When you think of Arizona, you probably think of Senator John McCain, the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!), and some pretty great Mexican food.
You might not think of incredible resorts, and that would be your folly.
One of the most luxurious resorts in Arizona is the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale. When I say luxury, I mean luxury. Southwest style, which means leave your indoor hallways and stuffy attire at home.
I mean entire cities built of rosy terra cotta, with outside hallways filled with cozy love-seats and wicker tables, perfect to bask in the sun with a cocktail or a good book. It is more like owning your own summer palace than staying in a snooty hotel – feel free to take your socks off and feel the warmth of the pink stone under your sun-starved feet. The weather here is always lovely, especially when fleeing the cold and wet northeastern winter.
Even the most basic rooms here are breezy and luxurious, with decadent linens, bathrooms with spa showers and large whirlpool tubs, and often small balconies where you can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to desert birds awaken in the morning.
The feel of the rooms, casual but upscale, echos that of the resort – this is a place to bring families and relax with old friends, a place where you need not where makeup or even high heels are needed for dinner. This air of relaxed luxury is one that is really only found in the southwest.
When you do bring your nieces and nephews here, be sure to check out some of the many pools in this fabulous resort - big ones, small ones, kiddie ones, and even a special one reserved for spa guests. Water slides, splash zones, and cushy deck chairs surround all the pool areas. Though the vibe here is jovial and family friendly, there is always a server ready to take your order for a plate of nachos or a margarita. Word to the wise: all the margaritas at this hotel are top notch. Freshly squeezed juices, agave syrup, and top of the line alcohol properly mixed or blended to slushy-like happiness.
The Willow Stream Spa is an other worldly experience. You exit the realm of kids and swimming pools and enter total tranquility. Peace. Calming pools and aromatherapy saunas and outdoor atriums with herbal teas and freshly made muffins. There is a private pool, a reflecting garden with serene music, and…
This. A waterfall jacuzzi where the water pounds on your back and shoulders, gently beating stress out of your body. It’s literally impossible to leave this place with any stress.
As a neurotic Jew, I maintain that one cannot overestimate the joy of having even 15 minutes totally stress free.
The food at La Hacienda is just another magnificent aspect of this hotel. High end Mexican cuisine that is flavorful and inventive while also being seasonal and authentic to the flavor profile of Mexican food.
Richard Sandoval’s guacamole with carnitas is a buttery, porky revelation, and be sure to try the herb crusted filet mignon. Tender, meaty, lean, and full of spicy, smoky flavors.
The service throughout the resort is excellent – friendly and social without being in your face. You questions are answered with a smile, your needs are quickly and courteously addressed, and your surroundings could not be more beautiful. If this hotel were in NYC, it would be outrageously expensive. Though this is not a budget hotel, it is incredibly reasonable for the experience that you get. The resort is large and expertly maintained, there is a world-class golf course on site, and it is near many shopping centers and restaurants. I can’t recommend this resort enough, and hope that it is what you think of when you think of Arizona.
It’s certainly more fun to associate Arizona with the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort than with John McCain
Disclaimer: I received a media rate for my stay at this hotel.