Phoenix: Top Attractions
Holding its own against the world's best resorts, the Phoenician has a feel of overpowering opulence. In addition to its deluxe rooms, top-notch restaurants, and classy bars, the hotel boasts unusual diversions like archery, badminton, and croquet. Its gilded lobby commands stunning mountain views, an $8-million art collection decorates the premises, along with a 27-hole championship golf course and nine pools.
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
Blending seamlessly into its mountain environs, this elegant and intimate spa sits on 53 acres high above the Valley of the Sun. The award-winning enclave offers massages under the stars and guestrooms at the spa or in mountain casitas. Some are elegant, sleek, and very chic; others are serenely sparse. Each month the spa offers Satori, a destination program for women seeking rejuvenation, tranquility, and release. The four-night all-inclusive package is simply divine.
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain: 480.948.2100, www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort
Home of the annual PGA FBR Open, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hosts the best golf in the Phoenix area. The dazzling design and layout of both 18-hole courses seamlessly blends into the natural grandeur of the surrounding locale; brilliant green fairways are surrounded by sparse desert vegetation and take-your-breath-away mountain views. The resort also features a golf concierge, whose only job is to cater to the golfer's every whimfrom setting up tee times to arranging private lessons.
Taking its name from the Pima Indian word for sanctuary, Aji Spa offers a culturally enriching spa experience. Featuring 17 treatment rooms, a watsu pool, traditional roundhouse, saloon, and fitness center, Aji offers deluxe spa services with a Native American twist. Ancient Indian rituals, cultures, and traditions are used during treatments, and ingredients such as red clay from the Gila River and Cholla cactus bud are used to purify and rejuvenate the body.
Hip and modern, the city's hottest new boutique hostelry attracts celebs like Paris Hilton to its decadent enclaves. Rooms feature giant flat-screen TVs and a sedate, minimalist ambiance. Try a midnight massage in the open-air cabanas with fireplaces and music to set the mood. For fun, there are separate pools for playing and for relaxing. Or take on the outdoors by asking the concierge to book a jeep tour through the desert.
Royal Palms Resort and Spa
President George W. Bush stayed at this Spanish-Colonial place twice in 2004; evidence that this respite is worth visiting. The most extravagant rooms are decadently gilded, and the place consistently ranks among the world's top hotels. The Alvadora Spa features fountains and fireplaces, as well as a Watsu massage pool; the private couples' compound is seductive and spacious.
Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa
From golfing to facials, swimming to children's programs, the city's first luxury resort is a destination in itself. Full of old-time charm, this historical gem was heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's naturalist style. Many guest rooms boast private balconies and most are lavishly outfitted. The entire place is so gracefully elegant, one can't help but immediately relax.
The leading symphony orchestra in the Southwest mounts upwards of 275 concerts and presentations in the Phoenix metropolitan area and throughout the state. Arizona's only full-time professional orchestra offers varied programmingfrom classics and symphony pops to chamber music and holiday celebrationsfrom September through May.
Phoenix Symphony: 602.495.1999, www.phoenixsymphony.org
Staging up to five operas annually that range from traditional to obscure, the Arizona Opera Company flourishes in Phoenix and Tucson under the artistic direction of Joel Revzen. This award-winning conductor has lead symphonies and opera companies around the world, including New York's renowned Metropolitan Opera. A wonderful black-tie affair to buttress a luxury vacation.
Arizona Opera: 602.266.7464, www.azopera.com
Riva Yares Gallery
One of Scottsdale's premier art galleries, Riva Yares features modern and contemporary art and sculpture by both established and emerging artists. George Segal, Milton Avery, and Fritz Scholder are a few of the noted who've showcased their work at this well-respected, large gallery space. Founded in 1964, the gallery has a second location in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Riva Yares Gallery: 480.947.3241, www.rivayares.com
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication