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Lesser Known Luxury

July 23, 2013

Dining room - best mid res

Ranch House Dining Room at Hidden Meadow Lodge

Upscale accommodations abound throughout Arizona

It’s been said that within the borders of Arizona, a traveler can experience all the other 49 states.

Interested in discovering out-of-the-way luxury? Then take the route less traveled to these lesser-known, upscale destinations.  

Welcome Water

Too many visitors think Arizona is nothing but an arid desert. But the state is studded with beautiful mountain and canyon lakes and rivers including the Mighty Colorado. These are some of our favorite places to get wet.

Houseboating on Lake Powell offers a unique getaway unlike any other. For hundreds of thousands of years, the Colorado River roared through the Glen Canyon, carving gold and orange hued cliff walls; the damning of the river created a vivid blue lake that attracts water lovers of all ages. Located on the border of Utah, Lake Powell offers the ultimate houseboat vacation for water recreation enthusiasts. The most luxurious accommodations feature such fine interior amenities as fireplaces and hot tubs, crisp linens and personal chef service. Water toys such as water skis, wakeboards and kayaks are at your disposal, Best of all, no experience is necessary to operate these floating vacation homes. The marina offers luxury services such as private tours and guided fishing tours. Complete pilot services allow visitors to focus a favorite stretch of sand while someone else does the work. For more information on houseboat rentals and the amenities on Lake Powell visit http://www.lakepowell.com/ or www.lakepowellhouseboating.com. 

Crystal blue waters under sunny skies invite visitors to splash at Lake Havasu, located close to the California border. Home to the world famous London Bridge, Lake Havasu is a paradise for water lovers and desert lovers alike, offering activities like camping, boating, hiking, swimming, off-roading and fishing. For overnight accommodations, the Heat Hotel (www.heathotel.com) is a favorite for those who prefer a hip, trendy haven. Located directly on the waterfront with unparalleled views and direct access to the Bridgewater Channel and London Bridge, guests can lounge on their private balcony and enjoy a panoramic view of the activities along the water. Additional information on accommodations in Lake Havasu is available at http://www.golakehavasu.com/. 

The White Mountains, located on the northeastern border of the state, is a cool, wooded paradise of mountain lakes, trickling creeks and meandering streams.  The charming and historic town of Greer boasts the award-winning Hidden Meadow Ranch (www.hiddenmeadow.com), featuring 12 beautifully handcrafted log guest cabins. Year-round activities at the ranch include horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowshoeing, sledding and ice fishing in the winter months and horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, archery, canoeing and roping in the summertime. Guests of Hidden Meadow Ranch enjoy three meals per day as part of their accommodations, making for a wonderful, all-inclusive luxury experience. For additional information on lodging in Greer, please visit http://www.greerarizona.com/. 

Rugged Retreats

Many of Arizona’s most iconic and relaxing getaways feature a backdrop of ruggedly beautiful terrain. Sought-after destinations like Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Wickenburg and Bisbee offer scenic vistas found only in Arizona.  

Imagine overlooking the depths of a majestic deep canyon, while sipping a sunset cocktail. That is the unique experience that awaits at El Tovar, an elegant hotel that perched at the edge of the majestic Grand Canyon. Built in 1905 and part of the Grand Canyon Lodges, this national historic landmark has hosted such guests as Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. Guests enjoy the luxury of staying on the Canyon rim with incredible views, hiking trails and park tours. Like many other exclusive getaways, the Grand Canyon Lodges require advance reservations. For more information on El Tovar and other in-park lodges, visit http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/. 

The massive, mesmerizing red rock formations of Sedona are known throughout the world. Located in Arizona’s high desert at the base of the towering Colorado Plateau, Sedona offers travelers a variety of world-class vacation options. Adobe Grand Villas (www.adobegrandvillas.com) offer large theme-decorated villas for VIP getaways.  Amenities include a three-course breakfast daily along with afternoon hors d’oeuvres, jetted tubs and fireplaces in every villa and fresh baked bread made in your villa upon arrival.

