You don’t really need to ask Spence Romine why he bought the property that became the Inn Above Oak Creek. The hotel’s biggest selling point is right in the name.
“I had never been to Sedona, but I knew it was a hot market,” says Romine, who’s based in Florida and owns several properties around the country. He went online and saw a listing for another hotel. He then contacted a real estate agent who offered to also show Romine this property. “When you think about being right on the creek, within walking distance of 10 or 15 restaurants … you just can’t beat it,” Romine says.
The building dates to the 1970s, and echoes of its first life, as an art gallery, are still visible on the side of the building that faces State Route 179. In the 1990s, the gallery’s owners turned it into a “country B&B” with chickens and other elements of farm life. Romine bought it from a subsequent owner in 2013. By then, it was known for its large breakfast, but the hotel itself was in need of an update.
“Our plan was to appeal to a market that might not want a big breakfast, and we were going to charge cheaper rates than the competition,” Romine says. The B&B became a boutique inn with a simple continental breakfast, and Romine painted and brought in modern furniture, décor and air conditioning. Occupancy rates went up, and the revamped inn quickly became one of Red Rock Country’s best-reviewed lodging options.
The location deserves a lot of the credit, but so do the inn’s 13 rooms. Each of the seven Creekside Rooms has a private balcony and large windows overlooking Oak Creek, along with a whirlpool tub and a gas fireplace. One of those rooms can be combined with the Bonus Room to accommodate more people. And a more luxurious option for larger groups is the 1,200-square-foot, two-level Oak Creek Suite, which has a full kitchen and was used as a residence by the previous owners.
In the morning, guests can enjoy a breakfast of baked goods as they watch hummingbirds sip from feeders on the inn’s porch. Afterward, they can walk a quarter-mile north to shop at Tlaquepaque or a bit farther north to the bustle of uptown Sedona. But it would be hard to blame any of them for choosing instead to sit on their room’s balcony and watch the creek amble by. Either choice is fine with Romine.
“We really just want people to feel at home at our place,” he says. “If they feel at home, that means we’ve done our job, and hopefully, it means they’ll come back.”
556 State Route 179