| Main Image, Courtesy of Sarah in Scottsdale for Flytographer
Scottsdale is hot, and not because of the desert. The city is one of the world’s most exciting destinations for luxury travel. You’ll find here coveted AAA Five Diamond awarded hotels (and equally heralded spas and dining within them), sports cars crushing desert dust in the faraway sunset, and adrenaline-rush activities that are a bucket list item for many. There is something in Scottsdale for every kind of traveler. For those in search of the finer things, we uncover the best of what this cultural capital has to offer.
Range Rover it along the mountains
The best way to whip past the mountains is via Range Rover Sport, a classic Land Rover with an edge. Book the vehicle via Go Rentals. This seamless service will see a dedicated concierge member monitor your arrival and have the vehicle curbside as soon as you exit the plane or arrival gate. Returning is just as much a breeze – all in-person rental procedures are minuscule so guests can focus on enjoying airport free time rather than gas or form filling. Go Rentals is a family-owned business founded by two brothers, two decades ago. Today they operate all over the country at over 80 airports and five-star hotels. They are also the only rental car company catering to the private jet industry and fine hotels (don’t worry, commercial airlines are also covered). In addition to Land Rovers, guests can also choose from luxury automobiles from Ferrari, Porsche, and Bentley.
Sleep at The Phoenician
Rest your heads at a Scottsdale legend: The Phoenician. The award-winning resort is perched beautifully at Camelback Mountain, enveloped by the Sonoran Desert, meaning that no matter where you’re standing, the views do not disappoint. Guestrooms and suites transport guests a world away, with warm tones and rich hues of the surrounding desert incorporated into their design for a glamorous beach-club vibe. Marble bathrooms, signature robes, and plush King beds complete your nocturnal bliss. At sunrise, treat yourself to breakfast at their Modern American restaurant, Mowry & Cotton, then wander to your private poolside cabana for a dance of shade and sun (in the company of a margarita, perhaps?). The range of on-site amenities is vast, so be sure to factor in ample time for resort recreation; their glorious 18-hole golf course and boutique shops are not to be missed.
Cover the Basics
After a good night’s rest, spend day one covering the essentials. Start by getting your bearings with the local family-owned JoyRides AZ Scottsdale Tours. You’re driven around Old Town by open-air electrical vehicle and given valuable insider knowledge on everything from its hidden gems, to the must-dos to the best spots to take photos. After that, stroll over to the Scottsdale Museum of the West to discover exhibitions relating to the American West, and if the weather’s nice (which it usually is most of the year) then go see the finest collection of arid-land plants from deserts around in the world at the Desert Botanical Garden. Basically, this is where to see the most beautiful cacti and more, with stunning trails, tours, seasonal exhibits, family activities, and an adorable plant shop on site.
Time for an Adrenalin Rush
Being out in the great open outdoors, Scottsdale more than caters to thrill-seekers. So now that you’ve explored the gardens, the museums, and wonders of Old Town, it’s time to get adventurous. Conquer pre-existing fears of heights and soar through the sky with Rainbow Ryders, Inc, the top hot air balloon business in the Southwest for over 40 years. Their headquarters are in Phoenix but there are outposts in Albuquerque and Colorado Springs. Here, you can choose between a sunrise or a sunset flight (weather permitting) over the majestic Sonoran Desert. We recommend hiring a professional vacation photographer from Flytographer to capture the moment you lift off. Rainbow Ryders is happy to assist with snaps on the ground, but nothing beats a premium memento of this bucket list moment. Simply select a local photographer, tell them where to meet, and they’ll have a gallery of keepsakes delivered within five days, so all you need to do is focus on the champagne mimosas upon landing (and the sky-high views). For those down for getting a little dirty, how about a guided ATV/UTV tour, zipping through the valleys with Stellar Adventures? Their experts will modify each ride depending on comfort and ability, so no sweat if you prefer to go slow (or fast).
Feast in Foodie Heaven
For those that travel to sample culinary delights, you’re in for a big, juicy, treat. Scottsdale has every ingredient for a delectable time. In the day, The Mission is our go-to for Latin cuisine with a brilliant take on brunch, and for the health-conscious, The Herb Box’s Vegan Nosh Board should do the trick. In terms of upscale dining, Fat Ox is an Italian feast. Come hungry, because everything on the shareable menu is worth a bite, from house-made pasta to buckling cuts of prime steak, poultry, and seafood, slow-roasted over local mesquite inside a custom wood-burning grill and rotisserie. Don’t forget the Italian wine. Then you have the exquisite elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. Climb up the romantic garden steps to a chic candlelit space overlooking Paradise Valley. Their farm-fresh American dishes are innovatively Asian-accented for a truly sumptuous experience (think: Udon Pumpkin Curry, Miso Glazed Wild Salmon, and Wagyu Beef & Ginger dumplings from their seasonal menu). Finally, looking to hit the town? Hit up HULA’s Modern Tiki for bites and cocktails with a tiki twist.
Get pampered at Joya (then sleep Omni-style)
Where to end the trip? We recommend a spa resort. A Morrocan cave of dreams awaits at Joya Spa at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Montelucia. Here you’ll wander a whole property charmed with European touches, before checking in to their 31,000 sq ft pamper paradise. It doesn’t end at the treatment – bookings allow for use of spa amenities such as the Joya Spa terrace, sauna, steam room, and whirlpool. For those who choose to stay on property, make the most of Arizona’s sunny skies out on one of their wonderful collection of pools, outdoor patio restaurants, and of course, guestrooms with private patios or balconies. The Omni certainly knows how to build both an indoor and outdoor sanctuary that foams with luxe R&R.