What makes a resort become a favorite? The one getaway you’ll never forget? Every traveler has a different take: Some love grand properties with elegant decor; others prefer small, cozy settings with a personal touch. Also in the mix: excellent cuisine, golf courses, relaxing spa packages and spectacular views. Favorite resorts are places you feel wistful to leave and vow to revisit. As a city that’s always been a great getaway, Phoenix dazzles with its wide variety of distinctive resorts—and the perfect one is waiting just for you.
With picturesque Camelback Mountain towering just to the south, the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia oozes all the Old World charm of a Spanish Andalusian village. Arched entryways open to colonnades decked out with pots of vibrant red, fuchsia and purple flowers, and gurgling fountains. Sun worshippers bask in the desert sun at the beautifully blue-and-white-tiled Kasbah pool. The exotic 31,000-square-foot Joya Spa and rooftop pool tantalizes the senses with rejuvenating massages, facials and manicures and pedicures. At the Spanish-inspired restaurant Prado, diners sample tapas and indulge in small plates of wood-fired meats, cheeses and marinated vegetables shared over a bottle of wine or sangria.
Some things just get better with age, like the Royal Palms Resort and Spa. It flaunts historic glam as a Spanish-style manse built in 1929 with courtyards, burbling fountains, bougainvillea-lined walkways, rustic doorways, hand-painted tiles and an orange grove fragrant with blossoms in spring. Its 119 guest accommodations, including six villas, 28 suites and 44 casitas, are rooms with a view in the foothills of Camelback Mountain. Guests pamper themselves with the Alvadora Spa’s signature Citrus Ritual, a full-body exfoliation on heated stone tables, followed by a massage and rinse in a raindrop shower. For more, there are daily yoga and tai chi classes in the Alegria Garden and Mediterranean fine dining at T. Cook’s.
Nestled within the landscape of an iconic Phoenix mountain with sweeping vistas, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa exudes Zen-like tranquility. Whether guests dine in Elements restaurant, sip on fresh cocktails in the chic Jade Bar or sit on their private casita patio, it’s the perfect place to soak in the bold orange, pink and violet hues of an Arizona sunset. Guests relax and recharge at Sanctuary Spa, indulging in luxurious indoor or outdoor treatments, soak in Arizona’s largest infinity-edge resort pool, venture off on nearby hiking and biking trails or escape for a private getaway in one of the resort’s mountain or spa casitas or six private residences.
Hollywood glitterati such as Marilyn Monroe, who sunbathed at the Catalina Pool, may be long gone, but the historic Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort retains the aura of a playground for the rich and famous. Designed by a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s a contemporary desert architectural marvel set on 39 lushly landscaped acres with glistening swimming pools near the foot of Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
In Phoenix, the words “luxury resort” and “family fun” fit comfortably in the same sentence. At The Phoenician, an iconic 250-acre resort at the base of Camelback Mountain, it’s all about breathtaking views, a championship 18-hole golf course, a newly renovated, award-winning, three-story spa with countless beauty and relaxation treatments, and fine dining at restaurants such as J&G Steakhouse. There’s no need to wake up early to usher the troops out the door for family fun, because it’s all here: entertaining splash pools and water slides; a game room with an arcade, video games and foosball tables; and even a trapeze for high-flying fun. Parents can enjoy a “night out” at one of the resort’s restaurants while their children play games or make crafts at the Funicians Club.
At Arizona Grand Resort, the Oasis Water Park, voted by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s top-10 water parks, offers chills and thrills with eight-story slides, a wave pool for surfers-in-training, the Zuni River—which mimics a natural river’s rolling effect—and private cabanas where parents can kick back and enjoy the show. For a fun Old West atmosphere, close-by Rustler’s Rooste, a Phoenix mountaintop landmark for nearly 50 years, offers spectacular Phoenix skyline sunset views, mesquite-broiled steaks and tongue-in-cheek humor, such as a live steer named “Horny the Bull” who resides outside the eatery’s old mineshaft.
There’s more fun in the sun at Arizona’s largest resort, JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. A lazy river ride and water slides, five sparkling pools and the Wildfire Golf Club, with its Palmer Signature and Faldo Championship courses, are part of the mix. Poolside, new private cabanas at Griffin Bay make guests feel pampered with cushioned chaise lounges and sectional seating, a cooling misting fan, TV with DIRECTV, complimentary Wi-Fi and a dedicated attendant. Parents can enjoy “me time” at the fitness center, upscale spa and salon or fine dining while their children play in the kids activity center.
Golf enthusiasts have flocked to The Wigwam, a historic 440-acre adobe-and-timber resort, since it was established in 1929 in Litchfield Park west of Phoenix. Here, golfers can choose among three 18-hole championship golf courses, including two designed by legendary English-American golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. The resort offers golf packages for everyone from families to longtime golf buddies.
At the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, the Camelback Golf Club features two 18-hole championship golf courses (including the 18-hole, 7,221-yard, par 72 Ambiente Course designed by Jason Straka), an award-winning golf shop, complete driving range, chipping and putting greens, 36,000-square foot clubhouse and lounge with outdoor patio and fireside seating overlooking Camelback Mountain.
The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass boasts a distinctly Native American flair with architecture and décor reflecting traditions of the Maricopa and Pima people. Here, guests indulge in Native treatments at the Aji Spa and fine dining at the only AAA Five Diamond/Forbes Five Star restaurant in Arizona, Kai (meaning “seed” in the Pima language). Some guests try their luck at a nearby casino, while others play a round of golf at the Whirlwind Golf Club, lounge poolside at one of four resort pools (one features an 111-foot water slide) or go horseback riding at the Koli Equestrian Center.
Sometimes you just need to chill. Westin Kierland Resort & Spa evokes relaxation, even before you step into Agave, The Arizona Spa, which offers rare, desert-inspired treatments and traditional therapies. The resort brings a fresh twist to Southwestern cuisine at Deseo, which serves Nuevo Latino food, and to golf at The Westin Kierland Golf Club, with rolling greens across 27 holes and a first-of-its-kind fleet of GolfBoards and golf bikes, Kierland TurfRiders and Segway golf. It’s all within walking distance to shop-until-you-drop Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter.Request a Free Meeting & Travel Planner Guide