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Dry Spell

Tate Gunnerson | December 21, 2017 | Feature Features National

It's (almost) always sunny in the Arizona desert, and exclusive enclaves like Scottsdale and Paradise Valley offer swanky poolside resort spas and awe-inspiring outdoor recreation.
Fire pits and lounge seating make the patio a prime location for evening drinks at the Andaz Scottsdale.

Some people employ extraordinary measures, such as light lamps or negative ion therapy, in a valiant effort to combat the winter blues; others just book a ticket to a warm-weather haven like Phoenix. Boasting nearly 300 days of sunshine per year and easy access to tony enclaves like Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, the area offers something for everybody, including luxury resorts, top-notch dining and a wide variety of outdoor activities—no heavy winter gear required.

Ensconced below Camelback and Mummy mountains, the aptly named Mountain Shadows ($299 to $409 per night) has a variety of room types designed with a sophisticated selection of contemporary and midcentury-inspired furnishings, many with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Arizona’s only 18-hole, par-3 golf course, and sculptural soaker tubs with mountain views. Channel your inner Gwyneth by trying moonlight rooftop yoga—one of the many classes offered at The Citizens Club & Juice Bar, an upscale on-site fitness center that boasts two gorgeous swimming pools that look like something out of a Slim Aarons photo. The resort is also rolling out photography classes, cooking demonstrations and other programming designed to enhance your stay. You might not want to leave, and the good news is that you don’t have to: The resort just debuted 42 luxe resort condos and lofts with valet service, access to resort amenities and loads of other perks.

In the ’50s and ’60s, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bing Crosby and other A-list Hollywood types hobnobbed at Hotel Valley Ho ($129 to $499 per night), and the buzzy resort still has a cool Rat Pack vibe with ’50s tunes playing in the lobby and a colorful design scheme. Although it’s located steps away from downtown Scottsdale’s many restaurants, art galleries and museums, there’s really no reason to venture out: The resort has two swimming pools as well as a full-service spa, and ZuZu, an on-site restaurant that serves up delectable fare and craft cocktails. For a more exclusive experience, stay in The Tower: a hotel within a hotel, with two-story loft suites ($699 to $1,299 per night) that sport balconies overlooking either Camelback Mountain or downtown Scottsdale.

Located on 23 acres just 2 miles from downtown, Andaz Scottsdale (rooms from $399 per night, suites from $2,500 per night) has 201 luxurious bungalow-style guest rooms ranging in size from 350 to 1,800 square feet spread out throughout the property for a more private, intimate experience. The resort also has several on-site dining options and three swimming pools, including one located in the Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary, a 24-hour fitness center with a full suite of services (the uber-relaxing Himalayan salt stone massage is worth the flight alone).


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