people. The Sedona Heritage Museum, once a Sedona family homestead now stands as the caretaker of Sedona area history and can also be reserved for group functions.

Where should a group go to get a truly local culinary experience?

Groups can enjoy a local culinary experience at resorts such as Che ah Chi at Enchantment Resort, SaltRock Southwest Kitchen at Amara Resort and Spa, Cress on Oak Creek at L'Auberge de Sedona, and Reds at Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa. Other group friendly restaurants include Cucina Rustica, Oaxaca Restaurant & Rooftop Cantina, the Hudson, and Barking Frog Grill.

Anything else that you think makes your city a great destination for groups? 

Sedona is a renowned wellness destination and offers a wide variety of ways to revitalize one's mind, body, and spirit. Our offerings include yoga classes, mountain biking, meditation, world-class spas, local, organic fresh pressed juices, and cuisine that caters to all walks of life. Sedona is also located within close proximity to six state parks, five national monuments, seven Wilderness areas as well as a short, two-hour drive to the Grand Canyon.