- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
Scottsdale is one of the spa capitals of the world, boasting some of the largest and most lavish facilities that you’ll find anywhere. Whether you’re in the mood for a deep-tissue massage or Native American–inspired treatments, you’ll find the perfect spa in Scottsdale to get scrubbed, rubbed, and buffed.
Although there are a host of day spas throughout the city, none offer the amenities of the big resorts (nor do you really save any money). Many locals book a facial or massage at a resort so that they can spend the entire day taking advantage of the spa’s pool, fitness classes, on-site gym, and amenities like steam rooms and saunas. It’s a great way to experience a five-star resort without having to pay to stay there. Basic hour-long massages begin at $125, and multi-treatment packages are available.
The Centre for Well-Being
The Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician Resort & Spa (6000 E. Camelback Rd., 480/941-8200, www.thephoenician.com, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.–Wed., 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Thurs.–Sat.) takes a holistic approach to spa-ing. In addition to the usual whirlpools, saunas, and Swiss showers, the Centre is one of the first spas in the country to offer homeopathic and wellness consultations by a naturopathic physician. The spa’s massages and treatments utilize plants and minerals indigenous to the Southwest, like the Native American–inspired Well-Being Stone Ritual ($150) and the hydrating Desert Serenity Scrub, Wrap, and Massage ($240). For a New Age-y experience, a “circle of intuitive guides” offers personalized meditation, astrology, hypnotherapy, and sports-guided imagery sessions.
Golden Door Spa
The 33,000-square-foot Golden Door Spa at The Boulders Resort (34631 N. Tom Darlington Dr., 480/595-3500, www.theboulders.com, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) offers a fascinating mix of Japanese bathing customs and Native American traditions, set against Carefree’s craggy desert landscape. Lounge in the ofuro, a traditional Japanese bath, before heading outside to the swimming pool and meditative labyrinth, which overlook the resort’s namesake boulder formation. If you’re intrigued by Native American healing traditions, book the Shamanic Meditation Journey in the Tipi ($260), during which the spa’s on-site healer “will guide a meditative journey into non-ordinary reality, a dimension of consciousness similar to a dream state.” The spa also offers rock-climbing clinics ($135) if you like a little adventure with your pampering.
The Moroccan-inspired Joya Spa at the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort (4949 E. Lincoln Dr., 480/627-3020, www.joyaspa.com, 8 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily) has set the bar in Scottsdale for an over-the-top spa experience. You’ll want to spend the day (and evening) at this sprawling complex to take advantage of the hammam-style bathing facilities, which include a warming room, sauna, steam room, cold deluge shower, and whirlpool. In between treatments, enjoy the rooftop pool terrace with views of Camelback Mountain and the whisper lounges, a serene place to relax with friends on cushy daybeds, surrounded by candles and soft music. For a real splurge, try one of the suites, which feature private terraces and outdoor showers and copper tubs. Massages here start at $154.
Spa at Camelback Inn
A favorite of locals, the Spa at Camelback Inn (5402 E. Lincoln Dr., 480/596-7040, www.camelbackspa.com, 6:15 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily) offers the most amenity bang for your spa buck. The saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, and cold plunge pools are beautifully bathed in natural light, and the outdoor sun decks provide a private retreat before and after treatments. The soothing massages and wraps ($125) feature techniques and nature-based ingredients indigenous to Native American cultures. Enjoy a healthy meal from Sprouts, Scottsdale’s only spa restaurant, next to the outdoor Olympic-size pool, which offers uninterrupted views of the desert and mountains.
You would think that with a climate ready-made for reveling in the outdoors, more spas would take their amenities outside. Spa Avania at the Scottsdale Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch (7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd., 480/483-5558, www.scottsdale.hyatt.com, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) has created a seamless indoor/outdoor facility. Glass walls slide open onto terraces with outdoor showers, comfy lounge chairs, and hot and cold plunge pools. The facility incorporates elegant stonework, garden treatment rooms, and a co-ed French-Celtic mineral pool and lotus pond. Avania’s “science of time” philosophy takes a holistic approach to relaxation, syncing treatments to the body’s natural biorhythms and subtly incorporating herbal medicine and traditional Thai therapies into treatments. Massages here start at $165.
If you like chic design with your Swedish massage, Sanctuary Spa at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa (5700 E. McDonald Dr., 480/948-2100, www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com, 6 a.m.–8:30 p.m. daily) won’t disappoint. Design buffs will appreciate the stylish transformation of this 1960s “tennis ranch” into a Modernist Zen retreat, complete with men’s and women’s relaxation lounges that overlook a meditation garden and reflecting pond. The Asian-inspired treatments, which start at $170, are available in one of 12 indoor and outdoor treatment rooms. The heated Watsu massage pool, private outdoor suites, and location on the side of Camelback Mountain make this spa an extraordinary destination.
Willow Stream Spa
One of the finest spas in the world, Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale (7575 E. Princess Dr., 480/585-2732, www.willowstream.com, 6 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) pays homage to the Arizona landscape, with indigenous stone and native architectural details. The domed men’s and women’s areas provide a welcome bit of privacy to enjoy the sauna, steam room, whirlpool, cold plunge pool, Swiss shower, and eucalyptus inhalation room. Make a trip through the red-stone Canyon Oasis, an outdoor waterfall treatment, and up to the rooftop Mesa Oasis Pool and cabanas. Try one of the seasonal or signature treatments, like the Havasupai Body Oasis Experience ($319), which includes a chamomile exfoliation, a eucalyptus herbal bath, an aromatherapy wrap with a face and scalp acupressure treatment, and a warm-oil massage.
Spa at the Four Seasons Scottsdale
The intimate Spa at the Four Seasons Scottsdale (10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr., 480/513-5145, www.fourseasons.com/Scottsdale, 6 a.m.–9 p.m. daily) doesn’t offer the sprawling amenities of its competitors, but its desert-inspired treatments make it a worthwhile option. Try the Jojoba and Prickly Pear Body Polish or Soothing Sage Wrap.
Younger spa-goers looking for hipper crowds and some poolside excitement may want to check out the VH Spa at the [node:87096 link Hotel Valley Ho (6850 E. Main St., 480/248-2000, www.hotelvalleyho.com, 8 a.m.–8:15 p.m. daily). Although a bit small, the mod decor, froufrou treatments, and poolside action will appeal to 20-somethings looking to splurge. Massages here start at $100.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition