With all of the ever changing guidelines of traveling out of the United States, Scottsdale, Arizona is just the right choice when you need that sun-filled vacation with endless amounts of activities for you and your family, or just need that right spot to relax and recharge with an adults only spa trip, as well as everything in between. It also helps that the Phoenix airport is a quick 15-20 minute ride from Scottsdale making it extremely convenient to get to.
Last month we visited the beautiful destination and although I had all expectations for it to be breathtaking, I really expected it to be a place that you would go for a health and wellness trip, which of course there is no lack of. I had no idea there were so many other things to keep you busy if you wanted a true adventure on your vacation.
Since we were in Scottsdale for work we spent many days touring different resorts in the area , one more beautiful than the next. There is no shortage of amazing hotels here, but there is something for each and every demographic and the resorts do differ. While I won't be touching on each property we toured in this specific blog, you can find all of our property and room tours on our YouTube channel by clicking here.
One of the areas I was most surprised at during our time here was the Old Town district of Scottsdale. By the name alone I just assumed it would cater to an old western type fan clientele. Although there is some of that left which is charming, I found myself getting way more of a Beverley Hills and West Hollywood type vibe in this area. This made me smile because we love visiting California and due to their current state of safety and health precautions we are prevented from visiting right now. From upscale shopping experiences at places that sell Rolex watches, to a wide array of awesome bars, numerous art galleries, and dining in neat historic places like the Old Town Tortilla Factory that is a southwestern restaurant built from an historic 75-year old Scottsdale adobe home you can spend nearly the whole day and evening enjoying Old Town. There are a few really awesome hotels here that make it very convenient to enjoy your time . One being the Hotel Valley Ho and it comes as no surprise that this hotel gives off that West Hollywood feel because it has a large past of celebrities that frequented the hotel. Hotel Valley Ho hosted stars like Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, and Zsa Zsa Gabor, among others. Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood even celebrated their wedding reception at the hotel! Another great option for the millennial crowd is the brand new Canopy by Hilton which is home to the Outrider Rooftop Lounge with some of the best views in Arizona. Here you can wonder at Cambleback Mountain and even see the Phoenician Resort from the rooftop while sipping on a craft made cocktail or having a swim in their rooftop pool.
While we were visiting Old Town, we enjoyed the Urban Historic Tour with JoyRidesAZ Scottsdale Tours which covers all 6 districts and the city's history as well as learning about many of the local hotspots. I highly recommend this tour even if your going to be staying in Old Town at a local hotel. The tour is conducted in an open air golf cart done by a husband and wife team that are extremely knowledgeable about the area. This way you get the feel for everything Old Town has to offer you while you are visiting. Your Starstuff Planner can help book this tour among many other great ones this company provides.
Another great activity we took part in was an ATV/UTV tour through the Sonoran Desert with Stellar Adventures. This company really takes pride in what they offer and we had a great time with them. There were quite a few of us older women in the group and we all felt comfortable enough to take part in this neat adventure. They really went into great detail explaining exactly what to do, what to look out for, and covered all of the safety precautions with us. After reviewing all of the procedures and doing some practice rides on our ATVs we went deep into the Tonto National Forest and drove around the desert for two hours. Our guide Chad even stopped numerous times along the way to snap our pictures so we did not have to worry about bringing a camera on our adventure. This is another activity your Starstuff Travel Planner can set up for you. Stellar Adventures can even pick you up from your hotel for an additional fee if you do not want to drive to the trail head. They also offer many other neat tours like Stargazing with Night Vision with very knowledgeable guides where you can catch a glimpse of the moon, Venus, Mars, maybe see binary stars and learn about various constellations. But the most mind-blowing part is possibly viewing planets like Saturn, including the planet's rings, and Jupiter through the guides telescope. While they do not guarantee it, it is also a possibility the deserts wildlife may make an appearance at night when the sun goes down.
With all of this running around, you bet we were excited to hit the spas (even if we did not have time to utilize them ourselves) they were still great to learn more about. One of our favorite spas from our many tours was the Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, and we are not alone, they have been recognized as one of USA Today's "10 Best" Readers Choice Top 10 Winner Best Hotel Spa. If your feeling adventurous they even have aerial hammock yoga! I have not yet tried it myself, but I have been told even the most novice of yoga fans is capable of participating in this.
We saved the best for last, our sunrise hot air balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders. This truly is a bucket list activity and it may be a bucket list activity I do again and again and again. You do need to rise and shine pretty early to take advantage of this peaceful flight, but it is well worth getting out of bed for. After a brief time in their office where you sign your waivers, they put you in a van and drive you to the location where you will watch them prepare everything before you take off. The guys are all extremely friendly, and if you have any fears or anxiety they squash them for you right away with how warm and funny they are. The balloon ride is absolutely serene and any stress you have melts away for the moment while you just marvel in how beautiful the world actually is. After you land you get to enjoy a champagne toast before heading back to their office where they present you with a flight certificate. This is definitely a "pinch yourself" activity to make sure your not dreaming.
Even though we were visiting Scottsdale for work, it left such an impression on us that we decided to go back in just two months with our own family for a true vacation. The diversity of what Scottsdale has to offer is unlike many other destinations. There is something for every single demographic. If it was not on your list of places to visit before this blog it should be on your list now. The ease of traveling here because you are not leaving the United States is also very helpful in todays world. As a travel professional we have the ability to visit pretty much anywhere we would like to but there is no where we would rather be then in Scottsdale, Arizona.
To learn more about the area or book your next vacation, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner by clicking here.
*Thank you to Starstuff Travel Planner Nicole Miller for use of a few of her photos.