For those looking to stay closer to shopping, galleries and nightlife, El Portal (www.elportalsedona.com) is ideally located in the heart of Old Sedona. Built on the site of a historic apple orchard and homestead , the hotel is located just steps from Oak Creek and Tlaquepaque shopping areas, with more than 50 shops and restaurants right next door. For more information about luxury getaways in Sedona visit http://visitsedona.com/. 

The Eagles immortalized the lyric “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.” Located on Route 66 is one of  the most well-known and historic hotels in the state. Designed by architect Mary Jane Colter and built in 1929 for the Santa Fe Railroad, La Posada remains a singular cultural experience as  the  last great railroad hotel.  Rated as one of the best places in the world to stay by Condé Nast Traveler, La Posada boasts  gardens featuring sustainable desert vegetation, and a restaurant considered the finest in the four corners area, the Turquoise Room. More information is at www.laposada.org. 

Distinctive Ranches 

There’s no better way to get a true western experience than staying at one of Arizona’s many ranches. These open range vacation destinations can be whatever you want them to be – whether its solitude, adventure, romance or relaxation.  

Many urban dwellers harbor fantasies of being a cowboy or cowgirl. Rancho de los Caballeros (www.ranchodeloscaballeros.com), a resort located just outside of Wickenburg, encourages its guests to saddle up during their stay. Offering all-inclusive meals and full resort amenities with the charm of yesteryear, guests can ride the rugged trails, tee off on the award-winning golf course, indulge in spa treatments or take a moonlit nature walk. Many well-known personalities have relished the western lifestyle and serenity of Wickenburg. To learn more about dude ranch vacations, visit Arizona Dude Ranch Association at http://www.azdra.com/. 

One of the oldest “ranches” in southern Arizona is Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch, built in 1929 as an all-girls school on 34 acres in the scenic Santa Catalina Mountains. The prestigious school’s roster reveals some of the country’s most elite families: Vanderbilt, Pillsbury, Maxwell, Westinghouse and Campbell. In 1948, Hacienda Del Sol was converted into a guest ranch that immediately attracted the Silver Screen’s most notable stars including John Wayne and Clark Gable. Legend has it that Hacienda’s Casita Grande was the favorite hideaway of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Today the ranch offers private casitas, guest rooms and suites, and an acclaimed dining experience at its on-site restaurant.  More information is at www.haciendadelsol.com. 

Known as the “Sky Island” region of southern Arizona, the eco-friendly Sunglow Ranch (www.sunglowranch.com) sits on 400 acres with mountain views, a beautiful pond and plentiful wildlife. The inn provides a serene base from which to explore the nearby burgs of Bisbee and Tombstone, and the ghost towns of southern Arizona. Nestled against the Coronado National Forest and just a few miles from the entrance to the Chiricahua National Monument, Sunglow offers convenient access for a day hike to the famous “heart of rocks.”  Thanks to a rich schedule of workshops and retreats such as photography, cooking, yoga, and gourmet dining those who wish can enjoy a full vacation without ever leaving the Ranch. More information about southern Arizona luxury getaways is available at www.explorecochise.com.

Also in southern Arizona, is the historic Tubac Golf Resort (www.tubacgolfresort.com) located on the 500-acre Otero Ranch which dates back to 1789. Aside from a championship golf course and on-site spa, guests can dine within the walls of the 200-year old barn enjoying the scenic beauty of the Tumacacori and Santa Rita mountains. Guests venturing into town can tour nearby wineries, stroll through Tubac’s artist colony, attend a culinary class or even go stargazing from a 9,000 foot observatory. To learn more about historic Tubac and the accommodations available, please visit http://www.tubacaz.com/. 

For information on planning your upscale, out-of-the-way visit to Arizona, visit www.arizonaguide.com. 

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