You are driving windows down along the highway at a comfortable 70-degree temperature. To your right, the remarkable beauty of the Sonoran Desert’s mountain range erupts above ground, a land where sunsets rival any on the planet. The air is a little crisper, a little lighter and breathing is a little easier, and you feel yourself let go of daily worries and checklists. As you make your way to the resort where you are staying tonight for dinner, the light fades a little faster and the outline of the majestic Saguaro cactuses contrasts against the landscape. You’ve found yourself in Scottsdale, Arizona.
If you are on the lookout for some pampering this winter, or to simply want to start 2020 on the right foot, Scottsdale’s more than 50 resorts and day spas offer up a variety of ways to get back your Zen. The city itself offers a myriad of ways to pick up or enforce your tried and true wellness routine. And recently, it emerged as a true wellness destination with a prodigious list of spas, hotels, outdoor action, temperate weather, food and scenery. So that is why we headed to the desert — to try Sonoran Desert-inspired indulgences, Native American healing techniques, and report back on how to do wellness right in the wild, wild west.
If you want to be away from it all, while also in the middle of everything, Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Bungalows offers 185 bungalow-style rooms assembled in clusters, with meandering paths that connect them with outdoor fire pits, courtyards and hammocks, right at the base of Camelback Mountain, the city’s Northern star. The spacious rooms are surprisingly quiet, given that they are typically only joined with another on one wall. The resort is amazing for those that like to be outdoors because it houses expansive lawns, outdoor relaxation lounges, and it is all one-level, so you can never miss the views of the mountains and the sky. Plus, the décor is artsy and eclectic, making it the perfect place for an Insta-worthy experience.
But if you are looking for a truly health-conscious approach, opt for CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa, the city’s first wellness resort, which is tucked away in the northern part of Scottsdale, in a town fittingly named, Carefree. The resort offers daily movement and fitness classes that are included with your stay — like morning hikes and yoga. The state-of-the-art spa offers a wide range of treatments of which the Gemstone Beauty Ritual Facial is a stand-out, using a custom blend of ANDA Skincare products that are derived from hardy desert plants like prickly pear and aloe. To top things off, its Aqua Vitality Circuit offers the opportunity to “take the waters” with a Kneipp walk, Sanarium and cold deluge. You can also take interactive workshops, like juicing, with a health coach. Over the weekend of May 29-31, the resort is also hosting a two-day Nourishing Spirit, Mind and Body 2020 Retreat.
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Part of every CIVANA experience is an invitation for guests to join us in a daily ceremony where we begin by guiding you towards acknowledging and understanding your intention for the day and end the day together reflecting on what you are grateful for. #simplicityofself #wellnessretreat #healingarts #spa #mindfulness #gratitude #vacation #travel #arizona #civana
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If you’re in search of more sophisticated luxury, The Phoenician Scottsdale is a perfect choice. In 2018, it revealed its biggest renovation yet, focusing on The Phoenician Spa. Its newly constructed, three-story spa features a rooftop pool with 360-degree views of the resort, a fireplace with lounge area, outdoor showers, Arizona’s only in-resort Drybar and more. The Body and Soul massage is a classic signature relaxation massage that will please all seasoned spa connoisseurs. The surrounding areas are pristine, and evocative of grandeur, full of tall ceilings, soaring windows, and earthy finishes throughout a bright and airy layout.
Farm + Craft near Old Town offers a health-conscious menu featuring protein pancakes, açai bowls and egg white scrambles for breakfast, and items like vegan bành mí, grass-fed burgers and salmon poké bowls for lunch and dinner — think modern farm with a contemporary twist. They also offer a seasonal “wellness menu” that accommodates dietary goals like anti-inflammatory foods, probiotics and antioxidants. On a sunny day, the place is popping, but the counter service helps mitigate the waiting time.
Kale & Clover in northern Scottsdale is the perfect option if you are in search of more vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, but there is still meat on the menu. It’s a great place to stop for a healthy lunch on your way from a morning hike at Pinnacle Peak or elsewhere in the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. The gazpacho soup and chopped chicken salad are to die for, and everything on the menu is spun using responsibly sourced seasonal ingredients.
