A couple of weeks ago my friend and colleague Rose and I had the lovely opportunity to spend a few days in Scottsdale, Arizona to explore some of the best properties in the area. You are probably thinking to yourself "you voluntarily went to Scottsdale in JULY? Are you INSANE?" and to that I say: Yes, I did. And, perhaps a little bit.
Let me preface this by telling you that San Francisco weather has ruined me. I find anything over 80 degrees unbearably hot, and anything under 55 absolutely freezing. Needless to say, though excited, I was not necessarily thrilled to be heading into weather that was forecasted to be well over 110 degrees.
I arrived and walked outside bracing myself to melt on the spot, and shockingly... it wasn't that bad.
It was hot, yes, but the stunning scenery, the good food, and the amazing resorts made you completely forget that you could pretty much fry on egg on the sidewalk. If I was outside, I was usually lounging poolside with a cocktail, or sitting under misters enjoying a stunning sunset and gorging on delicious food. After a couple days I was drinking the Scottsdale kool-aid and already planning my next trip back. It's the perfect weekend getaway (just a 1.5 hour flight from SFO!) or spring break destination.
Here's some more info from my trip and details on all the amazing properties:
If you are looking for an amazing adult getaway, this is the place. I cannot say enough about how much I loved this property. The rooms, the food, the spa... everything is impeccable. It's not adults only, but kids under 16 are not allowed in the pool so the property is definitely geared towards adults. They also have villas on site which is great for larger groups.
Vibe: Completely lives up to it's name. You feel as though you stepped into a desert oasis and the property really does feel like a sanctuary. Decor is light and minimal but plays homage to the desert landscape.
Pool: Though the property isn't adults only, as mentioned above the the pool only allows kids 16 and up. The pool is is incredibly relaxing. They provide lots of floaties and pool side cocktails. Most of the houses have their own private pool, but it's an easy walk to the main pool regardless.
Spa: AMAZING! It's been listed as a Four-Star spa for four consecutive years in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide. I had a massage and it was heavenly.
Food: There are two restaurants: Elements, and the more casual Jade bar. Food is delicious at both, which shouldn't come as a surprise since renowned Food Network celebrity chef Beau MacMillan is the Sanctuary’s Executive Chef and creates all the menus.
Rooms: Rooms range from mountain casitas all the way up to large villas. The higher up the mountain, the better your view, but there's really no bad view.
Perfect for: Adults looking for a romantic weekend away or girls looking for a fun spa trip. I loved that you felt as though you were incredibly secluded, yet just a few miles away from downtown Scottsdale.
SMT Perks: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, VIP Status and Welcome Card, Breakfast for 2 guests, $100 USD equivalent Spa Services credit to be utilized during stay, Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability, Complimentary Wi-Fi
The Phoenician is currently undergoing massive renovations, and should be finished in October. Though the property is still open for business, I'd suggest you stay at their Canyon Suites offspring, which is like a boutique hotel within a huge resort. The main part of The Phoenician is working on a huge overhaul of the pool, and will include a tree house, waterslides, and more.
Food: When renovations are finished, there will be six dining options on the premises, from high-end steak houses to more casual grab and go markets.
Perfect for: Families! I can't wait to come with my son once it's reopened. Everything is very kid-friendly, there is a kids club on site, and the new pool looks like a kids paradise!
SMT Perks: Room view upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests in restaurant or in room dining, $100 USD Food & Beverage credit, Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability, Complimentary Wi-Fi
Vibe: I sometimes hear from people that sometime properties such as Four Seasons or Ritz don't have a "sense of place" and that they all feel similar. That is not the case with Four Seasons Scottsdale. Nestled in the high Sonoran Desert, from the second you walk in you feel as though you are in the western desert.
Pool: There is a large pool as well with luxury pool cabanas are available for rent, as well as a kids pool that is just a couple feet deep - perfect for toddlers to splash around in!
Food: There are four restaurants on the property. I loved Proof - the more casual dining option. There is a railroad track that runs through the dining room, shuffleboard, and a candy bar. And the handcrafted cocktails - SO GOOD! Watermelon lemon vodka spritzer? Yes please!
Rooms: There are 210 guest rooms, including 22 luxury suites, in 25 mostly one- or two-storey adobe casitas. Connecting rooms are available, and the standard entry level rooms are still quite spacious.
Perfect for: Families and golfers (it's affiliated with Troon North Golf Club). Though the children's offerings are not as extensive as that of the Phoenician, there is a complimentary kids club and lots of on-site activities to keep everyone happy.
SMT Perks: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, Daily Continental breakfast for up to two in-room guests, in Proof restaurant, $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay. I usually have access to additional Preferred Partners amenities as well, which vary based on the date.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is massive, with 750 rooms and six pools. In the two hours I was there, I only saw about half of it! Most of the property has been recently renovated, but there are still some areas that haven't been touched up in awhile, so you want to make sure you are an updated area of the property. They also offer "gold" rooms for even more VIP service. In the winter they turn it into a winter wonderland, complete with an ice skating rink!
Vibe: Like you are in a tropical resort in the middle of the desert.
Spa: My favorite of all the spas - the Well & Being Spa is huge with a million different options and activities, including aerial yoga and surfset! There's also a rooftop adults-only pool with private cabanas, and a huge nutrition center.
Pools: There are six huge heated pools. Sonoran Splash features twisting waters slides, and Sunset Beach has a white sand beach (really!) plus a splash pad. Sonoran Landing is adults only and has plush day beds, floating bean bags, and poolside hammocks.
Perfect For: Families and larger groups. There is so much to do on the property, you'll never have to leave!
SMT Perks: A one-category upgrade on arrival, subject to availability at time of check in, Continental breakfast daily, Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability, Complimentary Golf Storage on site for duration of stay, 50% off valet parking for duration of stay, Complimentary internet access Complimentary daily access for 2 at Well & Being Spa for duration of stay (valued at $55 each!), $50 resort credit, once per stay applied at check out
The new kid on the block, Andaz just opened up earlier this year. Typical of Andaz properties, the hotel is bright and colorful, full of eclectic art. Unique to the resort is their partnership with the Cattle Track Arts Compound, a nearby community of artists, musicians and craftsman who share their talents and stories with guests!
Vibe: Vegas in Scottsdale. Has a very pool party hipster feel.
Pool: Two pools with cabanas available to rent, but what I loved most was the Poolside Cabana rooms! They have two private patios with direct access to the your own private cabana.
Food: Weft & Warp Art Bar is the only restaurant (but you can eat poolside as well) but don't let that concern you - it's really really really good. The menu has fun playful additions like popcorn on your pancakes and nitro coffee in your vanilla ice cream float.
Perfect for: Younger adults, artists and small groups. A poolside cabana room at the Andaz would be perfect for a bachelor or bachelorette party!
I told you... Scottsdale has it going on! The only real question now is, when are you going to go?