Find Your Place in the Sun

By: Suzanne Wright

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October 15, 2014

Phoenix offers resorts perfect for every traveler

About the author

Suzanne Wright

Suzanne Wright

Suzanne Wright has written for National Geographic Traveler, Arizona Highways, American Way, Arizona Republic, Elite Traveler, Golf for Women, Men's Journal, The Tennessean, USA Today and Wine & Spirits. A former Navy brat, her suitcase is always packed and her passport up-to-date. She has visited all 50 states and more than 50 countries on five continents. Her home base is in the beautiful Sonoran Desert foothills of Cave Creek, Arizona. Her website is

The weather in Arizona is notoriously inviting. Come October, winter visitors flock to Phoenix for the sun-gentled days and cool desert evenings of Greater Phoenix. Some visitors return to the same resort like clockwork; others enjoy hopscotching to different properties. Our wide-open vistas have timeless appeal. Hiking, biking, golfing, kayaking and horseback riding. And of course, fine dining and first-rate spa experiences are a hallmark of Phoenix-area resorts. There’s a perfect fall getaway waiting for you, and Air Canada rouge makes it easier than ever to get here with additional flights during high season. 

High Altitude Couples Retreat 

For the avid hiker, the majesty of the Four Peaks Mountain range in Fountain Hills is often the reward for a challenging ascent. At an elevation of 2,500 feet, Copperwynd Resort boasts trail access that affords guests knockout views. You’ll also enjoy peak views from the public spaces and the 32 European-inspired guest rooms which feature gas fireplaces, private balconies and bathrooms with oversized tubs perfect for couples. OpenTable recently selected the resort’s dining room, Alchemy, as one of the “Top 100 Scenic View Restaurants in America.” With floor-to-ceiling windows, not only is the view bewitching, the New American menu with stand out dishes such as cashew-crusted Idaho trout is inspired, to say the least. The spa revives jet-lagged travelers with holistic treatments inspired by the natural surroundings. Golfers enjoy preferred tee times at nearby courses, including the SunRidge Canyon Golf Club’s championship course, the Golf Club at Eagle Mountain and the renowned We-Ko-Pa courses. 

Panoramic Dining 

Ask any local where they celebrate a special occasion, and Different Pointe of View tops the list. The serpentine drive up to the restaurant, through the Spanish-Mediterranean Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort with its red-tiled roofs, invites memories to be made. Built atop the granite of the Phoenix Mountain Reserve, its setting will forever crush any misconception that Phoenix is flat. And though the views are far-reaching, when seated in the dining room it’s as though the mountains embrace you. Arrive while the sun is still up and enjoy the transition to twilight, then to darkness punctuated by the glittering lights of the city. Forgo any culinary decision-making and surrender to Chef Anthony DeMuro, letting him create a tasting menu and enjoying the kind of gracious, attentive service you’d expect at a private club. Seasonally inspired preparations of pork belly, diver scallops and smoked chicken ravioli, capped with crème brulee has been a menu staple since the resort opened 31 years ago. Capture your memories on canvas. This autumn, the resort is offering “Sunset Palates,” a weekly artist-led outdoor-painting class. Rather hit the links? The environmentally friendly Lookout Mountain Golf Club is one of just 17 Arizona courses to receive designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.” And if poolside lounging is your thing, Falls Water Village offers an enclosed 138-foot waterslide, a swim-up bar and shaded cabanas. 

Onsite Entertainment

Rising 15 stories above Scottsdale, Talking Stick Resort attracts a dazzling array of headline performers across multiple mediums of entertainment, such as Nils Lofgren, Lonestar, Psychedelic Furs, Jay Leno, Tracy Lawrence and KC and the Sunshine Band. 

If you’d rather soak up the sun while people-watching, there’s a sizzling pool scene with orange-tented cabanas. Feeling lucky? The stylish, 240,000-square-foot casino offers slots, Arizona’s largest poker room, 50 different table games and Keno. The resort’s decor includes an exquisite collection of American Indian art, including one-of-a-kind pottery, textiles, photographs, paintings, jewelry and baskets. Encased in glass, the cultural center in the hotel’s lobby features native pottery and a “talking stick” calendar, from which the property gets its name. Two beautiful and distinctive golf courses and a Golfweek award-winning club, challenge players at all levels. The open-air spa on the 14th floor offers rejuvenation with a view, but be sure and check out seasonal specials like the “Fall into Bliss” massage or the “Fall Fetish Pedi.” 

Luxurious Desert Oasis

You’d never guess the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort was located in the heart of Scottsdale. This luxurious AAA Five Diamond resort captures the serenity of the Southwest, thanks to its hacienda-style architecture with landscaped plazas and gurgling fountains. A recently completed five-year, $60 million renovation added celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak restaurant, and unveiled the destination Well & Being Spa, which focuses on integrative health and nutrition, along with pampering spa treatments. There are classes in everything from spinning to Pilates to Zumba, in addition to fitness wearables such as FitBit and BodPod lean mass analysis. In the Aerial Hammock Yoga class, poses are done with the support of a suspended cloth sling to facilitate greater stretch. Healthy meals—including gluten-free and vegetarian—are served at the adults-only rooftop pool or garden atrium. The resort also offers a pair of spectacular TPC 18-hole championship courses, one which is home to the annual PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open. Plus, there’s world-class shopping and dining just minutes away at Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Fashion Square

Water, Water Everywhere

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa’s water playground boasts 10 sparkling pools, 20 fountains and 45 waterfalls. The centerpiece of this aquatic wonderland is a three-story, high-speed waterslide for thrill seekers of all ages. Worked up a hunger or a thirst? The new H2Oasis serves all your favorite foods and drinks al fresco. On-site there are 27 holes of golf across three private nine-hole courses that can be linked together to customize an 18-hole experience that’s been ranked as one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in the World” by Golf Magazine. The Lakes Course features varied terrain in a garden-like setting; the Dunes is reminiscent of Scottish courses; and the Arroyo plays through a meandering desert wash. If you can tear yourself away from the property—and that’s admittedly not easy—excursions with Green Zebra Adventures include biking Sedona’s red rocks, climbing Camelback Mountain, hot air ballooning, we recommend Rainbow Ryders or a guided tour through the Sonoran Desert in a Tomcar, an ATV/Jeep hybrid. Spa Avania, named #29 among the World’s Best Spas in 2014 by Conde Naste Traveler readers, is a great place to unwind. 

Western Family Resort

Nestled in the shadow of one of the city’s signature mountain ranges, the four-acre, Western-themed Hole-in-the-Wall River Ranch is a fun, unique attraction at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort. Boasting a lazy river, 18-hole miniature golf course

and Coyote Camp for kids, the Pointe is a prime destination for multi-generational gatherings. After a day spent splashing under the sun, there’s a Western family hoedown, featuring mesquite-broiled steaks and smoked brisket, live music, horseshoe tossing, dancing and cowboy hat decorating at the 1940s-era, on-site ranch house. Golfers appreciate the Pointe-to-Pointe Shuttle to nearby sister resort’s Lookout Mountain course, which has been named one of the nation’s best golf courses by Golf Digest, Zagat and Arizona Business Magazine.

Pamper yourself this fall with many nonstop Arizona flights from Air Canada rouge


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