A luxury guide to Scottsdale, Arizona

| Main image, courtesy of Sarah in Scottsdale for Flytographer

Scottsdale is hot, and not from the desert. The city is one of the world’s most exciting luxury travel destinations. Here you’ll find coveted AAA Five Diamond award-winning hotels (and equally acclaimed spas and restaurants), sports cars crushing desert dust at distant sunset, and adrenaline-pumping activities that are a must have. bucket list item for many. There is something in Scottsdale for every type of traveler. For those looking for the finer things, we discover the best of what this cultural capital has to offer.

Range Rover along the mountains

The best way to get through the mountains is through the Range Rover Sport, a classic Land Rover with an edge. Book the vehicle via Go to rental. This ongoing service will see a dedicated member of the concierge monitor your arrival and dispose of the vehicle curbside as soon as you exit the aircraft or the arrival gate. Return is just as much a snap – all in-person rental procedures are tiny so customers can focus on free time at the airport rather than gasoline or filling out forms. Go Rentals is a family business founded by two brothers two decades ago. Today, they operate across the country in more than 80 airports and five-star hotels. It’s also the only car rental company that deals with the private jet and luxury hotel industry (don’t worry, commercial airlines are covered as well). In addition to Land Rovers, customers can also choose from luxury cars from Ferrari, Porsches and Bentleys.

At the foot of Camelback Mountain, The Phoenician is a gorgeous getaway just a short distance from all the action of Old Town. Image courtesy of The Phoenician.

Sleep at the Phoenician

Rely on a Scottsdale legend: The Phoenician. The award-winning resort is beautifully perched on Camelback Mountain, shrouded by the Sonoran Desert, meaning no matter where you are, the views won’t disappoint. Rooms and suites transport guests to a distant world, with warm tones and rich hues of the surrounding desert incorporated into their design for a glamorous beach club vibe. Marble bathrooms, signature bathrobes, and plush King beds complete your nighttime bliss. As the sun rises, treat yourself to breakfast at their modern American restaurant, Mowry & Cotton, then stroll to your private poolside cabana for a shade and sun dance (in the company of a margarita, maybe?). The range of on-site amenities is extensive, so be sure to allow plenty of time for resort recreation; their magnificent 18-hole golf course and shops are not to be missed.

ATV in Scottsdale, AZ
The mountain bike ride is exhilarating. Image courtesy of Chase Dorsett.

Cover the bases

After a good night’s sleep, spend the first day covering the basics. Start by locating yourself with the local family business JoyRides AZ Scottsdale Tours. You’re driven through the Old Town in an open-top electric vehicle and receive valuable insider knowledge on everything from its hidden gems and must-sees to the best places to take photos. After that, take a walk in the Scottsdale Museum of the West for exhibits relating to the American West, and if the weather is nice (which is usually the case most of the year) then check out the finest collection of arid desert plants from around the world at Desert botanical garden. Basically, this is the place to see the finest cacti and more, with great trails, tours, seasonal exhibits, family-friendly activities, and an adorable on-site plant shop.

Time for an adrenaline rush

Being outdoors, Scottsdale is for more than thrill seekers. So now that you have explored the gardens, museums and wonders of the old town, it is time to go on an adventure. Overcome pre-existing fears of heights and soar over the sky with Rainbow Ryders, Inc, the first hot-air balloon company in the South-West for more than 40 years. Their headquarters are in Phoenix but there are outposts in Albuquerque and Colorado Springs. Here you can choose between a sunrise or sunset flight (weather permitting) over the majestic Sonoran Desert. We recommend that you hire a professional vacation photographer from Flytograph to capture the moment you take off. Rainbow Ryders are happy to help with the floor shots, but nothing beats a high end souvenir from this to-do list moment. Simply select a local photographer, tell him where to meet and he will receive a gallery of memorabilia delivered within five days. For those who want to get a bit dirty, how about a guided ATV / UTV tour, traversing the valleys with Stellar adventures? Their experts will modify each ride based on comfort and capacity, so no sweat if you prefer to go slow (or fast).

Treat yourself to gourmet paradise

For those who travel to sample culinary delights, you are going to feast on a big and juicy treat. Scottsdale has all the makings for a delicious time. During the day, The mission is our go-to for Latin cuisine with a brilliant take on brunch, and for the health conscious, The herb boxThe Vegan Nosh Board should do the trick. In terms of high-end catering, Fatty beef is an Italian holiday. Come hungry, because everything on the share menu is worth a bite, from homemade pasta to flamboyant cuts of quality steak, poultry and seafood, slowly roasted over local mesquite in a custom wood-burning grill and rotisserie. Don’t forget the Italian wine. Then you have the exquisite elements at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. Climb romantic garden steps to a chic candlelit space overlooking Paradise Valley. Their farm-fresh American dishes are innovative with Asian accents for a truly sumptuous experience (think: Udon Pumpkin Curry, Miso Glazed Wild Salmon, and Wagyu Beef & Ginger Dumplings from their seasonal menu). Finally, are you looking to hit the city? To hit Modern Tiki from HULA for bites and cocktails with a tiki twist.

Joya Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona
The ultimate rejuvenation after a weekend of Scottsdale adventures can be found at the bright Joya Spa, a sanctuary at the Omni Scottsdale, which is also worth a stay. Image courtesy of Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.

Pamper yourself at Joya (then sleep Omni style)

Where to end the trip? We recommend a spa. A Moroccan dream cave awaits you at Spa Joya at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Montelucia. Here, you’ll wander through an enchanted property with European touches, before checking in to their 31,000 square foot treatment paradise. It doesn’t stop at the treatment – reservations allow use of spa amenities such as the Joya Spa terrace, sauna, steam room, and hot tub. For those who choose to stay on the property, make the most of the sunny Arizona skies at one of their wonderful collection of swimming pools, restaurants with outdoor seating, and, of course, rooms with private terraces or balconies. The Omni certainly knows how to build an indoor and outdoor sanctuary that foams with luxury R&R.

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