Considering the price-point of two other popular resorts as possibilities for this 4-night stay, the Hilton Sedona Resort and Spa seemed like a bargain, but once I arrived, I soon realized why (but, honestly, I could tell from the online pictures and a call to the resort before I made the reservation): the place is in desperate need of an update. The Southwest theme is fine; interior design circa the 1990’s is not.
If you’re looking for a place that’s welcoming or inviting, this isn’t it. No valet parking is available. The wide, expansive lobby is a bit dreary with dark brown stone flooring. In fact, the entire place is saturated in dark browns, navy, and beiges. The glacial elevator brings you to the third floor hallway which looks like it’s stuck in last century: tired, dark Southwestern carpeting, plastic-looking room doors (faux wood?), and the dark yellow paint in the hallway adds to the depressing appearance of the place.
I declined my first room which was on the second floor of this 3-story building. The second room was a view to the closed pool which is undergoing a remodel. However, the two windows were blocked by massive trees which prevented natural light from coming into this dark space. The third and final room also overlooked the closed pool, but the view was unobstructed. I wasn’t interested in a view of the red rocks. I’ve spent enough time in the Southwest that such views from my hotel room are unnecessary. Note that the window for the living space is small and the balcony is very small. For one person, it’s comfortable; for two, it’s really tight.
The room? Tired is the best way to describe it. I had a king suite – plenty of space and the layout was good. The dark wood; the dark, Southwestern colors; the beige carpet; the cranberry-colored Southwestern curtains, etc., etc. made the room appear dark, dated, and tired. Also, the room was dusty! It clearly had not been used in a while. A call to housekeeping revealed that the room had not been occupied in several days since it was the low season. Housekeeping confirmed that service the next day would thoroughly clean and dust the room, which they did. The bathroom contained those dated 1980’s fixtures (i.e., the ones with the gold trim). Good news: the exhaust fan in the bathroom worked very well. (Pet peeve: As a Hilton Honors member, they [as many of the Hilton properties do] provided Nestlé’s bottled water, which is purified (local) drinking water; not spring water.)
Breakfast service in the dining room was appalling; both by the maître d and the wait-persons. Each morning was a lesson in patience and bad service. The waiter and waitress I had over the course of 4 mornings moved as fast as molasses - service was bloody awful. After the 2nd morning, I realized I needed to factor in a long breakfast if I wanted to hit a hiking trail early in the morning. The dining room itself looks like something out of a 1980’s Denny’s restaurant: dark carpeting, dark wood, cheap and beat up furniture, worn carpeting, dirty windows, and well-used utensils. I passed on the buffet as I usually do. People pick over the food and on the third morning, a parent let his kid with a cold sneeze on the serving plates.
On the 3rd night, I ordered room service dinner at 8:10 PM. The hotel was far from crowded and I’m told it would be 40 minutes! Really?? And yes, it did take 40 minutes to deliver the food. To their credit, the food was acceptable in terms of preparation and taste (but they did forget some of the dessert).
The spa area has real potential even though the locker/dressing room is a bit tight and seriously needs a makeover. The Jacuzzi was of sufficient size, but the design and layout were challenging - no more than 5 or 6 could fit comfortably in the space. The steam room and dry sauna were acceptable in terms of size and cleanliness; and both worked well. Really – the steam room was great! There were 4 separate showers, but it did get a bit crowded on one afternoon and individuals had to queue in order to use a stall. The gym, in terms of equipment was acceptable; though, three of the treadmills did not properly work (I think there were a total of 6 or 7 treadmills). Plenty of free weights and machines; and the ones I used were working fine. I passed on any spa treatment (e.g., a massage).
The location of the resort (on the south side of Sedona) worked well for this trip since I had planned to spend a lot of time hiking and visiting areas south of Sedona. If you need be in Sedona proper, you might want to consider another location. The Hilton Resort is not near the hustle and bustle of central Sedona. But, that’s not a problem if you have a car as downtown Sedona isn’t that far.
Overall, the staff is friendly and tries to address issues related to this aging monstrosity. (Except for the breakfast service, which was awful. A call to the restaurant manager went unreturned.) Housekeeping vacillated between good to fair: enough towels left some days - other days, not enough; cups for tea were replenished some days – other days, not.
Other challenges with this “resort:” Headboard was screwed into the wall and it looked like a hatchet job with broken and unsightly plaster where the screw met the wall; the Internet was very slow (best for quick email – any extended surfing was a significant challenge); the gas fireplace had a flame the size of a match; annoying walkie-talkies in the hallway at 8 AM in the mornings and hanging off the belts of maintenance people while walking through the resort; odor in the room – worse when the heater ran or the fireplace was used; and the wet bar area had badly outdated dark cabinetry. The wet bar area did have a sink (a good thing), a refrigerator (better), and a microwave (a good thing, but a huge item that took up a lot of real estate).
A conversation with a bell attendant revealed that the Hilton Resort has been under new ownership for about a year, now. After seeing some encouraging numbers spike upward (whatever that means), management plans to update the resort in late 2013 or early 2014. Another conversation revealed that the last, significant update occurred 7 or 8 years ago. Not sure what they did then, but the motif looks 1990’s to me.
If I had paid in-season prices for this place I would be miffed and annoyed considering the condition of this place. In fact, I’m not sure this place could be called a “resort’ – more like a big hotel with a few extras. If you’re looking for a resort experience, you should seriously consider other options in Sedona. If you’re looking for a faux resort experience, then the Hilton Resort should serve that purpose.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.