Arizona’s most magnificent resorts offer an ideal tranquil oasis, filled with luxurious amenities that provide the perfect respite from the hectic pace of life, whether you want to golf, indulge in spa treatments, enjoy fine food, lounge alongside a beautiful swimming pool, or, perhaps all of the above.
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Natural beauty surrounds you at this elegant resort modeled after a French country inn, made up of private hillside units with breathtaking views and cozy cottages in the woods on the banks of Oak Creek in the heart of Red Rock Country. While it’s close to Sedona’s main street, as it’s tucked away in an especially tranquil setting, you’ll feel as if you’re worlds away. Creekside cottages boast wood-burning fireplaces and outdoor cedar showers, while the contemporary guest rooms are equipped with balconies or patios along with wood furnishings that combine to give it a rustic feel, albeit with high-end, modern amenities. The resort’s French restaurant is known as one of the most romantic eateries in the state, offering amazing French-inspired cuisine and beautiful creek views, while the Creekside patio bar is a great place to sip cocktails.
The most sophisticated and exclusive of Tucson’s golf and tennis resorts is nestled in the rolling hills of Marana. Set across 850 acres about 20 miles northwest of central Tucson, the posh Ritz-Carlton boasts 20 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as a beautiful spa and a restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating, serving southwestern cuisine focused on local ingredients along with magnificent desert views. Guests also have access to two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses at Dove Mountain. The resort’s design showcases local geology, using woods, stones, flora, gems, minerals and the colors of the Sonoran Desert, while rooms feature cooper accents, crystals and colorful geodes as well as Tortolita Foothills and Wild Burro Canyon vistas.The resort also highlights the indigenous people of the region with a library featuring books on the area’s cultural and natural history, Native American art and an outdoor sunset celebration every evening that includes a Native American flutist.
This 250-acre resort has been referred to as the “Xanadu of the resort world.” It’s brimming with elegant touches throughout, including lots of crystal, marble and works of art, while staff provides extraordinary service and Camelback Mountain looms above the property’s lush grounds filled with koi ponds, waterfalls, palms and green landscaping set against the rugged backdrop. The hotel boasts 643 spacious guest rooms, 119 casitas, 62 luxurious suites and 4 presidential suites. Standard amenities include private balconies or patios, lavish bathrooms with Roman oval tubs, robes and high-end toiletries as well as 40” LCD TVs, 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and nightly turndown service.
A host of activities also await, including the chance to play a round on the USGA 27-hole golf course, a match on one of 11 tennis courts with various services or take a scenic stroll in the winding cactus garden. Enjoy treatments at the spa and relaxing at the pool complex that includes seven pools and nine pool attendants who will regularly deliver pitchers of ice water and towels. Guests can also choose from ten different restaurants when hunger pants hit.
One of the most luxurious resorts in the Phoenix area, the Four Seasons sits 1,000 feet above downtown Scottsdale amid a jumble of massive granite boulders in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak. It was designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape, with accommodations arranged as one- and two-story casitas, all with plush furnishings, bright décor in a palette that mirrors the tones of the Sonoran Desert and high-end amenities, including an adobe-style gas fireplace, huge comfy beds, a private balcony and stunning sunset views. Suites also include outdoor garden showers, private plunge pools and telescopes. You can spend your days at one of the state’s top golf courses, located right next door, being pampered at the spa, reading a good book next to a spectacularly beautiful pool and dining at four onsite restaurants, including Proof, featuring classic southern cuisine like chicken and waffles as well as fried green tomatoes.
The Andalucian-themed Montelucia, set at the foot of Cambelback Mountain, draws on Spain’s legendary Alhambra for architectural inspiration. It makes for an especially attractive blend between the arid landscape of Spain and the Sonoran Desert, with a beautiful mix of intimate courtyards, Moorish geometric patterns and dark woods, though the highlight is the out-of-this-world view of fiery Camelback Mountain, most notably as the sun goes down. Guests also enjoy fine dining onsite, with décor and the menu inspired by the soul and flavors of Andalusia, while showcasing healthy, fresh ingredients. Its Joya Spa offers Arizona’s only authentic Hammam, while the myriad of radiant pools provide even more magnificent views the mountain.
The 293 luxuriously appointed guestrooms feature private patios or balconies with a chaise lounge, high-tech amenities like iPod docking stations and 42” flat-screen TVs, custom designed Devine beds with Egyptian cotton 300-count sheets and a luxurious bathroom with a sunken tub and dual-head shower.
Located in an awe-inspiring setting just a few miles outside Sedona in Boynton Canyon, this unforgettable luxury resort is also renowned for its spa, Mii Amo, a world-class destination spa to which guests have exclusive privileges for treatments inspired by the wisdom and traditions of Native Americans, aimed at achieving balance and harmony. Rooms and suites are nestled in small pueblo-style buildings, all featuring private decks, amazing views and beehive gas fireplaces. Activity options are practically endless, including mountain biking and hiking, swimming, golf, cooking classes, yoga, meditation and much more.
