The pet-friendly Sorrel River Ranch is among Utah's most gorgeous—and inviting—hotels. From horseback riding to Arches, there's plenty to do to fill your days.

Sorrel River Ranch: Luxury in Canyon Country

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We’re sleeping in the trailer about 95 percent of this trip. It’s so comfortable, we don’t really need stints in hotel rooms to break up six weeks of camping (if you can even call sleeping in a pop-out bed in a trailer “camping”). However, there are a couple of resorts along the way that I’ve either written about or have been dying to check out for ages for my magazine writing, and so we planned just a few hotel stays around them. And how lucky for us that the first of them, Sorrel River Ranch, just happened to fall on our first anniversary.

After being in the Canyonlands for four days, I couldn’t imagine prettier vistas than the steep cliffs from above. But the drive out to Sorrel on Highway 128 was just as attractive: This time, we were far below the canyon’s ledge, driving along a road that snaked its way through the towering buttes, parallel to the river.

Sorrel was recently acquired by Benchmark Hospitality, which was just pure coincidence as that’s the same management group who owns Turtle Bay Resort, where we stayed in Oahu. It’s situated right along the Colorado River, and all the rooms have riverfront views.

It was fun to sit on our porch and watch all the rafters float by. Ella didn’t know what to think of these foreign creatures and would chase alongside them on the bank until they floated out of sight.

The rooms were elegant without being ostentatious; I wanted to lose myself in that bed. We even had a kitchenette, which was used for the coffee they left for us in the early mornings and Thai takeout from Moab one night.

I adore resorts that add personal touches like in-room reading material. Candace Bushnell? It’s as if they knew I was coming.

After showering in a stall for 10 days, I was all about the rain shower and soaking tub combo in our bathroom. I used both, multiple times, as if to get as squeaky clean as possible before setting out on the road by trailer again. Plus, they had Tarocco orange-scented bath products, which are my absolute favorites.

The resort is pet-friendly, which is not the norm among properties of this caliber, and they had a little display of treats and toys waiting for Ella when we arrived. And she knew they were for her, too: She ran right over to the bed and food bowl and began pulling out the bones (which were annihilated in, no joke, under a minute…that pup loves her treats).

But Ella wasn’t the only animal at Sorrel. We saw a couple other dogs with their people, as well as quite a few horses.

The ranch is popular with horse owners, who bring their equine along to ride, and there are many living on the property. Once, we made the mistake of letting Ella off her leash to run in the tall grass, and she made right for the stables! (We stopped her in time to avoid full-on mayhem.) No doubt, she thinks she’s one of them.

I loved all the red wood decor, as well as the vintage farm equipment that’s scattered among the grounds.

Ella really wanted to drive a tractor, but alas, they were all stationary.

The first night at Sorrel, we had dinner at the restaurant. It was a really pleasant evening, so we opted to sit outside on the balcony, right along the river. Not a bad view for toasting to one solid year of marriage (and approximately 63 more to come).

There are few ways to describe dinner at Sorrel that don’t require such adjective as “delectable,” “heavenly” and “yummy in my tummy.” Between the two of us, we had ahi, scallops, lamb and chicken. Then dessert, of course (always). That rhubarb pie didn’t stand a chance when faced with our forks. In fact, I would drive back to Utah for another piece. We also ordered breakfast (eggs Benedict) and lunch (pulled pork sandwiches with sweet potato fries) from the restaurant and were shocked to see how little each meal costs. Many resorts over charge on every last thing, but not here: Most breakfast and lunch items ran $10 to $13, which is even less than we’d pay for any ol’ restaurant in San Francisco.

Sorrel offers many activities, from whitewater rafting to horseback riding to guided moonlit hikes through Arches. We should have taken advantage of all of this, but the resort was so peaceful, we had a hard time peeling ourselves away and, thus, just hung out strolling the grounds, reading and Interneting.

We never actually made it in to see the spa or exercise facilities, but I know they’re just as nice as everything else was.

While there, we got to witness some fascinating lightning storms just over the buttes. SVV came running in to get the tripod and camera equipment and perched outside waiting to capture a lightning strike, but never got his bolt. Still, this little pocket of Canyon Country is just as charming covered by ominous storm clouds as it is in brilliant sunlight.

Sorrel River Ranch truly is a remarkable place. When you find yourself in Utah, do whatever necessary to stay there. If we ever have that second wedding in Hawaii at the Fairmont Orchid, I know where I’m going for our second honeymoon.

COMMENTS
  • June 6, 2011
    Rebecca (Bearca)

    Happy anniversary!! Cheers to you guys.

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Bearca!

  • June 6, 2011

    Looks like you all are having a blast!

  • June 6, 2011

    Happy anniversary!! This place looks absolutely heavenly.

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Rose! Maybe you two need to go there for a future anniversary, seeing as we like the same sort of places =)

  • June 6, 2011

    Happy (belated) Anniversary! I floated right past this on my white-water Moab excursion, and I’m thrilled to learn how fabulous it is inside! 🙂

    xox

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Ahhh, fun! I love that whole hidden little canyon area east of Moab. If you stuck to the tourist trail–Moab + Arches + Canyonlands–you’d easily never know it was there!

  • June 6, 2011

    Oh my heaven…I could go there right now.

  • June 6, 2011

    Awesome! nice pictures makes me wanna fly there right now, congrats and happy Anniversary 😀

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Mercy!

  • June 6, 2011

    beautiful pictures!!!

  • June 6, 2011

    How lovely! And it’s great that they *welcome* pets instead of tolerating them.

    Also, I’m curious: on your 64th anniversary do you plan to off him? Or are you predicting the zombie apocalypse?

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Totally! Other than a couple Tahoe hotels and the JDV properties (a grassroots hospitality organization in California), it’s the first place I’ve been where they welcome guests with open arms. That pooch is so spoiled!

  • June 6, 2011

    What a nice treat for Ella. Your ‘cheers’ photo is great. Happy Anniversary!

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Lauren! Ella loves being spoiled–as do her parents on occasion =)

  • June 6, 2011

    So gorgeous! And any place that makes a fur babe feel welcome is already at the top of my list. And last, but definitely not least, happy anniversary to you both! Cheers to marriage. 🙂

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Thank you! Yes, any resort that spoils my dog as much as I do gets top rank in my book =)

  • June 6, 2011

    It’s already been a year. Wow! Happy 1st of many anniversary. This place is my favorite of all your accommodations so far. I love everything about it. The red rock country complete with horses, so West. That Bed!!! The kitchenette reminds me of the ones in the B&Bs in ZA, compact and adequate. And the bathtub would be an Ultra treat, especially coming from an RV. The food looks superb, even the doggie treats. Ella is pampered wherever she goes. Tell SVV to try video for lightning shots, it’s the only way I’ve ever gotten any. This is my kind of place. Have to think about that for a fall road trip. In the mean time, I’m thoroughly enjoying your road trip.

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Oooh excellent idea re: videoing lightning. Our DSLR does have a video option, too. That thought never occurred to me. Though I’m hoping we don’t have too much weather like we did those early days in Utah, ha!

  • June 7, 2011
    Sid

    I don’t know if I could do trailer living.

    I love the little self-catering room. The wooden floors are to die for.

    Oh and congrats to you wan the hubby.

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      I bet you could! I never thought I could be that girl either, but I’ve adapted to it quite nicely. Then again, after living in apartments in both New York and San Francisco, maybe I’m just accustomed to smaller quarters!

  • June 7, 2011

    That place looks amazing. The perfect mix of luxury and rustic.

  • June 7, 2011

    What a wonderful way to spend your anniversary! This place looks amazing and I love the photos of the pooch enjoying it too.

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Thank you! We’re probably the only people who take our “child” on our anniversary getaway, am I right? 😉

  • June 7, 2011

    Looks heavenly. If I ever get the chance to go here, I think the moonlight stroll through the arches sounds divine. Happy anniversary!

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Molly, it’s meant to be just amazing. The sky is so big in that part of the West that–if there’s no cloud coverage–it’s still plenty bright at night due to the moon and stars. I would have loved to have gotten some wide-angle shots of the whole Milky Way. They tell you to take a guide with you, as you can easily get lost. We would have definitely done the moonlit stroll had it not been for the weather–the only brief respite from showers we had during our time there just happened to fall around sunset!

      • June 8, 2011

        SOLD! I must visit this place. MUST.

  • June 7, 2011

    Incredible photos – and how great that you got to see lightning storms.

  • June 7, 2011
    ris

    I LOVE staying in places that have a kitchenette, or even a microfridge. It makes such a different to be able to keep leftovers cold and store some snacks–I hate seeing food go to waste. This looks like such a lovely place to stay!

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      I love that the Sorrel River Ranch kitchenette was practically bigger than our entire kitchen in San Francisco, ha!

  • June 7, 2011

    what a cute bedroom. i loved utah when we were out that way last spring. 🙂 and happy anniversary, of course.

  • June 7, 2011

    Wow, I’ll say you had awesome views!

    • June 7, 2011
      Kristin

      Yeah, the view (and everything else) definitely did not suck!

  • June 7, 2011

    What an exciting trip! The US is so huge, there are so many places to explore! Looking forward to your stories and pics!

  • June 8, 2011

    Yes, please. I’ll take four nights there starting tomorrow night.

    What a lovely, lovely place. I love rustic-style properties in the West. The doggie treats are a nice touch too!

  • June 8, 2011

    Ella on the tractor is priceless… Love the Utah scenery (and that room is awesome!) Congrats Kristin & Scott!

  • June 8, 2011

    GORGEOUS! I want to go there immediately. Congratulations on 1 year of marriage. Not sure how you know 63 more are to come, but congrats, in advance, on those. 🙂

  • June 8, 2011

    Happy Anniversary!!! The place looks so romantic!

  • June 8, 2011

    What a fantastic trip and now I’ve added a new place to my TO-GO list!

  • June 10, 2011

    Happy anniversary! I am definitely interested in checking this property out, it seems like my kind of place, that bed looks heavenly!

  • May 28, 2012

    Lovely photos! That place looks beautiful! 🙂

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