Wellness travel is not complete without a little indulgence, and The Mission in Old Town can’t be missed. The inside is lit by flickering candlelight and Himalayan salt blocks even during the daytime, but the menu of modern Latin cuisine shines as bright as ever with influences from Spain, Mexico, and Central and South America. Try a mix of tacos on hand-pressed corn tortillas, crispy rock shrimp, pork shoulder and short rib barbacoa. The chunky tableside guac with tomatoes, cotija, and pepitas is a must.
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Your new favorite day is here… #NationalTacoDay! Our Mole Duck Confit Trio is the perfect way to celebrate! 😍🌮 . . . #NationalTacoDay #themissionaz #themission #tacotuesday #tacos #scottsdale #scottsdaleaz #azfoodie #foodie #yummy #letseat #scottsdaleeats #foodiegram #feedfeed #foodandwine #delicious #tacolover #love #food #latinfood #modernlatin #latincuisine
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You can’t step a foot out of Scottsdale without having visited the largest city preserve in North America, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, home to more than 195 miles of shared-use trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Access is free and trailheads are open daily from sunrise to sunset, which makes it the perfect location to reap the anxiety-reducing effects of nature — the Gateway Loop Trail is a classic. If you are not confident going out on your own, you can book a hike through Arizona Outback Adventures, recently acquired by REI Co-op, which specializes in multi-day guided hiking, backpacking and cycling vacations. All logistics, food, and gear are included.
Scottsdale has an incredible green bent, and its Desert Botanical Garden is a prime example. Ongoing from October 12-May 10, 2020 the garden is exhibiting “Wild Rising” by Cracking Art, an installation coming straight from Milan that features more than 1,000 animal sculptures made from colorful, recyclable plastic. The sculptures are interspersed throughout the garden’s desert trails, which are open daily from 8 a.m. Make sure to pack a ton of sunscreen and water, because there are more than 50,000 plants showcased throughout, and even on a winter day, you can feel Scottsdale 299 yearly sunshiny days on your skin.
Also nestled in the Sonoran Preserve is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, which was officially named a UNESCO World Heritage Site this past summer. Taliesin West was Lloyd Wright’s winter home and laboratory and is a must-see if you want to squeeze in a little bit of mid-century modern architecture to your visit, with a dash of sustainable design. What makes the site remarkable is that it was built by gathering rocks from the desert floor and sand from the washes, so the site is literally one with nature. Walking around the grounds can be your workout of the day, while taking in the amazing views of Scottsdale and Camelback Mountain.
Fashion by Robert Black in Old Town is a magical place. All the vintage pieces they carry have a story, and you can easily spend countless hours going through the racks. Even better if you run into Black himself, who is more than willing to tell you each piece’s unique story and let you preview some of his newest findings. He says most of the items in store come to him from visiting travelers or lovely older ladies getting rid of treasures from their heydays. You can find everything from inexpensive items to couture pieces by Chanel, Marchesa, and Gene Shelly. And what better way to promote sustainability than by shopping secondhand?
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Turn on @yourlifearizona this morning at 10AM to see classic blue #vintagefashions including #christiandior #samuelwinston & more! Swipe left to see more! #vintageclothing #vintagedresses #vintagedress #designervintage #vintagedesigner #vintageboutique #vintageshop #vintagestore #vintageshopping #shoppingvintage #vintageglam #vintagechic #scottsdale @heatherskoog @chaneltaylorborn
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Vintage by Misty is a favorite among the 320 stores that line downtown Scottsdale. There is everything from Arizona novelty tees to couture pieces from Hermès, Chanel, Gucci and more. The owner, Misty Guerriero, sources items from the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco, London, Paris, and the store’s colorful and eccentric décor shows it. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are looking for an outfit to turn heads.
Open October through May, the Old Town Farmers’ Market offers farm-fresh local produce and food products that are organic and pesticide-free and it’s a great place to pick up seasonal specialties like cider, baked artisan bread and local cheeses.
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