Spas with relaxation room views of red rock boulders, pools with butler service, casitas outfitted with their own fireplaces and deep soaking tubs, and mouth-watering meals that incorporate local flavors into every dish. Welcome to the resorts of Scottsdale, Ariz.
I recently had a chance to visit the desert town known for its numerous resorts. And much like my attitude toward eating potato chips (think back to that old Lays ad), I figured why visit just one? So, I made the under-four-hour flight to Phoenix, rented a car from Hertz, and off I went for a little relaxation Scottsdale style at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North and The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
As I enjoyed my dish of refreshing ceviche and a white sangria poolside, I knew I’d arrived in resort heaven. Guest rooms at this property are actually individual casitas, complete with fireplaces and soaking tubs (like I mentioned above), so it feels like you are staying in a little adobe village vs. a traditional resort property.
My days at the resort were delightful. I’d have breakfast or lunch in Proof, the property’s American canteen concept that serves up everything from chicken and waffles to huevos rancheros. I might take a hike on the nearby Pinnacle Peak trail (there is a trail for hotel guests that connects to the peak’s trail). Or there’s golf, yoga classes —the options are endless.
Of course, I mentioned lounging by the pool, which was made extra special because of the butler service. (Get ready to have someone set up your cushioned lounge chair, bring you pitchers of iced water and the occasional refreshing bite such as a sample of smoothie or a few berries —for no additional cost.) FYI, there’s a pool for the kiddies as well as an adults-only option. And if you head to the resort’s spa, I recommend the Healing Hiker Massage, which is 80 minutes of bliss that focuses on your legs and lower back.
In the evening, grab a margarita on the patio at Onyx Bar & Lounge and watch the sunset over the red rocks before heading to Talavera, the fine dining option in this little “village.”My recommendations? Start with the Ahi Tuna Tartare, get the Chilean Sea Bass as your entree, and don’t miss the chocolate souffléfor dessert. Perfection.
The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
As you walk into the Boulders Spa, you are immediately greeted by floor-to-ceiling views of the giant boulders that surround this property. This is just the beginning of what makes this relaxation spot so amazing.
When I visited the resort’s spa, I lounged by the peaceful spa pool and enjoyed a blueberry and banana smoothie, worked out in the fully stocked cardio and resistance training room, and squeezed in a private yoga session. And yes, I did enjoy an amazing treatment —the Yuzu Sage Splash. If you love warm water, I highly recommend you give it a try.
Although the Boulders is more sprawling than the Four Seasons property, it still embraces the casita model. Again, mine was outfitted with a fireplace and a patio that overlooked the fifth hole of one of the two golf courses. (And don’t worry about walking in the heat. Both resorts offer free transportation around the properties.)
Much like the Four Seasons, there are golf and tennis options. The one experience I wanted to try was a rock climbing lesson (beginners are welcome) on the famous rocks, but I didn’t have a free morning (and you want to do it in the morning before the temperature creeps into the 100s). It’s on my list for next time!
Breakfast was served up in Palo Verde —try the blue corn waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. And the best way to finish out your day is at the Spotted Donkey Cantina. From enchiladas with green and red chili to sizzling fajitas, this restaurant has something to make every mouth happy.
Side Trip: Take a Food Journey to FnB in Old Town Scottsdale
You can easily spend all of your time on one of these properties. But, if you love food, set aside one evening for dinner at FnB in Old Town Scottsdale. The eat spot is known for its farm-to-table dishes that change regularly based on what’s in season. During my visit, Chef Charleen Badman served up flavors including house pulled mozzarella with squash, and pork tenderloin with corn and peaches. And the wine list is full of Arizona vineyard options that I’d never experienced before —and am now eager to experience again. Sure, it’s a bit of a drive from either of these resorts (about 45 minutes from the Boulders), but their signature butterscotch pudding with freshly whipped cream is enough to make every mile worth it.
For more information about must-sees in Scottsdale, visit ExperienceScottsdale.com.