REVIEW: Relaxing in the Shadow of Cathedral Rock

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Sedona Cathedral Hideaway can transform your Arizona vacation from ordinary to warm, kind and spiritual.

By Mitch Allen

Sedona Cathedral Hideaway rises from the Arizona desert like the majestic mesas and buttes that surround it, including Cathedral Rock, one of the most photographed geological formations in North America.

But this is no photograph.

From sunrise to moonrise to dark-sky nights with views of the Milky Way, guests at this top-ranked B&B relax in the shadow of Cathedral Rock’s legendary red sandstone bride and groom who for millions of years have shared their wedding vows, unbroken and timeless, witnessed through the eons by tyrannosaurus rex, Paleo-Indians, the more modern Yavapai, and now—you.

The 4,600-square-foot Adobe-style home was designed and built in 2005-06 to be a bed and breakfast, so you enjoy the security and amenities of a 5-star hotel with the warmth and privacy that comes with being a guest in someone’s home. The two guest rooms feature a fireplace, two-person shower, double vanity, walk-in closet, outdoor deck/patio and, of course, stunning views. The more hotel-like amenities include your own robes and slippers, an onsite spa room, and commercial smoke detection and fire prevention. Cathedral Hideaway also features an adjacent two-story casita (cottage) complete with its own modern kitchen. The home is within walking distance of several popular trailheads; one of my favorites is Pyramid Trail which offers spectacular sunrise views of Cathedral Rock.

Owners Kathy and Larry Jaeckel are as sweet and kind as they are smart and hard-working. Although they are clearly natural hosts, years of experience and thousands of guests have allowed these innkeepers to evolve into perfect hosts—simultaneously professional yet utterly themselves. The result, as one guest put it, is “a beautiful hideaway filled with thoughtfulness and love.”

The two luxurious guest rooms each feature a Jacuzzi-style tub, two-person shower, and a double vanity.

Larry has the gentle manner of a professional counselor (he has a Master’s degree in counseling), but also the wise, kind eyes of a man who served for 30 years in administration at an Illinois correctional facility for juveniles, where he specialized in offering knowledge and hope. Originally from Chicago, Kathy has the client-focused style of a technology and real estate professional, making her a master of hospitality. By learning—and remembering—the nuances of your likes and dislikes, this couple creates a tailor-made experience for each guest, from how you like your eggs to the chocolate on your pillow. And whether you enjoy bacon and sausage or a plant-based, gourmet vegan breakfast, the extensive menu is infinitely customizable to your exact tastes, and the chef-owners do so willingly and graciously. One of the joys of my wife’s and my stay at Cathedral Hideaway was sitting at the bar in the open kitchen enjoying tea and coffee as we watched the innkeepers prepare our breakfast and help plan our day.

Like so many of us, Kathy’s and Larry’s personal family lives have been weathered by cancer, much like the wind and rain have weathered the rocks around them. As a result, they are committed to their own healthy lifestyle and sensitive and encouraging regarding yours. They will courteously accommodate dietary restrictions—including gluten-free, non-diary, and anti-inflammatory—and offer helpful advice on relaxation techniques and how best to embrace Sedona’s legendary spiritual and metaphysical reputation.

Their advice is free...yet priceless. From how to find and enjoy the region’s fabled energy vortexes and healing crystals to scheduling a psychic reading or massage, you’ll get smart, time-saving advice. The same goes for more down-to-earth pursuits, such as the best time to hike a popular trail to avoid the crowds, the most convenient places to park, and the best local restaurants. Kathy and Larry are exceedingly knowledgeable about how to enjoy Sedona, so when they offer advice, my advice is to take it. As first-time visitors, they saved us untold time, money and aggravation, leading to one of the most relaxing vacations we have ever had.

Larry, by the way, has landscaped much of the property by his own hand, including a quaint heart-shaped labyrinth that was an anniversary gift to Kathy. The grounds also include several seating areas to enjoy the vistas, along with a bocce ball court, horseshoe pitch and oversized chess board. An upper flat-rock patio features a fountain and an in-floor traditional Native American medicine wheel. The landscape is so natural that one morning we watched a family of javelinas—also known as peccaries—walk unceremoniously across the property (yeah, I had to google them, too).

One of the author's joys was sitting at the bar in the open kitchen enjoying coffee while watching the innkeepers prepare breakfast and help plan the day.

At around $300, Sedona Cathedral Hideaway’s daily rate is in line with resorts throughout the Sedona area, but without the crowds and touristy feel. Plus, the gourmet breakfast and sound advice from the hosts combine to make this B&B a remarkable value.

The smooth, rounded Adobe-style exterior of Sedona Cathedral Hideaway is reprised in the interior, with rounded wall corners and casings that enhance the smooth and relaxing feel of the entire home, especially juxtaposed against the sharp, jagged edges of the desert hardscape. And that, perhaps, is the essential nature of the experience: Staying here helps you get in touch with your own gentle smoothness no matter how hard and jagged the rest of your life may be.

For more information, including terms and availability, please visit or call 928-203-4180.

Categories: Smart Living