Scottsdale Rising

Writer Catherine Tse | March 3, 2017

With over 330 days of sunshine every year, Scottsdale, Arizona beckons with its steady, heady heat. During Hollywood’s golden era, Scottsdale was a natural extension to the playground of the stars, drawing the likes of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, who favoured hotel lounges and poolside parties. Decades later, ‘snowbirds’ – mostly Canadians escaping cold winters – and retirees discovered this nearby paradise with its sunny, semi-arid climate and palm-lined boulevards. Coming full circle, Scottsdale has once again piqued the interest of celebrities, with sightings of Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Jennifer Aniston frequently reported. The main draw this time? Spas.

This is spa country. The Greater Phoenix area (including Scottsdale) has over 400,000sqft of dedicated spa space. Many of these luxury spas and resorts routinely top every US and international ‘best of’ spa list. Combined with a magnificent food scene and a charming, warm Southwest aesthetic, Scottsdale is becoming a top destination for those seeking serious pampering.

When planning your trip, keep in mind this area is in the Sonoran Desert – it’s hot. Peak season is usually from November through March. But if soaring temperatures don’t bother you, coming in the summer will fetch you a great deal as many resorts reduce prices dramatically during this time. Golf carts are a given at these expansive properties, so you’ll never be out in the open sun longer than you choose to. Bring a bathing suit to your spa treatment and plan on going early and staying late to make the most of the spectacular amenities at these luxurious resorts.

Well & Being Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Located on 65 acres, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is an enormous property with more luxury amenities than you could possibly experience in a single visit. It’s no wonder that many people make this an annual destination. This AAA Five Diamond resort completed a multi-year long US$60 million renovation that finished in 2016. Not to miss are the two Tournament Players Club golf courses, the five heated outdoor pools (one with waterslides, another with a real sand beach) and La Hacienda, often cited as Scottsdale’s best Mexican restaurant.

Well & Being Spa’s signature body treatment, the hour-long Hacienda Retreat, begins with a yellow corn and lime body polish to exfoliate, followed by a deeply hydrating mask of shea butter with scented lime zest, spearmint and lemon, ending with a massage to help the nutrients and antioxidants permeate into your skin.

Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia

Inspired by the Andalusia region in Spain, the Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia is an intimate, picturesque property dotted with lively fountains and floral walkways. This is where former US President, Barack Obama was based when he visited in February 2009.

The resort’s Joya Spa is modelled after Moroccan hammams, rich in deep, earthy colours and exotic with Moorish flourishes. Treatment rooms feel as if they’re extensions of a plush bedroom lavishly decorated with jewel-toned throws and pillows. Indulge in the 80-minute Arnica and Hot Towel Massage, a deep-tissue massage using essential oils of arnica, sage, lavender and spearmint, to help soothe inflamed, sore muscles. As the massage progresses, a series of hot towels are placed over the treated areas, promoting the extracts’ healing properties.

Spa at Boulders Resort & Spa

Technically located in the town of Carefree, that says it all. Boulders is nestled amongst dramatic, towering boulders dating back 12 million years. The profile is relatively low-level upon arriving, with the golf course across from the main building. But once you wind your way to your casita, the enormous boulders are centre stage. The impact leaves you feeling both humbled, thrilled and exhilaratingly carefree.

Boulders is one of the very few resorts in the US that has a dedicated, private Watsu pool, in which the water offers both resistance and support, making it an incredibly healing environment. This kind of gentle aquatic bodywork is ideal for anyone looking for a safe, intense treatment focused on increasing circulation and flexibility. You are supported by a certified Watsu therapist at all times, being pulled through the water in undulating, organic movements. You’ll get the most out of this treatment if you trust your therapist and completely relax your body.

Many of these luxury spas and resorts routinely top every US and international ‘best of’ spa list