Staying Put in StyleVacation? In our vicinity, there’s no place like “home”
Ever dream of living in a hotel? Imagine, as you’re snuggled deep inside a plush bathrobe while room service rolls to your bedside a tray of fresh oysters and chilled champagne, that going home is not a possibility — because this is home.
Fantasy is the business of luxury resorts. Within their walls, guests have the opportunity to experience a part of the world they’ve never seen, and even travel back in time. Six months out of the year, people from all over the world come to our vicinity to experience the fantasies on display in our world-renowned hotels. But what happens the other half of the year, when local temperatures reach triple digits and all those snow birds take flight?
Time for us vicinity-dwellers to start living the dream.
Do you dream of all-night dance parties and state-of-the-art spa treatments? Consider W Scottsdale, “where you can experience the distinct culture of the country’s most livable city,” says hotel spokesperson Laura McGilley. Besides being in walking distance of downtown’s vibrant nightlife, there are three chic and colorful bars onsite, one of which runs alongside the rooftop pool, where hip-hop luminaries like Lil Jon and Drake play to packed crowds. And what better place to recover after a night on the town than Bliss Spa — which McGilley describes as “a true insider’s escape” — which has specials all summer for Arizona residents. Enjoy innovative treatments set to an R&B soundtrack, culminating in a decadent brownie buffet.
History buffs, look no further than Hotel Valley Ho, which was opened in 1956. Called “one of the best-preserved mid-century hotels in the country” by architect Alan Hess, it was designed by Edward Varney, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Varney’s use stone and vast expanses of glass creates a bond with surrounding desert. The Valley Ho’s most stunning feature is the seven-story tower that rises from the front lobby, which, according to hotel spokesperson Kristin Heggli, “was in Varney’s original plans, but wasn’t finished until 2008.” The top of the tower boasts a penthouse suite with views of Camelback Mountain, though “all the rooms at the hotel include a private patio or balcony,” says Heggli. The onsite restaurant, ZuZu Café, does as much as the rest of Ho to bring guests back in time, with its retro furniture and old-school American grub like mac n’ cheese and meat loaf, prepared by Chris Wiley, crowned one of “America’s Best Hotel Chefs” by the James Beard Foundation.
Another slice of our vicinity’s history is the Royal Palms Resort and Spa. If the Valley Ho is big band swing, the Royal Palms has the intimacy and romance of jazz. Once the winter home of a wealthy Chicago financier, the hotel opened to the public in 1948, counting among its first guests Hollywood stars such as Helena Rubenstein and Groucho Marx. Like the fare served at the award-winning T. Cook’s, the architecture is Mediterranean, a Sicilian villa shaded by flowers, vines and Camelback Mountain. A perfect couple’s retreat, the Royal Palms offers packages that let you and your sweetheart dine privately in one of many Via Cappellos, or lovers’ corners — secluded spots hidden around the resort.
If the Royal Palms is Italy, then the Omni Resort & Spa at Montelucia is Spain. Its award-winning restaurant, Prado, with its vaulted ceilings, cast-iron adornments and wood-fired oven, offers guests a chance to pull up a seat and dine on tapas prepared by two-star Michelin chef Alex Stratta. The level of execution Stratta brings to the cuisine is mirrored at the Joya Spa. “The jewel of the resort,” where, says hotel spokesperson Chloe Dake, guests can choose a stone or “let a stone choose them.” Each stone represents a different goal the spa treatment is supposed to help you attain, be it clarity, focus, even romance — all under a domed roof, colored black and alight with artificial stars that float in the same pattern as the night sky in Granada. If burning incense isn’t your thing, take a spin burning rubber on the Montelucia’s Dream Car Tour. “We put you behind the wheel of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, Bentleys,” says Dake, “and let you drive the local highways and side streets.”
These are roads we vicinity-dwellers travel all year ’round. But how often do you get to ride them in the car of your dreams?
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