Considered one of the Southwest’s top resorts for almost a decade, this modern luxury resort impresses high-profile guests with its lavish spa, top-of-the-line cuisine and spectacular rooms in light stucco buildings and casitas in classic Sonoran design, terraced within the north slope of Camelback Mountain. Each includes a modern interior with lots of elegant details and extraordinary views. Some even boast outdoor tubs. It also happens to have Scottsdale’s most desirable location, overlooking the desert and Praying Monk Rock rather than suburban sprawl. Dining at Elements, you’ll enjoy fresh, locally sourced American fare with Asian accents while taking in more gorgeous views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The infinity-edge pool, Zen meditation garden, and Sanctuary Spa make it a true haven for relaxation.
Rancho de los Caballeros, Wickenburg
If you’re looking for a luxurious ranch-style resort, Rancho de los Caballeros offers an ideal retreat in the heart of the Old Southwest, about an hour northwest of Phoenix. Enjoy 20,000 acres of lush open range, along with 100 saddle horses for riding the rugged trails, while golf enthusiasts can enjoy playing at one of the Top 100 courses in the U.S. The long list of other options include taking a hot air balloon ride, exploring the desert via a jeep, ATV or mountain bike tour, embarking on a guided nature hike or just enjoying a leisurely swim. After a long day of play, indulge in spa treatments that feature local desert ingredients and fill your appetite at cookout feasts, complete with fine wine. When you’re ready to retreat to your casita, you’ll find handcrafted furnishings and artifacts along with private patios to take in the tranquility of the outdoors.
Located in posh Gainey Ranch, here it’s easy to imagine that you’ve escaped to an ocean-side resort instead of the desert. You’ll be shaded by soaring palms, surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens and paths as well as lots of water just about everywhere you look, including a lagoon, waterfalls, a three-story waterslide and a beach. If you don’t want to get wet, you can even take a gondola ride along the waterways. While it might be hard to tear yourself away from the pools, you can play a round or two at one of three golf courses at nearby Gainey Ranch Golf Club or treat yourself to a massage at the Spa Avania. When it’s time to dine you’ll find several onsite options as well as nightly entertainment. This property with a tropical oasis meets Aztec palace feel offers chic and spacious rooms too, each including an iPod docking station, a private patio or balcony and a flat-screen TV.
The Phoenix Open puts this beautiful 450-acre resort with Moorish styling and a multitude of fountains and waterfalls in the spotlight every year, taking over the property’s two golf courses, yet it’s popular all year round. The Fairmont Scottsdale draws visitors with its luxurious spa, renowned as one of the best in the country, an excellent modern steakhouse, Chef Michael Mina’s BOURBON STEAK and five huge swimming pools, including a dramatic rooftop pool. Spacious guest rooms done up in a chic blend of contemporary styles with earthy hues are equipped with wet bars, deep-soaking tubs in an oversized bathroom and private patios or balconies that overlook the spectacular desert landscape.
Tucson’s most dramatic resort, and one of the most luxurious of all the big resorts in the region, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is set at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains offering especially picturesque views. A waterfall is just steps away from the lobby and wildlife sightings are common too, including deer, coyote and great horned owls. The resort also features two sprawling pools, one an adults-only pool, as well as two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, lighted tennis courts and a scenic walking trail. Dining options include Southwestern fare at the Flying V Grill as well as poolside snacks at Bill’s Grill. Rooms are beautifully furnished, featuring muted earth tones and even a bathroom with a mini-flat-screen TV and a double-wide tub.
The Royal Palms Resort and Spa offers an intimate, luxurious atmosphere and impeccable service that tends to attract quite a few VIPs, including former president George W. Bush. The Mediterranean-style resort welcomes guests with a row of namesake palms at its entrance, with guest rooms that appear to belong in a very upscale Southwestern estate. Deluxe suites, casitas and villas are all different, yet follow one of three styles: romantic retreat, Spanish colonial or trompe-l’oeil. All boast vibrant, jewel-toned décor, hand-selected furnishings and deep soaking tubs. Relieve stress at the open-air Alvadora Spa with its heavenly outdoor rain shower and dine at T. Cook’s, with a menu focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients and bold flavors.
This high-end resort is known as one of the best in the nation. Its casitas overlook miles and miles of rugged mountains and cacti, while it sits hidden amid hill-size granite boulders and the lush Sonoran desert. Nestled against the rocks, the casitas feature curved, pueblo-style half walls and exposed log-beam ceilings along with a private balcony or patio, all with a view, a wood-burning fireplace and a large bathroom with a deep soaking tub. Its Waldorf Astoria spa is renowned as one of the top spas in Arizona. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round on one of two courses, while those who want to relax will find four beautiful swimming pools to lounge alongside. There are six restaurant options, with innovative menus featuring south of the border, classic American and southwestern-inspired cuisine.
This AAA Four Diamond boutique resort is tucked high atop a mountain ridge above Scottsdale, offering spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert and the McDowell Mountains, with its remote location providing a high level of privacy too. Dine at a mouthwatering restaurant, award-winning Alchemy, serving dishes based on fresh, local ingredients in a stunning atmosphere with floor-to-ceiling glass panels that open to reveal awe-inspiring vistas.
Guests also enjoy swimming in one of two azure pools, working out at the massive, 5,000-square-foot health club and indulging in one of Arizona’s best spas. Oversized guestrooms and villas boast hand-crafted furnishings, granite counters, a cozy fireplace, custom linens and a private terrace overlooking serene desert vistas. Although there isn’t a golf course on site, the helpful concierge will be glad to set you up with a tee time at one nearby.