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.