Your desert oasis vacation starts now. There really is no bad time to visit Phoenix and Scottsdale. Check out our guide below, courtesy of journalist Ashley Fern.
The Scott Resort & Spa
The newly remodeled Scott Resort & Spa is just minutes away from Old Town Scottsdale and has a true calming, oasis-escape vibe. Warm wooden furniture and old world bronze details welcome you to the vibrant Sonoran style property. You can’t go wrong with any of their super reasonably priced rooms but we recommend the Pool View Guestroom, which overlooks one of the two beautifully landscaped pools plus comes with a private patio or balcony. Make sure to grab dinner at Caribbean Redux, a cozy dining experience that features American classics with Caribbean-inspired flavors. Afterwards, toast to the night at The Canal Club, the festive lobby bar filled with live trees and plants throughout the space.
The Hermosa Inn
If you’re looking for an upscale relaxing and romantic getaway, look no further than The Hermosa Inn right in the heart of Paradise Valley. What is now an intimate hotel, started off as famed artist Lon Megargee’s private personal escape. Now, it features 43 hacienda-style guest rooms and casitas all decorated in welcoming, Southwestern style. The property is located within minutes of shopping, sporting events, golf, dining, art, bars, and more of both Phoenix and Scottsdale. Make sure to make a reservation at Lon’s subterranean wine cellar where guests and residents can enjoy a delicious six course tasting menu along with a sommelier selected wine pairing.
Once you walk into Cala Scottsdale, you’ll feel as if you were transported to the Mediterranean with the menu featuring dishes straight from the coastal regions. The focus here is centered all around handmade pasta, fresh cheeses, bread, locally-grown vegetables, and fresh seafood. The food is light, delicious, and most importantly fresh. The drink offerings mimic the same vibe with fresh local ingredients with tasty flavors. The restaurant is spacious yet super intimate with beachy decor and accents throughout the space. It’s a fun, hip vibe that’s attracting a high energy crowd and exactly what the area needed.
Toca Madera is about to be your new fav place to eat and drink in Scottsdale. This modern Mexican steakhouse started in Los Angeles and has made its way over to Arizona. Bringing along its farm-to-glass cocktail program, you really can’t go wrong with anything you order. Once you walk into the space, you won’t know if you’re inside or outside as you’re welcomed by a huge tree at the center with open ceilings and windows. Earthy elements elevate the space with live greenery everywhere. The lighting throughout the restaurant makes this large space feel super intimate and as if you are dining in someone’s upscale living room.
If your idea of a fun evening is sipping on intricate, upscale cocktails at a low key speakeasy, add 36 Below to your list of places to visit in Phoenix. Walk 12 steps down from Sip Coffee and Beer and away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets to this underground greenhouse. Its name comes from the 36th verse in Genesis 2:5, which is all about the creation story. The trinity at 36 Below honors detailed drinks (think drinking out of a bee shaped glass), elevated experiences (moving scenic panels across the walls), and delicious food (make sure to order the Joyful Provision). Make a reservation online in advance to secure your experience.
Just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix, you’ll find one of the area’s best hikes and most famous attractions: Camelback Mountain. There are two trails that ascend 1,420 feet to a summit, similar to that of the hump of a camel’s back (and thus where the name comes from) that offer 360-degree views of the city. Thousands of people travel here just to hike and for good reason. It’s right next to the Arcadia neighborhood and Paradise Valley – areas filled with tons of shopping, dining, bars, and more.
The Phoenician Spa
Arizona is synonymous with R&R and if you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation escape, book one (or more) of the many luxurious treatments at The Phoenician Spa. If you’re going to choose just one though, we recommend booking their famous Fire & Ice Massage, which combines warm and cool treatments to target all your tense muscles. Your day of indulgence doesn’t have to end there – spend the day at the rooftop pool reserved for spa guests only with stunning views of the full resort and Camelback Mountain. Continue your day of luxury by booking a private cabana and enjoying food from their tasty, healthy menu.
Old Town Scottsdale
You can easily spend multiple days inside the heart of the city. Located within 9 walkable neighborhoods, you’ll find endless amounts of restaurants, art galleries, nightclubs, public art installations, shops, hotels, and museums. Think western vibes meets urban chic. There are more than 100 restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Old Town to choose from but our favorites include: Hula’s Modern Tiki, Maple & Ash, Sushi Roku, The Canal Club, The Beverly, and CALA. When it comes to shopping, our best advice is just wander around the neighborhood and gravitate into whatever stores call your name. Grab a cup of coffee at Cartel Coffee, Sip Coffee & Beer House, or Press Coffee along the waterfront. If you’re more into juice and smoothies, there’s tons of options for you too – Healthy Shake, Juice Core, and Best Life Nutrition.
If you’re a cocktail connoisseur or just love a good fancy, inventive cocktail, you’ll be spending a night here. Century Grand is home to three historic inspired cocktail bars that serve specialty craft cocktails within immersive environments that will take you back in time. First, step aboard Platform 18 in a Presidential Pullman-inspired train car where guests will enjoy a virtual train ride through the Rocky Mountains. Choose a cocktail from their extensive list of 45+ different options. Seating is limited (36 seats) so be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
Next, hit up Grey Hen Rx, who’s theme is Inspired by New Orleans, the first city to license a professional pharmacist in the US. You’ll be fully engulfed within the experience as the environment features audio and lighting changes, loud noises, low visibility, and occasional haze and smoke. The menu features hand-selected fine spirits, elevated cocktails, and a specially curated selection of the best bourbons and whiskeys.
Lastly, enter UnderTow, a nautical-inspired cocktail bar serving tropical drinks in what feels like a sunken ship. Indulge in another sensory experience while sipping on world-class cocktails and rare rums from around the world.
FYI: they don’t offer any food service in any of the bars and encourage guests to visit one of the many restaurants in the area before or after experiencing Century Grand. All experiences are 90-minutes.
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