February marks the return of two iconic sights to Scottsdale, Arizona: blossoms on towering saguaro in the Sonoran Desert and Major League Baseball players at spring training, known as the Cactus League. But this city in America’s most verdant desert is also blooming with newly renovated luxury resorts and chic hotels — the perfect launchpad from which
to explore the city’s many intriguing experiences, from midcentury modern architecture tours to moonlight yoga and mountain biking.
The Scott Resort & Spa
A short walk from the luxury boutiques of Scottsdale Fashion Square, the freshly refurbished Scott stands out with an eclectic style of its own: low-rise Mission-style buildings with interiors inspired by Bauhaus, midcentury modernism and Old Havana. The new 1,200-square-foot Presidential Suite includes unique touches such as a claw-foot bathtub, double-sided fireplace and three balconies overlooking sandy-bottomed La Playa Pool.
The Scott’s chic, Caribbean-themed Canal Club restaurant and lounge is a destination unto itself, with live music and dancing Thursdays, classic movies at dusk on Fridays and a tiki party on Saturdays. You also can dine poolside in a private cabana. From $559, thescottresort.com
Four Seasons Resort
Scottsdale at Troon North
While the giant granite boulders along the two 18-hole courses of the adjacent Troon North Golf Club may suggest “The Flintstones,” the resort’s newly renovated casitas, suites and public spaces boast decidedly contemporary design, including subtle earth tones and modern artworks. TVs on patios encourage outdoor cocooning, while 28-year-old chef Samantha Sanz tempts diners at her year-old Spanish steakhouse, Talavera.
From the resort, it’s just a seven-minute drive to recently created hiking and mountain biking trails through saguaro-studded Brown’s Ranch in the vast McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Arizona Outback Adventures (aoa-adventures.com) offers guided half-day tours from $112 per person. The resort is just a half hour from Taliesin West (franklloydwright.org/taliesin-west), Frank Lloyd Wright’s fascinating architectural school and former residence. February adds romantic evening tours ($45) to the regular daytime lineup ($35-$75).
From $639, fourseasons.com/scottsdale
Sanctuary on Camelback
Mountain Resort & Spa
Spas have always been excellent places to revitalize, but the recently redesigned Women’s Spa at this spectacular retreat offers the additional appeal of a quiet room. The mini-sanctuary offers 12 chaise lounges with luminescent privacy panels and tables for your teacup. The men’s spa has all-new neutral finishes and furnishings from Lynne Beyer, the same designer who remodeled the similarly tranquil Spa Casitas and Spa Suites in 2017.
Executive chef Beau MacMillan also has revitalized the culinary scene with Nirvana (nirvanafoodandwine.com), a food and wine festival in mid-April showcasing tequila and tortillas alongside Champagne and Michelin-starred chefs.
From $839, sanctuaryoncamelback.com
Once a hideaway for Hollywood stars, this resort was closed from 2004 until spring 2017, when it reopened with an all-new upscale boutique hotel, 42 furnished residences and Arizona’s only 18-hole, par-3 golf course. Colorful midcentury modern notes add warmth to the cool gray concrete, while diners have warmed to the exhibition kitchen and locally sourced cuisine of Hearth 61 restaurant. Known for its moonlight, sunrise, stand-up paddleboard and yoga classes in the shadow of Camelback Mountain, Mountain Shadows will host its first Wellness Weekend retreat Feb. 14-18, which will feature a variety of yoga and fitness classes, hikes, discussions, meals and drinks ($2,995 single occupancy, $3,795 double). From $549, mountainshadows.com
Lush green links amid craggy red rocks remain a signature part of the Scottsdale landscape. In November, the Phoenician Golf Club debuted its completely redesigned and resurfaced 18-hole course, navigated by new leather-upholstered golf carts and a remodeled clubhouse.
The Phoenician Tavern, an indoor-outdoor gastropub with views of the undulating course, will open March 1
on the clubhouse’s second floor.The improvements are part of the Phoenician’s $90 million renovation, which includes a dramatic new lobby lounge, a three-story spa and Drybar salon, a two-story athletic club, redesigned family pool with water playground and reappointed Canyon Suites, a hotel-within-a-hotel.
From $528, thephoenician.com
Hotel Valley Ho
Opened in 1956, this playful compound in the thick of Old Town Scottsdale fully embraces a midcentury modern heritage in its historical hotel, including an ebullient color scheme drawn from a box of ultrabright crayons. Airy suites in the more luxurious Tower, updated in fall 2017, reveal a coat of contemporary sophistication with notes of teal, gray and sepia. Last year, the hotel launched its Insider Mid-Century Tour of Scottsdale, a six-hour guided walking and driving exploration of key architectural examples that includes the Valley Ho, the neighboring district, lunch and two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes ($1,400 flat rate, with a three-hour mini version available for $700; book two weeks in advance.) From $549, hotelvalleyho.com