Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
An adobe-style property with views of red buttes
The Bell Rock Inn boasts impressive surrounding scenery: Towering red buttes dominate the skyline, including the formation for which the hotel was named. Guests can easily see the rocks from much of the property, but the collection of two-story buildings here will sometimes intrude on the view. The buildings are Santa Fe adobe-style, painted pink to match the landscape.
Outside the small lobby (which has been decorated with old-timey movie posters of Westerns shot in the area), there are two heated pools with Jacuzzis, a playground for the kids, and a picnic area with tables and BBQ grills. Several grassy areas add a touch of green to the red desert surroundings. The fitness center is tiny, with only three machines, but there are several spectacular trails nearby that offer an alternative workout. There’s no dining option on-site, or a spa, but several restaurants and spas are within a five-minute drive.
On the Red Rock Scenic Byway, 7 miles south of Sedona in the Village of Oak Creek
Most visitors who drive to Sedona will pass through the Village of Oak Creek, which is seven miles south of Sedona. It’s not unusual to see cars pulled over at random places along the highway, as smitten gawkers stop to photograph the massive red and white sandstone formations that suddenly pop into view just before entering the Village (as it’s known to locals).
Bell Rock, one of the more prominent buttes, is one of the most popular hiking and mountain biking areas in the Sedona region, and draws hundreds of people each day. However, the pace of life in the Village is slower and quieter than in Sedona, and low-key travelers will appreciate the less hectic atmosphere.
Guests may be intrigued to learn that the Sedona region was inhabited in the 1200s by the Sinagua Indians (“sin agua” is Spanish for “without water”), who left behind stone ruins, rock art paintings, and other evidence of their culture. Today, people can visit archeological sites tucked away in the Coconino National Forest (much of the surrounding landscape is National Forest) such as the V-Bar-V Petroglyph Site, which is only 15 minutes from the Bell Rock Inn.
While the scenery and hiking here easily compares to Sedona, there are fewer dining and shopping options (though excellent restaurants in the Village, such as the Cucina Rustica, do exist). The good news is that Sedona is only a spectacular 15-minute drive away. Just don’t expect bustling nightlife in either Sedona or the Village -- after dark, the towns go to sleep.
Rooms are clean and feature kitchenettes, but both decor and views are hit or miss. Some rooms need an update to get past the 1980s carpeting, old bathroom fixtures, and blonde furniture. Others are more contemporary, and nearly every room has a flat-screen TV and iPod dock.
Generally, rooms facing north and east are more likely to offer a view of the red rocks. Most rooms have patios or balconies, which are spacious enough to accommodate chairs and a small table.
No dining on-site
There is no restaurant at the Bell Rock Inn, but there are several restaurants serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner nearby in the Village of Oak Creek. Also, there’s an IGA grocery in the Village about five minutes away, for guests who want to dine in using the kitchenettes or BBQ grills.
On picturesque Highway 179 in the Village of Oak Creek, the mid-range Bell Rock Inn has 75 rooms at affordable rates and two pools (one with views of nearby buttes). Big, clean rooms come with kitchenettes, but decor is hit or miss: some rooms have dated, 1980s-style decor, while others are contemporary. The nearby Ridge on Sedona's renovated rooms are nicer, but its views are a little less impressive.